Natural Symbols in South East Asia (Collected Papers in Oriental and African Studies)

Transregional Research Junior Scholar Fellowship: InterAsian Contexts and Connections
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In this subsection we note more general descriptions of the rather complex setting in Thailand important in understanding communicative functions of Central Thai in their social setting. The issue of International Journal of the Sociology of Language , devoted to Thai sociolinguistics, includes range of current work, some mentioned below. For those interested in the development of the subfield of Thai sociolinguistics, comparisons could be made with the sociolinguistic review of Debyasuvarn and also with an issue of the journal Language Sciences 10 , devoted to papers on Thai sociolinguistics of that era.

Beebe , , presents an impressive set of Labovian studies correlating articulatory alternatives with variables like occupation, age and gender. Multilingualism and language hierarchy in Thailand is the theme of the impressive and informative survey of Smalley , expanding his introduction.

Speakers tend to become bilingual or multilingual in varieties positioned over them in the hierarchical model. These local varieties are not infrequently mixed with or influenced by the standard language. Chamberlain and Khanittanan describe tonal influence of the standard language on Northeastern or Lao varieties.

Diller investigates how tones and segments in Southern and Central Thai are systematically combined in sociolinguistically salient ways. In particular, hybridization is described whereby Southern Thai tones are articulated for what is otherwise Central Thai. This can apply even to the standardized written form. For the north, the interplay of Kam-mueang Northern Thai , Lue and Central Thai in their sociological context is amply elucidated and documented by Moerman , in a closely-focused conversational-analysis framework. Morita , studies the important question of assimilation and language shift among Sino-Thai speakers; her bibliographies are a useful resource for those interested in this issue.

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From another quarter, Chunsuvimol considers communicative networks of Thai workers in Singapore. Dialectology studies of local and regional varieties in Thailand are too numerous to be listed here: many are catalogued and described by Tingsabadh , with leading studies discussed in Smalley Many fine theses completed in Thai universities describe individual local varieties.

Brown and Hartmann treat issues of subgrouping. These works and sources mentioned therein can be consulted for Kam-mueang Northern Thai , Southern Thai and so-called Isan Thai essentially Lao varieties spoken in Thailand. Chantavibulya Panupong appears to be the first detailed linguistic description of a local dialect Songkhla, Southern Thai.

For comparative reference, a remarkable nearby Southern tonal system is acoustically and physiologically analysed by Rose Central Thailand is far from uniform in local speech. For the central-west area, Suphanburi Thai is described by Tingsabadh , , who makes the intriguing and methodologically challenging observation that speakers of this variety really cannot cite their local forms in isolation.

Court describes the unusual tonal system of Traat.

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Early landmark comparisons with focus on tone compare varieties within Thailand, and sometimes beyond: Haas ; Egerod ; Jones Brown , is the first book-length work to cover the entire country in detail. It establishes a convenient visual display for comparing tonal systems and remains a valuable dialectology resource. Many later works describe new varieties or provide further analyses, e. Strecker ; see Tingsabadh Sociolinguistic and political commentary on Thai as a standard national language is provided by Aesrivongse , in Thai , whose viewpoint is summarized and extended by Diller , Studies of conversational Thai by Moerman , , Peyasanitwong , , Hinds a , Chodchoey , and by Iwasaki and Ingkaphirom , elucidate features of colloquial spoken Thai that set it off from the standard written form.

Differences are directly confronted by Tiancharoen and by Chodchoey Politeness markers and similar indicators of interpersonal dynamics are ubiquitous and especially salient in colloquial Thai. These categories are coded by various means: most obviously by address and reference forms and by final particles such as polite final particles [kha 45 ], [kha 52 ] female speaker and [khrap 45 ] male speaker and the less polite [ha 45 ], [wa 45 ], etc.

This continuum generally reflects ascribed deference as well as formality. But the system is complex. Lexical selections in formal Thai cannot be taken as necessarily indicative of marking interpersonal deference, e. Note that [khun 33 X] is uncommon in formal Thai, e. Even syntactic choices are implicated in this complex. Khanittanan a elucidates strategies and issues with great insight, as do Kummer and Bilmes , while Deephuengton turns to disagreement strategies.

Work of Moerman, Hinds and Iwasaki keep such factors in mind as well. Particularly given the impact of broadcast media, most Thai speakers are at least passively familiar with the hundreds of lexical substitutions these registers prescribe, if not always able to control them actively.

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Haas and Jones lay out the complexity of the system, especially as regards degrees of deference ascribed to ranks of royal persons. Gedney provides a convenient outline of these registers, while Kanasut-Roengpitya documents them in greater detail. Poetic Thai and other literary genres have their own special vocabulary and syntax and show points of contact with the type of language used with royalty and the monkhood. Also, the formal metrical requirements of traditional poetry provide a number of clues both as to abstract phonology and as to how Thai may have developed diachronically.

