The Lay of the (Thai)Land

September 16, 2013 – Day 047

I have written about the inadvertent humor of food packages before (here as an example), but today’s post centers on an interesting coincidence.

Without even telling you, I’m sure you can identify the brand name of the snack food pictured below which I bought at our friendly neighborhood 7-Eleven:

DSCN5221Even if you are not familiar with the logo of the Lay’s brand of snack foods, it certainly looks as if this yellow-and-red logo contains an “L”, and then an “a”, and then some other interesting-looking character which all together spell out “Lay’s”.

Except it doesn’t.

While the Thai characters pictured above do sound out the word “Lay’s”, it’s not in the way you might think.

So far, in my unscientific less-than-thorough study of the Thai character set, I have come to understand that, when written, vowels are placed in front of consonants. However, when sounded out, the vowel sound comes after the consonant.

In the example above, the Thai character that looks like a capital “L” is actually a stylized version of that letter that makes the vowel sound similar to the long “a” (as in “bay” and “say”). The Thai character that looks like a lower case “a” actually makes the “l” sound (as in “long” and “loquacious” or “overly explained”).

Though the long “a” sound is written before the “l” sound, when the word is spoken, the order is reversed so the two characters together sound out “lay”.

The last Thai character in the logo (to the best of my understanding) has a soft “c” sound (as in “century” and “scenery”).

As one, the three characters thus sound out the word “Lay’s”

Lay’s lucked out in Thailand with its almost-English looking transliteration of its logo into Thai. Things could have been worse for them. They could have been Doritos, which looks like this in Thai…

Doritos Thialand


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