Social:Thai language

From HandWiki
Short description: Original language of Thailand and used by Thai people
Central Thai, Siamese
ภาษาไทย, Phasa Thai
Thai Language.png
"Phasa Thai" (literally meaning "Thai language") written in Thai script
  • Thailand (Central Thailand and Thai Chinese enclaves throughout country)
  • Cambodia (Koh Kong province)
EthnicityCentral Thai, Thai Chinese
Native speakers
70 million (2023)[1]
20 million L2 speakers with Lanna, Isan, Southern Thai, Northern Khmer[1]
  • Tai
    • Southwestern Tai
      • Chiang Saen
        • Thai
  • Thai script
  • Thai Braille
  • Khom Thai (religious use)
Official status
Official language in
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated byRoyal Society of Thailand
Language codes
ISO 639-1th
ISO 639-1tha
ISO 639-3tha
Idioma tailandés.png
Dark Blue: Majority Light Blue: Minority

File:WIKITONGUES- Dang speaking Thai.webm Thai,[lower-alpha 1] or Central Thai[lower-alpha 2] (historically Siamese;[lower-alpha 3][lower-alpha 4] Thai: ภาษาไทย), is a Tai language of the Kra–Dai language family spoken by the Central Thai people and a vast majority of Thai Chinese. It is the sole official language of Thailand.[4][5]

Thai is the most spoken of over 60 languages of Thailand by both number of native and overall speakers. Over half of its vocabulary is derived from or borrowed from Pali, Sanskrit, Mon[6] and Old Khmer. It is a tonal and analytic language. Thai has a complex orthography and system of relational markers. Spoken Thai, depending on standard sociolinguistic factors such as age, gender, class, spatial proximity, and the urban/rural divide, is partly mutually intelligible with Lao, Isan, and some fellow Thai topolects. These languages are written with slightly different scripts, but are linguistically similar and effectively form a dialect continuum.[7]

Thai language is spoken by over 69 million people (2020). Moreover, most Thais in the northern and the northeastern (Isaan) parts of the country today are bilingual speakers of Central Thai and their respective regional dialects because (Central) Thai is the language of television, education, news reporting, and all forms of media.[8] A recent research found that the speakers of the Northern Thai language (or Kham Mueang) have become so few, as most people in northern Thailand now invariably speak Standard Thai, so that they are now using mostly Central Thai words and seasoning their speech only with "kham mueang" accent.[9] Standard Thai is based on the register of the educated classes by Central Thai people in the Metropolis.[10][11]

In addition to Central Thai, Thailand is home to other related Tai languages. Although some linguists classify these dialects as related but distinct languages, native speakers often identify them as regional variants or dialects of the "same" Thai language, or as "different kinds of Thai".[12] As a dominant language in all aspects of society in Thailand, Thai initially saw gradual and later widespread adoption as a second language among the country's minority ethnic groups from the mid-late Ayutthaya period onward.[13][14] Ethnic minorities today are predominantly bilingual, speaking Thai alongside their native language or dialect.


Standard Thai is classified as one of the Chiang Saen languages—others being Tai Lanna, Southern Thai and numerous smaller languages, which together with the Northwestern Tai and Lao-Phutai languages, form the Southwestern branch of Tai languages. The Tai languages are a branch of the Kra–Dai language family, which encompasses a large number of indigenous languages spoken in an arc from Hainan and Guangxi south through Laos and Northern Vietnam to the Cambodian border.

Standard Thai is the principal language of education and government and spoken throughout Thailand. The standard is based on the dialect of the central Thai people, and it is written in the Thai script.

Example of divergance among the Kra-Dai Language

Hlai languages

Kam-Sui languages

Kra languages

Be language

 Tai languages 

Northern Tai languages

Central Tai languages

Southwestern Tai languages
Northwestern Tai languages

Khamti language

Tai Lue language

Shan language


Chiang Saen languages

Northern Thai language

Sukhothai language

Thai language

Southern Thai language

Lao‑Phuthai languages

Tai Yo language

Phuthai language

Lao language (PDR Lao, Isan language)


According to a Chinese source, during the Ming Dynasty, Yingya Shenglan (1405–1433), Ma Huan reported on the language of the Xiānluó (暹羅),[lower-alpha 5] saying that it somewhat resembled the local patois as pronounced in Guangdong[15]:107 Thai has undergone various historical sound changes. Some of the most significant changes occurred during the evolution from Old Thai to modern Thai. The Thai writing system has an eight-century history and many of these changes, especially in consonants and tones, are evidenced in the modern orthography.

Old Thai

Old Thai had a three-way tone distinction on "live syllables" (those not ending in a stop), with no possible distinction on "dead syllables" (those ending in a stop, i.e. either /p/, /t/, /k/ or the glottal stop that automatically closes syllables otherwise ending in a short vowel).

There was a two-way voiced vs. voiceless distinction among all fricative and sonorant consonants, and up to a four-way distinction among stops and affricates. The maximal four-way occurred in labials (/p pʰ b ʔb/) and dentals (/t tʰ d ʔd/); the three-way distinction among velars (/k kʰ ɡ/) and palatals (/tɕ tɕʰ dʑ/), with the glottalized member of each set apparently missing.

