Thai is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. There are four regional dialects - northern, north eastern, central and southern - with central Thai being the most widely spoken and understood. Some words and phrases are used only in certain social situations and often vary according to geogrpahy. Other ethnic groups and pockets of Thais in remote areas speak languages unrelated to Thai.
There are five tones in the Thai language with differing inflections conceivably giving a new meaning to a word (which may cause confusion if mispronounced. Don't let that stop you though - Thais appreciate the effort!).
It is believed that the Thai language originated in southern China close to Vietnam. Words from Pali, Sanskrit and Khmer were introduced into the language following the adoption of Buddhism; the written language is based on the Brahmi script with influence from the Khmer language.
Thai is a gender-based language: remember to use kha if you're a woman or kap if you're a man when you say 'please' and 'thank you'.
Here are some words and phrases to help get you started.
|How are you?||Sabai dee mai|
|I'm fine||Sai bai dee|
|And you?||Laew khun la|
|What is your name?||Khun chue alai|
|My name is...||Cheu...|
|Nice to meet you||Yindee tee dai roojak|
|Sorry/Excuse me||Kor toht|
|Good luck||Kor hai chok dee!|
|Thank you||Korp khun|
|Never mind||Mai pen rai|
|Where is/are...?||Yoo tee nai...|
|Is it far||Glai mai|
|How much/many?||Tao rai|
|How much does this cost?||An-nee tao rai|
|I really like it||chop-man-mak|
|I cannot speak Thai||Phoot Thai mai dai|
|Does anyone speak English?||Mee krai pood pasa ang-grit dai bang mai?|
|Do you understand?||Kao chai mai|
|I understand||Kao chai|
|I don't understand||Mai kao chai|
|Where is the toilet?||Hong nam u teenai|
|Could I have a menu please||Kaw menu aharn noi|
|A little spicy||Ped nit noi|
|Very spicy||Ped mak|
|Not spicy||Mai ped|
|It was delicious||Aloi mak|
|The bill please||Gep taang|
|Drinking water||Nam plao|
|Ashtray||Ti kia buri|
|Fried rice||Khao pat|
|Fried noodles||Pad thai|
Looking for cool travel trips? See Phuket Travel Tips
Here's the Do's and Don'ts of Thai Culture
For more information on Thailand and Phuket, see General Information
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