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


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

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

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

chaao bâan dtàang maa chum-num
The villagers all gathered

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

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

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

taang gaan kăo sàng maa wâa
The officials ordered that

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

fàai dtaa sĕe hŭa klon
the elder

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

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

sùk-rá-nán sái
sùkon is

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.