Introduction to Thai Language
If your serious about learning Thai, you’ll learn sooner and speak more fluently by learning written Thai... On the other hand, if you merely wish to pick up a handful of words or phrases you’ll be relieved to know we can help .. see options below!
Feb 2012: updated version of this page posted in www.thaibis.com - Thai language - click here
There are several distinct differences between Thai and English grammar:
Thai is tonal language. There are five tones; rising, falling, low, middle and high. This is the aspect of Thai language western speakers have the most difficulty with. Using the wrong tone can cause you to be misunderstood, even if the pronunciation is OK.. Doh!.
There are no variant or plural forms of adjectives and nouns.
Thais say ‘mouse three’ instead of ‘three mice’ and "apple five’ instead of ‘five apples’.
Thai does not have verb conjugations. Past, present and future tense are understood in context or by the use of adverbs relating to time.
Thai language contains no (does not have) articles – the, a, an.
Adjectives come after the noun. Thais say ‘apple green’ instead of ‘the green apple’
The verb ‘to be’ is not used with adjectives. Thais say ‘she beautiful’ rather than ‘she is beautiful’
Thai script has only one case. There are no capital and lower case variants.
Thai script is written without spaces between words. Spaces are generally only placed between sentences or for clarification of a particular word.
For those more accustomed to “ABC…” the Thai language can be quite daunting. ha ha ha!
.... by the way ... Ungrid (english) ain't so easy either ... just wait until a foreigner asks you to explain a few english words.. oh boy! See forum article "Tongue Twisters"
Now the good news
In tourist areas most Thais know a reasonable amount of English and signs are often written in both languages. If you are visiting Thailand on holiday, getting to know a few words and phrases will be much appreciated by Thais and you’ll have a laugh giving it a try. Don’t worry about getting it wrong, most English speaking Thais will have as bad a grasp of English pronunciation as you have of Thai - just enjoy yourself. ... Help is here .. read on !!!!
Download, print for your trip - click here
TAFE Central - Thai Courses (a good way to meet other with the same interest). The Teachers are very helpful.
Check the info in W.A. Thai Yellow Pages or you make a request in the WA Thai Forum for a Tutor (same link as tongue twister above)