VIDEO: Classifiers is Essential to Speak Like a Thai

Classifier or unit count (คำลักษณนาม) is essential when you count something in Thai language, so if you would like to speak like a Thai knowing how to use unit count is a must.

The pattern is

noun (something you are counting) + amount + classifier

For example;

two women                       ผู้หญิง 2 คน           pûu-yĭng   2  kon

five bottles of beer         เบียร์ 5 ขวด           beer  5 kùat

four glasses of water      น้ำเปล่า 4 แก้ว      náam-bplào 4 gâeo

I have two books             ผมมีหนังสือ 2 เล่ม                pŏm mii năng-sŭe 2 lêm

She bought 10 shirts       เขาซื้อเสื้อ 10 ตัว                 kăo súe sûea 10 dtua

 

When you place food order at the restaurant, let’s  say you order two PadThai, three bottles of Chang Beer and one glass of ice. The orders in Thai are:

เอาผัดไท 1 จาน เบียร์ช้าง 3 ขวดแล้วก็น้ำแข็ง 1 แก้ว

ao “PadThai 1 jaan”, “bia cháang 3 kùat” láew-gôr “náam-kăeng 1 gâeo

 

Please don’t feel frightened that there are too many unit counts to remember. I think in everyday like we use about 5-10 unit counts. Here is the list of the common Thai classifiers.

kon                  คน      people

dtua                 ตัว       animals, clothes, tables, chairs, letters of alphabet, cigarettes etc.

lêm                  เล่ม      books, notebooks, magazines, *knives, *candles

an                    อัน      pieces of candy, ashtrays, round object, objects with unknown classifiers.

lûuk                 ลูก      fruit, mountains, balls and other round things.

fong                  ฟอง        eggs

krûeang           เครื่อง     radios, T.V.s, refrigerators, computers, electrical or mechanical machines.

kan                   คัน           cars, motorbikes, bikes, *spoons, *forks, umbrellas

chán                ชั้น           floors of building, grades of class in schools, classes of train or airplane seats

hâwng             ห้อง         rooms

dàwk               ดอก        flowers

kráng               ครั้ง         times (number of occurrences)

yàang              อย่าง      kinds of things, number of things

kûu                  คู่             pairs of thing or couple

rûeang             เรื่อง        movies, plays, stories

dtôn                 ต้น           trees

chút                 ชุด           set of things, suits, dresses

lăng                 หลัง         houses

And we use ‘container’ as the unit count of food

bai                   ใบ       bags, glasses, cups, fruits, plates, bottles, boxes, sheets of paper

jaan                 จาน         numbers of plates, rice, food etc.

gâeo                แก้ว         numbers of glasses of beer, water etc.

tûai                  ถ้วย        numbers of cups of tea, coffee, soup etc.

 

Next time you count, let’s count like a Thai:)

 

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47 Responses to VIDEO: Classifiers is Essential to Speak Like a Thai

  1. Jessica 11/02/2016 at 05:02 #

    How would you ask for 2 bowls of quail fried quail eggs?

    And how do you ask for both hard boiled and quail eggs.

    For example:

    I would like both the hard boiled quail eggs and the fried quail eggs, one bowl of each, please. (Or are those card board baskets the quail eggs come in as street food called something other than a “bowl”?)

    And what about those sticky rice doughnuts. Do those count as “round things”?

    What is the classifier for triangle shaped things, like those sticky rice kanom or those delicious fried yellow bean things?

    • Mod 07/04/2016 at 19:43 #

      Quail eggs in Thai is ไข่นกกระทา /kài nók grà-taa/, ‘fried’ is ทอด /tâwd/ so ‘fried quail eggs’ in Thai is ไข่นกกระทาทอด /kài nók grà-taa tâwd/.

      ‘Boiled’ in Thai is ต้ม /dtôm/ so ‘boiled quail eggs’ in Thai is ไข่นกกระทาต้ม /kài nók grà-taa dtôm/.

