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  1. #1
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    Learn to Speak Issan

    KHAO เขา
    JAO เจ้า

    You


    KHA-JAO คะเจ้า
    They


    HAO เฮา

    We


    BAW บ๊อ
    (High tone; sometimes mid tone)
    Question word placed
    at the end of a sentence
    equivalent to MAI in Thai.

    PHOO-BAO ผู้บ่าว
    Man

    PHOO-SAO ผู้สาว
    Woman

    (the standard greeting in Isaan)

    SABAI DEE BAW
    สบายดีบ๊อ

    or SAMBAI DEE BAW ซำบายดีบ๊อ (less common) How are you?
    Can reply: SABAI DEE - I'm fine BAW บ่อ (Low tone) Sometimes written as just บ่
    No, not (used to form the negative)



    JEP BAW เจ็บบ๊อDoes it hurt?




    WAO LAO DAI BAW วาวลาวได้บ๊อ Can you speak Lao (Isaan)?
    In Isaan they don't PHOOT LAO as in Thai but WAO วาว or PAHK ปาก LAO. You can reply WAO LAO DAI NIT NOI - I can speak a little Lao.



    JAO AH-YOO TAO DAI เจ้าอายุเท่าใด How old are you?




    EE-YANG อีหยัง PEN NYANG เป็นหยัง (NYANG is rising tone) Why; what's the matter?



    BAW PEN NYANG บ่อเป็นหยัง Nothing's the matter; its all right; its OK



    JAO SEU NYANGเจ้าซื่อหยัง What's your name? Isaan has no CH sound as in Thai - the CH becomes an S sound eg CHOK DEE (good luck) in Thai becomes SOK DEE in Isaan; CHAHT THAI (Thai nationality) becomes SAHT THAI.




    PAI SAI ไปไส Where are you going?PAI SAI MA ไปไสมาWhere have you been? will you go, where are you going? (Sometimes JAHK จาก, same as Thai). From eg JAO MA DTAE SAI เจ้ามาแต่ไส- Where do you come from?- I come from Mexico. MAEN BAW แมนบ๊อ ใช่ไหมBAW MAEN บ่อแมน Not so,
    ไม่ใช่ MAEN LAEW แมนแล้ว That's right, that's correct




    จริง SAEP แซ่บ Delicious. If someone asks you to dinner, assure them the food is SAEP LAI LAI or SAEP IH-LEE.

    AROI อร่อย SAEP LAI LAI แซ่บหลายๆ


    SAEP EE-LEE แซ่บอิหลี
    Really delicious




    KHAWP JAI LAI LAI ขอบใจหลายๆ Thank you very much. In Thai, KHAWP JAI is only used to children/inferiors/intimates.
    KHAWP KHUN MAHK




    KON ISAAN may call westerners BAK-SEE-DA
    บักสีดา - not derogatory - BAK is ISAAN for mister;
    SEE-DA สีดา, BAK-SEE-DA and MAHK-SEE-DA are Isaan for the Guava fruit. FARANG ฝรั่งHET เฮ็ด
    To do, make
    HET WEE-UK เฮ็ดเหวียก
    (Sometimes HET NGAAN
    เฮ็ดงาน) To work SAO เซา



    To stop; Stop! SEEOH เสี่ยว



    Friend, pal MUAN BAW มวนบ๊อ



    Is it fun? MUAN LAI - a lot of fun (in Thai: SANOOK MAHK).


    NGAAM งาม
    Beautiful




    NA-HAK น่าฮัก Cute, lovelyNA-RAK น่ารักMAK มักTo likeCHAWP ชอบMAK BAW มักบ๊อDo you like it? ฮัก To love SANG ซัง
    To hate GLEE-UT เกลียดKHOI HAK JAO
    ข่อยฮักเจ้า
    I love you
    KHOI KHIT HAWT JAO
    ข่อยคิดฮอดเจ้า
    (In speech, usually just shortened to KHIT HAWT JAO). I miss you

    KHIT HAWT LAI LAI - I miss you a KHAO NGAI ข้าวงายBreakfastAH-HAN CHAO
    อาหารเช้าKHAO SUAY ข้าวสวยLunchAH-HAHN GLANG WAN อาหารกลางวันKHAO LAENG ข้าวแลงDinnerAH-HAHN YEN

    อาหารเย็นPA DAEK ปาแดกMade from raw fermented fish; a delicacy in Isaan.PLA RA ปลาร้าDER เด้อDER is a polite particle tacked onto the end of a sentence, roughly equivalent to NA KHRAP
    นะครับ or NA KHA นะคะ.

    eg KHAWP JAI LAI LAI DER
    -many thanks

    SAEP IH-LEE DER
    -really delicious

    more can be found here
    Last edited by dirtydog; 11-02-2007 at 02:54 PM.

  2. #2
    ding ding ding
    Spin's Avatar
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    very useful indeed

  3. #3
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    I know most of them I have to admit.

    Although the standard greeting seems to be "bai nai" instead of "sabai dee bor".

  4. #4
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    my Thai girl lives in Si-Sa-Ket, she told me she speaks suia, I did a search and came up with very little information on the inter-net

  5. #5
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    That would be Suay

  6. #6
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    If someone could do the same for Kum Muang it would be appreciated.

  7. #7
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    Probably the fault lies on my end, but I am unable to play any of the above files.

  8. #8
    Found it!
    bustak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly View Post
    Probably the fault lies on my end, but I am unable to play any of the above files.
    Try right mouse-clicking on the picture of the speaker & roll-over "Save link As..."

    Download the file onto your desktop & then you should be able to double click & play those audio files.

  9. #9
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    Why would anyone want to speak Isaan? It's a bit like someone teaching you to speak like a Manc.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmite the Dog View Post
    Why would anyone want to speak Isaan? It's a bit like someone teaching you to speak like a Manc.
    Trolling are we Marmaduke ?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bustak View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly View Post
    Probably the fault lies on my end, but I am unable to play any of the above files.
    Try right mouse-clicking on the picture of the speaker & roll-over "Save link As..."

    Download the file onto your desktop & then you should be able to double click & play those audio files.
    Damn, I'm dumb. I was saving the picture instead of the target. I dowloaded them all and been having a blast with my Issan maid!

    Before you people get any nasty thoughts, here is my maid Nut.

    Last edited by hillbilly; 26-05-2007 at 01:25 PM.

  12. #12
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    Truly amazing. My daughter born and breed in BKK knows most of these Issan expressions.

    Her mother ain't from Issan.

    This will need a further study....

  13. #13
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    ^never met a BKK person that didn't understand Issan Hillbilly.I used to think that 30% of the BKK pop were from the North east anyway??

  14. #14
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    When Thais want to be really funny, they speak two words in Lao and everyone thinks it is hilarious.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frankenstein
    When Thais want to be really funny, they speak two words in Lao and everyone thinks it is hilarious.
    Any two in particular?

  16. #16
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    Here's a handy little guide that should be memorised by anyone on their first visit to Thailand, some of these words are in the Isaan language and if you use them many Thai people will be surprised by your grasp of colloquial Thai.


