Monday, January 14, 2013

Good book: Parts of Speech in Thai: A Syntactic Analysis

I stumbled upon a nice Thai book, ชนิดของคำในภาษาไทย การวิเคราะห์ทางวากยสัมพันธ์ โดย ดร. อมรา ประสิทธิ์รัฐสินธุ์ (Parts of Speech in Thai: A Syntactic Analysis), by Dr. Amara Prasithrathsint, Professor Emeritus at Chulalongkorn University.  This is a result of her recent research work sponsored by TRF which used Lexicase Dependency Grammar, to analyze Thai words. LDG theory was initiated by the late Prof. Stanley Starosta  of Hawaii University, 

I am not a linguist but I have been interested in Thai language and translations between Thai and English. This book is a good work. It dawns on me that we (Thais) use our words differently, with respect to 'part of speech' in a sentence, when compare to English.  I remember her one example, a word สวย, which means 'beautiful', but we Thais use it not as an adjective like in English, but as a verb. Interesting in deed. The author has different interpretation on Thai PoS compare to those of other Thai linguistic scholars and with the Thai Dictionary of the Royal Thai Society. This book serves as an important foundation work toward our better understanding of Thai linguistic structure, with enormous future applications, in my opinion, including machine translation.

What I think would be useful is a list (in 250 pages) of Thai 'verbs' used in various contexts.  This part alone would be useful for any future improvements of existing Thai dictionaries.

It is amazing that this first edition of the book, published in 2010 in a very limited number of 300, is still available at the CU bookstore.

I have yet to re-read it again. I think, after I understand better on Thai PoS,  my translation hobby could be somewhat improved.