Questions…. or not?

Review of Yes/No questions       Khun Wannaporn

Khun Wannaporn posted a summary of her question tutorials

Let’s sum them up once again.
For Yes / No questions

1. ไหม măi ( written language ) or มั้ย mái ( spoken language )
(particle used to turn a statement into a question, similar to a question mark)
คุณชอบผู้หญิงไทยมั้ย
kun chôp pôo yĭng tai mái
Do you like Thai women?
เข้าใจมั้ย kâo jai mái = do you understand?
คุณจะไปกับผมมั้ย kun jà bpai kàp pŏm mái
Are you coming with me?

2. หรือเปล่า rĕu bplào, เปล่า bplào, ป่ะ bpà
(particle used at the end of sentences to make them into “…or not?” questions)
คุณชอบผู้หญิงไทยป่ะ
kun chôp pôo yĭng tai bpà
You like Thai women, don’t you?
เข้าใจป่ะ kâo jai bpà = You understand, don’t you?
คุณจะไปกับผมป่ะ kun jà bpai kàp pŏm bpà
You are coming with me, aren’t you?

3. เหรอ rĕr
(question particle used when seeking confirmation of something thought to be true, or to make a question sound softer)
ง่วงเหรอ ngûang rĕr = Are you sleepy? ( when you see someone yawns )
โกรธผมเหรอ gròht pŏm rĕr = Are you angry with me? ( when your gf does not look so happy or when she is too quiet or whatever she does and you know it’s a sign )
By using rĕr, you are reading between the lines.

Luke Bruder Bauer added this observation

อยากไปปะ might not necessarily mean “Do you want to go or not” , that’d be more like ตกลงจะไปปะเนี่ย as the or not in this phrase is a bit emphatic.

One thing to remember in Thai: the dynamic of asking obvious questions and responding with sarcastic answers does not work the same. I made a lot of people upset (น้อยใจ is the word I want) when I would say something like หิวมาก วันนี้ยังไม่ได้กินข้าวเลย they then asked หิวหรอ and I said ก็เมื่อกี๊บอกว่ายังไม่ได้กินข้าว แน่นอนว่าผมต้องหิว …… or when

Actually, I’ve been wanting to start a thread on sarcasm in thai for a while, because you can do it sometimes, but only with people that are wired to sort of be a little ปากจัด (snappy and wittty but in a sort of ‘rude’ way I guess) with friends….otherwise, it falls on deaf ears/gets interpreted as ill-will on your part (in terms of using typical western sarcasm)….

However, I do see sarcasm get used by Thais, but it differs slightly from what I am used to (then again, the German version of sarcasm is also different from my version of American humor, which differs of course from many other Americans as well..sarcasm is very difficult to define interculturally, but still cool to try)…can’t put my finger on it, but something like stating something you know is totally wrong just to make the other person like “เกี่ยวอะไรวะ”

It also has to do with the delivery, it seems like westerners prefer to keep their sarcasm dry and you say things as if you) really were annoyed by the question, but its clear that you’re not (or at least most of the time it is)

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