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.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

So, is it soon, soon or soon?

I'm mastering about one Thai phrase a week. When I say mastering, I mean, I can be understood! That's gotta be a good sign...right?

ในเร็วๆนี้ or nai reo roe nii


First I learnt it as เร็วๆนี้...from a Thai. Pronounced row (as in ruckus) row knee. Sorry about the personal transliteration system and I'm forgetting the nai (ใน) part for now.

It seemed to work a few times, but then I hit a brick wall. So the other night I asked a young Thai lady who is teaching English, how to pronounce it.

"loo (as in toilet, loo) loo knee"....she quickly corrected herself to "roo (as in kangaROO) roo knee".

I went to my now FULL version of the Thai-English-Thai dictionary and listened to the audio.

Definitely a rolling Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrr and pronounced 'rayo rayo nii' today I'm talking to the Thai massage lady (not the one who left me in a tranquil but pretzel like state) and said 'I will come back rayo rayo nii'.

Que!...I repeat myself and she gives me another screwed up face in return. OK!!!! I establish 'slowly' = cha cha. Then 'quick' = rayo. Ohhhh...she says...'leo' (as in Leo the lion). So her version of 'soon' = leo leo nii.

I give up!

See what else we're up to at Cooee!


  1. ร's are funny things... Some Thais say L for R (ร). Some Thais say R. Some Thais roll their R's (especially if they are on Thai tv). And some Thais say L unless they are instructing expats, and then they'll insist that it's R and they'll string that sucker out in a long roll.

    In my mind I see Thai teachers armed with rulers, marching between between school desks, whacking any student who says L and not the rolling R...

  2. Hi Catherine, I can deal with the schizophrenic R/L... sort of, if I really have to. The vowels that follow the R, in this case, are baffling me. If you get a chance, listen to the version of 'soon' in the know, the one I DIDN'T WIN! and let me know what you think.

    I guess next week I'll finally have a teacher on hand to drive completely nuts with all of my questions :)

  3. Ok, for your answer (I had to ask as I haven't heard it)

    You are in Chiangmai, in the north of Thailand. Also in your area (more likely than Bangkok, where I live) are those from the Hill Tribes and Myanmar. When they speak Thai, they won't have exactly the same pronunciation as Thai locals.

    Apparently this situation is aften used in Thai TV shows. Scenes where the boss cannot understand the help. So they are Thai versions of Fawlty Towers.

  4. Thanks Catherine,I hope when I gain a better understanding of vowel pronunciation, I will feel more confident, that I am right and they are... well, just pronuncing it differently.

    I'm relieved to know that it's not just me!

  5. Snap, definitely not just you...I have given up on R's and pronounce them as L's now because just like you if I pronounce it correctly I get the screwed up face.

    Now if the damned language will stop turning r's into n's at the end of certain words I will be much happier.

  6. Talen, I'm learning to say words first with an R and then with an L. And, I refrain from songthaewing it to Wararot market;) too much of a mouthful. I have only recently realised that R's on the end or in pairs are a whole different ball game.

    Somewhere out there is a brick wall waiting for an imprint of my head.

    Although...having said all of that, I am glad that I'm not learning English from scratch!

  7. Soon is pronounced 'snart' in Swedish.

    Almost totally irrelevant, tangentially linked through the meaning of soon.

    However, I still find it an amusing word to say.
    My second-favourite non-English word.


    It seems like something from a Lewis poem.
    "The Snart Who Lived in the Village Pond".

    That's it. Nothing to see here. Move along please.....

  8. Fred, snart is a great word! Did you know it's also (unofficially) a cross between a fart and a sneeze? Isn't Google wonderful ;)

    I started school today, I can drive my teacher crazy with questions...poor thing.


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