THAI LANGUAGE LESSONS
L3 - Krup and Ka
So finally, we start learning some words.
Before you learn any other words, the first thing to understand is the two polite particles 'krup' and 'ka'. These words are added to the end of sentences to make them sound polite. The important thing to know is that men say 'krup' and women say 'ka'. So if you are a man you should say 'sawatdee krup' and if you are a woman, you should say 'sawatdee ka'.
Let's learn our first words:
|krup||the male polite particle|
|ka||the female polite particle|
|sawatdee krup/ka||hello / welcome / goodbye|
|korp koon krup/ka||thankyou|
You can add krup or ka to the end of almost any sentence to add a feel of politeness. If you are in a long conversation, there is no need to use it at the end of every sentence but you can feel free to use it liberally. You should always try to include it on your opening and closing sentences.
You can also use the polite particles on their own as an acknowledgment or affirmative. If you listen to a Thai man on the phone you will often hear '....krup.....krup....krup' acknowledging what is being said at the other end. Similarly, when you collect your parking ticket from the attendants at car parks they will usually acknowledge you with a simple 'krup'. You can reply likewise.
'krup' - It is common for Thais to drop their 'r' sounds (or sometimes replace the 'r' with an 'l'). You will therefore often hear men pronounce this polite particle as 'cup'.
'ka' - Thai women actually use two different tones for this word depending on how they are using it. For our purposes, you do not need to worry about this distinction.
'sawatdee' (sa-wat-dee) is the universal Thai greeting. Like any sentence, you do not have to add krup/ka but it sounds rather informal without the polite particle. You would normally only say it this way to close friends.
'korp koon' - again it is normal to add the polite particle. Note when Thais speak quickly (as they usually do in most of southern Thailand including Phuket) then this phrase often flows out as 'cop-un-cup' or 'cop-un-ka'.