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History of Thai
Quick Reference
  ·  Official Language
Thailand
  ·  Common 2nd language of
Parts of China, Laos, Vietnam
  ·  Number of Speakers
20 - 30 million
  ·  Origin
A member of the Tai group of languages, a branch of the Sino-Tibetan family - so it's distantly related to Chinese
  ·  Alphabet & Scripts
The alphabet is believed to have originated from Southern India. It consists of 44 consonants and 32 vowels. The vowels are indicated by marks instead of actual characters. Words are written without being separated and letters flow uninterrupted until the idea changes. No capital letters in Thai.
Thailand exports a great deal - but nothing as enchantingly beautiful as its language. To learn Thai is to enter a world of mysticism and legend and to gain a unique perspective on Thailand and its rich culture.

Thai is a member of the Tai branch of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages which are dispersed over a wide area of Asia, from Northern Vietnam to northern India.

It is the national language of Thailand and is spoken by nearly 50 million people. Distinct dialects are spoken in the north, the north-east, the south and the central region of the country.
Thai Grammar
Thai is a tonal language, so the pitch or tone with which a word or syllable is pronounced determines its meaning. For example the Thai word 'maa' can mean 'horse', 'dog' or 'come' depending on the tone with which it is pronounced.

More confusingly 'klay' means either 'near', when pronounced with one tone or 'far', when pronounced with another!

While this sometimes causes the western learner problems in the initial stages, the grammar compared with more familiar European languages, is relatively easy.

Like many other south-east Asian languages, Thai can use the same form of a noun to indicate both singular and plural meanings and the same form of the verb to indicate a variety of tenses.

Although Thai does not have a rigid grammatical structure, it does have some fascinating idiosyncrasies. For example, there is no single word for 'yes' in Thai. Vowels in Thai are sometimes written on top of a consonant, sometimes underneath it and sometimes surrounding it on three sides.

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Did you know?
There are no "primitive" languages. All languages have a system of sounds, words and sentences that can adequately communicate the content of culture.
Thai History
Thai Speaking
Country
» Thailand
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