Silent R's Thai to English

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Big Boy
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Silent R's Thai to English

Post by Big Boy » Thu May 08, 2014 11:18 pm

One of my pet hates is the way Thais put silent R's into the English spelling of Thai words.

My most recent example has come when planning a forthcoming trip South. I kept talking about Krabi (pronouncing the R) and my wife didn't have a clue what I was talking about. In the end, I typed Krabi into Google Translate, and clicked the speaker symbol on the Thai side of the screen.

My wife remarked, "Kabeeee, why didn't you say that?" :?

Can anybody explain why, when converting Thai Language to English, Thais feel obliged to put silent R's into the spelling? Is just to give them the opportunity to laugh at us when we pronounce it as its spelt? :banghead:
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Re: Silent R's

Post by GLCQuantum » Thu May 08, 2014 11:43 pm

It's a little like 'lazy Thai' I suppose. Much like the English won't pronounce the 't' in the middle or end of a word sometimes (myself included :oops: )and instead add a back of the throat sound in place of the 't' as in...

Alrigh(t) mate.. I bough(t) a new compu(t)er yesterday.

On the news, they'll pronounce the 'r' as a kinda rolling 'r'. Proper Thai I suppose. In general chit chat it's either pronounced as an 'l' or deleted altogether.

I'm no expert, but that's how I look at it. :D

:cheers:

Edit: Saying that I think your wife would have understood 'Krabiiiiii' including the 'r' but with massive emphasis on the second syllable. (Teacheeeer, Peteeerr, Hondaaaa, Terryyyyy) The Thai's are strange like that... :mrgreen:

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Re: Silent R's

Post by HHTel » Fri May 09, 2014 12:06 am

Yes the 'R' in Thai is a rolling 'R'. RRRRo RRRRua! You'll find, like the BBC, that on serious radio channels (and TV) the presenters will say "Krrrrap" as opposed to "Kap" which is used generally. You will even find the female 'I' pronounced as "Dichan" where in normal everyday language it is "Chan" or "Koy" (if you're from Chiang Mai).

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Re: Silent R's

Post by Bamboo Grove » Fri May 09, 2014 12:14 am

Did you pronounce the first part of Krabi (as crab) and then finish it with ee? Then I would understand that it had no meaning to her.
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Re: Silent R's

Post by HHTel » Fri May 09, 2014 12:17 am

Correctly, the 'R' would be pronounced as the scottish roll their 'R's. Krrrrabeeee.

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Re: Silent R's

Post by GLCQuantum » Fri May 09, 2014 12:24 am

Here's a Thai saying Krabi (slow night for me... :wink: ) start video at 00:33 and she says it at 00:38. Don't forget though, that the Thai's have different accents too depending on the region they came from. :D


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Re: Silent R's

Post by HHTel » Fri May 09, 2014 12:48 am

But she is speaking English which can make a difference. She's learned to drop the 'Thai tones'. If you listen to the same from a Thai speaking Thai, then the pronunciation of 'Krabi' is different. It certainly shows it on some of the translation sites. I'll try to find a video to back me up!

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Re: Silent R's

Post by GLCQuantum » Fri May 09, 2014 12:59 am

HHTel wrote:But she is speaking English which can make a difference. She's learned to drop the 'Thai tones'. If you listen to the same from a Thai speaking Thai, then the pronunciation of 'Krabi' is different. It certainly shows it on some of the translation sites. I'll try to find a video to back me up!
I disagree there HHTel.

The names of parts of Thailand, in my experience, always keep pretty much the same pronunciation regardless. How many ways have you heard a Thai say Hua Hin, or Krungthep? It's always the same whether they're speaking Thai or English.

I've been wrong before, though...

:cheers:

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Re: Silent R's

Post by arcadianagain » Fri May 09, 2014 1:44 am

[quote="GLCQuantum.
I've been wrong before, though...

:cheers:[/quote]

Especially when inserting an apostrophe when it is not required. :twisted:

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Re: Silent R's

Post by Gérard » Fri May 09, 2014 3:46 am

Listening to the video, I notice that the teacher says KRABI with the thai tone correct first, and then she repeats it with the "English tone", where the final syllable is stressed as Thai do for foreign words.
That makes a big difference for Thai people who will not care if the "r" is pronounced or not, but are more sensitive to the right thai tone.
So, I think that Big Boy's wife did not understand KRABI because it was pronounced "the English way".

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Re: Silent R's

Post by dtaai-maai » Fri May 09, 2014 4:18 am

Gérard wrote:I think that Big Boy's wife did not understand KRABI because it was pronounced "the English way".
BB was probably a bit crabby at the time...
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Re: Silent R's Thai to English

Post by Pleng » Fri May 09, 2014 2:15 pm

As others (I think) have eluded to, I don't think the R missing was the issue, it was probably the tonation that threw here. You could have probably said it with or without the R and it would have been understood if the tone was right.

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Re: Silent R's Thai to English

Post by Nereus » Fri May 09, 2014 8:31 pm

Big Boy, try telling her that you are going to "Phrae" instead of Krabi, and see what the reaction is. :banghead:
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Re: Silent R's Thai to English

Post by Big Boy » Fri May 09, 2014 8:51 pm

:laugh: Don't worry, I'll teach her how to pronounce Krabi by the end of next week, or I'll leave her there :D
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Re: Silent R's Thai to English

Post by TingTongJohn » Fri May 09, 2014 8:56 pm

In the old days when I would go see my ex she was working at Carrefour in Bangkok on Ramintra road I would have to tell the Taxi
to go to "Caa foo" Raminta. SO I would mispronounce the store name (no R`S) but then I would pronounce the street name with the first R of Ramintra but not the second..What the heck?
One word is not a story but it is the beginning and end of one.

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