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  1. #1
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    Romanization of Falong/Farang/Farung

    I always like to use “falong” as the English transliteration for the Thai word (slang) commonly used to refer to a Western foreigner. A few posters repeatedly whine about my “incorrect” transliteration, since “farang” is commonly used by many.

    Although I have patiently explained numerous times, that I prefer “falong” because it sounds (to me anyway) much closer to how Thais generally pronounce the word, my explanation is not enough for an obstinate few, who call me out for my use of that transliteration almost every time I use it (I suppose they live a rather unfulfilling life of low self-esteem and attempt to inflate their egos however they can).

    Nonetheless, I decided to look into this transliteration (which is often transliterated as “farung” in many Thai-English dictionaries).

    In Thai script the word is ฝรั่ง. This maps to the following Thai alphabet (as taken from a Thai elementary school primer and transliterated as used in “Teach Yourself Thai” by David Smith):

    First we will look at the three consonants:

    ฝ ฝา – fo fan A middle class consonant that has an “f” sound when used at the beginning of a Thai word.

    ร เรือ – ro rua A middle class consonant that has an “r” sound (unless used at the end of a Thai word, then it has a “n” sound). This is almost always pronounced “l” by the average Thais when speaking informally.

    ง งู – ngo ngu A middle class consonant that has an “ng” sound.

    Now for the interesting part, the vowel.

    -ั – sila u This is a short vowel and has a short “u” sound (although “short vowel” in Thai does not necessarily mean the same thing as a short vowel in English – in Thai it helps determine the tone).

    The only other thing left is the tone mark.

    ' – mai ack This is used to indicate that a low tone is to be used in this syllable for middle class and high class consonants and a falling tone is to be used for low class consonants.

    So based upon the information above, you should be able to see why so many Thai-English dictionaries go with “farung”, and based upon actual variances in how Thais (and falongs) pronounce ฝรั่ง, "falong" is just as valid a Romanization as “farang” (and IMO gives the non-Thai a much better approximation to how the word is actually pronounced).

    Still, I'm sure there are a few closed-minded, individuals who will persist that their way is the only right way.

    Santi,

    RickThai

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    (I suppose they live a rather unfulfilling life of low self-esteem and attempt to inflate their egos however they can).
    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    Still, I'm sure there are a few closed-minded, individuals who will persist that their way is the only right way.
    You're a very strange person Rick.

    Who exactly is it that's obsessing about this again?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberlour View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    (I suppose they live a rather unfulfilling life of low self-esteem and attempt to inflate their egos however they can).
    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    Still, I'm sure there are a few closed-minded, individuals who will persist that their way is the only right way.
    You're a very strange person Rick.
    I prefer to think of myself as refreshingly unique.

    Still I think it sad, that with all of the information provided in my post, you only chose to focus on my two comments concerning the posters who "nitpick" my use of the word "falong".

    What does that tell me about you?

    Santi,

    RickThai

  4. #4
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    I just asked my wife and she said it's pronounced Falung/Farung. So technically I was wrong as well as I always hear it more as Farang/Falang.

    Doesn't change anything though. Falong is a completely different sounding word. Do the words Bung & Bong sound the same to you as well Rick?

    Go ask your wife and see what she has to say.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aberlour View Post
    I just asked my wife and she said it's pronounced Falung/Farung. So technically I was wrong as well as I always hear it more as Farang/Falang.

    Doesn't change anything though. Falong is a completely different sounding word. Do the words Bung & Bong sound the same to you as well Rick?

    Go ask your wife and see what she has to say.
    I hear it as "fahlohng" and spell it as "falong", but that's just my preferences. Not sure why it bothers you (or anybody else for that matter). Many other posters use more diverse spellings than I, and it certainly doesn't bother me.

    Does your wife pronounce it as "fahluhng" or "fa lung" (as in lung)? Just curious.

    And for the record, I do have some hearing loss due to a booby trap being tripped by a squad member when I was on point back in my US Army days.

    Santi,

    RickThai

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    Not sure why it bothers you
    It doesn't bother me in the slightest. I've probably mentioned it twice and the second time was a tongue in cheek comment, in reference to the first time.

    I just find it bizarre that you hear Ong instead of Ung/Ang.

    Like I said, can you hear the difference between Bung, Bong & Bang?

    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    Does your wife pronounce it as "fahluhng" or "fa lung" (as in lung)? Just curious.
    Farung/Falung. What about yours?

    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    And for the record, I do have some hearing loss due to a booby trap being tripped by a squad member when I was on point back in my US Army days.
    Well that could be the answer right there mate.

  7. #7
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    I could understand Falang or Farang, but falong is simply not right unless you mix with Lloyd Grossman speaking Thai.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    I'm sure there are a few closed-minded, individuals who will persist that their way is the only right way.
    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    I always like to use “falong” as the English transliteration
    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai
    that I prefer “falong”
    closed-minded individuals indeed

  9. #9
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    I didnt know that spelling was up to the individual.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickThai View Post
    I always like to use “falong” as the English transliteration for the Thai word (slang) commonly used to refer to a Western foreigner.
    Thanks for clearing that up. I've often wondered ..

