Do you often find yourself wishing that there should be more positivity in the world? Every day, people go unappreciated for everything they do. Next time someone does something helpful, kind, or is just all around pleasant, consider telling them that they did something good. For that reason, we will be looking at how to say good in Thai. Actually, there are many different ways to do so, depending on the context. In this vocabulary booster lesson, we will go over the different words, and when it would be best to use them.
Like with many languages, Thai has plenty of synonyms and contextual implications behind its words. Think about it: in English, there are a number of different ways to say or use the word good, especially when talking colloquially.
Carrying on the message of positivity, there are many different ways to be good. By that I mean, different areas such as smartness or comfort. As such, there are plenty of different Thai phrases for each of these situations.
Another aspect to consider is the history of the Thai language. With influences from the likes of Old Khmer, Sanskrit, and Pali affecting the language, there was bound to be some overlap in the vocabulary - and that is not to speak of the many dialects of Thai itself.
I can’t say for sure what the reason is for there being so many ways to say good in Thai, but at the very least we can help you to learn Thai vocabulary. So here are five different ways to say good and when you should use them.
Don’t worry if you are not able to memorize all the different ways of saying good in Thai and the context to use them in. There is a more general term that should work in most, if not all situations.
To say good, use the word ‘dii’ (ดี). More often than not, you can use that with a comparative word or superlative like very or best. So you can use ‘dii mak’ (ดีมาก) to let them know they did a very good job, or ‘dii tii sud’ (ดีที่สุด) to tell them they are the best.
This word is also used most often in phrases like hello/goodbye - ‘sa wat dii’ (สวัสดี) - good luck - ‘chock dii’ (โชคดี) - and good looking - ‘duu dii’ (ดูดี).
Imagine you are a teacher in a school, or even helping your own child to learn something. It is always a good idea to encourage them as they make progress. Thankfully, there is a Thai word to do just that.
The word ‘keng’ (เก่ง) is often translated as good in Thai but implies that the person is smart or adept. Everyone likes to think that they are a genius, so using this word will be great motivation to get better. Try it out next time someone shows some smart thinking.
Anyone who has spent the time to learn Thai will have come across the word ‘sabai’ (สบาย) before. Whether asking how someone is or saying how comfortable the temperature is, sabai is strongly linked to the Thai language and culture. It is most often translated as meaning comfortable, but can also be understood as meaning content, ok or good.
Perhaps it is a bit of a stretch, but with being synonymous with comfort, ‘sabai’ (or ‘sabai sabai’) can be seen as meaning that all is good at the moment. Think about the phrase ‘yen sabai’ (เย็นสบาย) - you are saying that you feel that the temperature is good or pleasant.
When we use well-established phrases as we talk, it is easy to forget the contextual meanings behind the words we use. For example, have you ever said something like ‘everything is good to go’? What is the word good referring to there?
In Thai, there is the word ‘riap roi’ (เรียบร้อย), which by itself means tidy or orderly. However, when used in the phrase ‘tuk yang riap roi’ (ทุกอย่างเรียบร้อย), it can be translated as ‘everything is good’. As you can see, context can play a big role in the meaning of words.
Here is another important way in which good is used. If you are buying something, you should definitely listen out for the word ‘bprok ka dti’ (ปรกติ), which means that some are normal', regular, or in good condition.
I am not sure how often this one comes up in the context of something being good, instead of having connotations of being regular and usual. However, in the context of something having been used previously, it does imply that it is functioning normally - which is a good sign.
With this new-found knowledge of the Thai language, you can do your part to spread positivity wherever you go with the power of your words. Yes, it can be confusing having so many different ways to say good in Thai, but being able to remember each of the different ways will elevate your skills and make you appear even more knowledgeable. Otherwise, using the basic word for goodwill work. Thankfully, you can use comparative words in the same way for each of these different phrases.
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