Thai Honorifics and More

While watching my projects, you’ll probably notice that I keep most of the honorifics and some vocabs in tact. This is because honorifics play a really important part in Thai cultures. They determine the person’s status and the type of the relationship. When you address someone, an honorific is usually in a from of a prefix of someone’s name, job, or the type of relationship you have with the person.

Honorifics can be use as a term of respect, a form of an endearment or even an insult. So in the context of lakorn world, honorifics are pretty important. So in order to keep the same feel as the original lakorn, I include these honorifics in my translation while excluding some for an easier understanding.

Khun: This is the most common honorific you will see. It’s an equivalent to Mr., Ms., Miss, or Mrs. It is also used in place of a person’s name, or even when you do not know the person’s name. It’s like a “Hey, you!” but much, much more polite. Khun also gets attached to relative titles for more politeness. For example, Dad (Phor) becomes “Khunphor” or Father.

There are variations to this honorific, such as “Khuntan” or “Khunnai” and more. Usually I would include a translation note in the lakorns themselves if these were ever used.

P': This is another common one. It refers to someone who is your older brother, older sisters, or older cousins. This honorific isn’t limited to your relatives, however. It is used if you have a close relationship to the person (to the point where you consider that person your family). But at the same time, it can be use on strangers as well! It depends on the situation.

Nong: The opposite of “P'”, to address someone who is younger than you. You might not see this as often as “P'” since someone who is older than you does not need to address you by this. It’s more of a term of endearment.

Loong and Pa: Uncle and aunt, in that order. Refers to people who are older than your parents.

Na and Ah: Uncle and aunt as well, however this one isn’t limit to a gender and is interchangeable. Refers to those that are younger that your parents. Here’s the tricky part, however. “Ah” is used with those that are younger than your father while “Na” is used with those that are younger than your mother. I switched to simple Aunts and Uncles for my newer subs.

Nung, E, Ai: You probably won’t see these in my translations but they are used often as an insult. I do not have a real and valid reason as to why I exclude them, it just feels right that way. This brings me to the next one.

[blank]: That’s right! A blank! The lack of honorific means that the person has permission to address them in a very close and intimate way, such as best friends or even siblings. But this can be insulting as well if you speak to someone (be it strangers or an acquaintance) without using any honorifics. It is considered very rude and impolite.

Krub and Ka: These aren’t honorifics but they are used to end sentences or acknowledge that you understand something. Krub is for male and Ka is for female. They’re known as “haang sieng” and are just as important as honorifics if not more. When you speak without using these, it is considered impolite. This isn’t used very often among close friends, however. There are variations to these, like “Haa” or “Ha”. They’re still considered polite but not to the same extent and are usually used by certain people only. (Such as members of LGBT)