Tinglish

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Not to be confused with Tanglish or Tenglish, interlanguages of English with Tamil and Telugu, respectively.
Tinglish is even widespread on official signs in Thailand.

Tinglish (US and Thailand[1] ) or Thaiglish (UK) (also Thenglish, Thailish or Thainglish) is the imperfect form of English produced by native Thai speakers due to language interference from the first language[citation needed]. Differences from 'native' English include different pronunciation, unusual word choices, and grammatical anomalies, as well as innovative vocabulary items[original research?].

Characteristics and examples[edit]

Characteristics and examples (direct translation) include[dubious ]:

  • omission of pronouns and of the verb be;
  • use of present tense + "already" instead of past tense
  • non-use or incorrect use of articles, declension and conjugation.
  • addition of Thai final particles, e.g. I don't know na
  • Frequent confusion between any and every.
  • General misunderstanding of conditional constructions
  • pronunciation of silent letters in a word
  • Inability to speak consecutive consonants. E.g. "Sprite" pronounced "Sa-prite"
  • No understanding of double negatives
  • Using 'L' to replace an 'R' sound
  • TH sound pronounced as the two letters, not as English 'th'
  • Using 'N' to replace an 'L' sound at the end of the word, e.g. "particle" pronounced "particon" or 'football' pronounced 'futbon'
  • Moving 'S' on singular verbs to the subject, e.g. "He's talk too much" instead of "He talks too much"

Examples of words and phrases[edit]

Examples (direct translation) include:

Phrase Meaning
Same same Similar, as usual
Same same but different Seems similar but different in some ways
Open/close the light' Turn on/off the light
No have … There is no ..., I do not have a …
I send you to airport I will take you to the airport
I have ever been to London I have been to London
I'm interesting in football I am interested in football
I very like it I really like it
I used to go Phuket I have been to Phuket before
Take a bath Take a shower
Are you spicy? Does your food taste spicy?
Are you boring? Do you feel bored?
Do you know how to eat this? Referring to food with taste that may be unfamiliar, or food requiring special eating method (such as wrapping it in lettuce) that may not be known to the listener
I play internet I go on/use the internet
Check bill Get the check in a restaurant
I very enjoy! I'm enjoying myself/I enjoyed myself, I have/had a lot of fun

Particles[edit]

The words of Thai prefix particles and their implied meanings:

  • Khun (Thai for Mr., Mrs. or Miss) instead of Mr. or Ms. (e.g. Khun Somchai will have a meeting on Friday.)

Following is the list of Thai final particles and their implied meanings:

  • la = to give suggestion (e.g. Why don't you ask her la?), to inform the listener of something (e.g. I'm going to bed la.), or to ask if the subject would do something that the subject of the previous sentence does (e.g. I'm going to have dinner now, how about you la?)
  • na = to give a suggestion (e.g. You must do your homework first na.), to inform the listener of something (e.g. I'll be right back na.), or to soften a statement about something that the speaker thinks should have been done but have not yet been done (e.g. Why don't you ask her na?)
  • cha/ja = to add informality to the conversation (e.g. Hello ja.)
  • khrap/krab (or, alternatively, krub) (for male speaker only) = add at end of sentence to make the conversation polite/formal; also as confirmation (Yes!) (e.g. Hello krab.)
  • kha (or ka) (for female speaker only) = same as krab (e.g. Hello kha.)

Some less common particles:

  • mang = a qualifier indicating uncertainty, sometimes translated as "maybe" (e.g. The shop already closed, mang. / I think he's 25 years old, mang.)
  • loei = totally or immediately (e.g. I don't understand loei la. / See you there loei na)
  • laeo = already or done (e.g. I have to go laeo la.)
  • na = to give suggestion (it's likely to be used with someone who's close to you and of equal status, such as your close friend) (e.g. I don't know at all na, why don't you come with me na?)

Pronunciation[edit]

An advert for "tom yum chimp". In Thai it reads tom yam kung, meaning shrimp tom yum.

As some sounds in English just simply don't exist in Thai language, this affects the way native Thai speakers pronounce English words[citation needed]:

  • Non-rhotic, e.g. more -> maw ([mɔː]), gear -> gia ([kia]), and car -> kah ([kʰaː]).
  • all syllables are stressed with the same intensity
  • omits consonant clusters
  • final consonants are often omitted or converted according to the rules of Thai pronunciation: l and r become n; p, b and f become an occlusive p; t, th, d, s, st, sh, ch and j become an occlusive t.
  • If there is more than one consonant at the end of a syllable, only the first is pronounced, the others are omitted. "W" and "y" sounds count as consonants, too. So, "count down" becomes "cow dow", "size" becomes "sigh"
  • "sh" and "ch" sounds can be indistinguishable as the Thai language does not have the "sh" sound, e.g. ship/chip, sheep/cheap
  • "v" sound is almost always replaced by "w" sound, e.g. vow -> wow, ville -> will
  • "g" and "z" sounds are usually devoiced, e.g. dog -> dock ([ˈdɔk]), zoo -> sue ([ˈsuː])
  • "th" sound is often replaced by "t" or "d" sound. Particularly, the voiceless "th" (/θ/) is replaced by [t] or [tʰ], while the voiced "th" (/ð/) is replaced by [d], e.g. thin -> tin ([ˈtin]) or [ˈtʰin]), through -> true ([ˈtʰɹuː]), thank you -> tang kyou ([tɛŋ kiw]) or ([tʰɛŋ kiw]), and then -> den ([ˈden]).
  • ambiguity between the short "e" (/ɛ/), as in "bled", and a long "a" (/eɪ/), as in "blade" because both are pronounced as [e(ː)].
  • "e (vowel) " such as cherry is pronounced shire-ry, error is pronounced err-rer

In Thai, certain consonants cannot occur as a consonant cluster. Such illicit clusters include those with sibilant sounds followed by obstruent sounds. In order to avoid such illicit forms, a short "a" (ah; [ə]) sound is added between these consonants:

  • start - sahtat (/səˈtaːt/)
  • sleep - sahleep (/səˈliːp/)
  • speak - sahpeak (/səˈpiːk/)
  • snore - sahnore (/səˈnɔː/)
  • swim - sahwim (/səˈwim/)
  • school - sahkoon (/səˈkʰuːn/)
  • album - alabum (/ələˈbam/)

'R' or 'l' after another consonant may be omitted completely.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kong Rithdee (2012-03-10). "Davos, Tokyo and clueless Tinglish". Bangkok Post. p. 7. Seriously, watching that clip, I rooted for her to pull it off, to show that Suvarnabhumi English, our Tinglish, is as good as any as long as what she meant to say came off. 

External links[edit]