    Yet mae.............................What a beautiful day
    Yet mang............................How are you?
    Kuay..................................The sun is shining
    Ai sa..................................Let's go
    Kwai Maar...........................Handsome man
    Hoop baak..........................I like you
    Orn kuay............................Shall we eat?
    I hayer..............................How much is that one?
    Gengri...............................Delicious
    Chong mang.......................No thank you
    Ga-ree...............................Motorcycle
    Loog-Ga-Ree.......................Motorcycle Taxi
    Por Mung Tai.......................Train Station
    Mae-Mung-Tai......................Bus Station
    Yed Por..............................Where is?
    Sudd-Na-Rok......................Very good
    Tood-Muek.........................Fried Chicken
    Gook Kuay.........................South-East Asia
    Na-Hee.............................Over there
    Ai Na Dad..........................Where are you going?
    Dollair...............................Too expensive
    Ra Yum.............................I'm hungry
    Hee mah...........................What is your name?
    Yet ped.............................Fried rice
    Hee..................................Water
    Baan poh mung...................I am from
    Naa maw...........................Not right now
    Chuk wow..........................I feel ill
    Tob bed.............................Guesthouse
    Hee mae mang...................Waterfall
    Mai chawp khun, dag ling.......I'd like a beer please
    Nah peeh...........................Lunchtime
    Hua kuai............................I'm tired
    Heeh men..........................What is his/her name
    Mae mung .........................Noodles

    See also: The Hungarian Phrasebook sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus

    edited by dirtydog Warning, these are all actually swear words and you will most likely end up in hospital if you used these.
    Last edited by DrB0b; 28-05-2007 at 06:28 PM.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post

    Ga-ree...............................Motorcycle

    I thought that was just 'bike'?

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat gusG's Avatar
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    Good one Dr Bob, I had to look twice at some of those.

    Great thread dd.The easiest way to get rid of hawkers on the street is to tell them "no thank you" in Lao.You get a bigger smile than if you had bought something from them.Now at last I can work out how to say it properly.

  19. #19
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    baw ow der?

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat gusG's Avatar
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    That would be right, but before I used to say it more like, baw ow doc, it would still get me lots of smiles and giggles.I'm so tone deaf that I need to see it written down before I can get it into my thick head.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlmcneil View Post
    That would be Suay
    The language of the elephant trainers
    and language of northeastern Thailand, northern Cambodia, and parts of southern Laos. It belongs to the Katuic branch of the Mon-Khmer language family, itself a part of the Austroasiatic stock. Spoken by some 630,000 people, Souei is—after Vietnamese, Khmer, and Mon—one of the most important Mon-Khmer languages because of its number of speakers, its geographic spread.

  22. #22
    Member tayto's Avatar
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    Introduction

    This page is designed to teach the visitor to Thailand a few Isaan phrases, with a little grammar thrown in as well for good measure.
    Isaan is the name given to the North-Eastern region of Thailand, covering 170,218 square kilometers, approximately one third of Thailand’s land area. In 1997, Isaan's population was 21,086,501million people, about 35% of Thailand's total population.
    All Thais learn standard Thai (Central Thai) in school. It's the language also used in the newspapers and on TV/radio and is essentially the lingua franca of Thailand. But at home Isaan people (KON ISAAN in Thai) will speak a version of Lao called Isaan dialect or North-Eastern Thai.
    You may well wonder why someone visiting Thailand should bother going to the trouble to learn some Isaan dialect. Surely learning Thai is quite enough without having to learn an extra language. And another tonal one at that.
    Well, as a visitor to Thailand, it is very likely that you will spend a considerable amount of time with people from Isaan. They make up roughly 1/3 of Thailand's population and are very often employed in jobs that bring them into close contact with tourists. Especially so in two of Thailand's major tourist destinations, Bangkok and Pattaya. Whether it be hotel staff, restaurant workers, taxi drivers or street vendors, you're sure to come into contact with KON ISAAN.
    You may even be lucky enough to have an Issan lady as your girlfriend or wife.
    In addition, as a part of your stay in Thailand, you may also consider visiting Isaan for a welcome break from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Compared to other parts of Thailand the pace is much slower, and the prices are also considerably cheaper.
    The Isaan people are in general an extremely friendly and good-natured people, and they respond very favourably to those who make the effort to appreciate their culture and learn their language. Just a few words of their language spoken to them by a tourist will immediately set you apart, since foreigners who speak any Isaan at all are extremely rare indeed.
    Relationship between Thai, Isaan dialect and Lao

    The Isaan people are of Laotian descent and until the 1960s, they were still called Lao. In fact, the Isaan region was actually a part of Laos until 1907, when it was partitioned under French colonial rule and ceded to Thailand.

