The continuous tense in Thai is represented by putting the word GUMLUNG “vigour” in front of the verb and the word YOO “to be located at” after the verb and after the object if there is one.
Sometimes GUMLUNG is used alone and sometimes YOO is used alone. There does not appear to be any very firm rule governing which word or words should be used in any particular case except that YOO is not generally used if the verb is one indicating physical movement from one place to another.
POM GUMLUNG KEE-AN JOTMAI
I am writing a letter.
KON KUP ROT GIN KAOU
The driver is having his meal.
I am going (am on my way) to the market.
If talking of the future, JA “will” comes between GUMLUNG and the verb.
KOON GUMLUNG JA
What are you going to buy?
You will not find the continuous tense used very much in conversation as generally the Thai People are not very much concerned about the finer shades of meaning and see very little difference between “I buy a tomato” and “I am buying a tomato”. As long as their meaning gets across they are prepared to take considerable liberties with formal grammar.
Generally speaking you need not use the continuous tense in conversation unless you particularly want to emphasise that the action is actually going on at this moment.
In the formal written language however
this construction is quite common.
Generated by Lyndon Hill on Thu Jul 20 18:40:33 BST 2006.
Copyright remains with the original authors.