There are 3 levels of scolding somebody in Thai. In this article, let’s learn the 3 words to say to scold in Thai with ว่า, ดุ, ด่า (wâa · dù · dàa).
Let’s start with the lightest one.
#1 ว่า (wâa)
This is the lightest and most polite form of saying to scold somebody in Thai. The feeling that this word gives out is a soft criticism with negative emotion. Logical and wise criticism.
- My mom scolded me that I didn’t study hard.
mâe wâa chăn wâa mâi dtâng jai rian
- My friends scolded me that I am selfish.
pêuan wâa chăn wâa hĕn gàe dtua
- I was scolded (that) I didn’t do well
mêua waan chăn dohn wâa wâa tam mâi dee
Look at the above sentence. The double ว่า (wâa) is not a typo. It has 2 meanings. The first wâa is to ‘scold’. The second wâa is ‘that’.
Even if you are scolded very harshly (which is not wâa anymore). But you want to sound polite to someone that you are telling this information to, you will use the word wâa.
#2 ดุ (dù)
This word has 2 similar meanings. First, let me explain the second meaning so you will understand where this word lies in the spectrum of ‘scold’.
The second meaning is aggressive, fierce. Here is an example:
- The dog is aggressive. Be careful. Don’t get close.
หมาดุมาก ระวังนะ อย่าเข้าใกล้
măa-dù mâak · rá-wang ná · yàa kâo glâi
Let’s go back to our first meaning of ‘scold’. This word gives out a feeling of criticism with anger. It’s a fierce criticism with a strong tone of voice. It’s the second step above ว่า (wâa). Let’s take a look at some examples:
- The teacher scolded me that I copied my friend’s homework.
kroo-dù chăn têe lôk gaan bâan pêuan
- My boss scolded me that I forgot to call him.
jâo-naai-dù chăn têe leum toh hăa kăo
#3 ด่า (dàa)
This one is the highest and most aggressive way to scold somebody. The nuance of it is aggression + bad words + bad hand gesture + illogical.
- Yesterday you got back home late, so I got scolded.
mêua waan glàp bâan dèuk gôr loie dohn dàa
- Whether I do well or not well I get scolded all the time
tam dee rĕu mâi dee gôr dohn dàa yòo rêuay
Among friends surely this is the most used form of ‘scold’ when you tell a story because even though you just got scolded lightly, you tend to want to exaggerate it a bit and say that you got scolded severely.
I hope you now understand the differences between ว่า, ดุ, ด่า (wâa · dù · dàa) and know which one to use to when you want to say scold in Thai language.