Thailand offers many tourist destinations across the country from North to South. There is something for everyone in the country – amazing beaches, waterfalls, mountains, temples.
We often hear foreigners pronounce names of provinces or cities in Thailand different from the way Thai people do because the transcription in English doesn’t represent the actual pronunciation. If you can’t read Thai scripts then you will likely to say these name wrong and it is not a bad thing. However if you would like to improve your pronunciation and make yourself sound like a local, we show you how to pronounce 10 popular cities in Thailand in this video.
- กรุงเทพ Bangkok
- พัทยา Pattaya
- ภูเก็ต Phuket
- กระบี่ Krabi
- สุราษฎร์ธานี Surat Thani
- สงขลา Songkla
- ขอนแก่น Khon Kaen
- กาญจนบุรี Kanchanaburi
- เชียงใหม่ Chiang Mai
- ปาย Pai
This is great, I’ve definitely been pronouncing these badly for a long time 😉
I went to Kanchanaburi recently & now I know why people can’t understand me when I say that word.
I am happy to hear that you learned something new from this lesson. 🙂
To Jonathan Bailey:
This word consists of three syllables [สี-รา-ชา see – raa – chaa] and two meaning roots [ศรี + ราชา see + raachaa]. Both parts were borrowed from Pali and Sanskrit.
ราชา /raachaa/ means “king”, “royal”, “of or pertaining to king”.
ศรี /see/ means “majesty”, “glory”, “honor”, “splendor”. But mostly it is used as an honorific prefix-word for names or places.
Originally in Sanskrit Thai word ศรี [see] sounds as [shree] (ศรีลังกา – Sri Lanka, ศรีอรพินโธ – Sri Aurobindo) (or another version is ศิริ [si – ri]) and the same word in Pali is สิริ [si – ri] or สิรี [si – ree]. They are also used in Thai proper names as a prefix-word with meanings สิริ -“fortune”, “grace”, “luck”, ศิริ – “majesty”, “glory”, “honor”, “splendor”, “auspicious”, “majestic”, “honorable” (ศิริราช – Sirirat [a Thai given name] and the name of Hospital, ศิริพร – Siriporn [a Thai female given name] (splendor, glory, and blessing), สิริกิติ์ – Sirikit [the name of Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand], สิริรักษ์ – Sirirak [a Thai given name], สิริวัฒนา – Siriwattana – name of the first daughter of their Majesties the King and Queen).
Thai word ศรีราชา with Sanskrit-Pali origin has a special reading, which is out of any regular rules. It has a special combination ริ, where the letter “ro” is “silent” without any grammatical operator. Thai pronunciation also attributable to the fact that the consonant cluster ศร /sr/ doesn’t occur natively in Thai speech. You just have to remember this word.
The international writings of geographical names are realized according to toponomical standards. In our case Si Racha is the official transcription of the Thai pronunciation.
There are many another thai geographical names with prefix-word si: Nakhon Si Thammarat นครศรีธรรมราช, Sisaket ศรีสะเกษ, Si Ayutthaya ศรีอยุธยา.
Jonathan Bailey says
Kruu Pear, What is the correct pronunciation for Sriracha (ศรีราชา)? Is it two words, or three? It is becoming popular in the US, and getting co-opted as red and green versions, and not made with Thai chilis. The green version is being made with jalapeno peppers,
I love the red Sriracha sauce. This word is read “see-raa-chaa”. The first syllable is pronounced with rising tone, and the “r” is silent. The other two words are pronounced with middle tone. 🙂
Jonathan Bailey says
Thank you, Kruu Mod. Americans see it as one word and tend to pronounce it with emphasis on the second word (syllable), “SiRAcha,” which makes me cringe a bit. I’ve been to Sriracha a few times as I have a brother-in-law that lives there. It’s funny to see road signs and signs on government buildings spelled several different ways in the Romanized version of the name, often within a few meters of each other.
Andrew Ely says
Hi Kru Pear. What about Ayuthaya? I hear that pronounced many different ways by farang.
Sawatdee ka Khun Andrew, Ayuthaya is read “à-yùt- tá-yaa”. We will do the second video on this topic in the future. 🙂
Marc Paul Savageau says
Sawadee krob. Your video lessons are very help ful, thank you. I will start living half years in Thailand and wonder if you can recommend a good language school. Our house is in Bang Huay Yai (about 10 km south of Pattaya) and I would like to start in November.
Sawatdee ka Khun Marc, thank you for your comment. Unfortunately I don’t know any language school in Pattaya. I live in Bangkok and Pear lives in Hua Hin. You could make a post asking for a recommendation on Bangkok Expat Facebook group, many people can give useful advice there.
In case you can’t find a school that is convenient for you to get to, I would like to suggest you to try Skype lessons with us. Our Skype lesson is the same as in-person lessons but through web camera, so you can start learning Thai right away from wherever you are! We have been teaching students from around the World ; America, Europe, Australia, Asia over the years. From our experience we find that Skype lessons are as effective as in-person lessons.Please find further details via the link below:
We always prefer meeting the student for a complimentary lesson to find out what the student wishes to achieve and how we can best work together. If this is convenient for you please write me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free trial lesson.
Reinhard Duening says
Many Thanks for the fantastic video about provinces and cities in Thailand. See you soon.
Thank you for your comment. We are happy to hear that you enjoyed the lessons.