      The card board basket they use at street vendor is called ถาด /tàad/ (tray)

      You can place order by saying ‘I would like to have one tray of fried quail eggs and one tray of boiled quail eggs’ –> เอาไข่นกกระทาทอด 1 ถาด ao kài nók grà-taa tâwd 1 tàad แล้วก็ láew-gâw (and) ไข่นกกระทาต้ม 1 ถาด kài nók grà-taa dtôm 1 tàad.

      Yes, the sticky rice doughnuts is considered as round things, you can use “อัน/an/” as classifier as well as triangle shaped snacks. 🙂

  2. Henry 07/04/2015 at 18:19 #

    Hi Mod,

    what is the classifier of chopsticks?
    How to say ” Please give me 2 pairs of chopsticks.”
    What is the meaning of the word “duay” in Yindee duay” or “Gep ngeern duay krap”?
    Kawpkoon maakmaak!!

    Henry

    • Mod 08/04/2015 at 22:26 #

      Classifier for anything that comes in a pair is “คู่ kûu”
      You can make a request ขอตะเกียบ 2 คู่ kăw dtà-gìap 2 kûu 🙂

      “ด้วย dûai” has several meanings;
      [1] It is a particle used with telling someone to do something , ‘gep dtang’ is a phrase used when asking for a bill, it is literally translated as ‘collect the money’, so you tell the waiter to collect your money then the particle ‘duai’ is used to make it polite.

      [2] “duai” means ‘too, as well’ , it is used when you want to join in –> do something + “duai”
      Example; your friend is going to a market and you want to join, so you can say “bpai duâi” (go too).

      [3] “duai” is used to express your feeling toward someone
      – ยินดี yin-dii means ‘to be pleased’ , “yin-dii dûai” means ‘I am pleased for you’ or ‘congratulations’
      – ดีใจ dii-jai means ‘glad’ , ‘dii-jai dûai’ means ‘I am happy for you’ as well as ‘congratulations’
      – เสียใจ sǐa-jai means ‘sad’ , ‘sǐa-jai dûai’ means ‘I am sorry to hear that’

      Hope this helps. 🙂

      • Henry 20/04/2015 at 16:32 #

        Thank you very much Mod.
        I will go to เชียงใหม่ next month, I hope I can speak some “pa sa Thai”.

  3. Deescha 07/03/2015 at 04:26 #

    Hi P’Mod,

    I have noticed that in your videos when you say ‘I’, you use your name instead of ‘chun’. Eg: Mod ja bpai gin kaao. Instead of ‘chun ja bpai gin kaao’. Do I use my name when saying ‘I’ or do I use ‘chun’. I’m slightly confused!!

    Thanks!

    • Mod 21/03/2015 at 12:58 #

      Sawatdii ka Nong Deescha, there are many ways to address yourself in Thai language. It depends on the relationship between you and the person you are talking to. ‘chan’ is usually used when talking to a close friend, ‘rao’ is used when talking to a friend that is not so close. It is common for Thai women to address ourselves with our nicknames when talking to an older person or address yourself in general. 🙂

    • Mod 21/03/2015 at 13:00 #

      Please read this lesson: Understand Thai Pronoun ‘I’ –> http://learnthaiwithmod.com/?p=1076

  4. Jeff 25/01/2015 at 18:41 #

    Hey Teacher,

    I really like your website and your videos !

    I have a question :

    Classifiers are use to count. But it’s also use to show something right ?

    like : หมาตัวนี้

    If i want to ask to someone : What is it ? (and showing something)
    Do I have to use classifiers ?

    : อันนี้อะไร ?

    Or can i just say : นี่อะไร ?

    It’s confusing me !

    If i’m in the street and I want to ask “what is this ?” (showing food) Do I have to use a classifiers or not ? And if yes, which one ?

