Language of the Week: Thai !


Thai is the native language to approximately 60 million people in Thailand This coutry has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in south Asia, known for its wild party scene and its beautifully serene beaches. There are very distinct differences between the dialects that are spoken in the north, north east and south of the country.

Tones in Thai :

Similarly to Chinese, Thai is a tonal language. There are a total of 5 tones:

TONE mid low high falling rising
EXAMPLE THAI WORD ไมล์ ใหม่ ไม้ ไม่ ไหม
TONE mai mài mái mâi mǎi
ENGLISH MEANING mile new wood not silk

Tongue twisters

With five tones comes with some impressively difficult tongue twisters, here is one:

ไหมใหม่ไม่ไหม้ [mǎi mài mâi mâi], which means “new-silk-doesn’t-burn.”

Honestly, to me, Thai characters look the most difficult to distinguish, they just look like abstract doodles to me, what do you think?

Thai Pronunciation English
สวัสดี sà-wàt-dee Hello/ bye
เป็นอย่างไรบ้าง? bpen yàang rai bâang? How are you?
ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัก yin dee têe dâi róo jàk Pleased to meet you
ขอโทษ kŏr tôht Sorry
ขอบคุณ kòp kun Thank you
ผมชื่อ … (male)ดิฉันชื่อ( female) pŏm chêudì-chăn chêu My name is …


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