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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 standard 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”.
- inserting vowel sounds into consonant clusters, for instance slow pronounced “sah-low”
- no understanding of double negatives
- using "L" to replace an "R" 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?|
|I play internet/phone||I'm using the internet/my phone|
|Check bill||Bill Please|
- 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.