Now for something a little more light-hearted. The last few days in school we have been learning nouns. Today was names of vegetables. Yesterday was names of household things and fruit. Tuesday was names of body parts. Some of the names I find amusing because of their literal translation. And some of the other words I find amusing for childish reasons. Here are a few examples.
- Foot = เท้า (taao) (falling tone). No humor here but remember this for later.
- Bag = ถุง (toong) (low tone). Still not funny. Wait for it.
- Sock = ถุงเท้า (toong-taao) (low, falling tone). Yes. That’s right. The literal translation of “sock” is “foot bag”.
Foreigners (specifically westerners) are called “Farang” or sometimes “Falang” in Thailand. It’s just a different pronunciation of the same word. Anyways, it’s a term that can have negative connotations. Here’s where it starts to get funny.
- Guava = ฝรั่ง (farang) (low tone). The inside of a guava is white so I guess that’s where the name for westerners with white skin comes from.
- Potato = มันฝรั่ง (man farang) (low or maybe falling, low tone). And the ‘a’ in “man” is somewhere between an ‘a’ and a ‘u’ sound but transliterated to English it’s an ‘a’. So I guess I’m a potato.
Now for something childish.
- Pumpkin = ฟักทอง. Lets go over the letters to sound this out.
- ฟั, faw fan (tooth) with mai han-aa-gaat. Makes ‘f’ sound followed by ‘a’ as in “alaska” sound.
- ก, gaw gai (chicken). The mai han-aa-gaat means this is a stop consonant and makes a ‘k’ sound instead of a ‘g’ sound.
- ท, taw ta-haan (soldier). Makes a ‘t’ sound.
- อ, sara-oo. Vowel makes a longish ‘o’ sound.
- ง, ngaw nguu. Makes a “ng” sound which I can not pronounce properly.
In Thai, “pumpkin” is transliterated as “fuk-tong”. Told you it was childish. Also interesting is that ทอง (tong) is the word for the color “gold” and ฟัก (fuk) is the word for “case” so literally pumpkin is “gold case”.
One more with a bad word in it.
- Long Green Beans = ถั่วฟักยาว
- ถั่ว (tua) means peanut or nut.
- ฟัก (fuk) see above.
- ยาว (yaow) means long. Almost sounds like “you”. So this one literally means “long nut case”. I will resist making more childish jokes.