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How to say “I don’t understand” in Thai, and other survival phrases

ไม่เข้าใจ (mâi kâo jai)

Don’t understand in Thai is simply (mâi), which means no. and (kâo jai) which means understand.

If you’re unfamiliar with Thai accents, you can simply say (my-cow-jai) (you can even remember it like “my cow is jai” whatever that means) however it is much more likely that Thai people understand what you are saying if you use the tones correctly. The little hat is put on the first vowel of the word ( -̂ ) is the falling tone. It literally sounds like falling, with a high pitch transitioning to a low pitch.

Saying “I” for males is ผม (pŏm) and saying “I” for females is ฉัน (chăn).

So if you are a guy, you say (pŏm mâi kâo jai ). Males end phrases with “kráp” to be more polite/formal (pŏm mâi kâo jai kráp)

If you are a female you say (chăn mâi kâo jai ). Females end phrases with “” to be more polite/formal (chăn mâi kâo jai )

Other survival phrases:

We say kho thood when we have made a mistake. It means “I’m sorry” or “I apologize.”

Thai has just only one word for both “Excuse me” and “I am sorry” in English.

Here are some situations where we use kho thot; when we accidentally step or spill on someone.

Or when you need to pass somebody in a crowd; it will be understand as ‘excuse me’ and not sorry in this situation.