China’s first Chinese-Thai Glossary

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อรกัญญา โรจนวานิชกิจ
หลี่ หวู เว่ย



        This paper explores the source and content of a glossary entitled “Xianluoguan Yiyu” (暹罗馆译语). Historical evidence indicates that in the Ayutthaya period, Siam sent a diplomatic mission with tribute and a letter of request asking China to use direct translation of the Siamese language instead of indirect translation through the Hu iHui language (Arabic) due to the fact that it could cause misinterpretation. The Ming emperor at that time had the Siamese diplomatic delegation teach the Siamese language to Chinese translation students. Later an Office of Siamese Translation and Interpretation was established, and the glossary “Xianluoguan Yiyu”, the first Chinese-Thai dictionary was then written.

The content of the glossary “Xianluoguan Yiyu” is divided to 17 main groups of vocabulary. The researcher gathered 511 words an d transcribed Chinese characters to Thai sounds, then compared ea ch word to the present Thai language. It was found that 49.68 percent of the Siamese words had relatively the same pronunciations as the present Thai language while 46.6 percent were different. This could be because some pronunciations of the Siamese language used in the glossary were in Siamese dialects or because of transcribing errors. Nevertheless, the glossary “Xianluoguan Yiyu” is regarded valuable historical evidence and beneficial to in-depth research related to Chinese-Thai translation.


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โรจนวานิชกิจอ., & เว่ยห. ห. (1). China’s first Chinese-Thai Glossary. Journal of Liberal Arts Prince of Songkla University, 7(1), 1-13. Retrieved from