Thai is the official language of Thailand and the native language of Thai people. The standard Thai is spoken in the central region and around the country. In addition, there are 3 main dialects which widely spoken in some regions: Northeastern Thai (Isan), Northern Thai, and Southern Thai.
Thai consonants consist of 44 letters which can be distinguished into Initials, Finals, and Clusters. There are 32 vowels in Thai language which are separated into short and long. They can appear above, below, and around the consonants.
Thai Language also has specials marks such as Tone Marks and Voiceless Mark which affect pronunciation. There are 5 phonemic tones: mid, low, falling, high, and rising which sometime confused the foreigners. If you pronounce wrongly, the meaning is changed. For example, “สวย” Suay (* rising tone) and Suay (*mid tone). The first one means “beautiful”, while the second one means “unlucky”. Please be careful!
Thai Phonology is quite complex, but the grammar of Thai language is more simply to use in daily conversation. The word order is just “Subject+Verb+Object” (*subject can be omitted) or “Subject+Adjective”. There is no inflection of verbs in Thai like English or Japanese. It uses some words as tense markers including passive voice, negation and question, but sometimes they are not required.
Chan Pai Prathet Thai
(I go to Thailand).
Chan Pai Prathet Thai
(I went to Thailand).
Chan Cha Pai Prathet Thai
(I will go to Thailand).
Chan Khey Pai Prathet Thai
(I have been to Thailand).
Khoa Khey Pai Prathet Thai
(He has been to Thailand).
Chan Mai Khey Pai Prathet Thai
(I have never been to Thailand).
Khun Khey Pai Prathet Thai Mai
(Have you ever been to Thailand?)
In Thai language, the nouns have no articles, gender, and they are neither singular nor plural. However, the pronouns are more delicate than English and also has some distinction between genders, politeness, relation etc.
- “ผม” Phom (I/me).
(For Male *Formal)
- “ดิฉัน” Dichan (I/me).
(For Female *Formal)
- “ฉัน” Chan (I/me).
(For Male and Female *Informal)
Furthermore, Thai language also has Particles which are the words that added to the end of a sentence. There are many Particles in Thai that can indicate the moods, but the most commonly used and formal words are “ครับ” Krub (*High Tone) for male speakers, “ค่ะ” Kha (*FallingTone) for female speakers.