Thai Language Thai Culture: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly

Thai Language

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Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly…

I have often heard the advice given to people just learning how to read, that they should practice reading Thai street signs. That made me think, why not collect pictures of a bunch of real signs and compile them into a fun practice reader? Since I am always looking for projects to keep this old retired mind from turning to mush I decided to write a short practice Thai reader called “A Field Guide to Reading Thai Roadside Signs” (Available for free. Just drop me a line from my website In doing so I ran across a sign.

Thai Language

Translated, it reads: “For-rest Hill Apartment” Daily – Monthly (I love the “for-rest” part)

In the sign is the Thai word ราย /raai/. One of the meanings of the word ราย /raai/ is “each”. It is also the equivalent of the English ending “ly” when used with time words like “day”, “week”, “month”, and “year”. So, in the above sign, the word รายวัน /raai-wan/ (day: วัน /wan/) becomes “daily”. And รายเดือน /raai-deuan/ (month: เดือน /deuan/) becomes “monthly”. Now we know that these apartments can be rented on a daily or monthly basis.

So, in keeping with my current train of thought when it comes to building my Thai vocabulary, I started looking for other Thai words that are built using the ราย /raai/ prefix. And I bumped into a typical pronunciation problem that all we non-native-Thai speakers tend to heave. There are 2 (at least) different “rye” sounds.


There is ราย /raai/ and then there is ไร้ /rái/. Hey, to my ears the two vowel sounds are almost exactly alike (except for the tones of course). But phonetically the first is a long vowel sound and the second is a short one. I’d like to measure the sound waves produced by a native speaker some day and see how really different these two vowel sound actually are. I myself can’t hear the difference. But I digress.

Instead of worrying too much about the differences in the vowel lengths I thought I would just lump them together and see how many words we can add to our Thai vocabulary using the “rye” prefix. As always, beginning learners can work on learning the individual words. For those further along the vocabulary words are used in complete sentences .

Here are a few “rye” words:

Each –ly: ราย /raai/
Monthly: รายเดือน /raai-deuan/

kăo jàai kâa châo raai deuan
He pays his rent monthly.

Yearly: รายปี /raai-bpee/

พวกเขาแนะนำให้ตรวจสุขภาพปีละครั้ง (หรือรายปี)
pûak kăo náe-nam hâi dtrùat sùk-kà-pâap bpee lá kráng (rĕu raai bpee)
They recommend that you get a medical checkup one a year (or yearly).

Daily: รายวัน /raai-wan/

อัตรารายวันของรถจักรยานยนต์เป็น 200 บาท
àt-dtraa raai-wan kɔ̌ɔng rót-jàk-grà~yaan-yon bpen 200 bàat
The motorcycle’s daily rate is 200 baht.

Weekly: รายสัปดาห์ /raai-sàp-daa/

เขาจ่าย 1,000 บาทรายสัปดาห์
kǎo jàai 1,000 bàat raai-sàp-daa
He pays 1,000 baht weekly

I have yet to find a roadside sign saying รายชั่วโมง /raai-chûua-moong/ (hourly). Although there are lots of hourly hotels/motels around, they usually just say something like “24 ช.ม.” (24 hours). Not that I would know anything about that, of course.

A list of items, a record, an account: ราย /raai/
Schedule, agenda: รายการ /raai-gaan/

gà-rú-naa jâeng hâi chăn sâap raai-gaan bprà-chum
Please tell me the agenda for the meeting.

TV show or program: รายการทีวี /raai-gaan-tii-wii/

keun-née mii raai-gaan tii-wii à-rai bâang
What’s on TV tonight?

Menu: รายการอาหาร /raai-gaan-aa-hǎan/

pǒm àan raai-gaan-aa-hǎan láe sàng aa-hǎan
I read the menu and then ordered.

Report: รายงาน /raai-ngaan/

ngaan kǒng-kǎo keu gaan-kǐan raai-ngaan
His job is to write reports.

Expenses, spending: รายจ่าย /raai-jàai/

เดือนนี้เธอเสียรายจ่าย 1,000 บาท
deuan-née ter sǐa raai-jàai 1,000 bàat
She had 1,000 baht expenses this month.

List (of names): รายชื่อ /raai-chêu/

chǎn dtông-gaan raai-chêu kǒng kon-têe-tam-ngaan te nêe
I need a list of the names of the people who work here.

Earning, income, revenue: รายได้ /raai-dâai/

pǒm gà~sǐan láew láe mâi-mee raai-dâai
I am retired and I have no income.

That last sentence is one we retirees know all too well.

Free from (without): ไร้ /rái/
Carefree (without worries): ไร้กังวล /rái-gang-won/

kâo bpen kon rái-gang-won
He is a carefree person.

Boneless (without bones): ไร้ก้าง /rái-gâang/

pǒm chôp bplaa rái gâang
I like fish fillet (boneless fish).

Ignorant, uneducated (without education): ไร้การศึกษา /rái-gaan-sʉ̀k-sǎa/

kon-ngaan kǒng-rao sùan-yài bpen kon rái-gaan-sèuk-sǎa
Our workers are mostly uneducated.