  11. #11
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    Regardless of the word or terminology, one simply cannot attach romanized characteristics to non-European languages.

  12. #12
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    In 12 years here I've heard falang or farang about a million times, and falong precisely zero times.

  13. #13
    I am in Jail Camel Toe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin View Post
    Regardless of the word or terminology, one simply cannot attach romanized characteristics to non-European languages.
    Oh please don't ruin their fun. FYI he's right.

  14. #14
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    -ั – sila u This is a short vowel and has a short “u” sound (although “short vowel” in Thai does not necessarily mean the same thing as a short vowel in English – in Thai it helps determine the tone).
    1. its sara, not sila.

    2. its sara a, as in "jap".

    so your grossly mispronounced falung, becomes farang.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rural Surin
    gardless of the word or terminology, one simply cannot attach romanized characteristics to non-European languages.
    Chai

    Quote Originally Posted by benbaaa
    In 12 years here I've heard falang or farang about a million times, and falong precisely zero times.
    Agree. Farang and Falang a million times but never heard falong. Ever.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    God help us.... it is neither sara u or sara a

    It is Mai Hanakad ไม้หันอากาศ. (transliterate it however you like). It is a Monophthong vowel - a.

    As for the original question the word when transliterated under the official rules of transliteration as introduced by King Rama V, the word is farang.

    But Rick, you transliterate it however you feel comfortable. We know what you mean, I guess others bring it up when they cannot find a whole to pick in your argueement.

    We all hear things differently, and if it helps you understand better then all the better for you.
    Last edited by Bobcock; 23-05-2013 at 10:14 AM.

  17. #17
    Thailand Expat poorfalang's Avatar
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    truth in in the eyes (ears) of the beholder

    Quote Originally Posted by pseudolus
    Agree. Farang and Falang a million times but never heard falong. Ever.
    Correct.

    So, Rick you are a falong trying to tell many other falangs (farangs) depending of location, Issan (Falang), central Thai (Farang)
    that they are wrong and you are right?
    about this, come on, get a grip mate,

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    Really... well I think anyone who transliterates based on how peasants speak rather than on the actual spelling and correct transliteration as well off the mark, so whilst you are looking down at Rick, I'm on my high horse looking down on you..... falang....ha...who are you kidding.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcock
    Llanddewi Brefi's Finest Really... well I think anyone who transliterates based on how peasants speak rather than on the actual spelling and correct transliteration as well off the mark, so whilst you are looking down at Rick, I'm on my high horse looking down on you..... falang....ha...who are you kidding.

    you. you. you're good.

  20. #20
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    God help us.... it is neither sara u or sara a
    It is Mai Hanakad ไม้หันอากาศ
    well yes and no.

    that is the name for the symbol that designates the short vowel sound "a" when there is a consonant after the vowel.

  21. #21
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    "(I suppose they live a rather unfulfilling life of low self-esteem and attempt to inflate their egos however they can)"

    That's precisely why I looked down on people who didn't share the same preferences (sexual and ethnicity) as I do.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bobcock View Post

    But Rick, you transliterate it however you feel comfortable. We know what you mean, I guess others bring it up when they cannot find a whole to pick in your argueement.
    .
    I bow to your far, far superior knowledge of the Thai language, but do disagree on this bit.

    After more then 12 years in Thailand, I have yet to hear anyone (and I do mean anyone) pronounce the word even close to "Falong". I have never met another foreigner who pronounces the term even close to "Falong". The only differences I ever hear in the word are the "falang/farang" differences in intonation.

    Rick can try and defend his "falong" as much as he wants, but like latindancer and his "valving windows" - it aint gonna fly and just marks him down as a bit daft.

  23. #23
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    Romanization (as someone else has already said) of Thai is utter rubbish.

    Just a couple of stupid Romanisations for you to mull over...

    'Koh' as in Island. Thai script เกาะ Not a 'K' sound in sight.

    'Kanchanaburi' Province. Thai script กาญจนบุรี No 'K' there either.

    I'm sure that the 'resident expert on Thai' will be along shortly to explain as some of you already have(in my eyes) done.

    C'mon Todd.

  24. #24
    Thailand Expat Bobcock's Avatar
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    The rules of transliteration as put in place by King Rama V does not use a G at all.

    a single k, is used for what we would use the g for. A k with a following h is used for an aspirated K or what we would use k for.

    Rightly or wrongly that is the system in place. You can spend hours picking it apart, people picking on RickThai may just have had an additional agenda?
    Last edited by Bobcock; 23-05-2013 at 12:53 PM.

  25. #25
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    I'm not picking on anybody. When I first came to live here, I decided to learn Thai because I couldn't get my head around the romanisation of the language.


    Oh! And because my wife doesn't speak English.

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