The major change between old and modern Thai was due to voicing distinction losses and the concomitant tone split. This may have happened between about 1300 and 1600 CE, possibly occurring at different times in different parts of the Thai-speaking area. All voiced–voiceless pairs of consonants lost the voicing distinction:

  • Plain voiced stops (/b d ɡ dʑ/) became voiceless aspirated stops (/pʰ tʰ kʰ tɕʰ/).[lower-alpha 6]
  • Voiced fricatives became voiceless.
  • Voiceless sonorants became voiced.

However, in the process of these mergers, the former distinction of voice was transferred into a new set of tonal distinctions. In essence, every tone in Old Thai split into two new tones, with a lower-pitched tone corresponding to a syllable that formerly began with a voiced consonant, and a higher-pitched tone corresponding to a syllable that formerly began with a voiceless consonant (including glottalized stops). An additional complication is that formerly voiceless unaspirated stops/affricates (original /p t k tɕ ʔb ʔd/) also caused original tone 1 to lower, but had no such effect on original tones 2 or 3.

The above consonant mergers and tone splits account for the complex relationship between spelling and sound in modern Thai. Modern "low"-class consonants were voiced in Old Thai, and the terminology "low" reflects the lower tone variants that resulted. Modern "mid"-class consonants were voiceless unaspirated stops or affricates in Old Thai—precisely the class that triggered lowering in original tone 1 but not tones 2 or 3. Modern "high"-class consonants were the remaining voiceless consonants in Old Thai (voiceless fricatives, voiceless sonorants, voiceless aspirated stops). The three most common tone "marks" (the lack of any tone mark, as well as the two marks termed mai ek and mai tho) represent the three tones of Old Thai, and the complex relationship between tone mark and actual tone is due to the various tonal changes since then. Since the tone split, the tones have changed in actual representation to the point that the former relationship between lower and higher tonal variants has been completely obscured. Furthermore, the six tones that resulted after the three tones of Old Thai were split have since merged into five in standard Thai, with the lower variant of former tone 2 merging with the higher variant of former tone 3, becoming the modern "falling" tone.[lower-alpha 7]

Early Old Thai

Early Old Thai also apparently had velar fricatives /x ɣ/ as distinct phonemes. These were represented by the now-obsolete letters ฃ kho khuat and ฅ kho khon, respectively. During the Old Thai period, these sounds merged into the corresponding stops /kʰ ɡ/, and as a result the use of these letters became unstable.

At some point in the history of Thai, a palatal nasal phoneme /ɲ/ also existed, inherited from Proto-Tai. A letter ญ yo ying also exists, which is used to represent a palatal nasal in words borrowed from Sanskrit and Pali, and is currently pronounced /j/ at the beginning of a syllable but /n/ at the end of a syllable. Most native Thai words that are reconstructed as beginning with /ɲ/ are also pronounced /j/ in modern Thai, but generally spelled with ย yo yak, which consistently represents /j/. This suggests that /ɲ/ > /j/ in native words occurred in the pre-literary period. It is unclear whether Sanskrit and Pali words beginning with /ɲ/ were borrowed directly with a /j/, or whether a /ɲ/ was re-introduced, followed by a second change /ɲ/ > /j/.

Proto-Tai also had a glottalized palatal sound, reconstructed as /ʔj/ in Li Fang-Kuei (1977[full citation needed]). Corresponding Thai words are generally spelled หย, which implies an Old Thai pronunciation of /hj/ (or /j̊/), but a few such words are spelled อย, which implies a pronunciation of /ʔj/ and suggests that the glottalization may have persisted through to the early literary period.

Vowel developments

The vowel system of modern Thai contains nine pure vowels and three centering diphthongs, each of which can occur short or long. According to Li (1977[full citation needed]), however, many Thai dialects have only one such short–long pair (/a aː/), and in general it is difficult or impossible to find minimal short–long pairs in Thai that involve vowels other than /a/ and where both members have frequent correspondences throughout the Tai languages. More specifically, he notes the following facts about Thai:

  • In open syllables, only long vowels occur. (This assumes that all apparent cases of short open syllables are better described as ending in a glottal stop. This makes sense from the lack of tonal distinctions in such syllables, and the glottal stop is also reconstructible across the Tai languages.)
  • In closed syllables, the long high vowels /iː ɯː uː/ are rare, and cases that do exist typically have diphthongs in other Tai languages.
  • In closed syllables, both short and long mid /e eː o oː/ and low /ɛ ɛː ɔ ɔː/ do occur. However, generally, only words with short /e o/ and long /ɛː ɔː/ are reconstructible back to Proto-Tai.
  • Both of the mid back unrounded vowels /ɤ ɤː/ are rare, and words with such sounds generally cannot be reconstructed back to Proto-Tai.

Furthermore, the vowel that corresponds to short Thai /a/ has a different and often higher quality in many of the Tai languages compared with the vowel corresponding to Thai /aː/.

