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BANGKOK 25 April 2019 15:33
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anna234cn

Just A Simple Question

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I believe the P indicates the person is older or in another word it's like a show of respect when calling them.

But common business terms they would use "Khun" to replace Mr or Mrs or Ms.

Explorer :o

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Pee is very often used by Thais. It's literal meaning is an older sibling. However, it's more often used to denote a senior person, and not necessarily senior in age.

In school, anybody in a higher grade is a "Pee". Anybody in a lower grade is a "nong". At work, any co-worker who has been working at the company (or institution, or whatever) longer and not substantially younger is "Pee". In everyday life, to show that you're not being obnoxious, you use "Pee" with anyone who looks older than you. You might use "koon", but "Pee" sort of shows more deferrence to the person. It really depends on the situation, and if you use the wrong one, you risk being branded as rude (unless you're a foreigner, of course).

I personally don't like this system, since you pretty much are required to ALWAYS use this title (and if you call someone "Pee", you're called "nong" or "younger sibling"). Leave out the title, and you're being presumptuous. For someone raised in a western culture, constantly being called the younger one (with all the subordinate meanings associated with it) when you're a full grown adult is very, very annoying, not to mention having to use the "Pee" title on others. Of course, now that I'm older than most people, it's the other way around. But I never call anyone (except a small child) "nong".

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Pee is very often used by Thais.  It's literal meaning is an older sibling.  However, it's more often used to denote a senior person, and not necessarily senior in age.

In school, anybody in a higher grade is a "Pee".  Anybody in a lower grade is a "nong".  At work, any co-worker who has been working at the company (or institution, or whatever) longer and not substantially younger is "Pee".  In everyday life, to show that you're not being obnoxious, you use "Pee" with anyone who looks older than you.  You might use "koon", but "Pee" sort of shows more deferrence to the person.  It really depends on the situation, and if you use the wrong one, you risk being branded as rude (unless you're a foreigner, of course).

I personally don't like this system, since you pretty much are required to ALWAYS use this title (and if you call someone "Pee", you're called "nong" or "younger sibling").  Leave out the title, and you're being presumptuous.  For someone raised in a western culture, constantly being called the younger one (with all the subordinate meanings associated with it) when you're a full grown adult is very, very annoying, not to mention having to use the "Pee" title on others.  Of course, now that I'm older than most people, it's the other way around.  But I never call anyone (except a small child) "nong".

That is a very good overall explanation of the system.

I personally think it feels a lot more natural and relaxed to use 'pee' or 'nong' rather than 'khun' when talking to the staff in the noodle shop or restaurant though.

Using family terms - 'pee'[FL] for those who are older, 'nong'[HL] (for those who are younger), 'paa'[FL] (auntie), 'lung'[MS] (uncle) and 'taa'[ML] (gramps) 'yaay'[ML] (granny) according to the age of the adressee creates a more familiar atmosphere between the speakers. If you want to make sure to not offend, you can conveniently put in a khun before the age marker - khun paa, khun lung, khun taa, khun yaay... etc.

Since Thai people are brought up with the pee nong system, I would argue that some of them feel a bit uncomfortable if no hierarchy is established in a relation. Using khun[MS] at all times leaves your relationship at a formal and slightly distant level. If you want it there, no problem. But if you want to become a bit closer, you should drop the 'khun'.

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My wife (she is from Chiangrai and we live there too))has taught me that it is the difference in age that determines whether you use pee or loong. A male person who is older than you up to about 10 years is called pee and one that is 20 years older is called loong or nah...loong if they are older than your parents and nah if they are the same age or younger than your parents. If you aren't sure (say 15 years or so) using pee is preferred. Since there are many children in my extended family my wife and I end up calling people what the children call them. I refer to many people as loong because my nieces and nephews correctly refer to them as loong even though from my perspective they would be pee or nong. My wife does the same (uses the childrens' perspective)but is not consistent with it and sometimes uses pee or nong as seen from her perspective. All of this is true for pa which is the female equivalent for loong. Nah is used for both male and female.

It gets even more complicated but I'll stop here.

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As a Thai I found this is complicated too. For the start how can you call anyone pee or nong when you phone a stranger? I know I just have to call them khun. But then you also have to use your judgement to work out if the person in front of you is older or younger. If older how much older and what position should she/he be? pee (if a littel older or pa/loong if a lot older). Me and my mate once got chatting to a petite young looking Thai lady on the tube to Wimbledon temple and we called her pee only to realise when we got to the temple that she was in her 50s!!! :D and we both were in our 20s. That could easily have offended her.

But then having said that I would not be happy if anyone call me pa and I suspect that they are only a few year younger than me but they thought I was much older because to them I look old :o

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Serious question: Anyone know what I should call my g/f's mother and father, bearing in mind that they are 10 years younger than me? :o

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Serious question: Anyone know what I should call my g/f's mother and father, bearing in mind that they are 10 years younger than me? :o

Despite the age difference, I think "nong" would be wrong anyway... that would just sound too weird. Not sure I have an answer to that.

Couldn't you have found somebody a BIT younger in order to make your life more simple? :D (Just jokin')

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Serious question: Anyone know what I should call my g/f's mother and father, bearing in mind that they are 10 years younger than me? :D

Despite the age difference, I think "nong" would be wrong anyway... that would just sound too weird. Not sure I have an answer to that.

Couldn't you have found somebody a BIT younger in order to make your life more simple? -_- (Just jokin')

:o:D:D I don 't think that the correct way of addressing her parents was the number one priority when I fell for her :D:wub:

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The wife is supposed to call the husband Pee even if she is older than her husband. And if it is a relative it also depends on how you are related. ie: my husband's second cousin calls both of us Pee even though he is about 10 years older because his grandfather was the younger brother of my husband's grandfather! Just to make it even more confusing for you!

I wouldn't recommend using Pee or Nong with close family relatives. Their title is better, ie Mae, Por, Loong, Ba, Nah, Ah followed by the name. I could call my father in law Por Keo but I just call him Por. Khun Por seems quite formal to me but then I have known my in laws quite well for a long time and we are pretty close.

I guess I should also point out that my husband calls my parents Mom and Dad too.

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Interesting situation

I would ask them how they want to be addressed. That would save embarassment all round.

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The wife is supposed to call the husband Pee even if she is older than her husband. And if it is a relative it also depends on how you are related. ie: my husband's second cousin calls both of us Pee even though he is about 10 years older because his grandfather was the younger brother of my husband's grandfather!  Just to make it even more confusing for you!

I wouldn't recommend using Pee or  Nong with close family relatives. Their title is better, ie Mae, Por, Loong, Ba, Nah, Ah followed by the name. I could call my father in law Por Keo but I just call him Por. Khun Por seems quite formal to me but then I have known my in laws quite well for a long time and we are pretty close.

I guess I should also point out that my husband calls my parents Mom and Dad too.

Thanks for the post which taught me something new (about your husband's second cousin).

What about your hubby's siblings though - older as well as younger - except for using their nicknames there really is no other way than using "pee" or "nong", is there? "Guu" and "meung" not recommended... :o

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Serious question: Anyone know what I should call my g/f's mother and father, bearing in mind that they are 10 years younger than me? :D

Sure, Khun Por, Khun Mae. :D

Cheers

Michael

Thanks Michael! That's what I've been doing - under instruction from my g/f :o

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