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Thank You In Lao: 4 Polite Must Know Phrases

June 28, 2022
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Being able to thank someone is the most basic form of common courtesy. This 'thank you in Lao' guide should be one of the first things you memorize. Let's start with the basics.

Thank you in Lao is ຂອບ​ໃຈ (khob chai).

Many students get discouraged when it comes to learning Lao, and we don't blame them. Lao is one of the trickiest languages to learn from an English base. It can sometimes seem so overwhelming. 

Until a few years ago, students had to slog their way through challenging textbooks. This was a particular problem with a language like Lao because there were so few resources out there. If you lived in England, finding a Lao teacher or a book was basically impossible. 

Ling has fundamentally changed the game with its language learning app. We have reading, writing, speaking, listening, and grammar practice. Even better, our app was designed by software engineers and native Lao teachers! When you sign up with Ling, you are guaranteed the genuine article!

How To Say Thank You In Lao

EnglishLaoLao Script
Thankyoukhob chaiຂອບ​ໃຈ
You're welcomethan nyinditonhabທ່ານຍິນດີຕ້ອນຮັບ
No problembomibanhaບໍ່ມີບັນຫາ
Excuse mekho a phaiຂໍ​ອະ​ໄພ

General Rules For Politeness In Laos

Most cultures have taboos around politeness, and Laos is no different.

The basic stuff is easy to get right. For example, when you meet someone, you say sabaideebor, which means hello, how are you? A smart response would be khony sa bai di (I'm fine), followed by what we mentioned at the start khob chai (thank you).

Lao Thank you phrases

Polite Body Language

If you've read any previous stuff from us in this blog, then you'll know just how valuable the 'nop' is. The nop's more famous cousin is the Thai 'wai.' If I had to describe it, I'd say it looks something between a bow and a prayer. It's what a lot of people in Buddhist countries use to greet each other, and it is a mark of respect.

You should make this action whenever you say thank you in Lao.

There are different postures to adopt for people of different positions in the social hierarchy. For example, the hand position is different when greeting monks and friends. However, don't stress too much about this. As a foreigner, you will be forgiven if you don't nail the hand position. One thing to mention is that these movements are performed in a fluid and relaxed way, symbolic of the ethic at the core of Buddhism. Don't rush; go with the flow.

Another time you'll have the opportunity to use khob chai is at an alms ceremony. The Buddhist alms ceremony is an extraordinary sight to behold. The philosophy that underlies Buddhism is that Buddhist monks should be free to think about spiritual matters and have their earthly concerns taken care of. That means the Lao people give them the gift of food every morning. At dawn, the monks come out from the monastery with their alms bowls, and they're joined by citizens on the street who dish out food, usually rice.

List Of Rules For Politeness Around The Alms Ceremony

Rules

  • Keep in mind that this is a religious ceremony. Think how you would react in your own place of worship where tourism is probably not even allowed!
  • Dress appropriately. Even if the weather is hot, Lao people always dress conservatively.
  • Don't speak or take the kind of photos where you get up close to the monk. They are in a state of reverence
  • Avoid eye contact with the monks
  • Don't offer cheap food. This can be a problem because street vendors sell tourists cheap food at inflated costs
  • Golden rule: Never touch the monks. Particularly if you're a woman
thank you in Lao

Learn Lao With Ling

At the beginning of this article, we mentioned a little something about what Ling can do for you. Let me take that a step further now.

Listening- All our audio is recorded by native speakers meaning when you speak your Lao phrases, you'll be doing so with a perfect accent.

Vocabulary- We have SRS flashcards that teach you basic words and phrases. From simple vocabulary like numbers haa sip(50) to hong nam yu sai (where is the bathroom?)

Speaking- Our chatbot aims to replicate real speech in real-time. Give it a go; you won't be disappointed.

Grammar- Our grammar guides are non-intrusive, and there will be no difficult quizzes to pass, stopping you from progressing through the more important aspects of the course

Writing- Crucially, we have practice in writing the alphabet. We aren't gonna lie. The Lao alphabet is ridiculously hard to learn. But with our writing function, the task is made a lot easier. You can use your touch screen phone to trace the letters of the alphabet, so when it comes to reading and writing Laos, it will become like second nature. 

If you keep following this blog, you'll also find a great deal out about Lao culture, besides how to say thank you in Lao, that will improve your Lao conversation or even business prospects. You'll also understand our philosophy that in this day and age, to speak English only is not enough.

One final thing is that if you sign up for Lao courses this month, you also get access to 60 other language courses. Many students we speak to prefer to learn Thai and Lao at the same time.

If you enjoyed this blog, read more. Our Lao blog is updated weekly and recent student favourite have been Greetings in Lao and Lao numbers

If we don't see you again, sok dee (good luck!) on your Lao language learning journey.

Download Ling today and start speaking confidently in Lao!

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Michael Thompson

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