Posted in: Culture, Thai Language on September 2, 2010

The word for “you” in Thai is “kun”, but this is not the only word we use to refer to people. In Thailand, for respect to older people we call them “you” by many different words to make it more polite, softer sounding, and to feel closer to them.

Kun is very polite and formal, we use it to refer to people that are around the same age .

We use nong (for younger people) and pii (for older people), and we usually use these words to refer to anybody, especially acquaintances, friends, neighbors and colleagues. Also, we can use this for a waiter or waitress in a restaurant and sales people in general. You need to know that they are really younger or older than you for it to sound respectful.

Besides those words, we can call people who are older “you” by using the Thai words aunt, uncle, grand-mom and grand-pa as well. It doesn’t have to be just for your own family.

Kruu Ladawan

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