This leads Li to posit the following:

  1. Proto-Tai had a system of nine pure vowels with no length distinction, and possessing approximately the same qualities as in modern Thai: high /i ɯ u/, mid /e ɤ o/, low /ɛ a ɔ/.
  2. All Proto-Tai vowels were lengthened in open syllables, and low vowels were also lengthened in closed syllables.
  3. Modern Thai largely preserved the original lengths and qualities, but lowered /ɤ/ to /a/, which became short /a/ in closed syllables and created a phonemic length distinction /a aː/. Eventually, length in all other vowels became phonemic as well and a new /ɤ/ (both short and long) was introduced, through a combination of borrowing and sound change. Li believes that the development of long /iː ɯː uː/ from diphthongs, and the lowering of /ɤ/ to /a/ to create a length distinction /a aː/, had occurred by the time of Proto-Southwestern-Tai, but the other missing modern Thai vowels had not yet developed.

Note that not all researchers agree with Li. Pittayaporn (2009[full citation needed]), for example, reconstructs a similar system for Proto-Southwestern-Tai, but believes that there was also a mid back unrounded vowel /ə/ (which he describes as /ɤ/), occurring only before final velar /k ŋ/. He also seems to believe that the Proto-Southwestern-Tai vowel length distinctions can be reconstructed back to similar distinctions in Proto-Tai.




Standard Thai distinguishes three voice-onset times among plosive and affricate consonants:

  • voiced
  • tenuis (unvoiced, unaspirated)
  • aspirated

Where English makes a distinction between voiced /b/ and unvoiced aspirated /pʰ/, Thai distinguishes a third sound – the unvoiced, unaspirated /p/ that occurs in English only as an allophone of /pʰ/, for example after an /s/ as in the sound of the p in "spin". There is similarly an alveolar /d/, /t/, /tʰ/ triplet in Thai. In the velar series there is a /k/, /kʰ/ pair and in the postalveolar series a /tɕ/, /tɕʰ/ pair, but the language lacks the corresponding voiced sounds /ɡ/ and /dʑ/. (In loanwords from English, English /ɡ/ and /d͡ʒ/ are borrowed as the tenuis stops /k/ and /tɕ/.)

In each cell below, the first line indicates International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), the second indicates the Thai characters in initial position (several letters appearing in the same box have identical pronunciation). The letter ห, one of the two h letters, is also used to help write certain tones (described below).

Labial Alveolar (Alveolo-)
Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/
ณ, น
voiced /b/
ฎ, ด
tenuis /p/
ฏ, ต
[lower-alpha 8]
aspirated //
ผ, พ, ภ
ฐ, ฑ, ฒ, ถ, ท, ธ
ฉ, ช, ฌ
ข, ฃ, ค, ฅ, ฆ[lower-alpha 9]
Fricative /f/
ฝ, ฟ
ซ, ศ, ษ, ส
ห, ฮ
Approximant /w/
ล, ฬ
ญ, ย
Trill /r/


Although the overall 44 Thai consonant letters provide 21 sounds in case of initials, the case for finals is different. For finals, only eight sounds, as well as no sound, called mātrā (Template:Wiktth) are used. To demonstrate, at the end of a syllable, บ (/b/) and ด (/d/) are devoiced, becoming pronounced as /p/ and /t/ respectively. Additionally, all plosive sounds are unreleased. Hence, final /p/, /t/, and /k/ sounds are pronounced as [p̚], [t̚], and [k̚] respectively.

Of the consonant letters, excluding the disused ฃ and ฅ, six (ฉ ผ ฝ ห อ ฮ) cannot be used as a final and the other 36 are grouped as following.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal /m/
ญ, ณ, น, ร, ล, ฬ
Plosive /p/
บ, ป, พ, ฟ, ภ
จ, ช, ซ, ฌ, ฎ, ฏ, ฐ, ฑ,
ฒ, ด, ต, ถ, ท, ธ, ศ, ษ, ส
ก, ข, ค, ฆ
/ʔ/[lower-alpha 10]
Approximant /w/


In Thai, each syllable in a word is articulated independently, so consonants from adjacent syllables (i.e. heterosyllabic) show no sign of articulation as a cluster. Thai has specific phonotactical patterns that describe its syllable structure, including tautosyllabic consonant clusters, and vowel sequences. In core Thai words (i.e. excluding loanwords), only clusters of two consonants occur, of which there are 11 combinations:

  • /kr/ (กร), /kl/ (กล), /kw/ (กว)
  • /kʰr/ (ขร, คร), /kʰl/ (ขล, คล), /kʰw/ (ขว, คว)
  • /pr/ (ปร), /pl/ (ปล)
  • /pʰr/ (พร), /pʰl/ (ผล, พล)
  • /tr/ (ตร)

The number of clusters increases in loanwords such as /tʰr/ (ทร) in Template:Wiktth (/ʔīn.tʰrāː/, from Sanskrit indrā) or /fr/ (ฟร) in Template:Wiktth (/frīː/, from English free); however, these usually only occur in initial position, with either /r/, /l/, or /w/ as the second consonant sound and not more than two sounds at a time.


