Have you ever been stopped in the street by someone, asking for the date? With mobile phones becoming so popular, it is not so common anymore, but there is no better feeling than helping out a stranger. Now, imagine that happens while you are traveling abroad. That would probably feel even better. The Thai calendar can be pretty confusing at first glance, though. While locals are unlikely to stop to ask you in the streets, there are still many situations where you can help them out.
Carrying on from one of our previous posts where we looked at numbers in Thai, we will look closer at how to give the date in Thailand.
How To Say The Date In Thai
Saying the date is not much different that saying the numbers. We covered it briefly before, and mainly involves placing ‘wan tii’ (วันที่) in front of the number. It is that simple:
wan tii neung
wan tii song
wan tii sam
wan tii sii
wan tii ha
So ‘wan tii sam sip’ (วันที่สามสิบ) mean the 30th and so on. You get the idea. I think this is quite simple to remember, thankfully. Also, day is ‘wan’ (วันแ) in Thai
So then, what about the months in Thai? Or as they say in Thai, ‘duen’ (เดือน)
The Days Of The Week In Thai
Listen to how to pronounce Thai days from Monday to Sunday in Thai.
To start, we will look on Monday. The way to say Monday in Thai is ‘wan jan’ (วันจันทร์). the ‘wan’ (วัน) part of the word means day, as you will see as we continue down this list. Unlike in English however, the daypart actually goes at the beginning of the name rather than the end. When you break it down like that, it reduces the number of new words you need to learn, which is always helpful.
So, I imagine you are asking whether the other part of the word has any special meaning. Well, actually, it does. Each day of the week is named after something. In this case, ‘jan’ (จันทร์) is actually named after the Moon. Interesting, right?
Next up is Tuesday. To say Tuesday in Thai, you use ‘wan ang-kaan’ (วันอังคาร). If it helps to remember, the second (2nd) day of the week has two (2) syllables -‘ang’ and ‘kaan’. To note on pronunciation, it doesn’t quite rhyme with Monday as the ‘kaan’ part is extended a bit more when spoken.
The second day of the week follows the same pattern as before when it comes to the translation. That is because ‘angkaan’ (อังคาร) is the name for Mars. Now you start to see that the days of the week are named after planets. More specifically, they are named after the zodiac signs.
Now on to Wednesday, which in Thai is ‘wan phut’ (วันพุธ). So far, we have had the Moon and Mars. So what is up next? Well the ‘phut’ (พุธ) part of the name is named after Mercury.
Now Thursday is the odd one out here. Not only is the word significantly longer, it is also given a less formal shortened version too. Thursday in Thai is ‘wan pah roo hat sa bor dee‘ (วันพฤหัสบดี). Obviously, that is quite a mouthful, which is why you will more commonly hear it referred to as ‘wan pah roo hat’ (วันพฤหัส) which is much easier to say.
The meaning of ‘pah roo hat sa bor dee’ (พฤหัสบดี) is Jupiter. As the biggest planet, it is natural that it has the biggest name, I guess.
Friday in Thai is ‘wan suk’ (วันศุกร์). The word ‘suk’ (ศุกร์) actually means Venus and is yet again from the zodiac.
Saturday And Sunday
Now we move on to the weekend. If you want to say Saturday in Thai, you would use ‘wan sao’ (วันเสาร์). ‘Sao’ (เสาร์) is the word meaning Saturn.
For Sunday, you would use ‘wan ah-thit’ (วันอาทิตย์). Interestingly, as you will discover below, ‘ah thit’ is actually one of the words that mean week in Thai. This may be linked to the fact that ‘ah thit’ (อาทิตย์) actually means Sun.
Time Vocabulary In Thai
Other than the days of the week, there are some other words we use when talking about different dates and days of the week in Thai. First of all, there is yesterday, which is ‘mua wan’ (เมื่อวาน). Then there is today, said as ‘wan nii’ (วันนี้) in Thai. Tomorrow in Thai is said as ‘proong nii’ (พรุ่งนี้).
Seven days is equal to a week, which in Thai is ‘ah thit’ (อาทิตย์) or more formally ‘sapdah’ (สัปดาห์). Similarly, to say next week you can use either ‘ah thit nah’ (อาทิตย์หน้า) or ‘sapdah nah’ (สัปดาห์หน้า). However, when you want to say weekend, only ‘sud sapdah’ (สุดสัปดาห์) would be used. Finally, there is a weekday, which is completely different. Weekday in Thai is ‘wan thamadah‘ (วันธรรมดา).
The Thai Months
ma ga ra khom
gum paa phan
mee nah khom
may sah yohn
pruet sa pah khom
mi tu nah yohn
ga ra ga da khom
sing ha khom
gan yaa yohn
dtu lah khom
pruet saji gah yohn
tan wah khom
Did you notice any pattern here? At first glance, it does seem to appear quite random, but if you look closer you should see how the naming works.
The pattern is that all the months that have 31 days end with ‘khom’ (คม) and those with 30 days end with ‘yohn’ (ยน). Then there is February, which is the odd one out and ends in ‘phan’ (พันธ์). It is worth mentioning that the months are named after the Zodiac signs. August is named after a lion or Leo, for example.
Abbreviations may be used as the month names can be quite long. Having a short hand way of writing it can help keep things brief.
Finally, there is the year.
The Thai Calendar System
One thing that can be particularly confusing when in Thailand is seeing the year written as 2562. First of all, don’t worry. You did not travel to the future. In Thailand, they often use the solar calendar in official contexts. In the West and other countries, it is the lunar calendar that is generally used. I all comes down to some maths when working out what each should be.
Ultimately, to figure out the ‘Gregorian calendar’ date, it is just a case of subtracting 543 years from the Thai date.
For example, the current year according to the Thai calendar system is 2562. 2562 take away 543 would be 2019, the current year according to the Gregorian calendar. That is all it takes.
Pretty much everyone will recognize either system so there is little need to worry about adjusting how you write it unless you are told otherwise. As for saying the year in Thai, it is just a case of using the regular number system.
The Ability To Give Details
Date and time are both very important concepts. It really helps to build context about things you are talking about, and add more detail. Also, there are situations where it can be very helpful to understand vocabulary relating to date and time in Thai. Maybe if someone is telling you when and where you will be meeting or the time for an appointment at immigration. Thankfully, there is little extra to learn hereafter learning the numbers, it is just a case of not mixing these up.
Another great way to practice your ability to tell the time and the date in Thai is with the Ling Thai app. Use visuals and audio to help cement this vocabulary in your mind. Soon, you will be able to read your watch while thinking in your new language.