    Isaan dialect (also called North-Eastern Thai) is really nothing but Lao. It is virtually 100% Lao in vocabulary and intonation; in fact there are more Lao speakers living in Thailand than in Laos.

    As has been mentioned earlier, all Thais learn Central Thai in school and its the language used in books, newspapers and on the TV/radio. However at home, North-Easterners will speak Isaan. Even outside of Isaan, in Bangkok for example, when you are with a group of North-Easterners, they will invariably at some point drop their Thai and lapse into speaking Isaan with one another.
    Forty or so years ago (in the 1960s) the Thai government took away all forms of their writing in an attempt to assimilate them into Central Thai culture. However, they continued to maintain their Lao dialect through speech, and it continues strong to this day, as do their distinctive customs and traditions.
    The biggest difference between Lao and Isaan is that Isaan uses the standard Thai alphabet, not the slightly different Lao alphabet. The Lao alphabet is very close to the Thai alphabet (and derived from it), but it's different enough to be unreadable to Isaan folks.
    Lao (and Isaan dialect) tones are also often different than Thai. The words may well be virtually the same, but the tones aren't. Something around 80% of the Thai-Lao vocabulary is identical, though the tones may confuse you. However Isaan dialect and Thai are close enough that, for native speakers, the two are mutually intelligible. They are perhaps as close as Dutch and German (maybe even a little closer).
    Just a few basic rules for ISAAN dialect:
    • The negative in Isaan is BAW eg MAI ROO in Thai (don't know) becomes BAW HOO. Listen out for that BAW and you will be able to figure out a lot of their speech.
    • Even though the Lao alphabet has what clearly looks like a Thai 'R', Isaan (and Lao) has no 'R' sound. Two thirds of the time its pronounced as an 'L' and the other one third as an 'H'.
      eg ROT (car) in Thai becomes LOT in Isaan and NAK RIAN (student) becomes NAK HIAN.
    • Isaan has no CH sound as in Thai - the CH becomes an S sound eg CHOK DEE (good luck) in Thai becomes SOK DEE in Isaan; CHAHT THAI (Thai nationality) becomes SAHT THAI.
    • Consonant clusters are often simplified eg PLA in Thai (fish) becomes PA in Isaan.
    Finally, it should be noted that within N.E. Thailand there are in fact several different dialects of Isaan. e.g. Korat has its own dialect which is understood with difficulty by people outside of the area.
    Accordingly, I have just included a few basic Isaan phrases with a little grammar thrown in for good measure. I have found these phrases to be generally understood by the majority of North-Easterners I have had contact with.
    I hope you will find some of them useful in your travels to Thailand.
    Isaan

    English

    Thai

    KHOI ข่อย

    I (Pronoun)
    used by male or female

    POM ผม (male);
    CHAN
    ฉัน /DICHAN
    ดิฉัน (female)
    PERN (respectful) เพิ่น



    or sometimes KAO เขา
    He/She
    KHAO เขา
    JAO เจ้า

    You
    KHUN คุณ
    KHA-JAO คะเจ้า
    They
    KHAO เขา
    HAO เฮา

    We
    RAO เรา
    BAW บ๊อ
    (High tone; sometimes mid tone)
    Question word placed
    at the end of a sentence
    equivalent to MAI in Thai.

    MAI ไหม
    PHOO-BAO ผู้บ่าว
    Man
    PHOO-CHAI ผู้ชาย
    PHOO-SAO ผู้สาว
    Woman
    PHOO-YING ผู้หญิง
    SABAI DEE สบายดี
    Hello
    (the standard greeting in Isaan)

    SAWAT DEE สวัสดี
    SABAI DEE BAW
    สบายดีบ๊อ



    or
    SAMBAI DEE BAW
    ซำบายดีบ๊อ (less common)
    How are you?