The vowel nuclei of the Thai language are given in the following table. The top entry in every cell is the symbol from the International Phonetic Alphabet, the second entry gives the spelling in the Thai script, where a dash (–) indicates the position of the initial consonant after which the vowel is pronounced. A second dash indicates that a final consonant follows.

Monophthongs of Thai. From Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993:25)
Diphthongs of Thai. From Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993:25)
  Front Back
Unrounded Rounded
short long short long short long
High /i/
Mid /e/
Low /ɛ/
-ะ, -ั-

Each vowel quality occurs in long-short pairs: these are distinct phonemes forming distinct words in Thai.[16]

The long-short pairs are as follows:

Long Short
Thai IPA Example Thai IPA Example
–า /aː/ Template:Wiktth /fǎːn/ 'to slice' –ะ /a/ Template:Wiktth /fǎn/ 'to dream'
–ี  /iː/ Template:Wiktth /krìːt/ 'to cut' –ิ  /i/ Template:Wiktth /krìt/ 'kris'
–ู  /uː/ Template:Wiktth /sùːt/ 'to inhale' –ุ  /u/ Template:Wiktth /sùt/ 'rearmost'
เ– /eː/ Template:Wiktth /ʔēːn/ 'to recline' เ–ะ /e/ Template:Wiktth /ʔēn/ 'tendon, ligament'
แ– /ɛː/ Template:Wiktth /pʰɛ́ː/ 'to be defeated' แ–ะ /ɛ/ Template:Wiktth /pʰɛ́ʔ/ 'goat'
–ื-  /ɯː/ Template:Wiktth /kʰlɯ̂ːn/ 'wave' –ึ  /ɯ/ Template:Wiktth /kʰɯ̂n/ 'to go up'
เ–อ /ɤː/ Template:Wiktth /dɤ̄ːn/ 'to walk' เ–อะ /ɤ/ Template:Wiktth /ŋɤ̄n/ 'silver'
โ– /oː/ Template:Wiktth /kʰôːn/ 'to fell' โ–ะ /o/ Template:Wiktth /kʰôn/ 'thick (soup)'
–อ /ɔː/ Template:Wiktth /klɔ̄ːŋ/ 'drum' เ–าะ /ɔ/ Template:Wiktth /klɔ̀ŋ/ 'box'

There are also opening and closing diphthongs in Thai, which Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993) analyze as /Vj/ and /Vw/. For purposes of determining tone, those marked with an asterisk are sometimes classified as long:

Long Short
Thai script IPA Thai script IPA
–าย /aːj/ ไ–*, ใ–*, ไ–ย, -ัย /aj/
–าว /aːw/ เ–า* /aw/
เ–ีย /ia/ เ–ียะ /iaʔ/
–ิว /iw/
–ัว /ua/ –ัวะ /uaʔ/
–ูย /uːj/ –ุย /uj/
เ–ว /eːw/ เ–็ว /ew/
แ–ว /ɛːw/
เ–ือ /ɯa/ เ–ือะ /ɯaʔ/
เ–ย /ɤːj/
–อย /ɔːj/
โ–ย /oːj/

Additionally, there are three triphthongs. For purposes of determining tone, those marked with an asterisk are sometimes classified as long:

Thai script IPA
เ–ียว* /iaw/
–วย* /uaj/
เ–ือย* /ɯaj/


The five phonemic tones of Standard Thai pronounced with the syllable '/naː/':
File:Th-Thai tones marked with IPA with na.ogg

There are five phonemic tones: mid, low, falling, high, and rising, sometimes referred to in older reference works as rectus, gravis, circumflexus, altus, and demissus, respectively.[17] The table shows an example of both the phonemic tones and their phonetic realization, in the IPA. Moren & Zsiga (2006)[18] and Zsiga & Nitisaroj (2007)[19] provide phonetic and phonological analyses of Thai tone realization.

Thai language tone chart


  1. Five-level tone value: Mid [33], Low [21], Falling [43], High [44], Rising [323]. Traditionally, the high tone was recorded as either [44] or [45]. This remains true for the older generation, but the high tone is changing to [334] among youngsters.[20][21]
  2. For the diachronic changes of tone value, please see Pittayaporn (2007).[22]
  3. The full complement of tones exists only in so-called "live syllables", those that end in a long vowel or a sonorant (/m/, /n/, /ŋ/, /j/, /w/).
  4. For "dead syllables", those that end in a plosive (/p/, /t/, /k/) or in a short vowel, only three tonal distinctions are possible: low, high, and falling. Because syllables analyzed as ending in a short vowel may have a final glottal stop (especially in slower speech), all "dead syllables" are phonetically checked, and have the reduced tonal inventory characteristic of checked syllables.

