Southern Accent

4 May 2014, TV = 761.4 hours

Possible example of Thai being spoken with a southern accent in this video clip taken from episode 7 of แผนร้ายพ่ายรัก pan rai pai ruk, a lakorn set largely in the province of Phatthalung:

The speech of the three seated workers just doesn’t sound like regular (standard) Thai, and it’s quite hard for me to follow: although I get bits and pieces here and there, I don’t really understand most of what these people are saying.

I’m kind of split between thinking that this is just regular standard Thai spoken with a heavy southern accent – would a lakorn really feature close to three minutes of dialogue that would be barely comprehensible to most of its nationwide audience? – and thinking that, maybe this really is a southern Thai dialect. (Note that only about 14% of Thailand’s population is in the south, see here).

Anyone familiar with southern Thai want to hazard an opinion on this?

The two women who enter mid-scene and remain standing are much easier to understand and sound like they’re speaking standard Thai, though the first to enter sounds like she’s got maybe a tiny bit of an accent or something.

Another lakorn set in the south with characters who speak in what I’m pretty sure is a southern accent is จำเลยรัก jam leuy ruk

Also there’s ตะลุมพุก taloompuk, a movie set in the south. It’s been quite some time since I watched it, and I don’t remember any particular impressions in terms of standard Thai vs. southern accent vs. local dialect, though I do seem to recall seeing some subtitles.

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3 thoughts on “Southern Accent

  1. Nick

    Like yourself, I can catch bits of it but I’m not completely sure about what they’re are saying. Still, it’s good that you can distinguish different dialects and accents. A lot of foreigners (falang?) can’t even do that at all!

    Reply
    1. adamf2011 Post author

      I have to confess that although the sound of the characters does remind me of the southern accent that I’ve heard some of my teachers put on at AUA (and none of them actually being from the south), I’m not sure that I would have made the identification if it weren’t for the context of place: I knew that this scene was set in the south, as is probably something like two thirds of this lakorn. That combined with the fact that the language sounds quite different from standard Thai — and is so much harder to understand — led me to suspect that this is southern Thai.

      For contrast, listen to Namwan (the younger woman who’s the last character to enter the scene) — I would say that what she’s speaking is purely standard Thai.

      But is it dialect, or just a strong accent?

      I’ve actually gotten much more exposure to the languages of the north and northeast; I only went to the south one time.

      Reply
  2. Pingback: Isaan Idyll | learning thai without studying

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