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Heart to Heart Thai Expressions

In the Thai language, the word "heart" is a word with hundreds, if not thousands of nuances. Thai people use the word as a metaphor for enverything having to do with feelings or thoughts, two notions that are not as strictly separated in Thai as they are in English, for example.

In Thai, one might say "Jai Dee" for someone that does something good. While the phrase means literally "good heart", in this context it means someone who goes out of their way to be nice to others, or who is thoughtful.

Since Febuary is the month of lovers, and the 14th is their day, we have picked out a few "heart" phrases that you can use to express your feelings to another person. In Thai, these phrases are used to express feelings that might otherwise be difficult to say, often making them more subtle than our own expressions.

thuuk jai - This expression means "compatible heart". It might be used for or between two people who share many of the same interests. You might feel this way if your lover or spouse gives you something that is just what you wanted. They feel the same as you do, and understand your taste, desires and wants because they are shared with him or her. If you meet someone who likes most of the same things as you - such as the same favorite color, or type of music, you might say that you are Thuuk Jai.

Pooet Jai - "open heart" When two people are close enough to share their most secret, hidden feelings to each other, they are pooet jai. When you talk about your feelings with another person you are also pooet jai. What you are saying comes straight from an open heart, whether it is good or bad, and whether or not the other person wants to hear it.

Chuuen Jai - "joyful heart" This phrase is used to represent a state of feeling happy. Anything that makes you happy can also make you Chuuen Jai. A gift of flowers for valentine's day, or loving attention can cause a joyful heart, as can a good talk or a movie. Everyone has their own set of things that makes them Chuuen jai, and part of the fun of getting to know a person is finding these things out.

If you would like to learn more about the Thai language's rich and varied jai expressions, get yourself a copy of the book Heart Talk by Christopher G. Moore, published in 1992 by White Lotus, Bangkok.

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