There are so many blogs out there offering lessons on how to Speak Thai, but nobody gives lessons on Tinglish, that subtle blend of Thai and English spoken by many Thais and foreign expats. Some think Tinglish is just plain crude, others can’t stop using it after spending too long in the Land of Smiles. Here are ten common Tinglish terms that will serve you well while in Thailand (especially Pattaya).
#1 – Where you go?
Why draw out this sentence with all that unnecessary fluff? Grammatically speaking it should be: “Where are you going?” But this Tinglish version cuts to the chase and does away with the frills. Don’t forget to add a falling tone to the word “go” for maximum Tinglish effect.
#2 – I mai roo!
This means “I don’t know” but it sounds so much more effective with the Thai “mai roo” to add emphasis to the fact that you really don’t know.
#3 – You like Thai girl?
This is not a statement, it’s a question and can be applied to anything you want to ask such as “You like footbon?” “You like whisky?”
#4 – I think you boring na!
On hearing this you might be a little upset “Am I really so boring?” But don’t be offended, Thais usually mean “I think you’re bored.”
#5 – Maybe you annoy me!
Will I? Again, this is a misunderstanding. What Thai people usually mean is “Maybe you are annoyed with me.”
#6 – You play Facebook?
Thais use the word “len” (to play) when they talk about the internet. This sometimes sounds strange to us as we would say “Do you use Facebook?” or “Do you have Facebook?”
#7 – I ever to go England
I have been to England. Thai people use the word “khoey” which means “ever” to talk about past things such as “chan khoey bai pratet Angrit.” This affects the way they think when they speak in English.
#8 – I lie you!
No, it doesn’t mean your girlfriend is lying to you. As Thai people don’t usually pronounce hard consonants at the end of words, “like” become “lie.” Again, add falling tones for extra Tinglishness.
#9 – Up to you!
While this phrase could actually be perfect English, the way in which Thai girls use it is particularly frustrating. They usually use it when having an argument, so everything becomes up to you. You wan’ cheat me?! Up to you na! Problem is, that kind of talk will go to your head after a while, if you know what I mean.
#10 – You! Tuk Tuk!
My all time personal favourite. Why waste time with niceties? Let’s just say in a loud abrasive voice “YOU!” This means: “would you like to travel in my tuk tuk, risk your life because of my crazy driving, and then pay me an exorbitant fee that is higher than you would pay for a taxi?” Hence the reason I ignore tuk tuks.
These are ten Tinglish phrases I have experienced. What are some of your favourite Tinglish phrases? Go ahead and share your Tinglish language expertise in the comments. And don’t forget to like, and share this with your friends. That subscription box below is crying out for you to enter your email and join the party at Made in Thailand!