Sunday, November 26, 2006

Thai Morphology

A surprising number of people happen upon my blog looking for information about Thai morphology. I am not a linguist, but I decided to post what little I know about it. I hope that someone will find it useful.

There is no inflectional morphology at all in Thai. Nouns, verbs, and adjectives do not inflect, nor does any other part of speech. In cases where inflection would communicate essential information, such as number or tense, additional words are used to convey that information. For example, "I walk already" would be the Thai equivalent of "I walked".

Although there is no inflectional morphology, Thai does have derivational morphology using a small set of prefixes. The site has this excellent list of common prefixes which change the part of speech or meaning of the words they precede. Also note that has transliterations of the Thai words below, as well as mp3s of native speakers pronouncing them.

การ converts a verb or adjective into a noun, a general abstract description of the state or static process. For example, ตกปลา (to fish) becomes the general, abstract activity การตกปลา (fishing), a noun or adjective.

ความ converts a verb or adjective into a noun, the general abstract feeling of the action. For example, เร็ว (fast) becomes ความเร็ว (speed), or ร้อน (hot) becomes ความร้อน (heat).

ด้วย just as in English, the word 'with' can have the effect of converting a noun into an adverb. For example, ความนับถือ (respect) becomes ด้วยความนับถือ (respectfully).

โดย converts a noun into an adverb, For example, เร็ว (fast) becomes โดยเร็ว (quickly), or ง่าย (easy) becomes โดยง่าย (easily).

น่า converts a verb into an adjective which expresses an opinion of the verb as worth enacting, similar to the -able suffix in English. For example, รัก (love) becomes น่ารัก (lovable), or เกลียด (hate) becomes น่าเกลียด (hatable).

If there are errors or omissions, please feel free to comment, clarify, or correct me.


Technorati tags: , ,

No comments: