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#134726 - 11/01/04 03:16 PM Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words...
halfomnipotent Offline
stranger

Registered: 11/01/04
Posts: 2
There are (at least) two words in the Thai language for which I receive frequent requests for translation into English, and for which I know the meant they are meant to convey but can not translate concisely into English.

1. "GENG JAI" this word is a mixture of the feelings of guilt and embarrassment and reluctance at receiving a gift or assistance from another, or else having to ask another for help. It is a feeling of shame but it may also include a feeling of gratitude, but with a healthly dose of embarrassment to go along with that gratitude. For example:

I felt GENG JAI to allow my sister to loan me money

When my friend handed me his car keys in my emergency, I took them, but I felt GENG JAI and smiled, red-faced.


2. The second word is "NOY JAI". This is a feeling when one is overlooked or slighted, a classic example is the feeling of shame or embarrassment when you are not picked, or picked last, for dodgeball or kids sports team. Another example may be when your spouse or lover forgets to bring you food from a food party back home for you to eat, or when someone behaves somewhat inconsiderately (but not too maliciously) towards you. The feeling of NOY JAI has a disappointment component too. Examples:

It made me feel NOY JAI when my girlfriend forgot to bring me a souvenir back from San Francisco.

For a week I had been waiting for my mother to stop by and see my apartment, but when she didn't stop by as expected because she was "tired", I felt fairly NOY JAI.


-sj



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#134727 - 11/01/04 03:22 PM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words...
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Welcome, 1/2. I translate, too, from time to time (from Portuguese) and I understand your predicament. Nothing concise is coming to me for geng jai, but how about "slighted" for noy jai?


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#134728 - 11/01/04 03:26 PM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words..
halfomnipotent Offline
stranger

Registered: 11/01/04
Posts: 2
AS, >slighted< is definitely a candidate, but slighted to me bears a connotation of a verbal or written offense: is it just me? However, thanks for the tip, I think I will use >slighted< until a closer match comes along...



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#134729 - 11/01/04 03:42 PM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words..
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
Do stick around for other suggestions, 1/2. Might take a day or two. And please visit other threads!


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#134730 - 11/01/04 07:20 PM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words..
Wordwind Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 6296
Loc: Piedmont Region of Virginia, U...
I agree with AnnaS about slighted as an ideal candidate for the situations you suggest, 1/2. One could feel slighted in numerous ways, not just written or verbal ones.

The other word presents a knotty problem. One could feel indebted or obligated, but neither of those words implies embarrassment, guilt, or shame. You'd have to add qualifiers, such as: guiltily indebted to Mrs. Jones.

But with a wordy qualifier, you still wouldn't be implying gratitude. Add even more qualifiers and what you end up with is a mouthful of complicated language: guiltily indebted to Mrs. Jones, but grateful. In fact, to be simply indebted to Mrs. Jones would imply gratitude, but to be guiltily indebted to her seems to reduce the pure gratitude that being directly indebted to her implies.

I think we need to add the Thai word to the English language. That would solve the problem and give us another word to play on the Scrabble board.

Thanks for posing this problem. I hope someone can think of a single word solution! And I'm assuming that geng jai is a compound word.


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#134731 - 11/01/04 07:21 PM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words..
Zed Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 08/27/02
Posts: 2154
Loc: British Columbia, Canada
I would use either slighted or the more informal "left-out" as the closest to noy jai. Slighted can mean a verbal or written insult but to me more often means forgotten or ignored.
I' can't think of a concise word or phrase for geng jai, The closest I can come up with would be... nope that won't work either.
Let me think on it.



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#134732 - 11/01/04 08:31 PM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words...
Jackie Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Welcome aBoard, er...gee, I guess calling you "half-wit" would be going a bit too far...

Anyway, I tried a thesaurus with the word shame; ignominy comes pretty close, but the word below seems closer. I know the word itself doesn't imply gratitude, but given a context similar to your example sentences, the gratitude might be implied/understood. I'm including everything that Gurunet gave me, because I thought it was interesting.
cha·grin (shə-grĭn')
n.
A keen feeling of mental unease, as of annoyance or embarrassment, caused by failure, disappointment, or a disconcerting event: To her chagrin, the party ended just as she arrived.

tr.v., -grined, -grin·ing, -grins.
To cause to feel chagrin; mortify or discomfit: He was chagrined at the poor sales of his book. See synonyms at embarrass.

[French, possibly from dialectal French chagraigner, to distress, become gloomy, from Old French graim, sorrowful, gloomy, of Germanic origin.]

WORD HISTORY The ultimate etymology of the word chagrin, which comes directly to us from French, is considered uncertain by many etymologists. At one time chagrin was thought to be the same word as shagreen, “a leather or skin with a rough surface,” derived from French chagrin. The reasoning was that in French the word for this rough material, which was used to smooth and polish things, was extended to the notion of troubles that fret and annoy a person. It was later decided, however, that the sense “rough leather” and the sense “sorrow” each belonged to a different French word chagrin. Other etymologists have offered an alternative explanation, suggesting that the French word chagrin, “sorrow,” is a loan translation of the German word Katzenjammer, “a hangover from drinking.” A loan translation is a type of borrowing from another language in which the elements of a foreign word, as in Katzen, “cats,” and Jammer, “distress, seediness,” are assumed to be translated literally by corresponding elements in another language, in this case, chat, “cat,” and grigner, “to grimace.” The actual etymology is less colorful, with the word probably going back to a Germanic word, *gramî, meaning “sorrow, trouble.” Chagrin is first recorded in English in 1656 in the now obsolete sense “anxiety, melancholy.”




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#134733 - 11/02/04 04:41 AM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words...
plutarch Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/10/01
Posts: 1385
"GENG JAI": this word is a mixture of the feelings of guilt and embarrassment and reluctance ... [plus] a feeling of gratitude, but with a healthly dose of embarrassment

2 words spring to mind, halfomnipotent ["demipotent" for short?]

"sheepish", and "compromised", the latter in this sense:

"A concession to something detrimental or pejorative: a compromise of morality." [A-H]

It occurs to me that there are cultural differences between Thailand and North America [even the West generally] which might explain why we do not have a word which translates "GENG JAI" [a wonderful word] precisely.

Our citizens, particularly in Canada and the U.K, generally accept that a minimum standard of living is a right, not a charity, and therefore it is not demeaning to accept well-intentioned assistance from any source when it is honestly required.

This sense of 'entitlement' not only mutes any sense of belittlement or obligation, but also the sense of gratitude itself.

No doubt, one who receives assistance in such circumstances does feel gratitude, but this feeling is more likely to be diffused toward society as a whole. In other words, they may feel grateful that they live in a country infused with such an amplitude of common decency.

Extract from scholarly paper published in 1996 entitled "Social Safety Net in Thailand: the Role of Government"

"In a competitive economic system like Thailand, people are expected to look after their own welfare. However, Thailand does not have permanent income maintenance program. The two-way compulsory social security system became operational only in 1991, when the government passed a law requiring large firms with 20 or more workers to participate in the state-run social security system. This social security system, which covers illness, death, in and out of the work places, maternity leaves, and invalidity, is expected to expand its operations to cover larger contingencies such as old-age pensions and unemployment benefits in the near future. ... Of all the labor force in Thailand at present, more than 30 million economically active persons, those covered by the public and private social security systems are still quite few. Thus, social safety net programs initiated by the government have become more urgent for the poor and the needy."

http://216.239.41.104/search?q=cache:nZ_AdD2FnfYJ:www.asianscholarship.org/publications/papers/Shao%2520Zhiqin-%2520Social%2520Safety%2520Net%2520in%2520Thailand%2520the%2520Role%2520of%2520Government.doc+social+assistance+in+Thailand&hl=en


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#134734 - 11/02/04 10:28 AM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words...
Jackie Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 11605
Loc: Louisville, Kentucky
Thailand does not have permanent income maintenance program. The two-way compulsory social security system became operational only in 1991 How interesting. Maybe the U.S. isn't so bad, after all.


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#134735 - 11/08/04 03:36 AM Re: Vocab quiz: translation of two foreign words..
antonxie Offline
stranger

Registered: 12/18/02
Posts: 21
Loc: Taipei, Taiwan
For Geng Jai, It cross my mind that Taiwanese use Phai-Sei for the same sense, Japanese use Sumimasen for the same sense, so I would use either sheepish or apologetic in English...
For Noi Jai
I would use slighted too.

ax

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