Bak: Is it a Vulgar Word or a Pronoun in Isan Dialects?

Sakaoduen Satham and Sirirat Sansamat


This article aims to study 1) the meanings and origin of the word bakin the context of Isan dialects, and 2) the way bakis used with other words in distinct contexts in Isan dialects, with the hypothesis that bakis a complete basic word and can be integrated with other words to enhance its meaning in those contexts. This usage is different from that in standard Thai where the word bak usually has a negative meaning. Data were gathered from documents, including books and dictionaries, as well as from voice-recorded interviews of Isan dialect speakers. The results of the study show that, 1) bakis a basic word generally used in Isan dialects; it has various meanings similar to a homonym Standard Thai, including interesting meanings apart from a vulgar meaning, and 2) the word bakis used to construct other words in the form of nouns, verbs, and adverbs in distinct contexts of Isan dialects. The word bakwhen combined with other words or phrases can become a new idiom in Isan dialects. Therefore, bakis not only a vulgar word, but also has a role as a compound noun, pronoun, and various idioms.

Keywords: pronoun, vulgar word, words with several meaning, homonyms, Isan dialects


pronoun; vulgar word; words with several meaning; homonyms; Isan dialects