Words are fascinating, aren’t they? How did we come up with them and expand beyond all practicality, I cannot fathom!
I love words and feel that the way words evolve in a language, speaks volume about that culture.
I’m rambling here as usual, my apology so let’s get back on track again.
Some of you already knew I spent time away from Thailand. While I’m away the Thai language did not stand still. Words have a shelf life of its own. By the time I returned, my Thai has totally expired, totally out of date! (A concept that amuses me no end! )
It is a hard lesson to know that simply by being Thai, able to speak Thai does not necessary mean that you are equipped to understand Twentieth Century Thai.
Most Thai words that I’m familiar with have matured, pronunciation gets laxes or shorten through time and even the meaning! What was once rude to use has become everyday language or words that was considered polite has become rude. We empower words with much more than meanings. Words are reflection in time!
More than that, we, Thais, read into words what the person’s sociocultural background, age, marital status. Words get lost not in translation but comprehension!
So now Thai is a new language for me to relearn and guess what, feel this is a privilege as it allows me a glimpse into my own culture from a different perspective!
Also while I’m away, new sets of words were coined. Most are teen slangs. But they are worth noting as I think they are very poetic, very creative.
Here are a few examples
ขั้นเทพ (kán-tâpe) = expert/ turn pro/ very good at something
Why this is just so great is because “being good” akin to being on a higher plane than mere mortals!
วืด (weûd) = to miss something
Just the sound alone works, when you miss something weûd, this is ever so caveman!
แจ่ม (jaèm) = brilliant, cool, awesome
Now this word is as cool as its definition as แจ่ม means bright, shining
Now imagine when these words are used to make conversation, novices like myself find them incomprehensible, totally lost in words and ttotally awesome!