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BANGKOK 19 February 2019 09:40

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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.


It is getting far too complicated, if you had read the topic you would know that the affectation of speech refers to me. An English speaker reading Vajiralongorn is going to be saying that, I on the other hand with my superior knowledge I will be saying Wajiralongorn , that could be seen as showing off.

Now to return to ‘complicated speculation’.

I was discussing this with my caddy today and a more simple example from Sanskrit came up, nava (boat) it is actually pronounced with a v in Sanskrit and in its English derivative form correctly spelt phonetically as navy but you will know that in Thai it is นาวี. I think that นาวี postdates navy, I have only seen ทัพเรือ in history books, so I believe that นาวี is likely to be an English loan word so the substitution is not surprising.
I think I see that it is thus; “My name is special because it comes from an ancient language which has V which we can not show in our language. However it can be seen in the original language or English.”

That makes English the proxy of the ancient language and it is the English which cannot be changed.




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@tgeezer

 

Your above argument falls down because Thai has kept many of the Sanskrit spellings in its own language which are redundant in Thai. This is in contrast to Lao which has removed them. สุภาษิต 

ສຸພາສິດ

 

I reiterate it is just a system of spelling of names which maintains Sanskrit --> Roman transliteration rather than Thai --> Roman transliteration.

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I do not understand what you mean.
I am accounting for nouns which use the sound V, specifically วชีระ which has become a component of a proper noun rendered in English as vajira this is why the title of the topic is ว=v.
My limited knowledge of the history of Thai restricts me in discussions more complicated than that.

Thai characters come from Khmer and Mon languages and I would assume that Ramkamhaeng transcribed texts containing words which were written in Pali or Sanskrit but they may have been Kom or Mon for all I know.
Your example with the strange font might well be original Thai but it is not an example which I can see as relevant.
That is by no means to say that it isn’t so please continue.


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4 hours ago, tgeezer said:

I do not understand what you mean.

 

Thai characters come from Khmer and Mon languages and I would assume that Ramkamhaeng transcribed texts containing words which were written in Pali or Sanskrit but they may have been Kom or Mon for all I know.

 

1. It's really simple.  For a Sanskrit loanword, the Thai transcription is based upon the Thai alphabet.  The Latin transcription is based upon the original Sanskrit, not upon the Thai.  There are various standards for doing this, such as ISO 15919 and IAST, though I suspect the Thai system is a little more "home brewed".

 

2. The second sentence is rife with errors, (a) characters don't come from languages, they come from scripts, (b) Thai characters only come from an old Khmer script, not Mon, (c) many Thai characters are original, being extensions of the original Khmer script, (d) the Ramkhamhaeng inscription is not a transcription of other texts, but is an original work.

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“Thai has kept many of the Sanskrit spellings in its own language which are redundant in Thai” Is the part I don’t understand. I feel that I don’t need to because ว=v is what I am discussing, not, “many Sanskrit spellings”. I avoid widening the topic too much because all sorts of anomalous situations are sure to arise then.

1. It is even more simple than that. A sound was made in Sanskrit, and written in Sanskrit, an English speaker couldn’t read it so wrote it in English, similarly a Thai speaker also couldn’t read Sanskrit so wrote it in Thai, the problem is he couldn’t say v so he wrote ว.

Yes I know that they were very clever and could read the Sanskrit but it still applies because the sounds that came out of their mouth if they read the original, they represented in their respective languages with the one exception which we know of and I am discussing, there may be others.

 

 

2.

(a) I don’t think that it is wrong to equate a language and a script. I often hear it done; Can you read and write Thai? I never question that “Thai script” or “Thai language” was not said.

(b) This is from a school book approved by the Min. of Ed. อักษรไทยเป็นเครื่องหมายที่ใช้แทนเสียงในภาษา ...

พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช กษัตรย์องค์ที่ ๓ แห่งสโขทัยเป็นผู้ประดิษฐ์ตัวอักษรไทยขึ้น เมื่อ พ.ศ. ๑๘๒๖ โดยตัดแปลงมาจากอักษรขอมและอักษรมอญโบราณ

Did I say that they were not?

(d) I didn’t mention any inscription.

 

The book from which I took the quote also states of the script; เมื่อเวลาผ่านไปถึงเจ็ดร้อยกว่าปีรูปและวิธีเขียนได้พัฒนาเปลี่บนแปลงมาตามลำดับ So if the inscription is as you imply, a piece of his own prose, then I would be interested in seeing if it is readable and in its content.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, tgeezer said:

“Thai has kept many of the Sanskrit spellings in its own language which are redundant in Thai” Is the part I don’t understand. I feel that I don’t need to because ว=v is what I am discussing, not, “many Sanskrit spellings”. I avoid widening the topic too much because all sorts of anomalous situations are sure to arise then.

