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Thai's misuse of English words


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Sometimes i get amused or frustrated at the Thai's misuse of English words, for example my Thai lady speaks very good English and we can chat away all day in it although there are occasions when I'm left a little confused. One word that crops up regularly is why do you want to "fight"with me, now to me a fight is some aggressive contact with another person but we only have to have a slight disagreement and she asks me why do you want to fight with me, and i regularly hear other Thai's using the same word in a similar way. Another regular is why are you "angry" again and all i did was make a comment on the latest narrow escape on the road or she'll say mind that dog, i reply yes honey i can see it to which the response is why are you angry with me. A few weeks ago she was telling me which way to gl to a particular place and said turn by the "big car", i said what big car, a mini is a small car so i assumed she meant something like a Fortuna but I could  not see any but she started to get angry when i kept repeating what big car. I eventually stopped behind a parked Lorry and asked her what she was talking about to which she replies were here. Then the penny dropped, a big car to her is a lorry or truck and on asking a few Thai people what they called them and i was surprised to find it was quite common to call them that.

I'm sure there are many other instances both amusing or frustrating.

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My wife does say "open the fan" rather than "turn on the fan"

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Could it be that it is not the words that are being misused, but that she sees these things as actually being fights and anger because Thai people are so careful not to say anything that upsets people?

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4 minutes ago, Paulaew said:

Though my wife is an English teacher, when she encounters a new word she tends to substitute a more familiar one. Currently she is very worried about the "unicorn" virus.

 

Paul Laew

Mine cleans the chicken

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I always laugh when the TG's say "On" bed, instead of "in" bed.

 

However, I will tell you I have learned if you politely correct their English they are very appreciative.

 

Apparently most of us just let it slide and move on and they never learn correctly.

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Many years back my wife would call the kitchen the "chicken room", they sounded similar to her and that's the room we cook chicken....555.

 

Another time my in-laws came for a visit and in the morning I like coffee and buttered toast, one morning I pulled the butter out of the fridge and buttered my toast as my MIL watched,  then my MIL asked my wife something in Thai and my wife started laughing, wife explained to me the MIL asked her why I was putting ice cream on the bread...🤣

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Not so much a misuse of a word.

TGF asked me to get a buffo while I was out.

I was stumped.

"Buffo?' 

"Yes. With chocolate."

"Buffo? What's a buffo?"

Buffo. You know! We bought for daughter last week!

 

After a more elaborate description, it turns out it was a Waffle. We both had a laugh over that one.

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1 hour ago, PoodThaiMaiDai said:

I always laugh when the TG's say "On" bed, instead of "in" bed.

She has a point there. I am pretty sure it would be uncomfortable somewhere inside the bed. 

You also don't do it in the kitchen cabinet but maybe on that thing. 😉 

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Whenever Thai people try to speak English with me, I ask them to just speak Thai because I can't understand their English at all.

 

My Thai is better than their English even if there are mistakes.

 

I don't know what all these native English teachers have been teaching them all these years.

Edited by EricTh
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3 hours ago, Dmaxdan said:

My wife does say "open the fan" rather than "turn on the fan"

 

 

 

 

 

 

all thai's say open the light & close the light  .... they don't say ' turn on the light '  

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I think the problem starts at an early age. Many students in the first couple of years in Prathom, are taught English by Thai teachers. This is where the mistakes in choice of vocab and pronunciation are made. Once made, they are very difficult to change.

With regard to mixed up words. My wife confuses 'Tomato' with 'Potato'. Now, we just say 'colour brown' or 'colour red'.

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My wife used to amuse me with the word "upset" - she would always pronounce it upsad... took a year to get that corrected. 

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40 minutes ago, jaiyenyen said:

I think the problem starts at an early age. Many students in the first couple of years in Prathom, are taught English by Thai teachers. This is where the mistakes in choice of vocab and pronunciation are made. Once made, they are very difficult to change.

With regard to mixed up words. My wife confuses 'Tomato' with 'Potato'. Now, we just say 'colour brown' or 'colour red'.

That doesn't apply in our case because the only English my wife has ever learned is from me. So any errors are down to me.

 

Yes she also gets tomatoes and potatoes mixed up and I still haven't cured her of saying 'clear on the bed', which means 'make the bed up please'. Mine is to obey, not judge. 🙂

 

And for the O/Ps benefit, every vehicle my wife sees on the road is a 'car' of one form or another. I have long ago decided to simply go along with these idiosyncrasies. It makes life much, much simpler.

 

Edited by Moonlover
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3 hours ago, chickenslegs said:

My wife gets the words lemonade and mayonnaise mixed up.

 

It never bothers me, except when she makes sandwiches.

Mine gets Marinate and Laminate mixed up 🤣 and wont hear a bad word said about Thai TV she just glares and says TV ankit Sh!t

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