Original post by Stuart Jay Raj
อะไรยังเงียะ – Word Whiskers in Thai – when running presentation workshops as a Dale Carnegie trainer in the past, one of the things we would coach on are the use of ‘Word Whiskers’. They are subconscious words that presenters use out of habit like ‘you know’ that after a while make the audience twitch every time they hear them just like a cat when you touch its whiskers. A funny phenomenon happens when Thais learn English. One of the most common word whiskers in Thai – อะไรยังเงียะ (àrai yaŋía) often gets subconsciously brought across word for word into English when speaking / presenting in English ‘Or something like this’. Even though some might say it’s a bad habit, learning these word whiskers in Thai that native Thai speakers use is a great way to program the body to be more Thai and react subconsciously more like Thai when speaking Thai. I thought we could use this thread to list out as many of the ‘Word Whiskers’ that Thais use – you might be able to put them back into your usage of Thai to sound more authentic To start off, here are a couple more – ก็คือ kɔ̂ kʰɯ:, คือว่า kʰɯ: wâ:, โน่นนั่นนี่ nô:n nân nî:. How many more can you come up with?
Here are some of the replies:
Weston Robert Hawkins ใช่ไหมครับ
Victoria Kronemeyer Just a long ก็ ….
Weston Robert Hawkins คืออย่างนี้
Stuart Jay Raj:
Right! – the long ก้ออออ – which is often written like that on the internet. Weston – yup – which would be pronounced คือยังงี้ -kʰɯ:yaŋŋí: – good spoken grammar point. If ง is followed by a น, often the น will be assimilated into the ง
Victoria Kronemeyer “จริงเงอ?”
Richard Jensen has the following to ask:
my wife and others like to say ”up to you” a lot, according to GT it is “ขึ้นอยู่กับคุณ” is this common, is this a good translation?
Stuart Jay Raj replies:
that’s a direct translation, but I think this would probably be more likely from the งอน response of แล้วแต่
Which also is part of another kind of word whisker – ก็แล้วแต่ ‘even if …’ or ก็แม้แต่ ‘despite …’ though this I guess would be more of a standard sentence structure. People use it and sometimes overuse it to the point of becoming a word whisker.
This borders on the edge of Thai clichés which to many Thais aren’t considered clichés, rather very nice well spoken responses in a way that is expected. For example – when we go into a company and talk about leadership and talk about qualities of a good leader, the first thing that comes off everyone’s lips in rote fashion is ผู้ นำ ที่ ดี เป็น คน ที่ เอา ใจ เขา มา ใส่ ใจ เรา (the spaces are there intentionally as it’s said in parrot fashion). These days I nip it in the bud and forbid the use of the term เอาใจเขามาใส่ใจเรา. Need to be more creative
The alternative that I give to เอาใจเขามาใส่ใจเรา is the Sanskrit word สมานุภูติ which sounds funny / scary in Thai but gets the point across
Maarten Tummers had the following question: is ผมก็แบบ(ว่า) a whisker? great topic!!
Stuart Jay Raj helpful as always:
yup. แบบว่า is a really common one like คือว่า. I have noticed when people are trying to make their speech more refined, the แบบว่า turns into ทำนองว่า – but still happening in the same places.
These are the kinds of things I try to learn in whatever language I’m learning. A similar action that I’ve noticed Danish people do for example is to inhale while saying ‘yeah yeah’ as a word whisker. another one is : …… ก็เลย ……
or a very long คืออออออออออออ right? You often see these in ละคร where the พระเอก is seriously piissed off and the heroine has some explaining to do..
“YOU SAID YOU WOULD GO TO THE STORE BUT WHAT IS THIS??!”
(shows picture of her dancing with another dude)
Stuart Jay Raj:
Right – that’s like a filler word that means “oh heck .. how do I say this ….”
Keith Williams with a question:
What about words that are just uttered for no meaning except to indicate to the other person that you are still listening to sort of give them permission to continue. In English one would say something like yeah or right. I find myself saying ใช่ like a demented parrot
to which Stuart Jay Raj replied:
Ahh – but that in itself is meaning things like อือ (rude) or หรอครับ … or นะฮะ – often said by guys and can be a word whisker too. You will find that Thais don’t tend to use ใช่ as much as foreigners speaking Thai as a conversation filler. I think for many foreigners, it equates with ‘yeah’ in the same way that Thais directly translate อะไรยังเงี้ย to ‘Something like this’. Thas would usually have something that included a variation on ครับ or ค่ะ … หรอคร้บ ฮับ etc.
Luke Bruder Bauer had the following to mention:
เออ is the agreement sound. เอ่อ is more like I’m thinking (uh…)
อือ และ อึม also are used for agreement
Also a good one that is similar to ก็คือ when beginning an explanation is: ประมาณว่า หรือ พอดีว่า
Stuart Jay Raj :
Luke – Right. The พอดีว่า…. and also at the end of a sentence ….พอดี
I asked the following: what does พอดี at the end of a phrase exactly mean? and would เอาล่ะ qualify to be a whisker too?
Stuart Jay Raj replied with the following:
That’s a brilliant question and stumped me now when I have tried to figure it out. Take the sentence เขาไม่อยากกินข้าวพอดี or supposing i say ill pick something up from a place because ต้องกลับบ้านแถวนั้นพอดี I guess it kind of means something like ‘actually’ or ‘as it turns out…. ‘
Maarten Tummers: thanks! that makes sense to me hehe. another one for the collection: เด๋ว
Maarten Tummers somebody should archive this one btw ;D lots-o’-cool-stuff in this topic!
So here it is, an incredibly useful topic thats worth giving a couple of reading sessions.