A quick question: Are you a ‘wassup’ person or a ‘How do you do’ one? If you are the former, you will simply love this blog! And if you fall in the second category, you are going to have fun learning some really cool Lao slang words to connect better with your Laotian friends.
Learning Lao slang is the coolest and surest way to create bonhomie with your local pals, whether they be your friends, colleagues, local vendor, your homestay host, or a total stranger in the street. Dropping some colloquial terms and phrases in Lao on your ride back to the hotel or while ordering food in a restaurant is sure to get you a good deal. So, what are you waiting for? Come, add some cool Lao slang to your pocket now.
14 Basic Lao Slang Words
Before we go into further details of how to use slang to appear more of a native speaker, let’s first take a quick look at some helpful Lao slang.
|Sa bai dee
10 Common Slang Phrases And Basic Words In The Lao Language
#1 Khoy baw khao jai (ຂ້ອຍບໍ່ເຂົ້າໃຈ)
Meaning: I don’t understand.
#2 Khoy hew khao (ຂ້ອຍຫິວເຂົ້າ)
Meaning: I am hungry.
#3 Kinya yen (ກິນຢາເຢັນ)
Meaning: Take a chill pill.
#4 Pheng lai (ແພງຫຼາຍ)
Meaning: Very expensive!
Tip: Practice its pronunciation diligently, as this comes in super handy when you are haggling for a fair price in a flea market.
#5 Baw pen nyang (ບໍ່ເປັນຫຍັງ)
Meaning: Don’t worry about it!
#6 Bor hen naa gun don la nor (ບໍ່ເຫັນໜ້າກັນດົນລະນໍ)
Meaning: Long time, no see.
#7 Boh tong koun khoy (ໂບທົງຄູນຄວາຍ)
Meaning: Leave me alone!
Write this one down and practice its pronunciation in order to ward off any unpleasant or creepy person around you.
#8 Hong nam yu sai (ຫ້ອງ້ນໍາຢູ່ໃສ)
Meaning: Where is the bathroom?
#9 Lai ngun deh (ໄລ່ເງິນແດ່)
Meaning: Check, please! The word literally translates into ‘calculate the money’.
#10 Mi van thidi (ມີວັນທີ່ດີ)
Meaning: Have a nice day.
Why Should I Learn Lao Slang
Who doesn’t love good, crispy slang words in order to mingle better with the locals? Almost every language boasts of slang (ດັດແກ້) that frees you from the trite, formal way of speaking and lets you have fun with its many flavors. When learning a new language, it is always a good idea to keep track of how different it is from its written form when spoken.
Slang offers you a laid-back approach to knowing a language intimately as a native speaker. In fact, when speaking in the local language, people rarely use grammatically perfect, complete sentences outside of a formal setting.
Not only that but slang also makes for a perfect tool for easy mingling with the local crowd. Imagine going to a local bar in a new country and spouting perfect sentences straight out of grammar books. Or trying to converse with a rushing local tuk-tuk driver in English. Oh, what a horror show!
How To Use Slang In The Lao Language
If you want to learn more than asking jâo seu nyãng (ເຈົ້າຊື່ຫຍັງ – what’s your name) in Lao, here is some advice: Take your time, search for some cool word for it, and then diligently hear it, speak it, and write it down for a better recall.
Mastering a language doesn’t end with getting the grammar and syntax right. That’s because a language doesn’t only stay within the confines of official documents. It is a learning curve that also incorporates the local and most popular way of talking. Otherwise, it would sound archaic and befuddling to local ears. As the French say, “ne se traduit pas” (meaning ‘does not translate’), slang can’t really be translated word for word as it is a colloquial form of the language.
Thus, one shouldn’t be surprised to see language services across the world emphasizing the significance of learning widely spoken slang phrases. Picking up slang isn’t hard, even if you speak English as a native speaker. On the contrary, picking up slang from the language spoken across Laos is a cakewalk, as there are no grammar rules when it comes to using a slang word, just as in Thai.
Do You Want To Learn Lao? Try Ling Today!
These were some of the most common slang words in the Lao language to pick up for your next trip or to wow your Laotian or Lao-speaking friends.
More such helpful expressions and phrases can be learned on the Ling app to polish your newly acquired language skills. The Ling app offers you a plethora of interactive exercises and fun quizzes. It also has a gamified interface designed to help you retain new vocabulary without breaking your head over it.
The most awesome thing about the Ling app is that you can learn many other Southeast Asian and European languages! If you are ready to start this journey, you can try out the first two lessons of the app for free!