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Rule or Exception?

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5 hours ago, tgeezer said:

I answered hastily, when I realized that 'here' was a link, "here" it still is not obviously a different color. 
Being เขมร probably makes it a Thai word but I shall research it. 

That's weird - it shows up fine in Firefox. Maybe you have an option to underline links in your settings (in FF it's on by default but you can switch it off).

 

I thought Khmer and Thai belonged to different language families, and having looked again it seems they are basically unrelated. There will still be a lot of shared vocabulary, just because speakers have been rubbing shoulders for so long.

 

Obviously a borrowed word gets incorporated into the language at some point, and I think this can change the way you read it - if you treat มกราคม as a Sanskrit word you will probably pronounce it มะ-กะ, but as an adopted Thai word it can just as well be มก-กะ, with doubling of the ก. The transliteration into Thai would have been มาฆะห์, so it looks as though the word was adopted before the spelling settled down.

 

Edit: another example is มณฑล, which is a faithful transcription of the Sanskrit word that came into English as "mandala", but is read the Thai way and becomes มน-ทน. In this case it's obvious from the spelling that you are looking at a Sanskrit word but the pronunciation has been fully adapted to Thai.

Edited by JHicks

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5 hours ago, JHicks said:

I thought Khmer and Thai belonged to different language families, and having looked again it seems they are basically unrelated. There will still be a lot of shared vocabulary, just because speakers have been rubbing shoulders for so long.

Just because speakers rub shoulders doesn't mean that lexis will be transferred.  Consider the case of Welsh and English.  There's only a tiny handful of Welsh words that have been adopted into English (and some of these are contentious):  flannel, penguin, cwm, corgi.

 

Similarly, very few Malay words have entered Thai.  (Discussed at https://forum.thaivisa.com/topic/680829-malay-loanwords-in-thai/ )

 

Putting it bluntly, the English looked down on the Welsh, and the Thais looked down on the Malays, so generally did not adopt their lexis.

 

In the case of the Khmer, it was rather different.  The Thais actually looked up to them and, for example, stole their dance style and aspects of their temple architecture (particularly prangs).

 

It is believed that during the Ayutthaya period Khmer was widely spoken amongst the elite, and this was the primary route for Khmer lexis' entering the language.

 

 

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5 hours ago, JHicks said:

Obviously a borrowed word gets incorporated into the language at some point, and I think this can change the way you read it - if you treat มกราคม as a Sanskrit word you will probably pronounce it มะ-กะ, but as an adopted Thai word it can just as well be มก-กะ, with doubling of the ก. The transliteration into Thai would have been มาฆะห์, so it looks as though the word was adopted before the spelling settled down.

This is not, in my opinion, right.  It is only recently that literacy has become common in Thailand.  Monks would know the word makara from Pali - it's a type of dragon.  And Pali in Thai script is read with /a/ as the default vowel sound after each consonant.  They would pronounce it มะกะระ, and this is what the laiety would hear when monks preached and what they would remember.  There is no question of the "spelling settling down".

 

What has subsequently happened, as literacy has spread, is that people have mispronounced the word, based upon the spelling.  So, nowadays มกร as a standalone word is pronounced มะกอน, and มกร- as a prefix can be pronounced มะกอระ- or มะกะระ- according to context.  มกราคม is an exception it that it can be pronounced มกกะรา-.  (Pronunciations from RID.)

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10 hours ago, Oxx said:

Just because speakers rub shoulders doesn't mean that lexis will be transferred.

Fair point, I oversimplified when I said "just". What I was trying to say was that, given that the two countries are next to each other, the fact that there is a lot of Khmer vocab in Thai is not evidence that they are related languages.

 

10 hours ago, Oxx said:

There is no question of the "spelling settling down".

This was a reference to the spelling being มกร, when the transliteration of the Sanskrit would have been มาฆะห์. That is based on the Sanskrit names of the months here, but it's always possible that that info is wrong or that the Thai names actually derive from Pali and the Pali was not quite the same as the Sanskrit. When you say that the Pali word is makara, is that based on directly on the Pali, or is it based on the fact that the word was transliterated as มกร?

 

I'm sure it's correct that มกร would intially have been pronounced Pali style as มะกะระ, and was later reinterpreted based on Thai spelling conventions. That's really what I meant by incorporation - at some point a loanword is appropriated and comes to be treated as a Thai word, and this means that you will find words that are obviously Indic but are pronounced as if they were Thai. I'm not sure I want to call that mispronunciation - I see it as a healthy part of the incorporation of the loanword - but it does make life more complicated.

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Edit: I now think that มาฆะ and มกร are two completely separate words that just happen to have been used in the names of months at different times.

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