Tinglish can best be described as an annihilation of the English language. Tinglish language is the ability or inadequacy, it depends on how you view it, to converse in English without the use of proper sentence construction. Its roots are the sole rights of Thai and western joint conversation.
Imagine you were in a rural Thai restaurant and you needed to visit the toilet. Let’s assume your Thai language skills are practically zero and the Thai waitress you’re about to ask the toilet’s whereabouts can only speak a few words of English. If you asked ‘Excuse me young lady could you kindly direct me to the washroom’, the waitress would probably freeze rigid and drop everything she might be carrying. That could be embarrassing and very messy. The answer to the predicament could very well be Tinglish. A 180-degree swing of your outstretched hands coupled with the words ‘ Where toilet stay restaurant?’ would probably bring success. That’s Tinglish.
Sticky Wiki(pedia) explains the mechanics of the Tinglish language.
Tinglish Characteristics and Examples
- Omission of pronouns and of the verb be.
- Use of present tense + “already” instead of past tense.
- Non-use or incorrect use of articles, declension and conjugation.
- Addition of Thai final particles, e.g. I don’t know na.
- Frequent confusion between any and every.
- General misunderstanding of conditional constructions.
- Pronunciation of silent letters in a word.
- Inability to speak consecutive consonants. E.g. “Sprite” pronounced “Sa-pa-rite” or “Universal” pronunced “U-ni-ver-Sal”.
- Use of double negatives.
- Lallation of the H and S pronunciation (and especially the pronunciation of r as l).
Examples of Tinglish Language
Sticky Wiki lists lots of examples of Tinglish language conversation and I’ve grabbed some from under her skirt and listed them below.
- Him boxing you (He will punch you).
- I’m sad when my mother angry me (means is angry with me).
- Are you boring? (Do you feel bored?).
- I’m interesting in football (means “I am interested in watching/playing football”).
I’d like to add a further idiosyncrasy of Tinglish which is the use of commonly known Thai words mixed in with English. It’s an extension of Sticky Wiki’s, ‘addition of Thai final particles’, and is a Tinglish quirk Wonderful Wi and I use quite often as you’ll see in the recent Tinglish telephone conversation I had with the rural Isaan lass.
Tinglish Conversation – Time Difference Explained
It was about a quarter past one in the afternoon in the UK and I decided to make a quick telephone call to Wilai at our village home in Udon Thani where the time was seven hours forward. After five minutes of Tinglish chit chat the conversation disintegrated into absolute farce.
Me: Okay Dek (her nickname) I’ll be going now because Thai movie (TV soap) you like start soon.
Wilai: Not start soon…. now eight oh cock…. movie come half hour more.
Me: It’s not eight o’clock….. it’s eight twenty.
Wilai: I sit outside in kitchen…. have clock… clock speak eight oh cock.
Me: The clock’s wrong…. It’s one twenty here in England so it’s eight twenty in Thailand. Kao jai (understand)?
Wilai: Naaaah…. time not same Angkrit (England) and Thailand.
Me: What’s the time in the living room?
After a short while she returns to the phone.
Wilai: Mai kao jai (I don’t understand). Is eight oh cock kitchen….. eight ten living loom.
Me: Check the time in the bedloom….. bedroom.
20 seconds later.
Wilai: Wiiiiiiiiiiiiii (Thai exclaimation of surprise)…… Ting tong (silly/stupid) Thailand….. eight five bedloom….. eight oh cock kitchen….. eight oh cock and ten minute living loom…. everywhere house not same.
Me: Wilai…. It’s eight twenty two in the bloody kitchen, living loom and bedloom….. kao bloody jai?….. What time is it on your watch I bought you for Christmas last year?
Wilai: Okay I check…. eight twenty three…. I go soon…. speak you tomollow…. movie start two minute.
Have you had any interesting Tinglish conversation lately?
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© 2012, Martyn. All rights reserved.