    Can reply: SABAI DEE - I'm fine

    SABAI DEE MAI
    สบายดีไหม
    BAW บ่อ (Low tone)
    Sometimes written
    as just
    บ่
    No, not (used to form the negative)

    eg BAW HOO
    บ่อฮู้ - don't know;
    PERN BAW MA เพิ่นบ่อมา he didn't come
    MAI ไม่
    JEP BAW เจ็บบ๊อ

    Does it hurt?
    JEP MAI เจ็บไหม
    WAO LAO DAI BAW
    วาวลาวได้บ๊อ

    Can you speak Lao (Isaan)?

    In Isaan they don't PHOOT LAO as in Thai but WAO
    วาว or PAHK ปาก LAO.
    You can reply WAO LAO DAI NIT NOI - I can speak a little Lao.
    KHUN PHOOT LAO DAI MAI
    คุณพูดลาวได้ไหม
    JAO AH-YOO TAO DAI
    เจ้าอายุเท่าใด
    How old are you?KHUN AH-YOO TAO-RAI
    คุณอายุเท่าไรEE-YANG อีหยัง
    What?ARAI อะไร
    PEN NYANG เป็นหยัง
    (NYANG is rising tone)


    Why; what's the matter?
    PEN ARAI
    เป็นอะไร
    BAW PEN NYANG
    บ่อเป็นหยัง

    Nothing's the matter; its all right; its OK
    MAI PEN RAI
    ไม่เป็นไร
    JAO SEU NYANG
    เจ้าซื่อหยัง
    What's your name? Isaan has no CH sound as in Thai - the CH becomes an S sound eg CHOK DEE (good luck) in Thai becomes SOK DEE in Isaan; CHAHT THAI (Thai nationality) becomes SAHT THAI.
    KHUN CHEU ARAI
    คุณชื่ออะไร
    PAI SAI ไปไส

    Where are you going?
    PAI NAI
    ไปไหน
    PAI SAI MA ไปไสมาWhere have you been?PAI NAI MA
    ไปไหนมาSI PAI SAI ซิไปไสWhere will you go, where are you going?JA PAI NAI
    จะไปไหนDTAE แต่
    (Sometimes JAHK จาก, same as Thai). From

    eg JAO MA DTAE SAI
    เจ้ามาแต่ไส
    - Where do you come from?
    KHOI MA JAHK MEXICO

    ข่อยมาจากเม็กซิโก
    - I come from Mexico. จาก

    eg KHUN MA JAHK NAI
    คุณมาจากไหน
    -Where do you come from?
    PHOM MA JAHK MEXICO

    ผมมาจากเม็กซิโก
    - I come from Mexico. MAEN BAW แมนบ๊อ
    Is that right, is that correct?CHAI MAI?
    ใช่ไหมBAW MAEN บ่อแมน Not so, not trueMAI CHAI
    ไม่ใช่ MAEN LAEW แมนแล้ว That's right, that's correctCHAI LAEW
    ใช่แล้ว IH-LEE อิหลี ReallyJING จริง SAEP แซ่บ
    Delicious

    If someone asks you to dinner, assure them the food is SAEP LAI LAI or SAEP IH-LEE.
    AROI อร่อย SAEP LAI LAI แซ่บหลายๆ
    Very deliciousAROI MAHK
    อร่อยมาก SAEP EE-LEE แซ่บอิหลี
    Really deliciousAROI MAHK
    อร่อยมากKHAWP JAI LAI LAI
    ขอบใจหลายๆ
    Thank you very much.
    In Thai, KHAWP JAI is only used to children/inferiors/intimates.
    KHAWP KHUN MAHK
    ขอบคุณมากKHEE DTUA ขี้ตั๊ว
    Lie, to lie (not tell the truth)GO-HOK โกหกSEE-DA สีดา
    BAK-SEE-DA บักสีดา or
    MAHK-SEE-DA หมากสีดาGuava fruit; Foreigner (white, western)

