chapter  12
FOUR-WORD ELABORATE EXPRESSIONS IN YUNNAN TAI LUE: A PAN-TAI CULTURAL TRAIT?
Pages 9

A four-word elaborate expression is an idiom that is composed of four monosyllabic words; thus, it is named a ‘four-syllable word’ or a ‘four-syllable compound’ by some linguists.

Examples of four-word elaborate expressions in Standard Thai are as follows:

(1) yu¿u dii kin dii staygoodeat good ‘to be well-off’

(2) kin kha Áaw kin plaa eat rice eat fish to eat (rice)

(3) tham ra Áy thaÂy naa make farm plough rice paddy ‘to do rice-farming’

(4) yu¿u yen pen su¿k stay cool stay happy ‘to live happily’

(5) he Ân na Áa he Ân taa see face see eye ‘to see (somebody’s face)’

(6) chaay ci1 yiÂ1 th(½( man true woman real ‘a real man or woman’

(7) bu¿k pa ¿a fa ¿a do1 invade forest go through forest ‘to go through a forest; to brave danger or hardship’

(8) khoÂn lu½k khoÂn pho1 hair get up hair swell ‘to have hair stand on end; to be frightened’

(9) ce¿p tho½o1 khoÁo1 cay hurt stomach irritate heart

‘to be hurt’

(10) ce¿p kha Áy da Áay pu¿ay hurt fever get illness ‘to be sick’

Expressions shown above are labeled differently by different scholars. Haas (1964: xvii) named them ‘elaborate expressions’. According to her, such expressions

are frequently based on compounds… and are expanded by repeating a part of the compound and adding a new part, by inserting a syllable for the sake of rhyme, or by inserting a syllable with some vague semantic relation to one of the original parts.