Footprints in Thai language

Update on:
Dinosaur footprints in Thai

I’ve just been back from ขอนแก่น (Khon Kaen) and กาฬสินธุ์ (Kalasin) provinces in อีสาน (Isan) or Northeast of Thailand. I had a good experience and had something to share with you.

I visited พิพิธภัณฑ์ ไดโนเสาร์ (phíphítthaphan daynoosǎw) or Dinosaur Museum in กาฬสินธุ์ (Kalasin). The museum’s official name is พิพิธภัณฑ์ สิรินธร (Sirindhorn Museum).

While I was walking around I spotted one thing that surprised me. It’s the word footprints in Thai.

Some of you may already know that the word เท้า (tháaw) is a common and polite word to say foot. There is another word that also means foot but it’s considered an impolite word to say especially when you refer to a person’s foot. That word is ตีน (tiin).

I remember telling some students that you can use ตีน (tiin) to talk about an animal’s foot and it will not sound impolite—for example, ตีนไก่ (tiin kày) which is chicken’s feet.

But I do not use the word ตีน (tiin) much except for when I talk about chicken feet.

In the past, when I talked about footprints, I always said รอยเท้า (rɔɔy tháaw). รอย (rɔɔy) means a mark, a trace and เท้า (tháaw) means a foot.

But what I saw in the museum last week is the word รอยตีน (rɔɔy tiin). You can also see it in the cover image if you can read the Thai script.

Technically, this is acceptable because a dinosaur is also an animal. So, it should not be considered as an impolite word. But I didn’t expect to see the word ตีน (tiin) being used and written in a museum like this.

Later on, I did some research and I found that the word ตีน (tiin) is widely used in the Isan area and it does not sound impolite like when it is used in the middle part of Thailand.

Focus words

รอยตีน (rɔɔy tiin)
footprints (animals)

รอยเท้า (rɔɔy tháaw)
footprints (people)

รอย (rɔɔy)
mark, trace

ตีน (tiin)
foot (animals)
In the middle part of Thailand, it’s considered impolite to use this word to refer to a person’s foot.

เท้า (tháaw)

ไดโนเสาร์ (daynoosǎw)

พิพิธภัณฑ์ (phíphítthaphan)