Unchecked syllables

Tone Thai Example Phonemic Phonetic Gloss
Mid สามัญ คา /kʰāː/ [kʰaː˧] 'stick'
Low เอก ข่า /kʰàː/ [kʰaː˨˩] or [kʰaː˩] 'galangal'
Falling โท ค่า /kʰâː/ [kʰaː˥˩] 'value'
High ตรี ค้า /kʰáː/ [kʰaː˦˥] or [kʰaː˥] 'to trade'
Rising จัตวา ขา /kʰǎː/ [kʰaː˩˩˦] or [kʰaː˩˦] 'leg'

Checked syllables

Tone Thai Example Phonemic Phonetic Gloss
Low (short vowel) เอก หมัก /màk/ [mak̚˨˩] 'marinate'
Low (long vowel) เอก หมาก /màːk/ [maːk̚˨˩] 'areca nut, areca palm, betel, fruit'
High ตรี มัก /mák/ [mak̚˦˥] 'habitually, likely to'
Falling โท มาก /mâːk/ [maːk̚˥˩] 'a lot, abundance, many'

In some English loanwords, closed syllables with a long vowel ending in an obstruent sound have a high tone, and closed syllables with a short vowel ending in an obstruent sound have a falling tone.

Tone Thai Example Phonemic Phonetic Gloss
High ตรี มาร์ก /máːk/ [maːk̚˦˥] 'Marc, Mark'
High ตรี ชาร์จ /tɕʰáːt/ [tɕʰaːt̚˦˥] 'charge'
Falling โท เมกอัป /méːk.ʔâp/ [meːk̚˦˥.ʔap̚˥˩] 'make-up'
Falling โท แร็กเกต /rɛ́k.kêt/ [rɛk̚˦˥.ket̚˥˩] 'racket'


From the perspective of linguistic typology, Thai can be considered to be an analytic language. The word order is subject–verb–object,[23] although the subject is often omitted. Additionally, Thai is an isolating language lacking any form of inflectional morphology whatsoever.[24] Thai pronouns are selected according to the gender and relative status of speaker and audience.

Adjectives and adverbs

There is no morphological distinction between adverbs and adjectives. Many words can be used in either function. They follow the word they modify, which may be a noun, verb, or another adjective or adverb.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Comparatives take the form "A X กว่า B" (kwa, [kwàː]), 'A is more X than B'. The superlative is expressed as "A X ที่สุด" (thi sut, [tʰîː sùt]), 'A is most X'.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Adjectives in Thai can be used as complete predicates. Because of this, many words used to indicate tense in verbs (see Verbs:Tense below) may be used to describe adjectives.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

  • Remark ฉันหิวแล้ว mostly means 'I am hungry right now' because normally, แล้ว ([lɛ́ːw]) marks the change of a state, but แล้ว has many other uses as well. For example, in the sentence, แล้วเธอจะไปไหน ([lɛ́ːw tʰɤ̄ː tɕàʔ pāj nǎj]): 'So where are you going?', แล้ว ([lɛ́ːw]) is used as a discourse particle


Verbs do not inflect. They do not change with person, tense, voice, mood, or number; nor are there any participles. The language being analytic and case-less, the relationship between subject, direct and indirect object is conveyed through word order and auxiliary verbs. Transitive verbs follow the pattern subject-verb-object.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

In order to convey tense, aspect and mood (TAM), the Thai verbal system employs auxiliaries and verb serialization.[25][24] TAM markers are however not obligatory and often left out in colloquial use. In such cases, the precise meaning is determined through context.[25] This results in sentences lacking both TAM markers and overt context being ambiguous and subject to various interpretations.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

The sentence chan kin thi nan can thus be interpreted as 'I am eating there', 'I eat there habitually', 'I will eat there' or 'I ate there'. Aspect markers in Thai have been divided into four distinct groups based on their usage.[25] These markers could appear either before or after the verb. The following list describes some of the most commonly used aspect markers. A number of these aspect markers are also full verbs on their own and carry a distinct meaning. For example yu (อยู่) as a full verb means 'to stay, to live or to remain at'. However, as an auxiliary it can be described as a temporary aspect or continuative marker.[25]

  • Imperfective
    • อยู่ yu
    • ไป pai
    • ยัง yang
    • กำลัง kamlang
  • Perfective
    • ได้ dai
  • Perfect
    • แล้ว laeo
    • มา ma
  • Prospective/Future
    • จะ cha

The imperfective aspect marker กำลัง (kamlang, [kām.lāŋ], currently) is used before the verb to denote an ongoing action (similar to the -ing suffix in English). Kamlang is commonly interpreted as a progressive aspect marker.[26][27] Similarly, อยู่ (yu, [jùː]) is a post-verbal aspect marker which corresponds to the continuative or temporary aspect.[25]

Script error: No such module "Interlinear". Script error: No such module "Interlinear". Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

The marker ได้ (dai, [dâːj]) is usually analyzed as a past tense marker when it occurs before the verb.[24] As a full verb, dai means 'to get or receive'. However, when used after a verb, dai takes on a meaning of potentiality or successful outcome of the main verb.[25]

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

แล้ว (laeo, [lɛ́ːw]; 'already') is treated as a marker indicating the perfect aspect.[26] That is to say, laeo marks the event as being completed at the time of reference. Laeo has to other meanings in addition to its use as a TAM marker. Laeo can either be a conjunction for sequential actions or an archaic word for 'to finish'.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Future can be indicated by จะ (cha, [tɕàʔ]; 'will') before the verb or by a time expression indicating the future. For example:

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

The passive voice is indicated by the insertion of ถูก (thuk, [tʰùːk]) before the verb. For example:

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

This describes an action that is out of the receiver's control and, thus, conveys suffering.

