The Thai word "Farang", its variations in other languages, and its Arabic origin

While reading a recent issue of the Canadian Geographic, I came across a news item mentioning two Canadians in Thailand, who run a magazine targeted for Westerners, called Farang. The similarity of this term to the Arabic ones piqued my interested, so I did some research on it.

I found that this term Farang means "White European" in Thai. The Wikipeda Farang article says that the origin of this term is uncertain.

The term Arabs used for Eastern Europe in the seventh century was Rum الروم being the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantium). For Western Europe, the term Firinjia فرنجة، فرنج came to be used somewhat after that, and specially during the Crusades, since a large percentage of the Crusaders were Franks. Hence the term Firinjah stuck to all Western Europeans.

As Arab traders travelled to East Asia, the term was borrowed into the languages of that region. Initially describing the Portuguese, it was used for all "whites" later.

Arabic Word Transliteration in Latin characters Comments
فرنجة Firinja, Firinjah Plural
فرنجي Firinji Singular of above term
أفرنج Ifranj, Afranj Another plural form
أفرنجي Ifranji, Afranji Singular

Here are the derivations in other languages.

Term Language Comments
frangos, firanja Greek "Westerner", "Latin Catholics", "Land of the Franks"
ifrangi Turkish
frang Syriac "a European", "The Country of the Franks; Western Europe; Latin language or church"
afrangi, ifranji, faranji Arabic Arabic variations. See details in table above.
afrang,faranj, ferang, ferangi, feringhi Perisan
farenghi Hindi
farengi, farangi, pirangi Tamil
farangi Malayalam
farang Thai
barang Cambodian Khmer
pha-rang, pha-lang-xa Vietnamese
palang Malaysia
barang Bahasa Indonesia
paalagi, papalangi, vaalagi, papa-'aa Samoan/Maori Likely a coincidence ?

References

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Comments

French?

The other thing about the Thai word is the word for French in Thai is farangset. Maybe that was a Thai version of France, independent of ’farang’ or maybe, as I always assumed, the word for foreigner and the word for French are related?

Fi rang: "rang" is color

Fi rang: "rang" is color according to Indian languages and Fi is (light color ; not dark).It is Indian origin also

Thai word for Rose Gulab Indian also Gulab ; Siam is the name for Thailand before and it means Shyam in Indin language which means brown or Sun set.Gold is called Suwarn same is the name of Thai Airport Suwarn bhom here bhom is Bhomi which means land ie Golden land.many words like Raja,Rajkumar,rani,Rajkumari,senapati,praja,sukh,dukh,narak,swarg are few of the words Thiland & India have commen.there are many u can share it
Thanks

Farang

Yes, thai based on Sanskrit. many gods are also common. many gods worshipped in india can be found in thailand.

one can say there is alot of culture that is common between the hindu indian and thai people.

Good luck thailand, namaste & swadee krap with folded hands. love frm india.

The Origin of the Word Farang from a Person Who's Thai

The origin of the word "farang" can be ambiguous and debatable. Having been brought up in Bangkok, I have always felt an intimate association with the word from a Thai's perspective. Thailand was very much influenced by the French early on. We call the French "Chow Francais" or "Chow Farang Sate (rhymes with gate)." Additionally, Thai people love to shorten words, especially words with foreign origin. For example, PiLok is short for Pitsanulok, and "SING" from the word "racing" means to drive a car super fast. Regardless of the country of origin, all white people then were generically known as "Chow Farang Sate," then later on, Farang for short.

Some reference on this website is precisely correct when it notes that "farang" is a term loosely used to describe white Europeans. Although the Americans came much later, why not refer to them as Farang as well? After all, we Thais cannot make the distinction between a white man who's French and one who's an Australian. Occasionally Thais may refer to light-skinned middle easterner as farang. This is mainly due to their naivete than anything else. A Thai never ever calls a Chinese or a dark Indian "farang." It is, however,OK to refer to a white Russian woman as farang. The word "farang," to me, is neither derogatory or complimentary to white people. To me, the connotation is roughly neutral. On the other hand, "Ai Lian" for Italian is definitely derogatory since it sounds like the word LIAN in Thai, meaning to overeat or eating so much one wants to throw up.

Although Peter Hovart did not address the origin of the word, his description is most acceptable to me, and to falang Khruu, good try!

Farang meaning

You've been miss-informed. I've been married to a Thai for over 20 years. The word means outsider. It can be derogatory depending on context and may rise to the level of a racial epithet or ethnic slur. If someone calls you a farang in Thailand, you have been insulted. Don't be naive.

