Home > Tips and Tricks > กัน – Making Connections

กัน – Making Connections

When and why do things stick in our minds?  When they have something to stick to of course!  

Making associations helps.  The easiest way to assure that new information will stay is by connecting it to old information.  Old information is already grounded, you just need to hook the new info to it.  

Faithful readers – you are probably most familiar with this word กัน in sentences such as ไปด้วยกัน or เจอกัน.  Useful as they may be, they are not related to the กัน of which I’d like to talk about today.

If you’ve ever rented a room, a house, a bike, or just about anything in Thailand, you may have come across the word ‘ประกัน.’  It can mean a few things, but in the cases I just mentioned, lets call it a ‘deposit.’  So you better know the following sentence anytime you are planning to rent anything. 

  • ค่าประกันเืท่าไร

At some point after years of words popping up with related meanings, a connection formed in my head.  Well, the words were most likely connected long before they entered my head, but things that are connected in your head are easier to remember.  

I associate กัน with a meaning similar to defend or protect.  Here are some words that have led me to that thought:

  • ยากันยุง   mosquito repellant (medicine-defend-mosq)
  • กันน้ำ        waterproof (protect-water)
  • กันฝน       rainproof  (protect – rain)
  • เสื้อกันหนาว sweater (clothes – protect cold)
  • ป้องกัน   defend
  • ผ้ากันเปื้อน apron (cloth – protect- stain)

See what I mean?  

How do you say life insurance or health insurance in Thai? 

Don’t know?  Well ask someone.  You remember things you look for yourself better than lists of words.  

**Useful Homework – 

  • ปลอดภัย = safe

Safe has 2 parts.  ปลอด + ภัย – Look them up seperately.  After you have found the individual meanings, look for examples of other words containing that suf/af-fix.  No need to memorize anything.  I’m just trying to make you aware that while you are learning these pairs/phrases/sentences as a whole, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the pieces as they will eventually be a great help to you.  Don’t break down every word.  When you start seeing the same thing over and over again – look for a connection.  Don’t always expect native speakers to know the answer – they rarely do.


What do these words have in common?




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