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It's useful to know...


I’m Not Fine, Thank You…

From my years of teaching English I have learned that there is a two-line dialog that is ingrained

 in every student of English, probably in the world. It goes like this:

Hello, how are you?
Fine thank you, and you?

As native speakers of English, we know that there are lots of other ways to answer the question

 in the first line of the dialog. But “Fine, thank you” is about as far as the lesson usually goes.

 What if you aren’t fine?

Well, we have almost the exact same problem when we study Thai. I am going to bet that

you have heard this dialog before.

สวัสดีค่ะ สบายดีหรือ
sà~wàt-dee kâ sà~baai-dee rěu
Hello, how are you?

sà~baai-dee kâ

Now usually we don’t really want to discuss our major medical problems with everyone we meet.

That is why a “How are you?” is rarely answered with a list of our physical complaints. “Fine thank you.”

 is much easier. The same goes for สบายดีหรือ /sà~baai-dee rěu/.

You may occasionally hear a ฉันไม่สบายค่ะ /chăn mâi sà~baai kâ/ (I’m not well).

 But more likely they will tell you they are just fine, thank you.

But what if your doctor is the person you are talking to? And let’s say you do want to discuss

your medical situation with him/her. First of all, your doctor would probably not ask สบายดีหรือ /sà~baai-dee rěu/.

The question would more probably be เป็นยังไง /bpen yang-ngai/, literally “How are you?”

but here it is more the equivalent of “What’s up?” or “What brings you here today?”

In English we usually answer this question with “I feel…” (I feel sick), “I have…” (I have a bad cold.),

 “I am…” (I’m depressed.), or using a body part (my feet are killing me). Likewise, when we talk about our health

 in Thai we can also break our complaints into various compartments. Remember that talking about our health is

 a pretty popular past time and there are lots of variations. These are just some of the basics. Let’s look at a few below.


The Thai word for “feel” is รู้สึก /róo-sèuk/. It is used with certain symptoms just as the word “feel” is in English.

As with many forms, the word รู้สึก /róo-sèuk/ can often be dropped without changing the meaning.

  • ฉัน (รู้สึก) ไม่สบาย
    chăn (róo-sèuk) mâi sà~baai
    I (feel) sick.
  • ฉัน (รู้สึก) เวียนหัว
    chăn (róo-sèuk) wian hŭa
    I (feel) dizzy.
  • ฉัน (รู้สึก) อ่อนเพลีย
    chăn (róo-sèuk) òn plia
    I (feel) weak.
  • ฉัน (รู้สึก) กังวล
    chăn (róo-sèuk) gang-won
    I (feel) anxious.
  • ฉัน (รู้สึก) เหนื่อย
    chăn (róo-sèuk) nèuay
    I (feel) tired. ______________

To BE sick or to HAVE an illness…

English uses “be” and “have” with lots of symptoms and diseases. Thai also uses a “be’ word with some of these

but note that the Thai word for “have” มี /mee/ is not used with symptoms and diseases (except pregnancy).

  • เป็นไข้ 
    to have a fever
  • เป็น เอช ไอ วี
    to have HIV
  • เป็นไข้หวัดใหญ่
    bpen- kâi wàt yài
    to have the flu
  • เป็นมะเร็ง
    to have cancer
  • เป็นโรค
    to have a disease
  • เป็นลม
    to be faint, to pass out
  • เป็นหมัน
    to be barren, sterile
  • เป็นหวัด
    to have a cold
  • เป็นอักเสบ
    to have an infection
  • เป็นอัมพาต
    to be paralyzed
  • เป็นเอดส์
    to have AIDS
  • เป็นเบาหวาน
    to have diabetes
    to be diabetic________________

Hurt and Ache…

Then there is the difference between เจ็บ /jèp/ and ปวด /bpùat/. These two are not used in

 the same way just as the English words “hurt” and “ache” are used differently.

They are usually used with body parts.

เจ็บ /jèp/- hurt (pain: short-term, acute)
ปวด /bpùat/ – ache (suffer a continuous dull pain)


  • ฉันเจ็บหัว
    chăn jèp hǔa
    Someone kicked you in the head and it hurts.
  • ฉันปวดหัว
    chăn bpùat hǔa
    You have a headache.
  • ฉันเจ็บขา
    chăn jèp kǎa
    You were playing football and twisted your leg and it hurts.
  • ฉันปวดขา
    chăn bpùat kǎa
    You have arthritis and your leg aches from it.
  • ฉันเจ็บตา
    chăn jèp dtaa
    You were poked in the eye with a stick and it hurts.
  • ฉันปวดตา
    chăn bpùat dtaa
    You have an infection in your eye and it aches.
  • ฉันเจ็บหู
    chăn jèp hǒo
    You are listening to loud music and your ears hurt.
  • ฉันปวดหู
    chăn bpùat hǒo
    You have an earache. ______________

Miscellaneous words used with body parts…

  • (มี)ท้อง
    (mee) tóng
  • แขนหัก
    kǎen hàk
    broken arm
  • คันตา
    kan dtaa
    itchy eyes
  • เจ็บคอ
    jèp kor
    sore throat
  • ตาบอด
  • ท้องเดิน
    tóng dern
  • เท้าบวม
    táao buam
    swollen foot
  • ปวดท้อง
    bpùat tóng
    stomach ache
  • ปวดฟัน
  • มือชา
    meu chaa
    numb hands
  • หัวใจวาย
    heart attack
  • หูหนวก

Hopefully you’ll be fine. In that case, when everything is great and you have no problems to report

you can use this great English loan word that is quite popular in Thailand.

ฟิต /fít/ – to be fit, in good shape

When your doctor asks:

kun bpen yang-ngai
How are you doing?

You can answer:

ฉันไม่เป็นอะไร ฉันฟิตมาก
chăn mâi bpen à~rai chăn fít mâak
No problem. I’m fit as a fiddle.

I have read this article on this website.It's very interesting and useful so i copy to the forum for you.

-- Edited by arwee on Tuesday 29th of June 2010 05:34:22 PM


ARWEE - Manigluck

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