Ways to say “No” in Lao

Ways to say “No” in Lao

Just like ways to say “yes” in Lao, there’s no direct “no.” So, we’ll learn the different ways to say “no” in different politeness levels.⁠

ບໍ່ /baw/⁠
No⁠⠀
⁠⠀
ບໍ່ /baw/ + verb⁠⠀
Negation of an action by repeating the verb⁠⠀
⁠Ex: ເຫັນບໍ່? ບໍ່ເຫັນ /hen baw? baw hen/ ⁠⠀
“Saw it?” “Did not (see it).” ⁠⠀
⁠⠀
ບໍ່ແມ່ນ /baw maaen/⁠⠀
Not correct⁠⠀
Ex: ແມ່ນບໍ່? ບໍ່ແມ່ນ /maaen baw? baw maaen/⁠⠀
“Correct? Not correct.”⁠⠀
⁠⠀
ບໍ່ + verb + polite ending particle⁠⠀
Not really
⁠Ex: ຢາກກິນບໍ່? /yaak gin baw/ = Want to eat?⁠⠀
ບໍ່ກິນດອກ /baw gin dawk/ = Not + Eat (Not really)⁠⠀

Note: ດອກ /dawk/ = “contrasting” polite ending particle⁠

ບໍ່ເອົາດອກ /baw ow dawk/⁠⠀
No, won’t take it (polite refusal)⁠⠀
⁠⠀
ບໍ່ເອົາ, ຂອບໃຈ /baw ow, kawb jai/⁠⠀
Do not want it. Thank you (No, thank you)⁠⠀
⁠⠀
[Not so polite way]⁠

ບໍ່ນ່າ /baw naa/⁠
No way. Not quite so!⁠

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