Guys using Chan

Image
Image Thai language section, ask your language questions here.
Uktom
Specialist
Specialist
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:08 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Guys using Chan

Post by Uktom » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:37 pm

So I have noticed for a while now that when Thai guys are talking and they come to say 'I' (which as you may know is not often within an informal conversation), they will use 'chan' instead of 'pom'. The main way which is weird to westerners is that Thai's refer to themselves using their own name. It is now second nature to me to say 'tom ja-bpai dta-laat'. If I think about it, it sounds really stupid. Anyway, do you ever use Chan (guys)?
Be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree that leans against the wind

User avatar
Roel
Guru
Guru
Posts: 987
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:21 am
Location: Phuket

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Roel » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:54 pm

Uktom wrote:It is now second nature to me to say 'tom ja-bpai dta-laat'.
Stop doing that. Only females refer to themselves in third person.

Chan is the more everyday version for 'I'. Phom is more polite. I personally never use chan as phom can be used in every conversation with anyone and one cannot be TOO polite. But you can choose to differentiate if you like. If you do I would not use 'chan' when dealing with an immigration officer or any other official. I do not think a Thai would do that either. Formal setting, formal language.
We are all living in 'the good old days' of the future.

Uktom
Specialist
Specialist
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:08 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Uktom » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:59 pm

Yea I thought that it was only to be used in an informal conversation by guys. I never noticed that only thai women use their own names to refer to themselves o_O ooops. Thanks for that, it has been a while that I have been using my own name. Anyway, most thai's are too lazy to even use 'I' or their own name I have come to notice, they just drop it often in an informal situation.
Be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree that leans against the wind

VincentD
Guru
Guru
Posts: 979
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2004 4:04 pm
Location: Bangkok

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by VincentD » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:23 pm

Well, another annoying trait is to refer to a person as 'so-and-so's mother'. A friend calls his wife 'Mae Taengmo' where Taengmo is his daughter's nickname, so it's 'Taengmo's mother'. Now whether this is her official nickname is another question. Note that I found out her real name from someone else. There's someone else in the moobahn called 'Mae Bai', literally because her son is 'bai'(dumb). Yes, she has a real name too, but this is what everyone else calls her.

Oh, and I'm branded as 'loong'(old uncle) or even worse, 'Ta'(which I understand means 'paternal grandfather', even though I'm in no way related to them. At least they know my name, as in loong Vincent :))

And you thought that deciding who to 'wai' to was difficult.
วินเชนท์

Uktom
Specialist
Specialist
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:08 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Uktom » Wed Apr 25, 2012 3:33 pm

lol, It is funny because I have a friend who a bit older than me, she is called Nong, so I have to call her Pi-Nong. As nong means young/small in relation to age, it is kind of paradoxical to call her Pi-Nong hehe. I don't know what tone you use with the 'ta' but I only know it in Thai to mean 'if' but it could have several meanings obviously which I am unaware of according to tone, loong Vince :p

Some names do make me laugh though, gale which means a glass lol..
Be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree that leans against the wind

User avatar
Roel
Guru
Guru
Posts: 987
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:21 am
Location: Phuket

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Roel » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:06 pm

VincentD wrote:Now whether this is her official nickname is another question.
Don't think there is anything official about nicknames. As far as I know these are not registered anywhere. Normally parents nickname their children, sometimes monks give or change nicknames confusing ghosts and all that. People can change their own nickname for whatever reason. Bar girls often tend to go under another nickname than the one she has been given back home. Also nicknames can be more or less forced upon you. These can be based on anything from physical appearance or your profession to the striking colour of your house, whatever features stand out. Basically you can pick and change a nickname as you go.

And yes, Thais tend to address complete strangers with mother, uncle, aunt, grandfather etc. Female friends refer to each other as sister although they are not related in any way. Shows respect in a way and I do not see the annoying part?

VincentD see the 'loong' (uncle) as a compliment. You are tolerated, that is an achievement.
We are all living in 'the good old days' of the future.

User avatar
dtaai-maai
Addict
Addict
Posts: 9305
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:00 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by dtaai-maai » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:32 pm

Roel wrote: And yes, Thais tend to address complete strangers with mother, uncle, aunt, grandfather etc. Female friends refer to each other as sister although they are not related in any way. Shows respect in a way and I do not see the annoying part?
Yes, agreed. But it does result in a bizarre tendency to have no idea of someone's name, whereas that's invariably one of the first things I find out.
I often ask Mrs D-M the name of someone she's just spent 3 hours chatting and eating som tam with, and she doesn't know. And she obviously doesn't really need to know!

