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October 11, 2011

Thai English

I had taken a group of students to Bangkok. The guide was impressing the student about the precautions that they should be taking when they are going out in the night. He told them to be careful and to be good boys. The parting shot of the guide was “get lady in the room by 8 in the evening”. The students were immediately very inquisitive. Here is a guide who is telling them to get a lady and that too directly to their rooms! 

I asked the guide so to what he meant by his statement. He gave me a quixotic look and said “ It is very simple.  Well they can wash their face, change their dress and get leady for the evening meal”. Then it struck me the guide meant READY when he said LEADY. When he said Leady my students understood it as lady.

Some Thai people have difficulty to pronouncing the r r r sound. So READY becomes leady and Camera becomes Camela.  As soon as the bus stopped my students would sing “take care of the Camela and get lady to leave in another one hour”. The Thai guide took the good natured ribbing in his stride and started to converse in bits and pieces of Hindi by the time our tour got concluded. Talk of the mixing of the cultures and of languages. The students taught his to sing the latest Hindi film songs.  

1 comment:

  1. Sir, they even have difficulty in pronouncing f sounds as well, like pipty pive(55). i even came across words like lupees for rupees, house lent for house rent. most yellows have this pronunciation problem i guess.