2 Words for Dogs and Pigs in Thai สุนัข, สุกร, หมา, หมู (sù-nák · sù-gon · măa · mŏo)

by | Apr 18, 2020 | Vocabulary

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Have you ever heard the word สุนัข or สุกร (sù-nák or sù-gon) in Thai news and got confused?

It must be some kind of animal that you have not learned. If you don’t understand you are not alone. These two words simply mean DOG (sù-nák) and PIG (sù-gon) but in a more formal way. Let’s see why you are not alone. Here are 2 Words for Dogs and Pigs in Thai.

Dogs and Pigs in Thai
Dogs and Pigs in Thai

Background

There’s a Thai song that is very well known called pôo yài lee (head of the village named lee). The song talks about the head of the village who went to have a meeting with the government officials. He came back with the news that the government wants people to raise duck and pig. If you already know some Thai you would expect to hear the word เป็ด and หมู (bpèt and mŏo)

But here, the government happens to use the formal word for pig which is สุกร (sù-gon). People asked the head of the village what สุกร (sù-gon) means, and he said with confidence that it’s just a little normal dog (หมาน้อยธรรมดา măa-nói-tam-má-daa). It’s a funny song and is used to criticize the ‘educated’ officials and their miscommunication with villagers.

Watch 1:35-2:10. Here is one part of the lyric that most Thai people know (if not ALL Thai people).

pôo yài lee Lyrics

พอศอสองพันห้าร้อยสี่
por sŏr sŏng-pan-hâa-rói-sèe
Year 2504 (Thai Buddhist counting system)

ผู้ใหญ่ลีตีกลองประชุม
pôo yài lee dtee glong bprà-chum
The head of the village Lee hit a drum to announce a meeting

ชาวบ้านต่างมาชุมนุม
chaao bâan dtàang maa chum-num
The villagers all gathered

มาประชุมที่บ้านผู้ใหญ่ลี
maa bprà-chum têe bâan pôo yài lee
They met at Lee’s house

ต่อไปนี้ผู้ใหญ่ลีจะขอกล่าว
dtòr bpai née pôo yài lee jà kòk lâao
From now on, Lee wants to say

ถึงเรื่องราวที่ได้ประชุมมา
tĕung rêuang raao têe dâai bprà-chum maa
About the issue that he had before (with officials)

ทางการเขาสั่งมาว่า
taang gaan kăo sàng maa wâa
The officials ordered that

ให้ชาวนาเลี้ยงเป็ดและสุกร
hâi chaao naa líang bpèt láe sù-gon
they want the farmers to raise duck and pig

ฝ่ายตาสีหัวคลอน
fàai dtaa sĕe hŭa klon
the elder

ถามว่าสุกรนั้นคืออะไร
tăam wâa sùkon-nán keu à-rai
asked what sùkon is

ผู้ใหญ่ลีลุกขึ้นตอบทันใด
pôo yài lee lúk kêun dtòp tan dai
Mr. Lee got up and responded right away

สุกรนั้นไซร้
sùk-rá-nán sái
sùkon is

คือหมาน้อยธรรมดา
keu măa-nói-tam-má-daa
a little normal dog


To summarize สุนัข (sù-nák) is just another word for dog. สุกร (sù-gon) is another word for Pig. The common words for dog and pig however are หมา and หมู (măa and mŏo) respectively.

I hope it’s all clear to you now that you are not the only one who did not understand formal Thai words. Keep practicing and I will see you in the next blog.

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