    Thankss

    • Mod 05/03/2015 at 09:42 #

      Sawatdee ka Jeff, apologies for my late response.

      Classifier is also used to indicate something like you mentioned, that is correct. 🙂

      You can also use นี่ which means ‘this’ without a noun and classifier, so อันนี้อะไร and นี่อะไร is the same.

  5. Jeana 14/08/2014 at 15:28 #

    Love these videos, i’m teaching English in thailand and trying to learn some Thai while I am here.

    How would you say “Can I have one more pillow?”

  6. ืืทอม 02/08/2014 at 08:18 #

    Hello Mod.

    I have seen classifier tee for food/dishes like this:
    sandwich neung tee
    or
    tom yam neung tee

    When to use tee and when to use jaan/tuai/chaam?

    Is it true that you can use a general classifier an for small things and
    a general classifier laang for big things?

    • Mod 04/08/2014 at 13:21 #

      Sawatdee ka Tom,

      ที่ /tîi/ is used as a classifier in formal situation for ‘serving’. It is usually used by the waiters in restaurants. If you go to eat on the street, they will just use the container i.e. jaan/tuai/chaam as it is doesn’t need to be formal.

      อัน /an/ can be used as a general classifier for small things. 🙂

      I am not sure what “laang” is (perhaps you meant the word หลัง /lăng/ that is used with houses?), but we don’t have a general classifier for big things. 🙂

  7. เอก 20/04/2014 at 15:49 #

    สวยด้วยเก่งด้วย Keep up your good work! ^^

    • Mod 20/04/2014 at 22:02 #

      ขอบคุณมากค่ะ ^^

  8. Graham 18/07/2013 at 16:50 #

    Hi mod,
    I enjoy your videos especially the ones with role play-it really helps to hear the words used in sentences.
    I see some people here have trouble remembering the 10 classifiers,from my other thai studies i believe you can merely repeat the noun instead of using the classifier for example, pom mee bahn bahn sorng instead of pom mee bahn sorng lang.
    What do you think?

  9. ced 01/06/2013 at 15:55 #

    hi! I really appreciate your videos. I really want to learn thai that’s why i’m doing self-study and by the help of your videos. thank you so much. It will help a lot to me. :))

  10. chester 03/05/2013 at 15:00 #

    Hullo Mod. At classifier lem why is there a * at knives and candles and at classifier kan *spoons and forks

    • Mod 04/05/2013 at 22:10 #

      Sawatdee ka Chester,
      Yes, the word “lem” is also classifier for knives and candles. “kan” is classifier for cars, spoons and forks. I am sorry I don’t know the reason why one word is a classifier for different things.

      • chester 13/05/2013 at 11:37 #

        no problem i was just wondering why there is a star “*” there. ha ha ha your videos are good (cck gamlang gaai and som nam naa are my favourite). sawatdii kap 🙂

  11. Andy 03/05/2013 at 13:58 #

    something i did in thailand a lot was eat soup. lots of soup. more soup than you can shake a stick at. so how would i ask
    can i have 2 bowls of pork noodle soup
    ao som ???? moo ??? ???

  12. phurba 14/04/2013 at 22:32 #

    i always saw you are thai language video i get more knowledge and idea, but only 5 minute then after i forget all the words. i think one day i also forget my name.

  13. lequan20 24/03/2013 at 15:31 #

    I learn the question word ใด้ ไหม, now you wrote ใด้ มั้ย, I do not see and do not know this before. Do I learn wrong?

    • Mod 28/03/2013 at 11:23 #

      “ไหม” is a formal written language. When Thai people say this question word, it is pronounced with high tone so there is a new way to write this word to match the new pronunciation.

      Personally, I prefer to write มั้ย. 🙂

      • phurba 14/04/2013 at 22:14 #

        i am always be the practice thai language and also saw the tv but i can’t the remember the any words, so you have to any suggestion for me how is to improve the thai language?

