Thai Reference Grammar

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Learning Thai language explained by linguistic ways.


T H A IREFERENCE GRAMMAR*****., *** -1',,- **** * \q?r:" j ID This work was compiled and pub.lished with the support of the Officeof Education, Department of Health,Education and Welfare, United Statesof America.RICHARD B. NOSSFOREIGN SERVItE INSTITUTEWASHINGTON, D.C.1964D EPA R T MEN T o F S TAT EFor sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing OfficeWashington, D.C., 20402 - Price $1.25PREFACEStandard Thai, the subject of this reference grammar, is the national spoken lan-guage of Thailand and at the same time an educated variety of the diP-lect of Bangkok,to some extent also of the entire Central Plains region of the country. As such it is themost widely known representative of the Tai language family, which extends from south-ern China to the Malay peninsula and includes present-day speakers in all the countriesof Mainland Southeast Asia. Standard Thai, along with its written counterpart, is knownto some extent to nearly all the people of Thailand, and it enjoys some status as sec-ondary language in neighboring countries as well. As is the case with many nationallanguages, it is difficult to state the actual nbmber of native speakers. The usual esti-mate of 18,000,000 is probably accurate.The linguist responsible for all phases of the reference grammar project has beenRichard B. Noss. The present work is a greatly revised and expanded version of hisdissertation, 'An Outline of Siamese Grammar,' Yale, 1954. The original research wasmade possible by concurrent grants from the Yale Southeast Asia Program and the Amer-ican Council of Learned Societies. The revision and publication was supported by theU.S. Office of Education through a grant to the Foreign Service Institute. Some of theadditional research on which this revision is based was done in Thailand iT. 1.961, whenDr. Noss was serving as a Regional Language Supervisor in Southeast AsiP- for the For-eign Service Institute.Names of principal informants consulted for the study will be found in the Introduc-tion (p.3). They include two other FSI staff members: Mr. Prasert Crupiti and MissChotchoi Kambhu./ R ~Howanl E. Solieabe'IIn, ~School of Language and Area StudiesForeign Service InstituteDepartment of State1.1.1.TABLE OF CONTENTSO. Introductlon 1 IV. Bound Lexeme Classes 133I. Phonology 4 1. Modals 1331. Background 4 1. /khyyn/ Class 1332. Summary 4 2. Class 1363. Consonants 8 3. /maJ/ Class 1384. Vowels 14 4. Mlscellaneous 1435. Tones 176. ProsodlC Phonemes 20 2. Preposltlons 1467. Dlstrlbutlon 24 1. Ina J/ CIa ss 1478. Morphophonemlcs 27 2. /caag/ Class 1483. /dooJ/ Class 152II. Morphology and Syntax 35 4 /rSab/ Class 1541. Summary 35 5. /sag/ Class 1562. Prosodlc Morphemes 38 6. Mlscellaneous 1603. Sub-lexemlc Morphemes 484 Lexeme Composltlon 59 3. ConJunctlons 1685. Syntactlc Constructlons 72 1. /diaw/ Class 1686. Classlflcatlon 79 2. /thaa/ Class 172III. Free Lexeme Classes 81 3. /sYlJ/ Class 1761. Isolatlves 81 4. /cYlJ/ Class 1801. InterJectlons 814.2. Responses 82 Postposltlons 1831. J/ Class 1833. Vocatlves 864. 2. Class 188Imlta tlves 88/baalJ/ Class 3. 1932. Substantlves 88 4. Enumeratlve 1961. Nouns 892. Complementlves 91 5. Sentence Partlcles 2003. Pronouns 98 1. /r5g/ Class 2014. Demonstratlves 102 2. /ryy/ Class 2075. Classlflers 104 3. Class 2156. Numerals 109 4 /nll/ Class 2175. Sample3. Predlcatlves 114 Exchanges 2191. Modal Verbs 1142. AdJectlves 118 Toplcal Index 2263. Transltlve Verbs 123 Index of Forms 2374. Completlve Verbs 125lVTfAI REFERENCE GRAMMARO. INTRODUCTION0.1 Purpose and MethodThe purpose or the present work lS to outllne the maln structural rea-tures or standard spoken Thal, the orrlclal language or Thalland, and also toelaborate by sub-classlrlcatlon and example those structural reatures whlchare least covered by eXlstlng grammars