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Tinglish (US and Thailand) or Thaiglish (UK) (also Thenglish, Thailish or Thainglish) is the imperfect, macaronic form of English produced by native Thai speakers due to language interference from the first language. Differences from “native” English include errant pronunciation, unusual word choices, and grammatical anomalies, as well as innovative vocabulary items[original research?].
Characteristics and examples
- omission of pronouns and of the verb to be
- use of present tense + already instead of past tense
- non-use or incorrect use of articles, declension, prepositions, 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
- omission of the consonant at the end of words ending in a diphthong and a consonsant, for instance Mickey Mouse pronounced “Mickey Mao”, white wine pronounced “why why”, and news pronounced “new”.
- inability to speak consecutive consonants, for instance slow pronounced “sah-low”
- no understanding of double negatives
- using "L" to replace an "R" sound
- using "H" to replace an "S" sound
- TH sound pronounced as "t", not as English "th"
- using "N" to replace an "L" sound at the end of the word, for instance "school" pronounced "skoon" or "football" pronounced "futbon"
- moving "S" on singular verbs to the subject, for instance "He's talk too much" instead of "He talks too much"
- omission of prepositions, for instance "I wait you" instead of "I'll wait for you" or "I listen him" for "I listened to him".
- confusion between using "very" (which should be used before adjectives, past participles used as adjectives, and adverbs) and "very much" (used after verbs), for instance "I very love my daughter" and "She beautiful very much".
Examples of words and phrases
Examples (direct translation) include:
|Same same||Similar, as usual|
|Same same but different||Seems similar but different in some ways|
|He same you||He is/looks like you|
|Open/close the light'||Turn on/off the light|
|No have …||There is no ..., I do not have a …|
|I send you 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 like it very much|
|I used to go Phuket||I have been to Phuket before|
|Take a bath||Take a shower|
|She black||She's dark skinned/tanned|
|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/phone||I'm using the internet/my phone|
|Check bill||Get the check in a restaurant||[This is also an example of Amglish, that is, language interference which occurs when an American native speaker attempts to speak English. In this case the Thai speaker is of course speaking correct English (except for the omission of the definite article, not used in Thai), since he or she knows that a bill and not a cheque is to be presented, and wishes to check it (i.e. ascertain whether it is correct) before paying it.]|
||This section may stray from the topic of the article. (Jan 2015)|
The words of Thai prefix particles and their implied meanings:
- Khun (คุณ, 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 (ล่ะ) = 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 (นะ) = 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 (จ้ะ/จ้า) = to add informality to the conversation (e.g., Hello, ja.)
- khrap/krab (ครับ) (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) (ค่ะ) (for female speaker only) = same as krab (e.g., Hello kha.)
Some less common particles:
- mang (มั้ง) = a qualifier indicating uncertainty, sometimes translated as "maybe" (e.g., The shop already closed, mang. / I think he's 25 years old, mang.)
- loei (เลย) = totally or immediately (e.g., I don't understand loei la. / See you there loei na)
- laeo (แล้ว) = already or done (e.g., I have to go laeo la.)
- na (น่ะ) = 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?)
- wa (วะ) = Adds emphasis (e.g., Going to watch a movie, wa!). Impolite. Only used with friends or when very angry.
- 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. "Mixed" is pronounced "mik".
- 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.
- Perversely, given the language constraints for d and l among the rules above, l can become r and d can become sh, for instance blood can become brush.
- 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.
- Investigating Thai Loan Phonology, Sound Systems of English, LG.236, Lecture 8, Department of Linguistics, Faculty of Arts, Thammasat University, 8 Sep 2008.