Miscellaneous

How to Say “Farang” in Thai Sign Language

This is how you say farang (“Western foreigner”) in Thai sign language.

The word farang is often mistakenly assumed to come from the Thai word for France, farang-seet. It’s actually derived from a Persian word for the Franks, a powerful federation of Germanic tribes during the first millennium BCE, and was adapted by Thais to use with Westerners before the first European ship ever sailed into Ayutthaya. But, it seems likely that the Thai signed word is adapted from the sign for “France” in British Sign Language (www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpTzAtwt78E), which pinches from the mouth instead of the nose. But since all Thais notice large European noses, it’s both a clever and helpful adaptation.

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