Feranja

In South Africa, we use the term Feranja to indicate white people or black people who are coconuts (black on the outside and white on the inside) or culture-less in a tribal and true monarchic sense. In any case, I went to Thailand recently and I was gobsmacked whe I first experienced the Thai people's mannerisms, talking and customs. They are exactly like the Bantus of Africa. So, I got to digging, albeit almost 7 years later and I found out that 600 years ago, I was not considered black. I was considered a Jew and in some parts the red people or red indians. People were not segregated by how they looked. If you read Jewish history (from the Bible), you can be sure they (Jews, despite God's instruction) intermixed with almost every tribe on earth. How one looks could never determine who was Jewish or not. That is why Esdras came up the rule that every man or woman born of a natural Jew was automatically Jewish. I have records up records taken by Portuguese, Spanish and even British that alludes to our true identity as Jews. Lastly, there are certain phrases within IsiZulu language that have been given concurrence with Ancient Hebrew and Sanskrit (yes, people, before Latin or any other European language - by understanding IsiZulu I can understand certain passages in the Bible better than non-speakers and can translate some words directly from Ancient and Medieval Hebrew to isiZulu or English) but that have no equivalence with non-Hebrew languages. Examples are uku-Jwayela - this is when you are too familiar with a person with the intention of deceiving them - source - Jael, wife of Heber the kenite (Judges 4). We have 2 shades of green: green as the sky and green as grass. Most of our tribal arrangements are as per the israelite kings/judges - Dahude/Dawude/Hude/Davids, Jafta, Solomons/Dlomo etc. Lastly, we have some 1-2,000,000 people called Cape Malay in South Africa who look more caramel-skinned asian but before them we had more malawu/malawi people we call AbaThwa, some called them Thwe that were our bride tribes. They provided the brides, we married them. Amongst the Sothos (the real Arabs as according to the Bible etc. called Nabatu/Nabatean - Batho meaning Bantu/Bandu/Vanhu - people) they were called Birwa. The mother of the first king of split Kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam, was Zerua/Zerwa who was descended from Ephrat, a wife of Caleb/Gariep/Carib (that's where Caribbean comes from), son of Jephunneh, a Kinite who was also of the tribe of Juda. Out of 12 scouts sent by Moses, son of Levi, to scout the land of Kananda that was already occupied by the tribes listed below, only Joseph son of Nun and Caleb, son of Jephunneh of the tribe of Juda came back with news to attack while the others were too scared. They were also the only 2 of that whole generation to occupy the land of Kananda/Canaan. Moses, under instruction from God, waited for that whole generation to die out. I believe these are the Israelite tribes that not only look like Asians but share the same ancestry until separation that went unchecked until the mid-20th century. My research shows that in the dark ages, real Jews and their arab tributaries/maddatus (who were hated by everyone, including the people who call themselves Jews nowadays - who have no link to the ancient Hebrews) and controlled all trade on all continents. Most of this trade was controlled from America by the red indians. Google real red indians and tell me they do not look black "African". In fact, the indigenous people of all Asian and American countries are "black african" or red indians/people (our skin looks more red than black or brown). Over 400-450 years, feranjas tracked us down everywhere we were based: Australia (original indigenous people were black and some refugees made it to South Africa after the war with the British), America (we have the Mohokeng (Mohawks), Mahikeng (Mohecans) Aztec - Yekwana/Yekwena etc.) and pretty much all indigenous (real Jewish) peoples of the whole world including Europe took refuge in my country (South Africa and the Sub Saharan Africa in what came to be known as the Bantu expansion) because of persecution for being Jewish. We called ourselves MaMbos, NGunis, Bantu, Bato, Vanhu, Igbo, Edo, Benin, KiKongo because we comprise the Arabs of Ishmael, Malchutians of Ishmael, the Abrahamites of Ketura, The Semites of Shem and the Israelites of Jacob. Back to Feranja, one of our tribes used to sit in between the Persian (also in South Africa - their leader's names were Bantu names - Cambysees in Persian is actually KaMBUjiya - looks like Cambodia, right, Cyrus the Great's title is Kurus the Great which in my language would mean Mkhulu khulu/guru guru - the great great and Xerxes is pronounced Shawasha which could be shoeshoe but Shawasha is a praise name for some of our tribes, our tribes came down from Kenya/Ithiopia/Thiyopho as eMbu, Kikuyu (Khulu tribe), Meru (what is called Moro/meroe/meru - as in Kamerun/A-meru-ka) and Byzantine empire prior to its fall. It's fall spelt the end for Persia, where a lot of Jews lived, and also for the world order of the time. New forces took over Europe (Feranjas) and they have ever since used every power they have to undermine the previous higher echelons of old world order. If I told you the full story you would still think I am lying. The new and soon to be old world order came into being 400 years ago. It has worked very hard to keep all the Jewish countries poor and to draw a distinction between them and then to place one above the other based on physical attributes so that we hate each other. Thailand used to have a lot of black Jewish traders in the old world. They also happened to be the richest people in Thailand, which led to them being expelled and for attitudes towards us changing for the worse. I hope this message goes to show that we are not so different. In fact, prosperity for our nations is tied together so infinitely, so divinely, so spiritually that there could never be a prosperous Thailand without the full emancipation of the whole nation of Israel.

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