Word of the Day for Tuesday, March 24, 2009:
มะม่วง /ma'mûaŋ/ n. mango
I'm doing an experiment today with a word that everyone probably already knows. The idea is to learn something you don't know about a familiar word.
When buying green mangoes (มะม่วงดิบ), a basic distinction to know is between sour and not sour. Sour mangoes are simply มะม่วงเปรี้ยว /ma'mûaŋ 'prîaw/. Those that aren't sour are called มะม่วงมัน /ma'mûaŋ 'man/. These range somewhere between mildly sweet to somewhat bland, depending on variety and age.
There are dozens of species of mango, and hundreds of cultivars. Some common mango varieties you find in Thailand:
มะม่วงน้ำดอกไม้ - Sour when green, commonly eaten ripe. (Literally "flower juice mango")
มะม่วงเขียวเสวย - Commonly eaten unripe. (เขียว is "green", เสวย in this usage perhaps comes from Khmer ស្វាយ /svaay/ "mango", but probably influenced by เสวย, another Khmer word and ราชาศัพท์ for "eat").
See also มะม่วงแรด, มะม่วงอกร่อง, มะม่วงแก้ว, and many, many more.
Bonus: The cashew in Thailand is called มะม่วงหิมพานต์ "Himmaphan mango" (from Himavanta, the name of a forest in Hindu mythology), probably due to the mango-like shape of the cashew nut.