Killing Birds Efficiently — In Thai

13 November 2014, TV = 968.2 hours

Unlike the last Thai expression that I looked at — which really did turn out to be cryptic1 — this one has a meaning that should be familiar to any English speaker, despite the substitution of a gun for a stone.

Alin continues to scheme, in this scene from episode 7 of สูตรเสน่หา (soot saneha):

As far as I can tell, here’s what Alin says (I’ve set off the actual expression in quotes):2

…เรียกว่า   “ยิงปืนnahtเดียว ได้นกสองตัว” — perfect!

My guess is that naht might mean bullet or (gun)shot; or maybe it has something to do with specifying a quantity of guns?3

I have to wonder about provenance. Where did Thai — and English, for that matter — get this saying from? Did the expression move from language to language (and culture to culture), or could it have evolved independently in different times and places?

Oh, and the title of this post might be a bit misleading: unlike the English, the Thai expression doesn’t explicitly mention killing; nonetheless, things don’t look too good for the two birds. As for soot saneha: it’s a cutesy romcom — not the kind of thing I’m usually drawn to, but I’m finding it very watchable and increasingly enjoyable.

* * *


1. รักยาวให้บั่น รักสั้นให้ต่อ: At first my problem with this saying was with the vocabulary — one word I didn’t know and another being used in an unfamiliar way. But even after a commenter cleared up the vocab for me, I still couldn’t make heads or tails of the expression. It turns out to be a very elliptical saying — which I never would have understood without an explanation. Luckily the same reader left further helpful comments; see Cryptic Aphoristic for the full schmear.

2. With the exception of “naht,” I was familiar with all these words and was able to get their spellings by using google translate. I couldn’t however find naht. For using google translate in reverse to look up spelling, see this post.

3. For the most part, Thai handles the issue of quantity very differently than English does.

2 thoughts on “Killing Birds Efficiently — In Thai

  1. Bee

    อย่างนี้เค้าเรียกว่า ยิงปืนนัดเดียวได้นกสองตัว
    นัด = (gun) shot
    นัด แปลได้อีกอย่างหนึ่งว่า appointment

    1. adamf2011 Post author

      That’s interesting because I already knew นัด in its sense of “appointment” (or “date”) but failed to recognize it in this scene, where it has the other meaning.

      Thanks again, Bee!


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