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  • Author: AMARA PRASITHRATHSINT x
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Abstract

Based on 1,366 names of districts, subdistricts, villages, and temples in Nan Province, Northern Thailand, this study aims to analyze the meaning of each of the names and formulate general principles of place-name formation in Thai. It is found that folk names are structurally different from official names. A Thai folk place name, such as (farm-salt) ‘salt farm’ and thûŋ-kwaaŋ (field-deer) ‘field full of deer’, is generally composed of a head noun denoting a geographical feature, such as mountain, farm, forest, plain, and field, followed by a modifying word that refers to natural resources, such as salt, rock, teak, sand, animals, and plants, a word that refers to colors, such as ‘yellow’ and ‘white’, or a word referring to directions, such as ‘south’ and ‘north’. Unlike folk names, which reflect natural environments, official place names reflect Thai social values. They normally contain elaborate words borrowed from Pali and Sanskrit that refer to auspicious concepts, such as peace, happiness, development, modernity, and Buddhism; for example, săntiphâap-phátthanaa ‘peace and development’.