If you ask me ”what is the most entertaining part of the Thai language?” My answer would be learning Thai onomatopoeia words! Because they are super easy to learn and memorize as long as you know how to read and write the Thai alphabet.
I can hear you say ”wait, what is that on-o-mato-poe-ia you’re talking about?” No worries! You’ll find the answer to your question in this blog post. And right after that, you will learn the commonly used Thai onomatopoeia words.
Alright, if you’re ready, let’s move on!
What Is Onomatopoeia?
Onomatopoeia indicates the words that sound exactly like the noise it describes. The pronunciation of an onomatopoeia word is directly influenced by the sound it produces in real life.
Let me give you some examples from English to make it more clear. Here are some of the most common onomatopoeia words in the English language:
When these words are used in context, you can almost hear what they sound like in your head.
The word onomatopoeia comes from the combination of two Greek words, ”onoma” meaning “name” and ”poiein” meaning “to make,” so onomatopoeia literally means “to make a name.”
Animal Sounds In Thai Onomatopoeia
When we talk about onomatopoeia, the first thing that comes to mind is animal sounds. For example, a dog walking by and barking “woof woof” or a cat “meowing” on your lap. As in any other language, animal sounds are written exactly as they sound to the human ear in the Thai language.
Let’s learn how to write down animal sounds in Thai!
- Bee (ผึ้ง) – หึ่ง (hèung)
- Bird (นก) – จิ๊บๆ (jíp jíp)
- Cat (แมว) – เหมียวๆ (mĭeow mĭeow)
- Chick (ลูกไก่) – เจี๊ยบๆ (jíap jíap)
- Cow (วัว) – มอๆ (mor mor)
- Crow (กา) – กาๆ (gaa gaa)
- Dog (หมา) – โฮ่งๆ (hông hông) / บ็อกๆ (bók bók) /
- Duck (เป็ด) – ก๊าบๆ (gáap gáap)
- Elephant (ช้าง) – แปร๋น (bprăen)
- Frog (กบ) – อ๊บๆ (óp óp)
- Hen (ไก่ตัวเมีย) – กุ๊กๆ (gúk gúk)
- Horse (ม้า) – ฮี่ๆ (hêe hêe)
- Monkey (ลิง) – เจี๊ยกๆ (jíak jíak)
- Pig (หมู) – อู๊ดๆ (óot óot)
- Rat (หนู) – จิ๊ดๆ (jít jít)
- Snake (งู) – ฟู่ๆ (fôo fôo)
Nature Sounds In Thai Onomatopoeia
The second most common onomatopoeia words are nature sounds. For example, the sounds of rain and wind or the relaxing sound that the leaves of a tree branch make.
Let’s see how nature sounds are written in Thai.
- กราว (graao) – the sound of rain falling on the roof, clapping, or rustling leaves
- จ๊อก (jaawk) – the sound of gurgling
- อู้ (uu) – the sound of wind woooo, woosh
- ติ๋ง (dting) – the sound of dripping water
- จุ๋ม (joom) – the sound of a stone or pebble being thrown into a pond
- ซู่ (suu) – to splash, slosh, or pour down
- ซู่ (suu) – the sound of rain
- ต๋อม (dtaawm) – plop; the sound of a stone falling into the water
- เปรี้ยง (bpriiang) – the sound of thunder
Collision Sounds In Thai Onomatopoeia
What is meant by collision sounds is the sound that occurs when two objects knock into each other. They usually begin with cl- and th-. The most basic example would be clapping. The ”clap” sound is a result of hitting your hands with one another.
Let’s see more examples in Thai.
- เผียะ (phia) – the sound of slapping
- ก๊อกแก๊ก (gaawk gaaek) – the sound of footsteps
- กริก (grik) – click; the sound of a key turning in a keyhole
- ครืดคราด (khreuut khraat) – the sound of dragging heavy things, rumbling
- โครม (khro:hm) – the sound of being crushed
- ฉับ (choop) – the sound of dull stabbing
- โป๊ก (bpo:hk) – the sound of knocking on wood, hammering
- ต๊อกแต๊ก (dtaawk dtaaek) – the sound of clunking
- ปึ่ก (bpeuk) – the sound of a thud
Vocal Onomatopoeia Words In Thai
Vocal onomatopoeia sounds are human-made sounds that don’t really have a meaning in the spoken language. These sounds can come from the back of your throat or come out of the mouth through the lips. They often begin with gr- and mu- in English. Such as groaning, and moaning.
Let’s see the vocal onomatopoeia words in Thai.
- พึมพำ (pheum pham) – grumbling sound, to grumble
- เอ๋ง (ăyng) – whimper; the sound of an injured dog whimpering
- ซี้ด (seet) – the sound produced when eating something hot and spicy
- หวูด (wuut) – the sound of a whistle
- อืมม์ (euum) – Hmmm…
- ฟี้ (feeh) – the sound of snoring
- ครอก (khraawk) – the sound of death rattle
Other Onomatopoeia Words In The Thai Language
- กริ๊งกร๊าง (gring graang) – old-fashioned telephone ringing
- กรี๊ดกร๊าด (greet graat) – the sound of screaming shrilly; screech-like
- กรุ๊งกริ๊ง (groong gring) – the sound of jingling, and tinkling
- โป๊ะ (bpó) – the sound of a balloon or bubble bursting
- แควก (khwaaek) – the sound of ripping or tearing
- จ๊อกแจ๊ก (jaawk jaaek) – noise; low level chatter
- ตุ้บตั้บ (dtoop dtap) – thumping sound
- บรื๋อ (breuu) – brr; the sensation of cold weather
- บึ้ม (beum) – boom; the sound of an explosion
- ปัง (bpang) – bang
- เปรี๊ยะ (bpria) – the sound of the floor creaking
- เป๊าะ (bpaw) – pop pop; the sound of a gun
- แชะ (cháe) – the sound of a camera shutter
- วะฮะฮ่า (wa ha haa) – villainous laughter
- ว้าก (waak) – children’s cry, loud cry
- เอี๊ยด (iiat) – squeak; the sound of squeaking
- เอี๊ยดอ๊าด (iiat aat) – the sound of stairs creaking
- ฮัดเช่ย (hat cheeuy) – ahchoo; the sound of sneezing
- ฮา (haa) – sound of loud laughter
- ฮิ้วว์ (hiu) – Ha, ha
I’m sure you will hear these words a lot in Thailand if you pay attention to the sounds in your environment. Of course, there are much more onomatopoeia words in Thai but these are the most common ones.
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