I have noticed that a few of my students are still confused over how to use ‘ask’ in Thai context. In English, we use ‘ask’ for both asking a question, asking for something, or asking someone out.
!! In Thai, all are different words !!
ถาม//Thăam is used when you want to ask a question.
Mee kham thăam măi khá
Do you have any question?
Thâa ther thăam chăn kôr jà tòrb
If you ask (me a question), I will then answer.
ขอ//Khŏr is used when you want to ask/request/wish for something.
Khŏr nám sôm pàn khâ
Can I have orange ice blended, please?
Khun mâe khăa, nŏo khŏr ngern pai séu khànŏm nòi khâ
Mommy, can I have some money to buy some snacks/sweets, please?
Thâa khun mai chái kràpăo bai née laéw, phŏm khŏr dâi măi khráb
If you are not using this bag anymore, can I have (it), please?
ชวน//Chuan is used when you want to ask someone out.
Phŏm yàhk chuan ther pai thiâo tàe phŏm mâi klâa
I want to ask her (to go) out but I dare not.
Ther jà pai năi thammai mâi chuan chăn
Where are you going? Why didn’t you ask me along? OR
Why didn’t you ask me along to go to wherever you are going?
The last sentence can be shortened to: ไม่ชวน//mâi chuan with a slight upsetting tone.