For the inquisitive among us, knowing how to ask questions in a language is an important skill. There is no better way to learn about a culture than from people who live in it. Because language is a barrier, you will need to improve your skills to the point that you feel confident to discuss with others. That is what we will be doing today. We will cover the necessary vocabulary of how to say who in Thai, for those times you want to know about the people of Thailand and its history. Or maybe you are just nosey.
The word for who in Thai is ‘krai’ (ใคร). It also means whom for those who are actually know how to use it. Other than just meaning who in Thai, it also works as part of some other words and phrases, but we will get more into that in a bit. Just know that it uses the mid-tone, so try to hold the tone stable with a neutral tone when pronouncing it.
Anyone who has listened to Thai music before has probably heard this word many times already. Its use in love songs, in particular, is common, especially when there are themes of jealousy or something like that. It is also really easy to rhyme in Thai, which may also play a part in its common appearance in songs.
Another thing to consider when talking about how to say who in Thai is the word whose. This is, of course, the word you use when asking who something belongs to or who something is associated with. Whose in Thai is ‘kong krai’ (ของใคร). It is just adding the word ‘kong’ (ของ) before the word for who, which makes it that bit easier to remember.
As a side note, the word ‘kong’ can be translated as of, so the phrase ‘kong krai’ could be translated literally as of who, which (if we stretch our imaginations a little bit) sort of lines up with the meaning of who.
This word also follows the same pattern as other Thai question words, which will go over now.
Now we know the word for who in Thai, we need to learn how to make questions too. If you have read our previous post on the Thai question words, then you should already have some idea of how questions work in the Thai language. However, for the sake of convenience, we will cover some of the main elements once again.
Unlike in English, questions in Thai place the question word (in this case, who) at the end of the sentence. For example, if you want to ask ‘who is your favorite singer?’ it would look like this in Thai:
Who is your favorite singer?
nak rong kon bproot khong tee kuu krai
นักร้อง คน โปรด ของเธอ คือ ใคร
If you then want to answer this question, it is mostly just a case of removing the question word (krai) and then saying your favorite singer’s name. Quite simple, right?
As you may also notice, question marks are not used in Thai. This only goes to show how important the question words are, as they are what changes a regular sentence into a question.
Then there are times when you want to ponder something out loud. This is where you add in the particle ‘nor’ (ใครหนอ). When placing this after a question word, it changes the sentence to mean I wonder…
So, the phrase ‘krai nor’ (ใครหนอ), means I wonder who… in Thai.
From time to time, you may hear the word for who in Thai - krai - in some conversations where the person is not asking a question. That is because the word krai, with the same spelling and same tone, also is used in words where it means something along the lines of someone or whoever.
So, there is the phrase ‘mai mii krai’ (ไม่มีใคร), which means no one. It’s opposite, ‘mii krai’ (มีใคร) means anyone in Thai.
This little section was just meant to be a little warning that there are multiple meanings to the word krai in Thai outside of being a question word. If you hear it at the end of a sentence, then there is a good chance it is being used as a question word.
If you are looking to learn more about other people like family members, history, and accomplishments, then what better way is thereby using the question word who. The word for who in Thai is short at only one syllable, so there is little excuse to not remember it. Well, some of the other question words in Thai may sound a bit similar, which can make you jumble up your words. Just keep practicing and you will get the hang of it. Just don’t be afraid to ask questions from time to time.
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