Negation is indicated by placing ไม่ (mai, [mâj]; not) before the verb.

  • เขาไม่ตี, (khao mai ti) 'He is not hitting' or 'He doesn't hit'.

Thai exhibits serial verb constructions, where verbs are strung together. Some word combinations are common and may be considered set phrases.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".


Nouns are uninflected and have no gender; there are no articles. Thai nouns are bare nouns and can be interpreted as singular, plural, definite or indefinite.[28] Some specific nouns are reduplicated to form collectives: เด็ก (dek, 'child') is often repeated as เด็ก ๆ (dek dek) to refer to a group of children. The word พวก (phuak, [pʰûak]) may be used as a prefix of a noun or pronoun as a collective to pluralize or emphasise the following word. (พวกผม, phuak phom, [pʰûak pʰǒm], 'we', masculine; พวกเรา phuak rao, [pʰûak rāw], emphasised 'we'; พวกหมา phuak ma, '(the) dogs'). Plurals are expressed by adding classifiers, used as measure words (ลักษณนาม), in the form of noun-number-classifier:

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

While in English, such classifiers are usually absent ("four chairs") or optional ("two bottles of beer" or "two beers"), a classifier is almost always used in Thai (hence "chair four item" and "beer two bottle").

Possession in Thai is indicated by adding the word ของ (khong) in front of the noun or pronoun, but it may often be omitted. For example:

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Nominal phrases

Nominal phrases in Thai often use a special class of words classifiers. As previously mentioned, these classifiers are obligatory for noun phrases containing numerals e.g.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

In the previous example khon (คน) acts as the classifier in the nominal phrase. This follows the form of noun-cardinal-classifier mentioned above. Classifiers are also required to form quantified noun phrases in Thai with some quantifiers such as ทุก ('all'), บาง ('some'). The examples below are demonstrated using the classifier khon, which is used for people.

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

Script error: No such module "Interlinear".

However, classifiers are not utilized for negative quantification. Negative quantification is expressed by the pattern ไม่มี (mai mi, [mâj mīː]) + NOUN. Classifiers are also used for demonstratives such as นี้ (ni, [níː]; 'this/these') and นั่น (nan, [nán]; 'that/those'). The syntax for demonstrative phrases, however, differ from that of cardinals and follow the pattern noun-classifier-demonstrative. For example, the noun phrase "this dog" would be expressed in Thai as หมาตัวนี้ (literally 'dog (classifier) this').[29]


Subject pronouns are often omitted, with nicknames used where English would use a pronoun. See Thai names#Formal and informal names for more details. Pronouns, when used, are ranked in honorific registers, and may also make a T–V distinction in relation to kinship and social status. Specialised pronouns are used for royalty, and for Buddhist monks. The following are appropriate for conversational use:

Word RTGS IPA Meaning
ผม phom [pʰǒm] I/me (masculine; formal)
ดิฉัน dichan [dī.tɕʰǎn] I/me (feminine; formal)
ฉัน chan [tɕʰǎn] I/me (mainly used by women; informal) Commonly pronounced as [tɕʰán]
กู ku [kūː] I/me (informal/impolite)
หนู nuu [nǔː] I/me (used by women when speaking to people much older than themselves)[30]
เรา rao [rāw] we/us, I/me (casual), you (sometimes used but only when older person speaks to younger person)
คุณ khun [kʰūn] you (polite)
ท่าน than [tʰâ(ː)n] you (highly honorific)
แก kae [kɛ̄ː] you (informal, used among close friends)[31]
เธอ thoe [tʰɤ̄ː] you (informal), she/her (informal)
พี่ phi [pʰîː] older brother, sister (also used for older acquaintances)
น้อง nong [nɔ́ːŋ] younger brother, sister (also used for younger acquaintances)
เขา khao [kʰǎw] he/him, she/her
มัน man [mān] it, he/she (sometimes casual or offensive if used to refer to a person)
มึง mueng [mɯ̄ŋ] you (informal/impolite/vulgar)

The reflexive pronoun is ตัวเอง (tua eng), which can mean any of: myself, yourself, ourselves, himself, herself, themselves. This can be mixed with another pronoun to create an intensive pronoun, such as ตัวผมเอง (tua phom eng, lit: I myself) or ตัวคุณเอง (tua khun eng, lit: you yourself). Thai also does not have a separate possessive pronoun. Instead, possession is indicated by the particle ของ (khong). For example, "my mother" is แม่ของผม (mae khong phom, lit: mother of I). This particle is often implicit, so the phrase is shortened to แม่ผม (mae phom). Plural pronouns can be easily constructed by adding the word พวก (phuak) in front of a singular pronoun as in พวกเขา (phuak khao) meaning 'they' or พวกเธอ (phuak thoe) meaning the plural sense of 'you'. The only exception to this is เรา (rao), which can be used as singular (informal) or plural, but can also be used in the form of พวกเรา (phuak rao), which is only plural.

