Do You Play Face?

Thai people are well known for being economic with their words. Wherever they can omit a syllable and still retain the obvious meaning, they’ll lose no time in chopping it up to save lip work. And so I should have seen it coming . . . but I didn’t, and I couldn’t help sighing inside when I heard “Facebook” being called “Face.” At first, I wasn’t sure that I’d heard correctly: the conversation was in Thai. But then I heard it again – this time from my wife: “I play Face.” Ha! The cheesiness never ceases to amaze me! Face?! Honestly, how cheesy is that? But the best part of it is that Thai people use the verb “play” when referring to Facebook. Native English speakers would probably say: “Do you have Facebook?” or “Do you have a Facebook account?” But the fun-loving Thais say: “Do you play Facebook?” I think from now on I may be hearing the abbreviated version of this line: “Do you play Face?”

Other words that Thais abbreviate:

7-Eleven = Sewen

Computer = Com

Tesco Lotus = Lotat

The Miracle Grand Hotel = Milaceun

4 Comments on “Do You Play Face?”

  1. foo says:

    Usage of the verb เล่น (len = play) is a bit grating to an English speaker. “Play Facebook” is not the worst offender — they also say “len internet”, quite inappropriate when you’re doing work or any serious reading/research. In this context, Thais use either “work” or “play”, there seems to be no non-playful leisure activity.

    • Ray Malcolm says:

      Hi, thanks for your comment. It would be interesting to put together a list of English/foreign words that have completely changed their character under the Thai tongue. It leads one to wonder how many words came into the language thousands of years ago that have now also been changed beyond recognition. The many Sanskrit words come to mind . . .

  2. Karsten says:

    Funny. When I read the headline – I thought the article would be about facial expressions or so .. but facebook? Really funny.

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