Dozen / โหล

Monday, July 30, 2007 at 11:06 pm 3 comments

Both Thai and English have multiple words for the number after eleven. English has “dozen,” and Thai has โหล. Both seem to be used in similar situations: a dozen oranges, or ส้มโหลผล. At least–I think so; usually market speak is less formal and must admit only a foreigner would say ขอส้มสองโหลผลครับ. But I hear เอากี่โหลคะ/สองโหลครับ plenty.

I think the English “dozen” is used more liberally than in Thai. Maybe it’s my southern upbringing, but I feel it’s natural to say “about a dozen children,” whereas I don’t think any Thai would every say เด็กประมาณโหลคน.

Still other situations must only use “twelve/สิบสอง. It’s less natural to say both, “one year has a dozen months,” and หนึ่งปีมีโหลเดือน.

Entry filed under: Pseudo-cognates. Tags: .

In theory / ในทฤษฎี In truth / ในความจริง

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. rikker  |  Sunday, October 7, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    From my experience, โหล is always used in the classifier position as a so-called “mensural classifier”* (i.e. a measuring classifier). These include everything from กิโล to ลิตร to เมตร, but also things like จาน (กินข้าวสองจาน), คำ (ข้าวสามคำ), ขวด (น้ำห้่าขวด), ช้อนชา (เกลือสามช้อนชา), etc.

    I’ve never heard โหล used in conjunction with another classifier (as in your example ส้มโหลผล), but rather ส้มหนึ่งโหล or ส้มโหลหนึ่ง. Dozen is the unit and thus the classifier–and the number tells how many dozens. Thus you can say things like ครึ่งโหล (half a dozen–6) or โหลครึ่ง (a dozen and a half–18), if you so please. I did some cursory internet searching to confirm my intuition, but naturally I’m willing to accept that people can use the word differently in different settings or regions.

    *The other major type besides mensural classifier is sortal classifier, which denotes sorts of things instead of amounts of things–ตัว ลูก ด้าม แท่ง, etc.

    Reply
  • 2. jhs  |  Sunday, October 7, 2007 at 8:31 pm

    Thanks for the feedback. I didn’t know that at all. I’m glad there is a formal reason why I never felt right to say ส้มโหลผล.

    So the final verdict is that the two are not interchangeable. Although when my listener speaks English, I usually just say it my way to push my Englishist agenda. (Another example would be ตีถนน to mean “leave.”)

    Reply
  • 3. rikker  |  Saturday, October 13, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    ตีถนน–that’s great. :P

    Reply

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