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What is the difference of คน, นัก and ผู้ etc.?

Thai words and their origins

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What is the difference of คน, นัก and ผู้ etc.?

Postby Aulok » Thu Jul 04, 2019 3:20 am

Hi, everyone! I am curious about the difference of the modern usage of the nominalizers คน, นัก and ผู้.

Perhaps the difference is that the nouns formed by them can imply depreciatory or respectful meanings.

I understand that nouns formed with พ่อ, นาง, นาย and บุรุษ seldom have depreciatory meanings.

Could anyone brief on their usages? Many thanks!
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Re: What is the difference of คน, นัก and ผู้ etc.?

Postby theoldman » Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:27 pm

Hi Aulok,

I've haven't been here for a (long) while and just seen your post. Here's my take:

I'll explain only in the related context of คน, นัก and ผู้ that you asked. Not in another context, for example, คน also has another meaning in another context which means "stir about". (คนกาแฟ- stirring a coffee).

คน = person/human beings.
ผู้ = คน
นัก = ผู้ (but can also has more meanings).

In brief, คน, นัก and ผู้ mean a person/human being and are used before verb, noun or adjective which often mean -er (-or), -ian, -ist in English suffixes. However, each word has its context in using and is not interchangeable. Let me give you an example:

If using before the word เรียน, we will get:

คนเรียน- one (pronoun) who learns
ผู้เรียน - one (pronoun) who learns
นักเรียน-As นัก can also mean the one who likes/has skill/has job, hence นักเรียน has a bit more meaning than คนเรียน or ผู้เรียน. Kind of has a career to learn (or go to school).

คนเขียน-one who writes
ผู้เขียน-one who writes
นักเขียน-a writer (means has a skill in writing or has job on writing; not anyone who just writes something).
-note คนเขียน/ผู้เขียน can mean นักเขียน in some context, but only using as pronoun for those (including writers) who write. Not directly means the one who has a job as a writer like นักเขียน.

Another example of "นัก"-นักดื่ม, นักท่องเที่ยว, นักเทศน์, นักดนตรี, นักคํานวณ, นักสืบ, นักกฎหมาย นักแสดง นักเขียน
Notice that we cannot replace คน or ผู้ for นัก in some case. For example, ผู้กฎหมาย/คนกฎหมาย sounds weird and has no meaning.

Hope this helps.
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