and dlctlonarles. In thls latter cat-egory are the numerous mlnor or Thal ('slgn-words,' 'runctlonalwords,' 'empty morphs,' etc.) Jr lexlcal ltems whose arrangementand condltlons or occurrence are not easlly descrlbed In terms or qUlckly-understood grammatlcal labels, and whose largely non-rererentlal meanlngs arenot easlly translated, or translatable only In terms so broad as to be almostmeanlngless. An lndex or these mlnor rorm-class members lS provlded at theend or the grammar.The approach to classlrlcatlon or grammatlcal reatures attempts to rol-low current technlques or Amerlcan descrlptlve Ilngulstlcs or the 'ltem-and-arrangement' school. Certaln lnslghts dlrectly attrlbutable to other gram-matlcal technlques (transrormatlonal, tradltlonal, etc.) have been explolted,but the results are presented In terms or morphemes and order. From the pOlntor Vlew or general method and SpeClrlC categorles the most userul hlnts havebeen gleaned rrom descrlptlons or languages wlth structures slmllar to Thal.It would be lmposslble to mentlon all or them, but two were outstandlng In-thlS respects The work or Charles F. Hockett on Chlnese (Pelplng) and WllllamA. Smalley's 'Outllne or Khmu? Structure. I0.2. ScopeStandard spoken Thal, the subJect or thls grammar, lS not slmply theaudlble verSlon or a natIonally accepted wrltten language. As an oral manl-festatlon, In ract, It has no orrlclal sanctlon or any klnd. But It lS thelanguage or communlcatlons medla, the deslred If not actual medlum of lnstruc-tlon In publlc schools throughout Thalland, and the prestlge dlalect, repre-sentlng the speech hablts or the maJorlty or educated speakers, regardless ororlgln. Those who are not born to It adapt to It, or surrer the consequences.Perhaps even more lmportant, It lS what rorelgners learn: standard spoken ThalenJoys conslderable status as a second language In Laos, and some status even1n parts or Cambodla and Burma.The reglonal dlalect most closely resembllng the standard language lSthat spoken In the geographlcal area or Thalland called the Central Plaln.1ThlS dlalect centers around Bangkok, the capltal. It extends to the west asfar as the Burmese border, and to the southwest at least as far as Ratchaburl;to the north and northeast lt lS generally bounded by mountalns, but can befound as far away as Pltsanuloke; the eastern Ilmlt lS the Cambodlan border,lncludlng the whole sectlon of Thalland WhlCh lS east of the Gulf of Slam.Except for some lslands of non-Thal speakers, the central and most populousportlon of the country lS thus entlrely blanketed by natlve speakers of adlalect close to the standard spoken language.The prlnclpal lsoglosses separatlng the Central Plalns dlalect from ltSnelghbors to the south, north, and northeast lnvolve the phonetlc shapes andphonemlc dlstrlbutlon of tones. Consonant and vowel correspondences play anlmportant, but lesser role. There are also conslderable dlfferences amongthe ln lexlcon, but apparently very few In syntax. At thlS date ItlS probably safe to say that no natlve speaker of Thal wlthln the borders ofThal,land proper has much dlfflculty In understandlng elther the Central Plalnsdlalect or the standard spoken language, glven a short perlod of adJustment.Ablllty to speak standard Thal, In all areas, varles wlth the extent of formaleducatlon, soclal status, and contacts wlth other groups through work ortravel.On the phonetlc level, the prlnclpal dlfference between the standardlanguage and the Central Plalns dlalect 18 the /r/ - /1/ dlstlnctlon. Asa legltlmate phoneme of a colloqulal Thal dlalect, /r/ probably does noteXlst above the Malay penlnsula. In the Central Plalns dlalect, [rJ eXlstsonly as an unpredlctable varlant of the /1/ phoneme, alone and ln clusters.Most speakers of the standard language make the dlstlnctlon a phonemlc one,but vary as to the lexlcal ltems to WhlCh /r/ and /1/ are asslgned. In thepresent work the cholce between t