Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The most awesome Thai names

Thai people have a wonderful culture with much to be proud of. They also have (at least to an English speaker with a puerile sense of humour) the funniest language in all of Asia. In spoken form, it doesn't actually sound all that funny, but when Thai names and words are transcribed into Roman script, it's hard not to crack a smile. I mean, who hasn't read the menu at a Thai restaurant and shared a giggle at dishes such as gang dang and phat prik?

And of course there are place names such as Bang Sue, Baan Sukchoke, Dong Rak and Ban Pornpis. If you don't find those things even a teeny bit funny, you are way too mature for this blog post.

Bear in mind that because Thais have their own alphabet, there is no standard way of spelling Thai words and names in Roman script, so you will have many variations - pad thai can also be written as phat thai, for example.

Of course, a lot of the humour to be derived from Thai names comes from how you think they would or could be pronounced, rather than how they actually sound in real life. Thus names like Pachrapa or Chumphorn can be funny when you read them but not especially so when you hear them said by a Thai.

Other names, like Poonlarp, might require a little bit of cultural and/or pop cultural knowledge to get why they are funny - larp (or laap, or larb) is a kind of salad made from ground meat, so larp made from poon is an interesting concept.

Certain sounds that frequently turn up in Thai names are innately amusing, at least to my infantile mind. One is "-sak", which corresponds nicely to the English word "sack" meaning both a bag to carry things in, and a scrotum. Thus you have names like Choosak, Damrongsak, and my personal favourite of all Thai names, Terdsak. All of which can conjure up some nice mental images.

The other one of course, is "-porn", which is sometimes written as the less amusing "-pon". Which gives rise to names like Jesdaporn and Pornthip. Sometimes there is a convergence of rude-sounding words such as Pornsak. The best of all, however, is undoubtedly Supaporn. You really can't get better than that.

Of course, plenty of Thai names are just awesome without being naughty-sounding. There's something about the name of (politician) Somkid Jatusripitak which I just love. While names like Lada Engchawadechasilp (a former Miss World contestant) or Kejmanee Pichaironnarongsongkram (actress and singer)are admirable just for being so damned difficult to pronounce without considerable practice.

But lest you think I'm singling out Thai names, you can find examples of this sort of thing in pretty much every language and country. India, for example, has wonderful names like Jayant Bhatt, Deepa Dikshit, and Priti Kanthi. And it should be pointed out that while Thai names can seem funny to the English speaker, English names can be just as funny to Thais, depending on how they are pronounced (Thai is a tonal language, so there can be various ways of pronouncing a word). For example, according to this article at least, the name "Jim" sounds a lot like Thai slang for "vagina", while "Johnson" sounds like the term for "small penis".

Got some more names to share? I'd love to hear them.

Above: Terdsak Jandaeng. I dare you to tell him why his name is funny.

See also: Interesting Asian restaurant names


  1. hgahaha..funny lah u
    i'm learning basic thai in uni..
    my God do they have super hard long to pronounce names!
    thank goodness they all have chu len which makes it funnier at times such as kung,tengmo, donat,bom! and such! hahaha

  2. I dunno if anyone reads this anymore or keep it updated. I'm a half breed thai american, my middle name is Choosak. The sak part of the name is not suppoused to be pronounced as sack. Let me break it down for you Choosak pronounced in english is as followed Chewsock. How in the bloody hell did you mistake that? Back to rosettastone.

  3. @ Andy:
    Thanks for the info, but let me quote directly from the article:
    Of course, a lot of the humour to be derived from Thai names comes from how you think they would or could be pronounced, rather than how they actually sound in real life. Thus names like Pachrapa or Chumphorn can be funny when you read them but not especially so when you hear them said by a Thai."
    "Chewsock" is still kind funny though.

  4. fuck you for laughing at ppl's names. you think that ure fucking perfect? with nice name? where's your sense of respect? racist!

    1. Racist?? What (ha ha) are you (ha ha) talking about!!!??? @_@ Idiot! The first, check out definition of this word. You're Making a Fool of Yourself! (because you are!).
      Racist...ha ha! Gosh! Why do you, people have a tendency to abuse words you TOTALLY don't know. GTH

    2. Don't you mean "lacist"?

  5. haha i found this post quite funny and you are right the name priti kanthi will sound diffrent if I pronounce it.. it would say pree/thee Khaanthy

  6. i'm half thai and my dad's name is jean-claude (thai for vagina/birth canal). nuff said.

  7. most of the names you're talking about, are not as funny as you think they are if you say them correctly. I.e. "porn" is pronounced "pahn", generally an "r" is silent in the standardized thai to roman letter conversion - and yes there IS a standardized system for spelling thai words in roman letters. unfortunately English has so many variations, the standardized conversions don't really help English speakers say the words correctly - pahd thai should, at least for americans, be spelled pod tie, Krahbi; grah-bee, larb; lob.

  8. A lot of the humour in pronunciation comes from the fact that the Romanization seems to be based on British phonology. As pronounced by British people, they sound much more like the correct Thai pronunciations.

  9. waitress sookie sexbomb

  10. Who cares how they are pronounced...the whole theme is that this sh#t was funny. If you are uptight apparently you got made fun of way too often.

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  12. my friends last name is kalunasataporn. get wrecked!

  13. And name: SOMSAK... ha haaaaaaaaaaaa

  14. Cute girl, and a real person.. Pitchaporn Boonkittiporn... yes, for real.

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