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The keystone differentiation of the word seems to be context and usage, just like our languages.
Farang is also guava.
No one seems offended by this, since Thais love guava, but I have never heard a contextual statement where we were being referred to as a beloved green fruit. I am sure it has happened, Thai language is very flexible, and that also could have been a compliment or insult. I do notice that in professional situations that the word 'foriegner' is often used instead of farang, because it can have insulting connotations, but it beats the hell out of the Japanese 'gai-jen', their only traditional word for foreigner, and which also means 'barbarian'.
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In Isaan-Lao dialect, a foreigner is called 'Bugsida', which means guava. If they want to be 'clever', they'll use Thai and Isaan-Lao together and call you 'Bugsida Farang', or Guava Guava. It's an in-joke and they think it's hilarious.
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It's all to do with the mindset and stereotypical thinking. Personally, I think farang is pejorative and 'Khon tang chat' (foreigner) is much more polite. But then, we can meet impolite people anywhere in the world.
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I would call 'kwailo' (meaning a ghost) used by many people in Hong Kong to refer to Caucasians to be inappropriate. The name 'laowai' (meaning old foreigner or alien, especially a Caucasian) use by Mainland Chinese is less offensive. And the name 'angmo' (meaning red hair) widely used by Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia (and in Taiwan) has become inoffensive, and is used by some Caucasians to refer to themselves, like some Caucasians in Thailand with regard to 'farang'. I think among these terms, 'farang' is the least offensive. Very often the Thai speakers smile at the addressees in a friendly manner when calling him this way.
So Caucasians should not be too sensitive about the Thais calling them 'farang'.
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I am in country 4 months, and have a thai g/f whom I adore,
We are different, we stand out, and we clearly look alike, which is why we are bunched in, for verbal convenience:
She also tells me, the word is a good word and used with good manners, unless the "foreigner" is acting like a pig in public, then they make a face ahead of their use of the word, same as we do, for any nationality, foreign to our own.
I have approached many people in malls, super markets, restaurants, and even the street, to ask directions, or for any reason, thinking that they were Americans, and I have myself been clearly wrong about their origins and even their language, so
how can we expect Thai's to figure us out, when it is nearly impossible for me, a 50 year old American of East European origin to get it right?
The word is not derogatory, unless we create a reason for it to be derogatory,
and, to most of the people in Thailand, they seem to repect us, until we give them a reason, not to
AjarnV wrote:taysahai wrote:I think eggmeng may think we are ganging up on him, but truthfully we are just trying to help. I think you need some good thai friends eggmeng to sit down and explain to you.
As a few people already mentioned, and a few people missed it...
Farang. Fa-ran-cet. (thai for France/french) or Fa-ran for short.
Inter for International, is another example of shortening a word.
Farang/Gauva and Farang/foreigner of ... are spelled and pronounced differently in thai, it is not a homophone as it appears to be in english.
The most important thing. the one thing eggmeng is that that the /////// Nai Luang uses the classifier Falang. So you are not going to get very far with your arguments.
Next time to you go to a uk style pub, you can go pretend like you actually give a dam whether the bloke is welsh or british. Some people seem to forget that all of us Falang are all of european descent.
According to my wife (Thai w/masters and a teacher) farang/guava and farang/foreigner are in fact spelled and pronounced exactly the same in Thai. I have visited this subject with many Thai's (all teachers) and have been told the same thing. Other than that I agree; after 16 years eggmeng is carrying way too big a chip on his shoulders.
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The word has a very long history steeped in racism and religious bigotry.
The root word for farang is the Latin word " Franci" Used to describe the barbaric tribes with whom they always fighting to the north. hence the word Frankfurt This was the ford over the river Rhine, " ford of the Francis"
Later on the Crusades were happening. The leaders of the Crusades were largely known as Franks, descendants of the Francis.
An Persian defender seeing the Crusaders charging over the hill asked a learned scholar; " Who are these people?"
The reply " Frankis."
The Persian word until now for white skinned Christian is Farangi.
The name France is derived from the latin Franci as is :
Afranz = Arabic
Ferenggu + Portuguese
Frangos + Greek
Faranji = Ethiopia
Parangiar = Tamil
Palangi = most of Polynesia
You should be known by your nationality
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