  14. Kim 24/03/2013 at 01:31 #

    Hi kruu Mod,

    You are such a great Thai teacher on website, I love to learn it very much and I hope some days soon in the near future I will speak and understand Thai language very well. kop kun krap!

  15. Young 21/03/2013 at 15:07 #

    When I went to BKK on last Thuesday(at the time, I met you with my co-workers near the Korean town! Wow!), I bought some clothes and pouch in the ‘Jim Thompsons’ as a gift for my family. When I check the bill, I said “thang-mot thao-rai khrap?”
    But I don’t know what is different between ‘thang-mot’ and ‘kho-la’. Can you explain about this?

    • Mod 21/03/2013 at 18:22 #

      Sawatdee ka Yeong, yes I remember we met. : )

      ทั้งหมด /tang-mot/ means ‘altogether’,but I am not sure about the word ‘kho-la’ you mentioned. Could you give a me a context please? kop kun ka. 🙂

      • Young 22/03/2013 at 14:22 #

        I think I was misinformed.

        “Kheo thot mak khrap~^^”

  16. Tim 21/03/2013 at 05:39 #

    Haaa, I thing,
    Mod mii gra- bpao sip song bai. – at least 😉

  17. doug 16/03/2013 at 23:34 #

    Thank you Mod , I like to learn with you!!
    You are so beautiful !!! Its a true pleasure!!
    I hope i can speak thai for meet more people awesome like you !!
    I wish the best for you.

  18. Pascal 11/03/2013 at 05:12 #

    thank you for this new lesson

  19. Andrew 11/03/2013 at 03:08 #

    Thanks Kru Mod. You are the best!

  20. ราล์ฟ 11/03/2013 at 00:27 #

    What is the classifier for websites? เล่ม?

    • Mod 11/03/2013 at 11:13 #

      The classifier for website is the word ‘website’เว็บไซต์ or in short เว็บ /web/. When the noun and the classifier are identical, the noun can be dropped.
      Example; I have three websites: ผมมี(เว็บไซต์) 3 เว็บไซต์ you can just say ผมมี 3 เว็บไซต์.

  21. Winfried 11/03/2013 at 00:09 #

    Khun Mod,
    the list above shows that ตัว is the classifier for cigarettes บุหรี่ . Would ตัว also be used for packs of cigarettes (ซอง ?) ?
    Thank you for clarification.

    • Mod 11/03/2013 at 11:15 #

      the word pack in Thai is ซอง /song/;
      He smoked two packs of cigarettes เขาสูบบุหรี่ 2 ซอง
      ็He smoked two cigarettes เขาสูบบุหรี่ 2 ตัว

      🙂

      • Winfried 11/03/2013 at 11:30 #

        Thank you!

  22. Elo 10/03/2013 at 22:22 #

    thank you Mod for this new video.

  23. Bond 10/01/2013 at 18:38 #

    Hi mod, nice to meet you. Indi didai lujak kun ^^.
    If I want to one more boild rice in the restaurant, how can I order it?

  24. renta 20/12/2012 at 09:33 #

    haii..i’m a new learner of thai language and aaaa i found it so complicated to speak fluently in thai language..hahaa
    but it’s really nice to try and i think it will be cool if know even just a very little bit of this language..so your blog is really helpful for me.sa-wat di kha..:)

  25. peter 10/12/2012 at 19:48 #

    Dearest Mod,
    I would like know how to pronunciation these word.
    I have difficult thai tone……..
    Can you help me a video?
    thanks………

  26. Kevin 07/12/2012 at 13:59 #

    It is good to know that we only need to learn 5 – 10 of these.
    I have tried to learn others but forget them 2 days after I
    learn them.

  27. Alvin 07/12/2012 at 00:48 #

    คำลักษณนาม..how to pronounce?

    • Mod 07/12/2012 at 10:51 #

      It is คำลักษณนาม (คำ ลัก สะ หนะ นาม kam lák-sà-nà-naam).

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