July 24, 2008

New Pattani Maly-Thai dictionary from MOE

Thailand's Ministry of Education has published a new Pattani Malay-Thai/Thai-Pattani Malay dictionary, in a limited run of 3,000 copies. Each book also comes with a CD. It will not be for sale, but will be distributed to schools, libraries, and government offices.

The lexicographers behind this new dictionary is a team of researchers from Prince of Songkhla University, Pattani Campus, headed by Worawit Baru. The team compiled the dictionary over the course of two years. It is reported to contain some 12,000 words, and weighs in at 596 pages. It also reportedly uses the Thai script to transcribe the Malay dialect, which I'm curious about. From my reading of news articles, they use Thai script exclusively and don't include the traditional orthography, Jawi script.

Although claimed by some to be the first dictionary of Pattani Malay, in fact Prince of Songkhla University previously published a Pattani Malay-Thai dictionary in 1984. It stands to reason that the new dictionary builds on the previous work.

The stated goal of this dictionary is to enable better communication between the Thai Buddhist national majority, and the local Thai Muslim majority in Thailand's troubled southern provinces.

Pattani is located on the Malay Peninsula, near the border of Malaysia. Pattani Malay, commonly referred to by Thais as Yawi (ยาวี, the Thai pronunciation of Jawi), is the majority language of this province, in which 88% of residents are Sunni Muslim.
Thai Education Minister, Somchai Wongsawat, left.
The other fellow, not identified anywhere in the 
MOE publicity material, is presumably Worawit Baru.

Read the MOE press release in Thai here. Details and more photographs here.

Those interested in learning more about the Pattanai dialect Malay can read, for example, this article about pronouns in Pattani Malay (in Thai, DOC format). Pattani Malay has previously been the subject of several Thai Master's and PhD theses (e.g. abstracts here and here), which cite the earlier Pattani Malay-Thai dictionary.


  1. HeLLo!!!
    i LiVe iN MaLaYSia...
    Please inform me @

  2. This book was never put up for sale. Its limited print run was exclusively distributed to libraries and such.

    I'm interested in having a copy myself, so I went to the trouble of tracking down a phone number for the relevant department at Prince of Songkhla University, but no dice.

    I think they're underestimating both the demand and the value. This kind of work gains value as it is more widely spread. Bummer.

  3. I am very sure that you identified the second fellow correctly, compare with the photo of Worawit Baru (วรวิทย์ บารู) I found here.

  4. How do you say thank you in Pattani-Malay?