By the way, uktom, we also have a friend called Nong whom my wife refers to as Pi Nong.
But she's younger than me...
I just try not mention her name at all! :laugh:
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and St George!’

VincentD
Guru
Guru
Posts: 979
Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2004 4:04 pm
Location: Bangkok

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by VincentD » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:58 pm

Only annoyed that I don't really know someone's name, not the loong bit. The habit of calling an elder person uncle or auntie is an Asian thing, something I was brought up with in post-colonial Singapore. I can live with that.
As far as nicknames go, there are about seventy Thais working in my company, and at one stage we had them put a nametag at their workstations with their name and nickname in brackets to avoid confusion. Still, we have somchai1, 2 and 3, small Jack and big Jack...
Can get confusing when compiling official training lists and dealing with the accounts and admin departments...
วินเชนท์

Uktom
Specialist
Specialist
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:08 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Uktom » Wed Apr 25, 2012 4:59 pm

dtaai-maai wrote:
Roel wrote: And yes, Thais tend to address complete strangers with mother, uncle, aunt, grandfather etc. Female friends refer to each other as sister although they are not related in any way. Shows respect in a way and I do not see the annoying part?
Yes, agreed. But it does result in a bizarre tendency to have no idea of someone's name, whereas that's invariably one of the first things I find out.
I often ask Mrs D-M the name of someone she's just spent 3 hours chatting and eating som tam with, and she doesn't know. And she obviously doesn't really need to know!

By the way, uktom, we also have a friend called Nong whom my wife refers to as Pi Nong.
But she's younger than me...
I just try not mention her name at all! :laugh:
Oh really, what is her occupation out of curiosity? I understand why she is called Nong though, it is because she is the youngest of 2 daughters. My partner has 2 kids from a long term relationship before I met her, but those names she gave to them are not really traditionally Thai I don't think, Smit and Nagoon. Smit is sometimes called woody. But yes, I do enjoy learning new Thai names, sometimes they are wonderful and sometimes they are just inanimate object lol.
Be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree that leans against the wind

Uktom
Specialist
Specialist
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:08 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Uktom » Wed Apr 25, 2012 5:01 pm

VincentD wrote:Only annoyed that I don't really know someone's name, not the loong bit. The habit of calling an elder person uncle or auntie is an Asian thing, something I was brought up with in post-colonial Singapore. I can live with that.
As far as nicknames go, there are about seventy Thais working in my company, and at one stage we had them put a nametag at their workstations with their name and nickname in brackets to avoid confusion. Still, we have somchai1, 2 and 3, small Jack and big Jack...
Can get confusing when compiling official training lists and dealing with the accounts and admin departments...
Oh this did make me laugh hehe
Be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree that leans against the wind

Frog
Banned
Banned
Posts: 78
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:40 pm

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Frog » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:00 pm

VincentD wrote:Only annoyed that I don't really know someone's name, not the loong bit. The habit of calling an elder person uncle or auntie is an Asian thing, something I was brought up with in post-colonial Singapore. I can live with that.
As far as nicknames go, there are about seventy Thais working in my company, and at one stage we had them put a nametag at their workstations with their name and nickname in brackets to avoid confusion. Still, we have somchai1, 2 and 3, small Jack and big Jack...
Can get confusing when compiling official training lists and dealing with the accounts and admin departments...

The Thai People respect you but it seems like you enjoy belittling there intelligence? They respect eachother as FAMILY because in Buddhism which they are taught in the school system here in Thailand to see everyone sharing the same heart and love for all life. Unfortunately most Thai's have forgotten many of the most essential lessons of Buddhism. COMPASSION for ALL lives..

Uktom
Specialist
Specialist
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:08 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Uktom » Wed Apr 25, 2012 9:32 pm

That is true, but there is skilful compassion and then there is also unskilful compassion, which is also known as idiot compassion. The buddha taught a lot about the middle way, sometimes being blunt and tough is skilful compassion. However, that has little/nothing to do with what has been said ^^^
Be the tree that sways with the breeze rather than the tree that leans against the wind

Pleng
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2658
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:04 am
Location: Hua Hin

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Pleng » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:50 pm

Roel wrote:
Uktom wrote:It is now second nature to me to say 'tom ja-bpai dta-laat'.
Stop doing that. Only females refer to themselves in third person.