    KON ISAAN may call westerners BAK-SEE-DA
    บักสีดา - not derogatory - BAK is ISAAN for mister;
    SEE-DA สีดา, BAK-SEE-DA and MAHK-SEE-DA are Isaan for the Guava fruit.
    FARANG ฝรั่งHET เฮ็ด
    To do, makeTAM ทำHET WEE-UK เฮ็ดเหวียก
    (Sometimes HET NGAAN
    เฮ็ดงาน) To workTAM NGAAN
    ทำงานSAO เซา
    To stop; Stop!YOOT หยุดSEEOH เสี่ยว
    Friend, palPEUAN เพื่อนMUAN BAW มวนบ๊อ
    Is it fun? MUAN LAI - a lot of fun (in Thai: SANOOK MAHK).
    SANOOK MAI
    สนุกใหมNGAAM งาม
    BeautifulSUAY สวยNA-HAK น่าฮัก
    Cute, lovelyNA-RAK น่ารักMAK มักTo likeCHAWP ชอบMAK BAW มักบ๊อDo you like it?CHAWP MAI ชอบไหมHAK ฮักTo loveRAK รักSANG ซัง
    To hateGLEE-UT เกลียดKHOI HAK JAO
    ข่อยฮักเจ้า
    I love youPOM/CHAN RAK KHUN
    ผม/ฉันรักคุณKHOI KHIT HAWT JAO
    ข่อยคิดฮอดเจ้า
    (In speech, usually just shortened to KHIT HAWT JAO). I miss you

    KHIT HAWT LAI LAI - I miss you a lot
    POM/CHAN KHIT TEUNG KHUN
    ผม/ฉันคิดถึงคุณKHAO NGAI ข้าวงายBreakfastAH-HAN CHAO
    อาหารเช้าKHAO SUAY ข้าวสวยLunchAH-HAHN GLANG WAN อาหารกลางวันKHAO LAENG ข้าวแลงDinnerAH-HAHN YEN
    อาหารเย็นPA DAEK ปาแดกMade from raw fermented fish; a delicacy in Isaan.PLA RA ปลาร้าDER เด้อDER is a polite particle tacked onto the end of a sentence, roughly equivalent to NA KHRAP
    นะครับ or NA KHA นะคะ.

    eg KHAWP JAI LAI LAI DER
    -many thanks
    SAEP IH-LEE DER
    -really delicious
    MAO BAW KHAP DER
    -don't drink and drive.
    -DAWK ดอกDAWK is a particle tacked on to the end of sentences. It adds politeness and makes things sound softer and more friendly.
    The equivalent in Central Thai is RAWK.

    eg BAW PEN NYANG DAWK
    บ่อเป็นหยังดอก
    - That's all right/It doesn't matter. RAWK หรอก;


    MAI PEN RAI RAWK

    ไม่เป็นไรหรอก
    Notes
    Farang is the Thai word for a white western foreigner.
    Thanks are due to KHUN MAI หมาย (from Sisaket), GAY เก๋ (Roi Et) and DAENG แดง (Buriram) for their help in recording the sound files.
    More words and sound files will be added to the table as time and

  23. #23
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    31-03-2010 @ 11:28 AM
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    19
    Before I moved to Isaan, I learnt a bit of basic Thai. Came to Isaan and couldn't understand what a lot of people were saying. Took ages to figure it out. The majorityof people here speak like this. An invaluable guide for anyone visiting or coming to stay in Isaan. Nice one.

  24. #24
    Newbie
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Last Online
    04-09-2007 @ 02:57 AM
    Location
    Khonkaen
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    Thank you very much indeed, I will learn more before I come to Thailand

  25. #25
    Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    02-11-2013 @ 07:37 PM
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    Great thread keep it coming

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