Thai has many more pronouns than those listed above. Their usage is full of nuances. For example:

  • "ผม เรา ฉัน ดิฉัน หนู กู ข้า กระผม ข้าพเจ้า กระหม่อม อาตมา กัน ข้าน้อย ข้าพระพุทธเจ้า อั๊ว เขา" all translate to "I", but each expresses a different gender, age, politeness, status, or relationship between speaker and listener.
  • เรา (rao) can be first person (I), second person (you), or both (we), depending on the context.
  • Children or younger female could use or being referred by word หนู (nu) when talking with older person. The word หนู could be both feminine first person (I) and feminine second person (you) and also neuter first and neuter second person for children.
    • หนู commonly means rat or mouse, though it also refers to small creatures in general.
  • The second person pronoun เธอ (thoe) (lit: you) is semi-feminine. It is used only when the speaker or the listener (or both) are female. Males usually don't address each other by this pronoun.
  • Both คุณ (khun) and เธอ (thoe) are polite neuter second person pronouns. However, คุณเธอ (khun thoe) is a feminine derogative third person.
  • Instead of a second person pronoun such as คุณ ('you'), it is much more common for unrelated strangers to call each other พี่ น้อง ลุง ป้า น้า อา ตา or ยาย (brother, sister, aunt, uncle, granny).
  • To express deference, the second person pronoun is sometimes replaced by a profession, similar to how, in English, presiding judges are always addressed as "your honor" rather than "you". In Thai, students always address their teachers by ครู, คุณครู or อาจารย์ (each meaning 'teacher') rather than คุณ ('you'). Teachers, monks, and doctors are almost always addressed this way.


The particles are often untranslatable words added to the end of a sentence to indicate respect, a request, encouragement or other moods (similar to the use of intonation in English), as well as varying the level of formality. They are not used in elegant (written) Thai. The most common particles indicating respect are ครับ (khrap, [kʰráp], with a high tone) when the speaker is male, and ค่ะ (kha, [kʰâʔ], with a falling tone) when the speaker is female. Used in a question or a request, the particle ค่ะ (falling tone) is changed to a คะ (high tone).

Other common particles are:

Word RTGS IPA Meaning
จ้ะ, จ้า or จ๋า cha [tɕâʔ], [tɕâː] or [tɕǎː] indicating emphasis. Used in a less formal context when speaking to friends or someone younger than yourself[32]
ละ or ล่ะ la [láʔ] or [lâʔ ~ làʔ] indicating emphasis.
สิ si [sìʔ] indicating emphasis or an imperative. It can come across as ordering someone to do something[32]
นะ na [náʔ] softening; indicating a request or making your sentence sound more friendly.


Central Thai is composed of several distinct registers, forms for different social contexts:

  • Street or Common Thai (Template:Wiktth, phasa phut, spoken Thai): informal, without polite terms of address, as used between close relatives and friends.
  • Elegant or Formal Thai (Template:Wiktth, phasa khian, written Thai): official and written version, includes respectful terms of address; used in simplified form in newspapers.
  • Rhetorical Thai: used for public speaking.
  • Religious Thai: (heavily influenced by Sanskrit and Pāli) used when discussing Buddhism or addressing monks.
  • Royal Thai (ราชาศัพท์, racha sap): influenced by Khmer, this is used when addressing members of the royal family or describing their activities. (See Monarchy of Thailand § Rachasap.)

Most Thais can speak and understand all of these contexts. Street and Elegant Thai are the basis of all conversations.[33][citation needed] Rhetorical, religious, and royal Thai are taught in schools as part of the national curriculum.

As noted above, Thai has several registers, each having certain usages, such as colloquial, formal, literary, and poetic. Thus, the word 'eat' can be กิน (kin; common), แดก (daek; vulgar), ยัด (yat; vulgar), บริโภค (boriphok; formal), รับประทาน (rapprathan; formal), ฉัน (chan; religious), or เสวย (sawoei; royal), as illustrated below:

"to eat" IPA Usage Note
กิน [kīn] common
แดก [dɛ̀ːk] vulgar
ยัด [ját] vulgar Original meaning is 'to cram'
บริโภค [bɔ̄ː.rī.pʰôːk] formal, literary
รับประทาน [ráp.prā.tʰāːn] formal, polite Often shortened to ทาน /tʰāːn/.
ฉัน [tɕʰǎn] religious
เสวย [sā.wɤ̌ːj] royal

Thailand also uses the distinctive Thai six-hour clock in addition to the 24-hour clock.


Other than compound words and words of foreign origin, most words are monosyllabic.

