The Repeater [New Lesson - No Audio Yet] - Learn Thai from a White Guy

The Repeater [New Lesson – No Audio Yet]

“The Repeater” is a marker placed after a word or phrase that tells you that a word (or sometimes a phrase) is to be said/read twice.   There are a few possible reasons why a word might be repeated which I won’t get into here because the why isn’t very important at this stage.  Just focus on the meanings in the common examples below as well as when you encounter new ones out in the wild.

Despite the extra information at the bottom, the only thing you need to take away from this lesson is that when you see that symbol, you’ll need to say the word (or phrase) twice!

Examples: [Pronunciation Guide]

Sometimes, a noun can be repeated to make it plural.

  • เพื่อนๆ [เพื่อน เพื่อน]- friends
    • ไป กับ เพื่อน – I went with (my) friend.  *It’s not clear whether we went with one friend or more.
    • ไปกับเพื่อนๆ   – I went with some friends.  *In this case, it’s clear that we went with more than one friend.

Sometimes, a word is repeated to emphasize it.

  • ร้อนมากๆ [ร้อน มาก มาก] – It’s VERY hot.
    • วันนี้ ร้อน มาก  – It’s very hot today.
    • วันนี้ ร้อน มากๆ – It’s VERY hot today.  *In this example, the speaker feels it’s REALLY hot.  Hotter than if they had just said ร้อนมาก.

We could map it out like this, but you could also just think of it the way someone might say “It’s very very hot today.” in English.  It just means MORE than just one very.

  • ร้อน – It’s hot.
  • ร้อนมาก (not found)
    – It’s very hot.
  • ร้อนมากๆ (not found)
    – It’s VERY hot.

There are also set expressions that are usually doubled up:

  • เร็วๆ [เร็ว เร็ว] – hurry up; go quickly
    • มาเร็วๆ – come here quick
  • ช้าๆ [ช้า ช้า] – very slowly
    • พูดช้าๆ – to speak slowly
  • เรื่อยๆ [เรื่อย เรื่อย] – continuously
  • คล้ายๆ [คล้าย คล้าย]- similar
  • เฉยๆ [เฉย เฉย] – so-so (*a set expression showing indifference to something leaning towards negative)
  • กล้วยๆ [กล้วย กล้วย] – easy (Idiomatic expression)


Space or No Space? – The official spelling rules mandate placing a space between the word/phrase to be repeated as well as after it, but in real life (on the internet), you’ll almost always find that there is no space before (but there is one after).  Since the entire point of this course is to focus on being functional in real life communication, I will not in include the space before the Repeater.

“Fun” Unnecessary Insight: 

The repeater symbol is a corrupted form of the Thai numeral for 2.  It’s a little easier to see the connection in the related Khmer, Lao and Northern Thai numerals for 2.   You don’t need to know this!

  • ๆ – The Repeater

  • ๒ – สอง (2)

  • ៗ – 2 (Khmer)

  • ໆ – 2 (Lao)

  • ᪧ – 2 (Northern Thai)