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BANGKOK 19 February 2019 10:19

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Does anyone know why in transliteration Thai insists on using a v to show ว ?

My theory is that English and Thai both have languages which separate the Upper echelons from the Hoy polloi, Latin and Pali or Sanskrit. I learned recently and I hope, correctly, that “veni vidi vici” would have been pronounced เวนี วิดี วิกี by Julius Caesar ! So wonder if in order to preserve the class division Thais educated in English schools or programmes wrote the consonant W as V.

Two examples:

King Vajiralongkorn สมเด็จพระเจ้าอยู่หัวมหาวชิราลงกรณ

Suvarnabhumi Airport ท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ

.

 

This seems academic but perhaps we should all realise that V is pronounced ว and when we say Thai words the English way are we wrong?

Other languages have anglicised pronunciation which, if when speaking English, would be an affectation to pronounce in any other way ie. Paris >Paree, Colne >Cologne etc. So if I insist on saying Thai words the Thai way to save me learning the English way would that be an affectation do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

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Many aspects of the RTGS don't make sense, so when a foreigner reads this Thais will often not understand what they say. For me personally the most annoying one is ก = k

If i pronounce transliterated words as if they were German, to pronounciation is often closer to the Thai pronounciation than if i pronounce it in an english way.

So this makes me wonder:

Was the purpose of the RTGS to allow people who can't read Thai to pronounce Thai correctly at all? Maybe this was never its purpose and people expect it to be something which it was never designed for

If so, as which language is this supposed to be read? I'm quite sure it's not english, so which one is it? Latin maybe?

Edited by jackdd

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2 hours ago, jackdd said:

'm quite sure it's not english, so which one is it?

(Almost) all but English :biggrin:

And yes "latin" is the origin as far as I know.

RTGS was created by a German linguist in the 19th century and revised two or three times.

So fits fine for German and guess Italian, Nordic languages and others.

 

Note that there are many languages with vowels that had not been unluckily shifted:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Vowel_Shift

 

And with RTGS a ว is a w.

"v" does not appear in RTGS at all, same for "j" and ...

 

Vajiralongkorn-> Wachiralongkon

 

This lengthening "r" (korn) is also an English specialty and good for the usual joke:

my girlfriend is named porn :biggrin:

 

So overall: RTGS is followed loosely, often "English" style is used (like "Jomtien", "Pattaya").

And the hisos seem to love the letter-by-letter style. Seems to make one look educated.

Results in silly "Suvarnabhumi", RTGS: Suwannaphum

 

2 hours ago, jackdd said:

Maybe this was never its purpose and people expect it to be something which it was never designed for

Exactly true. Never meant for correct pronunciation.

For that the best way is learning Thai script.

Learning IPA is for linguists.

Bloody complicated.

Edited by KhunBENQ

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Sadly here in Thailand I am Kewin most of the time... :coffee1:

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I suppose one can relegate this topic to one of amusement.

Khun BENQ I see what you mean by Suvarnabhumi it seems to be old fashioned. รร is a simple ‘a’ but is transcribed as ‘a’ and the second ร as if it were สุวัรณภูมิ ; more uneducated than educated I would say.

sfokevin. Kewin answers my question, when a Thai sees v they read ว in spite of there being no help provided in the RTGS !


The discovery of Rama 7 th’s museum in Bangkok recently and seeing that his name in English was Pradiphok rather than พระรามปกเกล้า Also the queen’s name is oddly transcribed as Rambhai Barni >รำไพพรรณี is what prompted me to post this topic.
The various replies have show that answers, if they exist, are not simply explained.




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This is all missing the point.  The simple explanation is that these are loan words and the transcription reflects the pronunciation/spelling in the original language.

 

Take the case of วชิรา.  This is Sanskrit word वज्र (vájra), referring to a weapon used for symbolic and ritual purposes.  It is particularly associated with the god Indra.  It is also the symbol of Vajrayana, a major branch of Buddhism.

 

ภูมิ, transcribed BHUMI is similar.  It comes from the Sanskrit भूमि (bhūmi.  In IPA /bʱúː.mi/).

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5 hours ago, Oxx said:

This is all missing the point.  The simple explanation is that these are loan words and the transcription reflects the pronunciation/spelling in the original language.

 

Take the case of วชิรา.  This is Sanskrit word वज्र (vájra), referring to a weapon used for symbolic and ritual purposes.  It is particularly associated with the god Indra.  It is also the symbol of Vajrayana, a major branch of Buddhism.

 

ภูมิ, transcribed BHUMI is similar.  It comes from the Sanskrit भूमि (bhūmi.  In IPA /bʱúː.mi/).

