Chiang Mai Thai

Ever wanted to learn Thai, in Chiang Mai? I did just that from November 2010, returning home in October 2011. If you don't want a headache, start HERE, it will explain the preceding posts. I'm Snap, Stray's other half. COOEE is our (other) travel blog.

Monday, October 25, 2010

PleaSe explain

I've only been here for a few days and find myself actually listening to what the locals are saying and trying to read Thai signs. Sure, I haven't got a clue about either, but I did find one thing odd. On the modern signs written in untraditional script (can they make it any harder for me?) I find the letter 'S' on quite a few of them.
I went back to the Thai alphabet to see if one of the letters could possibly be contorted, mutated into an English 'S'...not that I can make out. A possible theory! Are they simply adding an English 'S' to turn a Thai word into a plural?

Is it a symbol I haven't come across yet?

I give up. In the infamous words of Pauline Hanson, and I know I'm going to feel like a right idiot when someone does, but...PLEASE EXPLAIN????

See what else we're up to at Cooee!


  1. When I started writing in Thai my hands would get cramped. Thai teachers will start you out with kinter script that to me is too small, with too many uncomfortable angles. Frustrated, I searched around.

    'Reading Thai is Fun', by James Neal is great. A classic.

    James teaches you how to simplify the Thai. And when you do, the R turns into what looks like an S, the G(K) is an upside down U, the B is a U, etc.

    If you get a chance, have your Thai friends write a paragraph in Thai script. It will not be kinter Thai (the equivalent to our printing). They will use more of a longhand.

  2. Thanks Catherine...I still feel like crying ;) but at least now I know I'm not going mad...not yet anyway.

  3. I guarantee that you won't go mad.

    But it's a good bet that your head will threaten to explode.

  4. I'm sat in bar, and asked a Thai person sat next to me.

    Then had to ask a second one, as it all got a little confusing....

    I am told that is is the Thai letter for SAILBOAT.

    See th chart at

    Start in the bottom left box, go two right, two up. Sailboat!

    What it's called, it's class, it's sound - I know nothing further.

    The person I asked is 100% convinced it is the same letter. My certainty is a few percent lower than that - it looks like a stretch to go from S to sailboat. But then, I know nothing of the Thai alphabet, so I provisionally accept what she says.

  5. Hi Fred, if it's the R - ร {ร เรือ ro ruea (boat)} this reinforces what Catherine has said. I agree, it is certainly a stretch to me also...that's why it was doing my head in!

    Thanks for doing some investigating on my behalf :)

  6. It's just the difference between printing the letters and writing them in cursive script or using a different word processor font. Like the difference between using Arial and a Gothic font for English.

  7. Hi Anon? I understand what you're saying, but for a newbie like's (nearly) like learning two different languages. I hope once I get started, it'll be a bit easier, in the mean time, I'll just stay confused:)

    Catherine's Women Learn Thai site posted about dictionary software (direct site which shows examples of different fonts. I should and will invest in the full version, it's a fantastic program. Have you tried it?


Feel free to comment.