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Language in Thailand

In Thailand, Thai serves as the official national language. It is language taught and used in the schools, the ones used by the media and the one used for government affairs. Outside Bangkok and the central plains, other dialects and languages of the Thai family coexist with the standard.

  • Northern Thai( Kam Muang or Yuan) in the north
  • Southern Thai in the South
  • Lao or Northeastern Thai in the northeast.

Still other Tai languages such as Lue, Phuthai and Phuan are spoken as small speech islands in various parts of the country. In addition, Thailand has many minority groups who speak languages that do not belong to the Tai family.

Thais are very proud of their language. It is the carrier of the cultural and artistic heritage, and also a mark of Thailand's long-standing independence and sovereignty.

There are 44 consonants, 32 vowels and five tones in Thai pronunciation, and a script which has its origins in India.

English is now quite widely understood, particularly in Phuket in the tourist areas.

It is even difficult to give a precise rendering of Thai words in the western alphabet. Although, the tones, some vowels and consonant sounds have no English equivalent, but don't be completely discouraged.

Here are some basic greetings and phrases for you to try.

English Thai
Hello (female speaker)
Hello (male speaker)
How are you?
Fine thanks
Thank you
Never mind
I don't understand
Do you understand?
Where is the rest room?
What is this?
How much does this cost?
Sawasdee kaa
Sawadee krap
Sabai dee reu
Sabai dee
Kop koon
Mai pen rai
Mai kao chai
Kao chai mai
Hong nam yoo tee nai
Nee arai
Nee tao-rai

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