Learning the สุภาษิต or Thai proverbs will pave the way in helping you learn more about the culture of its native speakers. Like any language in the world, proverbs or age-old sayings are important in the sense that it connects wisdom from our ancestors and it provides a much deeper meaning which can be related to our daily lives. In English, they are practicing what we call the little nuggets of wisdom. Interested to memorize some and use them in real conversations? Let's get it on!
Whenever we think about Thailand, what usually comes to mind are elephant figures, gold leaf, large-sized Buddha statues, and a wide selection of fresh fruits, right? And perhaps this is the reason why you landed on this page... you probably are finding yourself interested in making a life in Thailand or visiting the country. After all, there must be some truth behind the extremely positive blog post and reviews about this Asian country!
Whether you are looking to make friends, speak to a particular Thai person (in business, as part of your job, and casual setting), or interested to travel to Thailand in the future, having some Thai proverbs under your belt will greatly help you in establishing a connection with the locals. The best part here too is that you can easily teach yourself their sayings so long as you have the correct interpretation/meaning for each.
You see, Thailand is actually a religious country and this can be seen based on their amazing religious art, Buddha statues, and architecture. Just last year, the country made a statement by having one of their greatest Buddha statues wore a face mask to remind people of its importance against COVID. Quite frankly, they are a melting pot of different religions making it an ideal destination for almost anyone in the world! The country provides support for its citizens whether the religion is Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, or Christianity.
It is true that looking for authentic proverbs from Thailand can be a bit difficult to find in Google especially since the translation for each of the sayings may be a bit different from the actual meaning. Have you ever heard of lost in translation? If you did, then you will understand why we say that the real meanings can be lost and some of the proverbs may not even make any sense at all. Add to that is the fact that their writing system can be tricky, right?
With this being said, we decided to list down 15 Thai proverbs which we have cross-checked in order to give you the most complete literal translations in English and their real meaning. To support total beginners, we have also included the Romanized versions for each so that you can pronounce them out loud or join conversations right away.
|Thai||Romanization||English Translation||Cultural Meaning|
|หนีเสื่อปะจระเข้||nǐi seua pa jo ra kay||To escape from the tiger and into the crocodile.||Out from one problem into another (usually even worse).|
|ได้อย่างเสียอย่าง||dai yang sia yang||To lose something is to earn something again.||It's impossible to accomplish something without causing any negative effects.|
|ปิดทองหลังพระ||pid tong lang pra||Putting a gold leaf on the back of the Buddha image||Do good acts without seeking attention or praises.|
|สีซอให้ควายฟัง||see sor hai kwai fang||To play the violin for the buffalo to listen to.||Talking to someone who is not listening to you.|
|กันไว้ดีกว่าแก้||gan wy dtee gwaa gae||Preventive measure is better than curative measure.||Prevention is better than cure.|
|น้ำขึ้นให้รีบตัก||nam keun hai reep tak||When the water rises, hurry to get some.||Make hay while the sun shines.|
|ชั่วเจ็ดทีดีเจ็ดหน||chua jet tee dee jet hon||Bad seven times, good seven times.||There is always something good to look out for even in a bad situation.|
|จับปลาสองมือ||jab pla song meu||Catch a fish with two hands.||It's impossible to have two things as you must only choose one.|
|ขวานผ่าซาก||kwan par sak||Splitting a hardwood by using an axe.||The act of speaking frankly even if it may hurt or be unpleasant for someone.|
|รำไมดีโทษปี่โทษกลอง||rum mai dee tod pee tod glong||Those who can’t dance blame it on the flute and the drum.||It is his/her fault but blames something else for it.|
|งมเข็มในมหาสมุทร||ngom kěm nai ma-hǎa-sà-mùt||To dive for a needle in the ocean||To find things that are hard to find.|
|ดูตาม้าตาเรือ||duu dtaa máa dtaa rʉa||Look at the moves of the horse and the ship||Be careful, To look closely|
|นกน้อยทำรังแต่พอตัว||nók-nͻ́ͻi tam-rang dtԑ̀ԑ pͻͻ-dtua||Little birds build nests according to their size.||don’t do something out of your power because it might cause you to be in trouble.|
|ตำน้ำพริกละลายแม่น้ำ||dtam nám-phrik la-laai mɛ̂ɛ-nám||To pour chili paste into the river.||Wasted investment and unprofitable return to you.|
|แมวไม่อยู่หนูร่าเริง||meaw mai yoo noo ra reng||When the cat is not there, the mice will play.||Without supervision, people will take advantage and will do as they please.|
Ready to belt out and use a proverb in giving life advice to your Thai colleagues? Make sure to consider using our list above. If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to share it on social media to help other interested language enthusiasts to get correct English translations for Thai-related words, phrases, and expressions today!
Now that we have expanded your knowledge on the most commonly used expressions in Thai, you must be wondering how you can learn more, review, and practice in this Asian language, right? Well, worry no more because we have here two of the best free applications which you should download today!
Learning Asian languages has always been on top of the list of many people from across the globe. However, almost everyone also stops on their track as soon as they realize how different it is from English or European languages. For instance, a person might say that the alphabet version is confusing or that it's impossible to master the pronunciation or grammar rules. And honestly, we do not blame you if you think like that too. Our pro tip: Get past your anxiety by taking language courses in as short as 10 minutes per day.
Yep, you read that right! Instead of setting aside 8 hours or a full week digesting this, you should consider chunked lessons instead as the slow pace will guarantee acquisition. As a starting point, we highly recommend that you check out the Ling App and Simply Learn by Simya Solutions. These applications are available for your mobile devices and free to download (yep, no money involved!). These were established to help you learn on a long time basis and it has amazing features to keep you motivated.
On the search for the best app today? The Ling App is a type of learning platform that is available to use through online site reviews or mobile applications. It is much loved by individual learners but it can also be a fun family activity if you plan to visit another country. Through its assortment of lessons, you can simply: review each concept, play and listen to the audio files, read the words and identify the meaning. It may sound structured, but trust us when we say that it is truly an immersive experience and it is guaranteed to help you catch on to the correct translation for the featured content.
Another awesome application to try out is Simply Learn which is a practical phrasebook containing categorical lessons based on real-life situations. If you want to converse right away with the correct meaning, you can simply drum up the conversation by picking the correct category and reading the expression. To be sure that you are saying each correctly, you can listen to the embedded audio files and hear how a native Thai will say it.
So, what are you waiting for? Learn a new word every single day and use it like a pro with Ling App and Simply Learn! Download both today!