The topic is a bit morbid but these are strange times – Greg interviews polyglot and podcast favorite Stu Jay Raj on the roots of the Thai language as they pertain to pain and medicine. They begin trading stories over the fiendishly tricky (for Westerners anyway) pronunciation of the Thai language, and the often hilarious (and obscene) mistakes that can happen, with Stu explaining that (roughly) Sanskrit and Pali are to Thai what Latin and Greek are to English. Stu explains most formal Thai words, especially scientific and academic ones, come from Sanskrit and Pali.
This segways into a discussion of how to interact with medical personnel in Thailand, and all the different Thai words for discussing pain and sickness. Stu emphasizes that Thai words can have double meanings, being positive in one context but negative in another, which turns into a discussion on the Thai words for excrement (really!), which are kind of important to get right, if you think about it. 🙂
Last, Stu gets into the physical differences of pronouncing various sounds to explain Thais’ difficulty in saying various English words. It turns out that pain works in both directions!
Don’t forget to check out Stu’s excellent book Cracking Thai Fundamentals!
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