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Tinglish is even widespread on official signs in Thailand. Tinglish01.JPG
Tinglish is even widespread on official signs in Thailand.

Tinglish (or Thaiglish, Thenglish, Thailish, Thainglish, etc.) refers to any form of English mixed with or heavily influenced by Thai. It is typically produced by native Thai speakers due to language interference from the first language. Differences from standard native English occur in pronunciation, vocabulary, and grammar. [1] The term was coined in 1970, and several alternative terms have been proposed since its inception, such as Thainglish (1973), Thaiglish (1992), Tinglish (1994), Thinglish (1976), Thenglish (2003), and Tenglish (2012). [1]


Characteristics and examples

Characteristics and examples (direct translation) include [ dubious ]:

Examples of words and phrases

Examples (direct translation) include:

Same sameSimilar, as usual
He same youHe is/looks like you
Open/close the lightTurn on/off the light
No have …There is no ..., I do not have a …
I send you airportI will take you to the airport
I have ever been to LondonI have been to London
I'm interesting in footballI am interested in football
I very like itI really like it, I like it very much
I used to go PhuketI have been to Phuket before
Take a bathTake a shower
She blackShe's dark skinned/tanned
Are you spicy?Does your food taste spicy?
Are you boring?Do you feel bored?
I play internet/phoneI'm using the internet/my phone
Check billCan I have the bill, please?
Where Hugo?Where are you going?


As some sounds in English do not exist in the Thai language, this affects the way native Thai speakers pronounce English words, as displayed in loanwords.

Adaptation of consonants

English consonants with corresponding sounds in Thai are simply carried over, while others are adapted to a similar-sounding consonant. [2]

Adaptation of vowels

Tone assignment

All Thai syllables must have one of five tones (mid, low, falling, high, rising). English words adapted into Thai are systematically given these tones according to certain rules. English loanwords are often unusual in that tone markers are normally omitted, meaning that they are often pronounced with a different tone from that indicated by their spelling. [2] [3]

According to Wei and Zhou (2002), Thai is a tonal language, whose syllables take approximately the same time to pronounce, Thai people often have difficulty with English word stress. They, instead, stress the last syllable by adding high pitch (Choksuansup, 2014). When it comes to vowels, there are 21 phonemes in Thai compared with 15 vowels in English; therefore, it is relatively easy for Thai people to imitate the English vowels. However, the two systems have a significant discrepancy: Thai vowels are distinguished by shortness and length, while for English, it is laxness and tenseness. That explains why Thai English speakers perceive and produce lax sounds as short sounds and tense sounds as long sounds, which gives their pronunciation its uniqueness (Kruatrachue, 1960). In terms of consonants, there are a number of English consonants which do not exist in Thai. This makes it difficult for the Thai to perceive the difference among some sounds and produce them correctly. Instead, they replace the English consonants with the most similar sounds in Thai (Trakulkasemsuk, 2012):

/r/ can be pronounced as /l/ or dropped.

/tʃ/, /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ are altered by Thai /tɕʰ/ (aspirated voiceless fortis palatal stop with slight affrication). /dʒ/ is substituted by Thai /tɕ/ (weakly glottalized unaspirated voiceless fortis palatal stop). /θ/ become either / t̪⁼/ (voiceless unaspirated apical alveolar stop), /t/, or /s/. /ð/ is replaced by /d/ /v/ is pronounced as /w/, and /z/ as /s/ In addition, consonant cluster /st/ does not exist in Thai, so they pronounce it as /sə.t/; for example: stop /sə.tɑːp/. Ending sounds are oftentimes omitted (Choksuansup, 2014).

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  1. 1 2 Lambert, James. 2018. A multitude of ‘lishes’: The nomenclature of hybridity. English World-wide, 39(1): 1-33. DOI: 10.1075/eww.38.3.04lam
  2. 1 2 Kenstowicz, Michael; Suchato, Atiwong (2006). "Issues in loanword adaptation: A case study from Thai". Lingua. 116 (7): 921–949. doi:10.1016/j.lingua.2005.05.006.
  3. 1 2 Nacaskul, Karnchana (1979). "A note on English loanwords in Thai" (PDF). In Thongkum, Theraphan L.; Panupong, Vichin; Kullavanijaya, Pranee; Tingsabadh, Kalaya (eds.). Studies in Tai and Mon-Khmer Phonetics and Phonology in Honour of Eugénie J.A. Henderson. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University Press. pp. 151–162.