Cities in THAILAND
Photo:Jorge Láscar Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic no changes made
The official language is Thai, which is the mother tongue of about 80% of the population and was officially established by King Ramkamhaeng in 1283. Thai belongs to the Kadai family of languages, is related to Lao, Shan (Northern Myanmar), some southern Chinese dialects, and is a tonal language. English is very common as a second language.
Like Chinese, Thai is a one-letter language with five pitches, high, low, neutral, rising and falling. The pitch is indicated by accents above the vowels
In principle, every syllable is a word; identically spelled words take on a different meaning due to the pitch associated with them. In Thai, for example, the famous phrase "Mai mai mai mai mai?" is known, which roughly means "The green forest is not burning, is it"?
Nevertheless, current Thai now has many polysyllabic words. Much of it consists of loanwords that come from Pali, Sanskrit or Khmer. The Thai language was mixed with this when the Thai migrated from South China to present-day Thailand and came into contact with the Mon and Khmer.
The Thai alphabet is derived from Sanskrit; four accents are added to 44 consonants and 32 vowel or diphthong marks.
Thai is written from left to right. Thai is written with no gaps between words: complete sentences are formed by a continuous row of letters because the language has no capital letters, commas or periods; no prefixes or suffixes and no accents, conjugations or genders of nouns.
The grammar of Thai is simple. The basic sentence consists of a subject, a verb and an object. The adjective comes after the noun. A verb can be made into a noun by prefixing it.
Words and expressions
- yes - chai
- no - mai chai
- how do you do? - khun sabai di reuh?
- very good! - di make!
- a - neung
- two - song
- three - sahm
- ten - sip
- hotel - rong raem
- swimming pool - boring wai nahm
- I don't understand you - chan mai khao chai
- what time is it? - gi mong laeo?
- bread - knanom pang
- beer - bia
- wine - lau anguhn
- luggage - hip pat
There are different dialects in Thailand that are spoken in four major areas of the country.
In the central plain people speak "generally civilized" Thai, formerly known as Siamese.
In the northeast, Lao-Thai is spoken, which is almost the same as the Laotian spoken in Laos.
In the north, people speak the very different "Kam Muang".
Most mountain peoples speak a language that belongs to the Sino-Thai language group and the Chinese minority generally speak Thai, but also mandarin, Cantonese or Fukienese.
Muslims in the south often speak an old Malay dialect, Yawi, which is in some ways similar to Malay and Bahasa Indonesia.
Then there is the "rachasap", a special vocabulary that is used in the presence of monarchs and is very similar to the language that is still spoken in Cambodia today.
The Thai always address each other by the first name, which is preceded by the title "kuhn" (sir or madam). Usually the Thai also have a pet name ("tschu len", literally: play name).
Click the menu button at the top left of the screen for more information
Clutterbuck, M. / Thailand
Davies, B. / Thailand
Forbes, A. / Thailand
Hahn, W. / Thailand
Hauser, S. / Thailand : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur, milieu
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen
Hoskin, J. / Thailand
Macdonald, P. / Thailand
Miethig, M. / Thailand
Peterse, L. / Thailand
Steinmetz, P. / Thailand
Uitgeversmaatschappij The Reader’s Digest
CIA - World Factbook
BBC - Country Profiles
Copyright: Team Landenweb