This seems to be the correct for many cases, i could follow this for other letters as well.

 

But it's not the spelling in the "original language", but it's taken from the spelling in Sanskrit

For example Thai ว comes from Sanskrit व (v), but originally this comes from Arabic و (w) according to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/व

 

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1 hour ago, jackdd said:

This seems to be the correct for many cases, i could follow this for other letters as well.

 

But it's not the spelling in the "original language", but it's taken from the spelling in Sanskrit

For example Thai ว comes from Sanskrit व (v), but originally this comes from Arabic و (w) according to https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/व

 

Arabic is irrelevant here.  The letter form may (or may not) have been borrowed from Arabic, but what you're saying is like saying that any word containing the Latin letter "a" is borrowed from Proto-Sinaitic (the putative origin of the letter).

 

In the examples I gave it's pretty much incontrovertible that the words came from Sanskrit given that they are associated with the royal court, where Brahmanism is the religion of ceremony and ritual.  (Words associated with Buddhism typically come from Pali.)

 

Incidentally, "Thai ว comes from Sanskrit व" is completely wrong.  The Thai script comes from an Old Khmer script which is ultimately derived from the Pallava script.

 

Going further, it's highly questionable that the Sanskrit व originally came from the Arabic و.  There is evidence for written Sanskrit from the 3rd century BCE  The first recorded Arabic text is a recent as 512 CE.

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So that cuts out Latin as should have been foreseen but it still does not answer the question of how we pronounce the few words which affect us. Take วชีราลงกรณ should we say that or this Vajiralongkorn ?

Is it necessary to know Indic script to answer this question?


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You pronounce it according to the Thai spelling.

 

Thai people aren't going, miraculously, to acquire the ability to pronounce sounds which aren't in their native tongue just for a handful of words.

 

Indeed, most Thai people are going to be completely unaware of the Sanskrit-influence Latin alphabet transcription of imported words.

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I agree with you that Thai people see V and say W.
The explanation appears to be is that the King has a name which has an official English spelling which unfortunately is not how it sounds in Thai.
My original post was about affectation in speech so when speaking English, if I say Wachiralongorn as you suggest it will be an affectation because those around me will be saying Vachiralongorn.
The advantage of this sort of pointless exercise is that those of us who engage in it are now very familiar with the name of King Rama 10th.


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5 hours ago, tgeezer said:

I agree with you that Thai people see V and say W.

 

I have never said that.  The vast majority of Thai people never sees the Latin transcription of Thai words.  They only see "W" - not "V".  They for the most part only ever see the Thais script version of these words, and so pronounce "W".

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so, what results if they are to say VolksWagon? or even just, VW?

 

 

Appen (for apple, which is even transliterated in the book, with the 'n' not 'l') is still my favorite one to see them get around.

 

or when I reply I'd like a sa(r)llutt (salad) for lunch

 

 

Mrs does try though...    if she 'smells' something 'chemical' she'll say 'smell mechanical'

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6 hours ago, tgeezer said:

I agree with you that Thai people see V and say W.
The explanation appears to be is that the King has a name which has an official English spelling which unfortunately is not how it sounds in Thai.
My original post was about affectation in speech so when speaking English, if I say Wachiralongorn as you suggest it will be an affectation because those around me will be saying Vachiralongorn.
The advantage of this sort of pointless exercise is that those of us who engage in it are now very familiar with the name of King Rama 10th.


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I really think you are missing the point here.

 

You need to consider that the pronunciation of the word in Thai comes from the Thai spelling using the consonant ว.

 

The Romanised transliteration of the word is irrelevant for Thais in terms of pronunciation. However, there is a system for this transliteration. For certain proper nouns, such as first names, some surnames, some place names, temple names, etc. Sanskrit words are used and then it is the custom to use the transliteration v for ว e.g. Suvannabhumi สุวรรณภูมิ, the airport. Otherwise, the Roman transliteration is 'w' e.g. wua วัว (cow).

 

You need to separate out in your mind the Roman transliteration and the Thai pronunciation. They are derived from different systems. There is no evidence this is related in any way to "affectation in speech". In fact the only people I know who pronounce ว as 'v' are those who are unable to drop their hometown Laos / Isaan accent / pronunciation. You could make a case for it being an "affectation in spelling" but I see it as just a system. You have alluded to the drawbacks in this system for non-native learners of Thai but I feel you have then made some inaccurate extrapolations.

Edited by Briggsy
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As a Thai, we've always been taught that V and W sound exactly the same.
better get used to it.

Edited by Maximo
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