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"When" When to use "wayla" or "meua"


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that's a tricky one!

i have never found any clear rule, when to use wela or when to use meua.


wela i think is more used in connection with a certain time on the watch/time of the day/clearly defined time

for example

wela chao in the morning

wela bai in the early afternoon

wela thamngaan working hours

trong wela on time


muea is used when time is involved in a more general sense and also when a time before the current period is involved


meua nan at that time

meuarai when

meuaraikodai whenever, any time

meua raek hen at first sight


meuawannee yesterday

meuakhuennee last night

meuawankorn the other day

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don't forget "dtawn" ตอน Often interchangable with "wela" เวลา when specifying a period of time. "when I was 7 years old", when "when she is cooking"...


Meua is pretty limited in it's use. It's mostly used to specify a time in the past, but not in the context of an event. So you can use meua for yesterday, last sunday (meua wan atit), last year. Though even for most of these you could use "tii laew" or "tii paan maa" instead. For almost everything else - "when I get up in the morning", while I'm at work", "when he went to see the movie", "wela" or "dtawn" is prefered.

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Other than the fine examples given above associating Wayla with the present and future, and Meua with the past, you may also think of them as being locators in time to create Thai language equivalants to conjugations of future and past tense verbs:


When I go ... : "Welaa (Tii) Phom Ja Bpai ..."


When I went ... : "Meua (Gorn) Phom Bpai ..."

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I think there is an easier way to remember the difference and I think it makes it pretty clear cut. Think of welah meaning 'time' and meuh meaning 'when'.


welah pai - Time to go

meuh pai ... - When I went ...


With this distinction, I've never been confused on usage.


Sorry but I disagree with the transliterations you've used. Perhaps they conform to one standard or other but welah has much more of an e sound in the first syllable than an a sound.

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Hi LC,


Isn´t that a bit too simplified.


How about the following sentence then?


Welah Pbai Tiaow Bar, Phom Maikhey Phaa Peuan Maa Duay.


WHEN I go out to bars I never bring friends.


Surely, Welah means when in this context?




Hua Nguu

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I always think of meua as being for a specific point in time whereas weelaa is an unspecific length of it, if that makes any sense.:dunno:


"When I go out to bars..." is a when (in English), but it's over a period of time, so it's a weelaa. "When I went to the bar, I got mugged.." is a meua. I guess you can't explain it in terms of just one English word - 'when' - naturally, although I know what LC meant. He meant you could have said, "At the times I go to bars, I never bring friends." That's the meaning of it (though it sounds stifled!)


Actually, I like the explanation worldwalker gave.

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What Bibblies has said is essentially correct. I agree my method may be oversimplified - but all I can say is that has served me well. And would probably do so for most beginners.


The Thai language, as I'm sure you know since my feeling from your posts is you probably speak it better than me, is not directly translatable to English 80% of the time. Since I must still translate in my head before I speak, I often have to consider alternate English constructions before I can construct the sentence in Thai.


In the case of what you translated:

WHEN I go out to bars I never bring friends.

I might have thought of 'the times I go to bars.' But I think in this case either word could have been used.

Meu-uh Pbai Tiaow Bar ...

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