If you have studied the Thai spelling of the words given in the previous vocabularies and the Thai version of the examples in sections A.5 of the lessons up to date, you should now be able to pick out a fair number of Thai words by their look without still having to spell them out and should be at a stage to start reading some simple Thai passages.
In part B. of this and the following lessons we give short passages in Thai to give you practice in separating the individual words and to show you some of the characteristics of the written language which differs fairly considerably from colloquial Thai in the use of more formal words, rather long and complicated constructions and a considerable number of what appears to be redundant words.
These passages have been taken from Ministry of Education readers, books, magazines and newspapers so as to cover a number of variations in style and, though Thai scholars may consider some of them not very good Thai, they have all been written originally in Thai by Thai people for Thai readers and are reproduced here exactly as written. We feel that they can be considered as quite typical of modern Thai usage.
It has not been possible to select passages containing only words that you have already had in the vocabularies but any new words are given below each passage together with explanatory notes where considered necessary and this should help to enlarge your vocabulary. For the tone of any word refer to the extended vocabulary Appendix 10.
In the English translation following each passage we have endeavoured to keep as closely as possible to the literal translation of the Thai so as to bring out the peculiarities of the Thai phraseology even though in many cases this results in rather clumsy and laborious English. Paraphrasing into more suitable English should present no difficulty.
We recommend that you proceed as follows:
Do not take any notice of the spaces between words which occur from time to time. They do not represent sentences and do not even correspond very well with punctuation and are best neglected.
They do however enable you to tell where one word ends and the next begins so just be thankful for them.
The meanings of words in any language depend to some extent on the situations in which they are used and it is possible in vocabularies to give only the most common and general meanings.
Thai writing is full of rather flowery expressions and idioms and the translation of many of these requires a good deal of imagination.
KOON KAH TAHNG
The above means “Good value in the way of food”.
The editorial standard of most Thai newspapers is not very high or very consistent.
The Asian way of thought and expression is very different from that of the West and as a rule the Asian deals more with general ideas rather than with exact relationships.
But lest this lead you into the common error of thinking that Thai is a very inadequate language in all respects, we would commend for you consideration the words of that Thai scholar and fluent English speaker M.L. Pin Malakul, sometime Minister of Education, who, in opening a conference of S.E. Asia Language experts in Bangkok, said:
“Although we have always been
grateful for the use of English as a means of communication with people of other
nations, each of us at some time or other must have found it inadequate as a
medium of expression when it comes to discussing elusive and abstract subjects
such as art, literature, religion and philosophy.”
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