To Paw or to Pour ?

Now this may seem a silly question, “To paw or to Pour” ?

So try saying each word after each other, Paw then Pour. There is a slight difference and you probably have not noticed and just took it for granted.

Well there are two things that when you live or visit Thailand, you can take from this.

Thais speak in a tonal language and one word, may sound the same as another but its not, there will be a slight difference, The differences are in the inflection in how its said. The Thai take if for granted and don’t even think about it.

So if you come from south east Asia and speak , Mandarin, Cantonese,  Punjabi or Urdu for example, you have an advantage, your hearing will already be tuned to these inflections, as you already speak a language with inflections in them. Cantonese is the most complicated with 7 types of inflections.  I spent a few years in Kowloon, Hong Kong, and went on a two week Cantonese language course. Mmmm well it was no good, as it takes years to learn the language, coupled with the fact the locals don’t expect you to speak their language and therefore don’t listen.

When we were learning the few phrases, we had the words we were learning, written phonetically, and numbers , 1 – 7 written beside the word to tell us how the put the inflection on each word. For example, one word would start on a flat plain and then at the end of the word your tone would go slightly up, or go slightly down. Each word would be spelt, or sound similar, to the European ear but the up or down inflection  would change the words meaning completely.

The Thai language is the same, words sounding the same but are said different and have a completely different meaning.

I am not trying to put you off learning to speak Thai, your attempts to speak Thai will be greeted with enthusiasm and they will be overjoyed if you try, no matter how bad you

So if you hear a Thai person say “Paw” when you are pouring some beer, wine or water, they are asking you to stop, and not asking your to “pour” more  The words sound similar, but are different, and as you can see mean the opposite

Personally I prefer Pour lol

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