Transregional Research Junior Scholar Fellowship: InterAsian Contexts and Connections

Linguists undertaking work of this type include Warotamaskkhadit a ; Bickner , ; Chittasophon ; Gedney , b ; Hartmann ; Hudak and this volume. General contact issues are introduced in traditional philological studies, see Anuman Rajadhon , A linguistic orientation is taken by Warie , Sometimes overlooked is the importance of foreign language education as an aspect of contact, considered by Chirasombutti In the preceding section, lexical items of the higher diglossic registers were noted.

These in general are etymologically not inherited Tai vocabulary but are loans introduced over many centuries. Perhaps the most concentrated and conspicuous loan element in Thai is vocabulary from Indic languages Pali and Sanskrit.

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Gedney , in a work still of great value, presents a formal analysis and catalogue of many hundreds of words of this sort, mainly nouns and verbs. Historically, Indic vocabulary in Thai can be classified into two types: i traditional loans, accepted into Thai from the thirteenth to nineteenth centuries; and ii coined neologisms created in the twentieth centuries through official institutional action. There are hundreds of both types in current use and distinguishing them is often not a simple matter. Type i were typically introduced in pre-modern times through Khmer or Mon intermediaries, subject to assimilation processes in those languages first, or else from Pali Buddhist sources, i. Most of these loans are transparent in provenance, but not all. Type ii loans were created by literary and technical authorities in an environment of modernization requiring lexical enrichment, but coupled with nationalistic or esthetic sensibilities disparaging direct loans from English or other Western languages.

The solution was to code the Western-based concepts with neologisms constructed from Indic mainly Sanskrit morphemes. The neo-Indic forms created also conformed analogically to various assimilated prototypes already established through type i forms; for example, there was no attempt to pronounce neo-Sanskrit material the way it would be pronounced in India.

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Sometimes shifts have occurred in the designated semantics of type ii items, especially those of the s or s. Wan Waithayakorn , one of the key figures in the coining process, and Prasithrathsint discuss the specifics of how these ii items were introduced. See also Court Austroasiatic, Austronesian and Sino-Tibetan language families have contributed many vocabulary items to Thai at different diachronic periods. Relatively recent loans from Khmer, Malay and southern Chinese varieties like Taeciw are often transparent, while earlier strata feel to Thai speakers like authentic Thai vocabulary and require linguistic scholarship to deduce provenance.

Careful analysis and correct differentiation of diachronic strata from various sources of vocabulary now used in Thai can be considered still in the infancy stage. Surely however such studies are a precondition for convincing discussions of remote or ultimate Tai and Tai-Kadai relationships, be they genetic or some form of contact, if that distinction can indeed be maintained.

Contact with Khmer and other Austroasiatic languages is a topic pursued by Khanittanan and Diller , who both argue for an early period of substantial Thai-Khmer bilingualism. Evidence for this claim lies in the sweep and magnitude of Thai vocabulary that is Khmer-derived Varasarin She is able to show several different diachronic strata on the basis of tone assignment and stop devoicing. One Ayudhya-era level is associated with a Thai court adaptation of the Javanese and Malay Panji tales and many of the loans are literary in character, but other strata have toponyms, names of fruits, etc.

Suthiwan also considers Malay loans into Southern Thai, as does Court , who includes insightful diachronic deductions and disussion.

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More contentious are the earlier levels still. Schlegel advanced the hypothesis, revived and enhanced?

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This topic is pursued in detail elsewhere, whether pro, con or prevaricating: e. Another important contact domain concerns Chinese relationships, again a matter of contention. Work of Egerod , b , Manomaivibool , , , Li and Luo ; also this volume and sources mentioned therein suggest that there are very early, if not genetically inherited, strata of Chinese in the Tai and Tai-Kadai languages.

Manomaivibool carefully differentiates early strata, e. Luo shows the magnitude, basic nature, semantic spread and emphasizes regular correspondence patterns of many items involved. Thurgood a , on the other hand, calls attention to an irregularly-corresponding lexical group taken by Gedney as evidence for a new set of Proto-Tai initials.

Thurgood suggests rather that the items in question represent Chinese loans of various strata, hence the irregularity. This problem is perhaps indicative of more general methodological tensions attending Chinese-Tai or Tai-Kadai diachronic research. Whatever the nature of the ultimate Sino-Tibetan relationship, vocabulary of early eras e. Such vocabulary refers especially to foods, cooking processes, business terms and other transparently Chinese cultural concepts, but also to some pronouns now commonly heard in Thai speech, at least on Bangkok streets.