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Personal pronouns

Thai has many different words that correspond to English personal pronouns—words like I, she, or we. Thai pronouns are distinguished depending on the age, gender and rank of the speaker, and the relationship between the speaker and the listener. The table below lists only the most frequently used pronouns in Thai.

I, me กระผม kraˋ-phomˇ / ผม phomˇ (male)
ดิฉัน diˊ-chanˇ / ฉัน chanˇ (female)
you (singular) เธอ thə (informal) / คุณ khun (formal)
he, him เขา khauˇ
she, her เขา khauˇ/เธอ thə
it มัน man
we, us พวกผม phuakˆphomˇ (male or mixed group)
พวกฉัน phuakˆ chanˇ (female)
พวกเรา phuakˆ rau / เรา rau (male or female)
you (plural) พวกเธอ phuakˆ thə (informal) /
พวกคุณ phuakˆkhun (formal)
they, them (human) พวกเขา phuakˆ khauˇ(male or mixed group)
พวกเธอ phuakˆthə (female)
they, them (non-human) พวกมัน phuakˆ man

The pronoun มัน (man, it) should be used with caution; many Thais avoid this pronoun as it may be considered impolite. Also note that in spoken language, the pronoun เขา (khauˇ, he, him, she, her) is used to mean they and them as well, instead of พวกเขา (phuakˆ khauˇ, they, them) or พวกมัน (phuakˆ man, they, them).

The male/female distinction is made only in the first person: ผม (pho:mˇ, I, me) is used by male speakers and ดิฉัน (di`-chanˇ, I, me) is used by female speakers. In spoken Thai, the pronoun diˊ-chanˇ ‘I, me’ used by females is usually shortened to chanˇ. The pronoun คุณ (khun, you, sg./pl.) is spelled and pronounced just like the word คุณ (khun), used before a person’s first name, discussed above.

Note that, unlike English pronouns, Thai pronouns are not distinguished based on whether they have the role of a subject or an object; that is, there is no distinction between, for example, I and me or he and him in Thai. Take a look at the following examples.

เขา สอน ภาษา ไทย
khauˇ sawnˇ phaa-saaˇ thai.
He/She teaches Thai.

ลิน สอน เขา
Lin sawnˇ khauˇ.
Lin teaches him/her.

Finally, also in contrast to English, Thai pronouns are often omitted from speech, whenever they can be easily understood from the context. This is especially common for first- and second- person pronouns in face-to-face conversation.