 

This is trivial.  Thai has multiple consonants which are pronounced the same.  For example, there are three high class /s/ consonants.  Whilst all pronounced the same in Thai, they are pronounced differently in Sanskrit and Pali (and to an extent in English).  Thai spelling tries to preserve the original spelling & pronunciation, even thought the pronunciation is not used.

 

1 hour ago, tgeezer said:

1. It is even more simple than that. A sound was made in Sanskrit, and written in Sanskrit, an English speaker couldn’t read it so wrote it in English, similarly a Thai speaker also couldn’t read Sanskrit so wrote it in Thai, the problem is he couldn’t say v so he wrote ว.

Yes I know that they were very clever and could read the Sanskrit but it still applies because the sounds that came out of their mouth if they read the original, they represented in their respective languages with the one exception which we know of and I am discussing, there may be others.

 

Sorry, that is incomprehensible.  And I don't see "one exception".  What is it? Are you still maintaining that Thai people pronounce "ว" as "v" in certain contexts, because they don't,

 

 

1 hour ago, tgeezer said:

 

 

2.

(a) I don’t think that it is wrong to equate a language and a script. I often hear it done; Can you read and write Thai? I never question that “Thai script” or “Thai language” was not said.

 

A single script can be used to represent many languages.  Arabic script is used to write Arabic, Jawi (basically Malay), Urdu (basically Hindi) - three completely unrelated languages.  Similarly, the Latin script is used to represent English, French, German &c., &c..  And much Japanese (kanji) is written using Chinese ideograms.  So it is utterly wrong to equate language and script.

 

1 hour ago, tgeezer said:

(b) This is from a school book approved by the Min. of Ed. อักษรไทยเป็นเครื่องหมายที่ใช้แทนเสียงในภาษา ...

พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช กษัตรย์องค์ที่ ๓ แห่งสโขทัยเป็นผู้ประดิษฐ์ตัวอักษรไทยขึ้น เมื่อ พ.ศ. ๑๘๒๖ โดยตัดแปลงมาจากอักษรขอมและอักษรมอญโบราณ

 

This is not backed by academic research.  However, Old Mon script was derived from Pallava, the source of the Old Khmer script, so they shared a common ancestor.

 

1 hour ago, tgeezer said:

emoji767.png Did I say that they were not?

 

You wrote "Thai characters come from Khmer and Mon languages", apparently unaware that many of the characters were unique to Thai.

 

1 hour ago, tgeezer said:

(d) I didn’t mention any inscription.

 

Then to what were you referring? The only sustained writing of the Ramkhamhaeng era of which I'm aware is the Ramkhamhaneg inscription.

 

1 hour ago, tgeezer said:

 

The book from which I took the quote also states of the script; เมื่อเวลาผ่านไปถึงเจ็ดร้อยกว่าปีรูปและวิธีเขียนได้พัฒนาเปลี่บนแปลงมาตามลำดับ So if the inscription is as you imply, a piece of his own prose, then I would be interested in seeing if it is readable and in its content.

 

It is eminently readable with a little effort.  There's a full English translation at http://www.geocities.co.jp/Outdoors/6825/archive/ri.html

 

This page relates the older characters to modern Thai http://www.skyknowledge.com/ramkhamhaeng.htm

 

This link is also of interest in this context: https://web.archive.org/web/20111211091032/http://goldenland.luke.org/?p=90

 

 

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Trivial! I couldn’t agree more, in fact I said as much in post number 5. before someone determined to complicate a very simple observation based on two common words used daily by people who need all the help they can get, I include myself in that.

I can see now thanks to your link to the original English translation of King Ramkhamhaeng’s story, how I got such a disproportionate response. I don’t use transcriptions so could not understand why words like Dhamma, vihara etc. are not as surprising to you as they are to me.
I have only seen the Thai script in tabulated form and it never occurred to me that King Ramkhamheang, (red underline again!) did other than tabulate the whole thing.
The reason I said that it ‘came from’ is how I understand ตัดแปงมาจาก. adapted might have been a better word.

So that is the end of that. Hopefully some people new to the language might find something here for light hearted social intercourse provided of course that there is nobody in earshot who knows better!


