This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
Feeling Like a Thai…
A month ago, Catherine asked how would I feel writing a post about a list of emotion/feeling words. She got the idea from a post at Mental Floss, Improve Your Vocabulary With the “Wheel of Feelings”.
I said to her ‘Great! I am willing to do it and I feel excited and enthusiastic to complete it.’
When I learnt English I used a similar system to help me understand English emotion/feeling words so I can see how it would benefit Thai learners as well. I was confident and determined to finish the post within a week or two, however, when I started the work I realised this is going to be a long project.
Not only do we, Thais, have our own perceptions about emotion and feeling, but the language we use to indicate emotions/feelings is also so different to English both grammatically and in meaning. Therefore I decided to create a series of posts called ‘Feeling like a Thai’. There are going to be six posts in total; ‘Be happy’, ‘Don’t be Sad’, ‘Oh no! A Thai is angry!’, ‘So scary!’, ‘I’m confused. What have I done wrong?’ and lastly, ‘Wheel of Feelings’.
These posts will help you to use correct words to indicate your feeling in Thai language as well as explanations on how and when to use them.
Today, I proudly present to you the first post ‘Be Happy’. I would love to hear how this post helps you. Please provide some feedback describing how you feel about the post. Are you happy with it? Do you feel encouraged to try it out with your Thai friends? Are you more confident to how to express feelings in Thai? I would be grateful if you could take a moment to write a comment below.
Now, I feel relieved and relaxed that my first post of this series is done as well as feeling gratified that this post is going to help Thai learners. I am so happy! 🙂
Note to beginners: Transliteration along with Thai script is in the explanation of the pdf download at the end of the post (tables are Thai only).
Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy…
Before learning the emotion/feeling words, let’s learn about the grammar as it is very important for you to construct a sentence correctly in order to indicate your emotion/feeling in Thai language.
First of all, I would like us to understand the definitions of ‘emotion’ and ‘feeling’.
[definition] a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
1. an emotional state or reaction.
2. senses detecting what you feel through your 11 inputs; Hearing, Taste, Sight, Smell, Heat, Cool, Pain, Pleasure, Sense of balance (vestibular), Pressure, Motion (kinaesthetic).
As you can see, emotion and feeling, although different, have a very similar definition and are often interchangeable. In my series, I am writing about feelings as ‘an emotional state or reaction’ and I would like to explain in detail how to construct a sentence to indicate our feelings.
When indicating emotion or feeling in Thai the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel (mentally and physically)’, is used as a verb, yet the word ‘รู้สึก to feel’, is commonly omitted from a sentence if the explanation word that comes after is an emotion/feeling word.
In Thai, we view emotions as they happen in our heart, so the word ‘ใจ [Noun] heart [Noun] mind ; disposition ; spirit’ is used to make up many compound words to denote different types of emotions/feelings. For example, ดีใจ [feeling verb] feel delight / be delighted / be happy, is a compound word combined from the word ‘ดี means [quality modifier] be good, be nice’ and the word ‘ใจ’.
Some modifier (adjective/adverb) words can also be used after the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel’ to describe someone’s emotion or feeling. For example, กระชุ่มกระชวย is [modifier] be hale and hearty, be full of vitality, be energetic, and รู้สึกกระชุ่มกระชวย is feel energised.
Subject + (รู้สึก, to feel) + feeling word/explanation.
I feel delight/happy.
I am delighted/happy.
I feel good.
‘ดี means [quality modifier] be good, be nice’ which is not a feeling word therefore when you are not using the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel’ before the word ‘ดี’, without context the sentence ‘ผมดี would be interpreted as ‘I am nice.’
When you want to connect the emotion/feeling with the causes, you should use the link word ‘ที่, [relative pronoun] … that …’
Subject 1 + (รู้สึก, to feel) + Feeling word/Explanation + ที่ + (Subject 1) or Subject 2 + Explanation.
I feel delight/happy that I receive the reward. / I feel delight/happy to have received the reward.
I feel delight/happy that mum comes to see me.
When someone makes or causes someone to feel something, we use the word ‘ทำให้’.
Subject 1 + ทำให้ + Subject 2 + (รู้สึก to feel) + Feeling word/Explanation.
Mum makes me feel happy.
The prefix ‘ความ’ is an element placed at the beginning of a verb or adjective to adjust or qualify the verb’s or adjective’s function and meaning to an abstract noun.
Examples: ดี [quality modifier] be good/nice, ความดี [noun] goodness, รัก [feeling verb] to love, ความรัก [noun] love, จริง [quality modifier] true, real, ความจริง [noun] truth, สบาย [feeling verb/modifier] be comfortable, be relax, be cozy, ความสบาย [noun] comfortableness.
I truly love him.
I would like to know the truth.
He is comfortably sitting (the place, space and time is comfortable for him).
He likes comfortableness.
The prefix ‘อย่าง+’ is an element placed in front of a modifier (adverb or adjective) or a noun to adjust or qualify the modifier’s function to an adverb and the meaning to ‘having a particular quality’, ‘… in that type of quality’, ‘… in the way of …’. It is similar to the use of the suffix -ly in English e.g. brotherly, quickly.
Examples: ดี [quality modifier] be good/nice, อย่างดี [adverb] nicely, สบาย [feeling verb/modifier] be comfortable, be relax, be cozy, ความสบาย [adverb] comfortably, เร็ว [speed modifier] be quick, อย่างเร็ว = [adverb] quickly.
I do the work nicely.
He is comfortably sitting down (he bends down and sits in a comfortable way).
He is quickly sitting down (he bends down and sits quickly).
- Words in brackets can be omitted.
- The level of intensity of the English feeling words is copied from a research article. I tried my best to explain the intensity of Thai feeling words within the descriptions however I still feel every feeling is unique and words cannot describe our feelings exactly as well as the intensity can be subjective.
Downloads: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy…
As this resource is enormous (20+ pages filled with examples and tables, plus audio files to boot) we’ve created downloads for you. Enjoy!
Note: These files are for personal use only (please do not place on other websites).