In Thailand, smiling is a language unto itself. Different smiles – and there are many – have different meanings, as Henry Holmes writes in Working with the Thais: A Guide to Managing in Thailand. There is a smile called yim tang nam thaa, which means “I’m so happy, I’m crying.” There is the fuen yim: “I should laugh at the joke, though it’s not funny.” There’s also the yim yae-yae: “I know things look pretty bad, but there’s no point in crying.”
Along with a smile, a few simple phrases will make your time at the RI Convention in Bangkok, 6-9 May, more pleasant. (Note: To convey politeness, men should end sentences with the word krup, while women should use kha.)
- Hello/goodbye. Sa-wat-dee krup/kha.
- Thank you very much. Khawp khun maak krup/kha.
- What is your name? Khun chew a-rai krup/kha?
- My name is … Pom chew … (for men)/Dee-chan chew … (for women)
- Pleasure to meet you. Yin-dee tee dai rujaak krup/kha.
- See you later. Laew jer gun krup/kha.
- Excuse me, do you speak English? Khaw-tote na krup/kha, poot paa-saa Angrit, dai mai krup/kha?
- Where is … ? … yoo tee nai krup/kha?
- How much? Tow rhai krup/kha?
- No problem/Never mind. Mai pen rai krup/kha.
- I like Thai food very much. Pom/Dee-chan chawp aa-haan Thai maak krup/kha.
- But not too spicy! Tey, mai ped maak na krup/kha!
Register for the 2012 RI Convention in Bangkok.