Take a Quick Peek into Thai

Travel around the world with us each Tuesday as we explore a different language every week!




Classification: Tai-Kadai, Kam-Tai, Taithailand_map

Official In: Thailand

Also Spoken In: some areas of China and Cambodia

Linguistic Quirks:

  • Many of the words found in the tonal Thai language can also be found in Pali, Sanskrit, or Old Khmer; there are five tones within Thai.
  • There are three very distinct regional dialects of Thai spoken in Thailand, which includes the northern, northeastern, central, and southern areas.
  • Many Thai words are one syllable, with multi-syllable terms being more commonly utilized for official or academic matters.
  • The Thai language is heavy on its implementation of manners, with Thai people from around the world being known for their friendliness and politeness.

Notable speakers:

  • Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand since June 1946
  • Cindy Burbridge, Thai model, actress, and Miss World contestant
  • Someone you might not have thought of… American golfer Tiger Woods!

Want to learn?
Check out some of these awesome resources to figure out if Thai is a good fit for you: an archive from Ethnologue all about the Thai language, this learning website for audio clips and lessons, or perhaps even this phrasebook app. See if Thai is being taught on your SLE campus next semester for more!

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