Parsing and Deciphering Thai

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Ratsima
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Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Ratsima » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:52 pm

One of the problems I have with Thai is that I'll hear or read a sentence and know what all he words mean, but I have no idea what the sentence means as a whole. Here's an example.

ไปหามาจากที่ไหนเนี่ยะแบบนี้

Our neighbor said it to my wife when we were on our walk around the moo baan this morning. Nothing preceded this utterance. What do you think it means? My wife understood right away.

Even though I now know the meaning I can't figure out why those words mean what my wife says they mean.

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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Bamboo Grove » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:50 pm

Is it the verbs that confuse you? As in your example ไปหามา pai = go, haa = find and maa = come
i.e. go, find, come. On its own "paihaa" means to look for/to search and with the verb maa, the speaker refers to an action, which has been finished. If used without the "maa" it would mean go and look for (something).

Sometimes there can be even four or five verbs in a row and the last verb can mean the direction of the action (considering from the speaker's location). For example: Khao ao ngoen pai = he took the money and left or khao ao ngoen maa = he went to get the money and came (back). Other verbs with similar use are f.ex. khuen (rise), long (go down), ook (go out) and khao (enter).

yaak riip klap pai noon = I want to hurry back and go to sleep (the clause has five verbs: want, hurry, return, go, sleep.

Not sure if this is what you were asking, though.
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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Bristolian » Tue Sep 08, 2015 8:59 pm

Clearly the Singha is working, the only part that I did not understand was the verb to hurry. :idea:
Maybe I'm learning. Nah.... I still can't read the Thai script.
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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Sabai Sabai » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:37 am

Ratsima wrote:One of the problems I have with Thai is that I'll hear or read a sentence and know what all he words mean, but I have no idea what the sentence means as a whole. Here's an example.

ไปหามาจากที่ไหนเนี่ยะแบบนี้

Our neighbor said it to my wife when we were on our walk around the moo baan this morning. Nothing preceded this utterance. What do you think it means? My wife understood right away.

Even though I now know the meaning I can't figure out why those words mean what my wife says they mean.
What was your wife's response? Did she have something with her?

It sounds to me like the neighbour was asking: "where did you find that?(style/kind)?"

Or "where did you find............ Like that?"

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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Ratsima » Wed Sep 09, 2015 5:02 am

Thanks to all. And, yes, I find the whole string of verbs to be confusing. Even now, with the explanations so kindly proved here and by my wife, I'm having trouble getting my head around the meaning.

Also, I have no idea why the จาก is in there or the เนี่ยะ.

Furthermore, how did my wife know what the heck she was talking about? As Sabai Sabai noted, "Where did you find … like that?" What goes in the ellipsis?

My wife's response was just to laugh a bit and we walked on.

There's just no way I'd be able to build a sentence like that. I certainly never saw such sentences in Becker or Rosetta Stone or Pimsleur.

Finally, my wife assures me that the lady was referring to me. Not that I'm such a gem (I'm old and wrinkled and I don't even speak Thai). I think it was just friendly, early morning small talk.

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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Bamboo Grove » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:52 am

จากที่ไหน jaak thii nai = from where
เนี่ยะ nia or niaew (the last vowel often sounds like the "a" in the English word "can".
is often used for the meaning of "this one here".

In Chinese language they have a very similar way with the verbs i.e. they are often used as complementary verbs. Yesterday I was trying to find explanations for this part of Thai grammar but only came accross very scientific research texts which I thought were not really explaining Ratsima's question. Maybe this one about Chinese grammar where the verb usage is similar might help a bit more.

http://www.pinyin.info/readings/texts/v ... ement.html
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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Ratsima » Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:21 am

I see that I mistakenly thought that the จาก went with the มา as in มาจากที่ไหน (where are you from?). So, it's just there to make the ไปหา past tense?

Thanks for the article. I think that I understand the concept of the complementary verb construct. Perhaps it will make me understand Thai a bit better.

I should point out that although I can read and understand quite a bit of Thai, I don't speak Thai or understand spoken Thai at all. When I'm with my wife and I ask her what someone said, she knows not to translate into English but to translate into what we call "Rosetta Stone Thai". She exaggerates the pronunciation and adjusts the words a bit so that I can understand. I suppose it's a bad habit.

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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Bamboo Grove » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:36 pm

I see that I mistakenly thought that the จาก went with the มา as in มาจากที่ไหน (where are you from?). So, it's just there to make the ไปหา past tense?
จาก is a preposition as from is in English. It has no real connection to the tense here as it can be used with any tense form. The verb come (maa) makes this sentence a past tense.
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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Sabai Sabai » Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:45 pm

Ratsima wrote:I should point out that although I can read and understand quite a bit of Thai, I don't speak Thai or understand spoken Thai at all. When I'm with my wife and I ask her what someone said, she knows not to translate into English but to translate into what we call "Rosetta Stone Thai". She exaggerates the pronunciation and adjusts the words a bit so that I can understand. I suppose it's a bad habit.
I think it's a good basis for learning, I'm sure everything you're learning is correct but perhaps sometimes a bit formal for everyday use. You learn the difference through practicing conversation and listening to people talking, even with your example of 'jak thee nai' the 'thee' is almost always dropped in everyday spoken language. There is also a huge difference between written and spoken Thai generally.

Again, it's things you pick up as you go along and part of the fun!

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Re: Parsing and Deciphering Thai

Post by Ratsima » Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:52 pm

Thanks to all.

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