Incapable, inept, incompetent (without ability): ไร้ความสามารถ /rái-kwaam-sǎa-mâat/

ter bpen kon rái-kwaam-sǎa-mâat
She has no skills (She is inept).

Worthless (without value): ไร้ค่า /rái-kâa/

rót gao nân bpen rót rái-kâa
That old car is worthless (a piece of junk).

In a bit of synchronicity I just picked up the following from listening to Speak Like a Thai Volume 7 – Thai Abbreviations and Formal Thai, Paiboon Publishing which Ajarn Benjawan kindly sent to me. It is a great way to learn more formal (reading) Thai.

Homeless (without a place to live): ไร้ที่อยู่อาศัย /rái têe-yòo aa-sǎi/

kǎo bpen kon rái têe-yòo aa-sǎi
He doesn’t have a place to live (is homeless).

You would think that a “wireless Internet connection” would have the word ไร้ /rái/ somewhere in it (like wireless: ไร้สาย /rái-sǎai/), but nooooo! Instead, a “wireless Internet connection” in Thai is simply ไวไฟ /wai fai/ the same as the English “WiFi”. Interestingly enough, this borrowed word has a pretty good meaning all itself. ไว /wai/ (fast, rapid) and ไฟ /fai/ (electricity). Not bad for a borrowed word coming close to the original meaning – makes it easier to remember.

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
eBooks in Thailand

12 thoughts on “Thai Language Thai Culture: Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Yearly”

  1. Keith,

    Don’t let fonts get you down. Just take a look to the right of this page and see how many English fonts are used. Our brain adjusts to them and then deciphers them all without thinking about them. You probably won’t believe it but it works for Thai fonts too – it just takes a while. The Three-Way Thai English Dictionary (hard copy) and the Talking Dictionary (software, iPod, etc.), Paiboon Publishing, both have lists of all the consonants in lots of different fonts, including handwriting. That should help your brain begin to wrap around this problem.

    Lots of luck.

  2. I found the discussion of raai and rai words interesting, but… and it’s a big but. The whole idea of reading street signs, when you are a beginner, is daunting. It would be much easier if the people writing the signs stuck to one font, preferably garuda. Last time I was in Thailand, a couple of months ago, I had just started reading Thai and naturally you see the signs all around and start to try to puzzle them out. It took about 10 minutes to cotton on to S is ร That’s the easy one. What was U, there could be any number of candidates, from there on it just got worse. Another dimension of difficulty is added. I think I need to find an easy conversion guide to help me decypher these more modern fonts

  3. Martyn,

    Just because you asked, here are a few more “rye” words I just thought about that don’t fall into the categories in the above post.

    อย่างไร /yàang-rai/ – how (as in How are you? It is variation on ยังไง /yang-ngai/)

    อย่างไรก็ตาม /yàang-rai-gôr-dtaam/ – anyhow; anyway

    เท่าไหร่ /tâo-rài/ how many; how much

    ไร /rai/ – bedbug; mite

    ไร่ /râi/ – farm (crop); field (non-rice crop)

  4. I hate to admit this but it takes me several days to read your posts (Cat and Hugh!), I guess I am a slow reader. And the both of you pack so much information, my brain can’t handle it 😛

    Love another opportunity to learn more Thai and understand the structure of the language. Thanks again for all your hard work! 33

  5. Cat, love it! I am always catching myself almost getting hit by cars and motorcy as I walk the streets of Pattaya mindlessly reading the signs, I had to chuckle one day as the one sign I was trying to figure out actually said something to the effect of pedestrians please mind the traffic.:P

  6. Way back when I was still writing for Chiang Mai City Life magazine I wrote a piece called “Can I borrow a Word?” It is a discussion of how knowing English also means that you know hundreds of Thai words too (the borrowed kind). Here is a link to that article,

  7. Catherine you’ve produced another great list of Thai words and phrases to help many of us in our quest to converse adequately in Thai. I like the progressive format you use where slowly the sentences get built up. Even For-rest Gump could follow the sentence structures.

    Do the words rai (area of land) and the rai in arai (what) sound similar to the two raai examples you use. I understand rai is shorter sounding than raai but could a Thai language novice hear them as the same word.

    You include a perfect example to my question in your post.

    keun-​née mii raai-gaan tii-wii à-rai bâang
    What’s on TV tonight?

  8. Loan words are cool, here are a few I’ve heard…

    The most obvious one, to me anyway, is ‘motosai’ then there’s ‘teewee’ (TV) ‘khom-piw-ther’ (computer, often abbreviated to ‘khom’) but far and away the best one was ‘heh-lee-khopter’ which was, in the instance I heard, applied in the same sense as the term ‘butterfly’ for a man who flits from one lady to another “he no butterfai, he heh-lee-khopter!” meaning this person’s particular ‘flitting’ was so rapid that it deserved a new term of reference!

  9. Colin, after studying French I was sorely missing loan words when learning Thai. They are there, just not as many (so cannot fake it as often).

  10. Great informative post. even though i haven’t started learning Thai yet, reading posts like these is making me aware of sentence structure and the borrowed English words in the Thai language.



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