In every language there is a relatively small set of words that are extremely common. So common in fact you can find at least one in every sentence ever written. When I teach Thai to my beginner level students, I try to focus all my examples on the most common Thai words. After I graduate them from the 25 most common Thai words, I then move them on to the top 100. One of those ‘top 100’ words is จริง (jing1), which literally translates as ‘true’. The word จริง, a commonly used word, can be used in many ways. And that’s what this article is about.
First, let’s start with the spelling: the word entirely violates the pronunciation rules of Thai. If one were to follow the invisible vowel rules, one would pronounce จริง as:
จะ – ริง
Note: The rules are as defined in these three articles:
This odd spelling and violation of pronunciation rules gives a hint to it’s origins and the age of the word, which I’m guessing is Sanskrit or Bali. But I haven’t been able to confirm which.
Note: More experienced readers might argue that จร is a ‘consonant cluster’ and therefore should be pronounced as ‘จ’. But there are many Thai words that start with จร where จร isn’t pronounced as a consonant cluster. In fact, จริง is the only word where จร is used as a consonant cluster which I’m aware of. จริง is a special exception and just needs to be memorized as such.
The root word is จริง, which means ‘true’ or ‘real’.
If you repeat the word twice, it means ‘really!’, ‘seriously’, or ‘I’m telling the truth.’
If something (ของ) is real, i.e. not a fake or counterfeit, then it is a:
Someone who is truthful, and speaks his/her mind and heart (ใจ), then that person is:
Adding the word ความ in front of an adjective turns that adjective into a noun. The noun of ‘true’ is ‘truth’:
If someone told you some fact that you didn’t realize before, you’d same ‘hmmm, you’re right!’ Or in Thai,
Jing1 can be used as part of a question. If you want to know whether something is true, just ask:
Lastly, you can start of your sentences with, ‘In fact, …’.
Jing1 jing1 laew4
Further reading for จริง can be found here: