08
Jan
11

Inigio in Thai

A friend from college posted the following on Twitter today:

From: @rumpfshaker
Sent: Jan 8, 2011 1:17p

A friend has decided to learn “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” in as many languages as possible. #awesome

Dear Sarah,

I’m going to do my best to explain how your friend can say this iconic quote from The Princess Bride in Thai.

The main thing obstacle with spoken Thai is that applying the correct tone to each syllable is crucial in conveying the correct meaning. It would be much easier if your friend could read Thai, obviously, but I will do my best to help using non-traditional explanations

(Note: If you are a Thai language geek like @thai101 or @Thai_Talk, feel free to make better suggestions in the comments below.)

First thing Sarah, we’ll give an approximate transliteration of the quote:

Poem chuehr Inigo Montoya. Coon kah paw poem, tree-em tua tie.

Poem (me, formal male) is actually one syllable (poe ending with an m consonant, not po-em) and the tone should rise making the word sound like a 1-word question (poem?). It is pronounced the exact same for both instances in the quote.

Chuehr (or name) is a bit difficult, because there is not really an English equivalent for the sound, but it sounds like chew with an ‘r’ sound instead of a ‘w’. As for the tone, think of how it falls when you use Hmm (as in “Hmm, I wonder who let the dogs out?”), then apply that to chuehr.

Coon (normally spelled in English as khun) is the formal Thai for “you” and has no tone, so don’t need to go high or low, but keep the “oo” short. So it’s not like “Cooon” but sounds a bit clipped.

“Kah” (meaning ‘kill’) has the same falling tone as with “poem” which we saw earlier. Think of how someone with a heavy Boston accent says “car” and that’s exactly it.

“Paw” (father) is pronounced as it sounds, also with the falling tone.

“Tree-em tua tie” (prepare to die) is pronounced with a middle tone for each syllable, but the tricky part is all the t’s do not sound like t does in English. In linguistics terms, these t’s are unaspirated, so when you say these three words, try not to pronounce the t’s with any little puffs of air, or like hard d’s. Think of how Tony Montana from Scarface says “That’s (or dats)” like in “Dats okay, another Quaalude she love me in the mornin.”

Hope this helps!

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2 Responses to “Inigio in Thai”


  1. March 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    I confess, this blog post came under my radar while ego-surfing. You could have officially notified me, my dear Jack, of any mention of moi in one of your blog posts! But better late than never, eh?

    This is one of my most favorite movie lines! I’ll give it a stab. This is a dramatic scene in a period film and calls for a period language. Señor Montoya isn’t likely to call himself “phom” or his nemesis “khun” as the pronouns are modern.

    “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
    in Thai> “Khaa chue Inigo Montoya. Than khaa paw khaa. Chong triam tua taay.”

    Notes:
    1) Khaa ข้า is an old first-person pronoun, which can be used by either male or female. Chosen because Montoya was a gentle nobleman. If he had been a common man or not a gentleman, he might have used the more impolite “Kuu.”
    2) Than ท่าน is an old polite second-person pronoun (now used to call only someone with a very high social position). Because Montoya was a gentleman he would use it even with his nemesis.
    3) The word “khaa” that appears twice in the second sentence is actually two different words pronounced in exactly the same way; the first one is ฆ่า (killed) and the second ข้า ([of] I = mine).
    4) Of course, if you say the wrong tones this fabulously dramatic line may come out like this:
    “My name is The Bastard Black Grass Stump. The charcoal has killed enough legs. Be prepared to poop beans.”

    At your own risk! 😀


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