Chan is the more everyday version for 'I'. Phom is more polite. I personally never use chan as phom can be used in every conversation with anyone and one cannot be TOO polite. But you can choose to differentiate if you like. If you do I would not use 'chan' when dealing with an immigration officer or any other official. I do not think a Thai would do that either. Formal setting, formal language.
Umm it's pretty normal for people to refer to themselves in the 3rd person, regardless of gender.

'Chan' is for girls, 'Di-Chan' is formal for girls. Pom is for boys, they don't have any way to be more formal as far as I know.

When you're being informal you can say pretty much what you like. 'Chan' and 'Pom' are as interchangeable as 'Krab' and 'Ka'. Girls say Krab from time to time. Guys can say 'Ka'. It's not inherently camp unless you add a katoeyfied accent to it.


Edit: When you're speaking to somebody older or in a position of authority, obviously common sense prevails. Follow the rules. Don't start mixing genders with the police, for example!

User avatar
Roel
Guru
Guru
Posts: 987
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2007 10:21 am
Location: Phuket

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by Roel » Fri Apr 27, 2012 12:46 pm

Pleng wrote:Umm it's pretty normal for people to refer to themselves in the 3rd person, regardless of gender.
I (think I) disagree. I have been asking around and some Thais say it is a typical female thing while others say it is not. The first group seemed to think the idea of males using it is rather silly. When I asked the second group: okay so males CAN use it but DO they? they seemed to hesitate and then said it was not very common. (I have yet to come across this subject in a text book by the way).

Reason I said that it is a female thing is because that is what I have been told when I started to learn and speak Thai and referred to myself in the third person using my name.

You will agree that Thai women refer to themselves in the third person all the time, but I personally really never hear Thai men using it. Could be a regional thing. Or even age-related. Anyway I think it is to say at least rare. Perhaps it can be compared with referring to yourself in the third person in English. Not very common but possible. Example: I have been sitting and drinking in a bar with friends all night. One of the guys orders another round and I say: 'this guy has had enough, he is going home, take care guys'. (Not that I would say that; purely hypothetical).
Pleng wrote:'Chan' is for girls
and for boys
Pleng wrote:Pom is for boys, they don't have any way to be more formal as far as I know.
They do.

From The Fundamentals of the Thai Language by Stuart Campbell and Chuan Chaweevongs:
CHUN r (ฉัน) “I”
This is a word used by both males and females when speaking to intimates, servants or children. You should not use it when speaking to people who are superior to you in rank or social status but it is alright amongst friends if you know them well. From the above it follows that if you use CHUN you will not normally use the “polite” words KA or KRUP at the end of your sentence.

KAHPAJOW d-h-d (ข้าพเจ้า) “I”
This is a very formal word which may be used by either males or females but is seldom met with except in writing. You will mostly come across it in official documents.

Also common in Buddhist chantings (you can hear it often when the Thais repeat the monks).

For those who speak Thai: Next time you have to answer a question with "(phom) mai roo" use
kahphajow mai saap, khappom. Brings always out big smiles.
We are all living in 'the good old days' of the future.

User avatar
dtaai-maai
Addict
Addict
Posts: 9305
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:00 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: Guys using Chan

Post by dtaai-maai » Fri Apr 27, 2012 1:04 pm

Roel wrote:
Pleng wrote:Umm it's pretty normal for people to refer to themselves in the 3rd person, regardless of gender.
I (think I) disagree. I have been asking around and some Thais say it is a typical female thing while others say it is not. The first group seemed to think the idea of males using it is rather silly. When I asked the second group: okay so males CAN use it but DO they? they seemed to hesitate and then said it was not very common.
I haven't asked around, but I have consulted my usual Oracle (about me using Chan) and her response was very similar to your combined answers, Roel.
"No, yes, maybe, not really, sometimes, why in Buddha's name are you asking?"

It's like many other aspects of speaking Thai, unless you really know what you're doing - keep it short and sweet and, above all, polite. And smile.

And of course, the problem with asking Thai people about the Thai language is the same one you have when you ask anyone to explain something technical about their own language - the vast majority of people simply don't know. "That's just how we say it."
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and St George!’

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests