Jaew?

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‘To be clear?’

‘Is it a question?’

‘Well, it certainly couldn’t be an answer, with a question mark?’

‘You never know in this country.’

‘True.’

The question mark indicates a rising tone. In the Thai language jaew is often used after the word chat, to intensify the feeling.

Therefore, chat-jaew means very clear.

These intensifiers are called Uthan-Serm-Bod.

Some of these become idioms when separated from the words they intensify.

If jaew is used alone, it means ‘fantastic’ or ‘cool’ in vernacular speech.

‘How was the concert?’

‘Jaew?.’ (‘Cool.’ ‘Fantastic’.)

Formerly, this word could be pronounced on either a rising or a falling tone, but the latter is seldom used now.

Confusing enough?