How to say You in Lao

How to say You in Lao

If you are starting to learn Lao, you may have learned ເຈົ້າ /jao/ means you. It can also mean “you’re welcome” or “yes” as well.⁠⠀⁠⠀
However, depending on your family relation or social group, the word “you” is use differently with different formalities. ⁠


ເຈົ້າ /jao/⁠⠀⁠⠀
Usages: General way to say “you” – among guests,  close family, friends⁠⠀⁠⠀
Ex: ເຈົ້າຊື່ຫຍັງ /jao seu nyang/?⁠⠀⁠⠀
(you + name + what)⁠⠀⁠⠀
What is your name? ⁠⠀⁠⠀

ທ່ານ /taan/⁠⠀⁠⠀
Usages: Formal “you” – use in documents,⁠ and referring to someone as Sir/Mister/Miss/Mrs⁠⠀⁠⠀

Ex: ຂໍ ເຊີນ ທ່ານ /khaw seurn taan/⁠⠀⁠⠀
(request/ask + invite + you)⁠⠀⁠⠀
You are cordially invited⁠⠀⁠⠀
(Family name)⁠⠀⁠⠀
Usages: Calling by family relation — can also be used among non-family member as well⁠⠀⁠⠀
Lao people when referring to their family like mom, dad, older/young siblings, may refer⁠ to their relationship with them. Like calling an older brother ອ້າຍ /ai/ in replacement ⁠⠀⁠⠀
of “you.”⁠⠀⁠⠀
You may also call other people a family name (in an endearing way). For example, you may refer to ອ້າຍ /ai/ if another male is just a bit older than you — the same goes for other family names as well (younger brother/sister). In American English, this would be similar to saying “Hey bro!” to a friend.⁠⠀⁠⠀
Ex: ອ້າຍ – ຂໍຖາມແນ່ /ai kaw thaam naae/⁠⠀⁠⠀
Brother (Sir) – May I ask you…? ⁠⠀⁠⠀
ມຶ້ງ /meuang/⁠⠀⁠⠀
Usages: Intimidating “you” – use informally mainly by parents or really close friends.⁠⠀⁠⠀
This is a very impolite (and offensive) way to say “you.” It’s best not to use it at all! You will, however, hear it when Lao parents refer to their kids or when two close friends talk to each other. ⁠⠀

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