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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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For all readers. My conclusion is that when speaking English we should use the internationally accepted pronunciation of words like Suvarnabhumi. For those who think it important, reading this topic from the ‘top’ will allow you to make your mind up. Bear in mind that The Royal Academy acknowledges that the Thai language is mispronouncing these words, so when speaking Thai use the vernacular.

 

 

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On 2/8/2019 at 10:31 PM, jackdd said:

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?

Yes.  This has always killed me.  English transliteration of Thai words has always seemed to me to have the flavor of someone who knows just enough Thai to be dangerous...  they know that "ส" makes an S sound, but don't know enough to know that that's *only at the beginning of a syllable,* so you get things like "sawas dee."  Etc.

 

It's *not* would I would expect from people who are transliterating a language they are fluent in, their first language, the language of the nation they live in!  By the time I'd been studying Thai for more than about half an hour, I knew enough for these things to confuse me.

 

It's like they're setting people up to fail.  Especially when Thais often don't understand this pronunciation (or, pretend not to-- a coworker was once mad about a taxi driver she asked to take her to "Sukhumvit" road.  He didn't understand, didn't understand.  Finally she rolled her eyes: "Sukhumwit."  Ah, then he got it.  OTOH, who knows-- there was the conversation I had with the guy at the concession stand of the movie theater, asked him in Thai what sizes of soda (SO-da) they had.  Blank looks, confused indicating of my already-present container of popcorn... then a light goes on my head.  "So-DAAAA," I say with a Thai accent.  AHA!  His eyes light up and then all is well.  {Lucky for him that I gave up that regional word "pop" years ago...!})

 

 

On 2/11/2019 at 9:55 PM, 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/).

I get this-- loanwords are often this way, no matter the language of origin (in fact, often when I see words with weird silent letters, this is my first indication that it's a loanword).  BUT, shouldn't the transcription to English pronunciation still follow the Thai pronunciation?  After all, while there may be reason to spell it in Thai script in a way that reflects the word's original spelling in its original language, that doesn't mean that's necessarily the way it's pronounced in Thai, so why should the original spelling follow through yet another translation to English script?  What does that accomplish?  The translation into Thai script still reflects the "correct" "Thai" way to say the word.  The translation into Latin characters does not, and I'd be hard-pressed to argue that there is some sort of "correct Western-language pronunciation" of any of these words that these transliterations accomplish.

 

 

On 2/9/2019 at 12:46 AM, sfokevin said:

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

You think that's bad?  How about the time at the 25 Degrees when I ordered the veggie burger... and the waitress repeated it several times to make sure she had it right. 

 

My coworker couldn't even wait until the waitress had gone out of earshot to crack up...

 

 

On 2/9/2019 at 8:34 PM, tgeezer said:

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

I always assumed it was more a case of, "it's not a sound that's native to their language, hence it's not native to their tongue and hard for them to pronounce."  I've seen this, for example, the one or two times a Thai friend has learned a new word in English that has a V in it.  She has to try it out carefully a couple times to get her mouth to do it.

 

 

On 2/13/2019 at 7:02 AM, tifino said:

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.

No, my favorite is that the shortened form of the nickname "Apple" in spelled in English "Ple" but still pronounced in Thai as "Pun."  🙂

Edited by Katia

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Katana Thank you for the 'on topic' parts of your post, specifically your reply to Oxx. You should know that the topic is about pronouncing Sanskrit and Pali words correctly, anecdotal peculiarities of a wider nature simply muddy the water.
I would appreciate your comments on my conclusion. Do you agree that when speaking English the Thai spelling of S/P words is irrelevant?


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1 hour ago, Katia said:

BUT, shouldn't the transcription to English pronunciation still follow the Thai pronunciation? 

 

There's no "shouldn't" about it.  It is what it is.

 

The logic behind it is probably the same as for the Thai spelling of loanwords:  an attempt is made to retain as much of the spelling of the original language as possible.

 

As for Latin alphabet transcription (in general) following Thai pronunciation, that's a futile endeavour.  Native English speakers (for example), aren't going to be able to pronounce several of the consonants, vowels and diphthongs because they have no corresponding sound in English.  They also couldn't pronounce the tones, even if they were indicated.  Indeed, I would posit that it's not even the intention of RTGS to allow foreigners to pronounce Thai; it simply provides a consistent way of representing Thai in the Latin alphabet so that foreigners can follow road signs and librarians can catalogue and file books.  Nothing more.  So, there's no point in the transcription following Thai pronunciation.

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