Chinese-language influence was strong until the 13th century when the use of Chinese characters was abandoned, and replaced by Sanskrit and Pali scripts. However, the vocabulary of Thai retains many words borrowed from Middle Chinese.[34][35][36]

Later most vocabulary was borrowed from Sanskrit and Pāli; Buddhist terminology is particularly indebted to these. Indic words have a more formal register, and may be compared to Latin and French borrowings in English. Old Khmer has also contributed its share, especially in regard to royal court terminology. Since the beginning of the 20th century, however, the English language has had the greatest influence, especially for scientific, technical, international, and other modern terms.

Origin Example IPA Gloss
Native Tai ไฟ [fāj] fire
น้ำ [náːm] water
เมือง [mɯ̄aŋ] town
รุ่งเรือง [rûŋ.rɯ̄aŋ] prosperous
Indic sources:
Pāli or Sanskrit
อัคนี [ʔàk.kʰā.nīː] fire
ชล [tɕʰōn] water
ธานี [tʰāː.nīː] town
วิโรจน์ [wí(ʔ).rôːt] prosperous


Arabic words Thai rendition IPA Gloss
الْقُرْآن (al-qurʾān) or قُرْآن (qurʾān) อัลกุรอาน or โกหร่าน [ʔān.kū.rā.ʔàːn] or [kō.ràːn] Quran
رجم (rajm) ระยำ [rā.jām] bad, vile (vulgar)


From Middle Chinese or Teochew Chinese.

Chinese words Thai rendition IPA Gloss
交椅 Teochew: gao1 in2 เก้าอี้ [kâw.ʔîː] chair
粿條 / 粿条 Min Nan: kóe-tiâu [kǔaj.tǐaw] rice noodle
Hokkien: chiá/ché
Teochew: 2/zia2
เจ้ or เจ๊ [tɕêː] or [tɕéː] older sister (used in Chinese community in Thailand)
Teochew: ri6
ยี่ [jîː] two (archaic, but still used in word ยี่สิบ [jîː.sìp]; 'twenty')
Middle Chinese: dəuH ถั่ว [tʰùa] bean
Middle Chinese: ʔɑŋX/ʔɑŋH อ่าง [ʔàːŋ] basin
Middle Chinese: kˠau กาว [kāːw] glue
Middle Chinese: kˠæŋX ก้าง [kâːŋ] fishbone
Middle Chinese: kʰʌmX ขุม [kʰǔm] pit
Middle Chinese: duo/ɖˠa ทา [tʰāː] to smear
退 Middle Chinese: tʰuʌiH ถอย [tʰɔ̌j] to step back


English words Thai rendition IPA Remark
apple แอปเปิล [ʔɛ́p.pɤ̂n]
bank แบงก์ [bɛ́ŋ] means 'bank' or 'banknote'
bill บิล [bīn] or [bīw]
cake เค้ก [kʰéːk]
captain กัปตัน [kàp.tān]
cartoon การ์ตูน [kāː.tūːn]
clinic คลินิก [kʰlī(ː).nìk]
computer คอมพิวเตอร์ [kʰɔ̄m.pʰíw.tɤ̂ː] colloquially shortened to คอม [kʰɔ̄m]
corruption คอร์รัปชัน [kʰɔ̄ː.ráp.tɕʰân]
countdown เคานต์ดาวน์ [kʰáw.dāːw]
dinosaur ไดโนเสาร์ [dāj.nōː.sǎw]
duel ดวล [dūan]
email อีเมล [ʔīː.mēːw]
fashion แฟชั่น [fɛ̄ː.tɕʰân]
golf กอล์ฟ [kɔ́p]
shampoo แชมพู [tɕʰɛ̄m.pʰūː]
slip สลิป [sā.líp]
taxi แท็กซี่ [tʰɛ́k.sîː]
technology เทคโนโลยี [tʰék.nōː.lōː.jīː, -jîː]
valve วาล์ว [wāːw]
visa วีซ่า [wīː.sâː]
wreath (พวง)หรีด [rìːt]


French words Thai rendition IPA English translation
buffet บุฟเฟต์ [búp.fêː]
café กาแฟ [kāː.fɛ̄ː] coffee
คาเฟ่ [kʰāː.fêː] coffee shop, restaurant serving alcoholic drinks and providing entertainment (dated)
caféine กาเฟอีน [kāː.fēː.ʔīːn] caffeine
chauffeur โชเฟอร์ [tɕʰōː.fɤ̂ː]
consul กงสุล [kōŋ.sǔn]
coupon คูปอง [kʰūː.pɔ̄ŋ]
croissant ครัวซ็อง [kʰrūa.sɔ̄ŋ]
gramme กรัม [krām]
litre ลิตร [lít]
mètre เมตร [mé(ː)t] metre
parquet ปาร์เกต์ [pāː.kêː]
pétanque เปตอง [pēː.tɔ̄ŋ]


Japanese words Thai rendition IPA Gloss
カラオケ ([kaɾaoke]) คาราโอเกะ [kʰāː.rāː.ʔōː.kèʔ] karaoke
忍者 ([ɲiꜜɲd͡ʑa]) นินจา [nīn.tɕāː] ninja
寿司 ([sɯɕiꜜ]) ซูชิ [sūː.tɕʰíʔ] sushi


From Old Khmer

Khmer words Thai rendition IPA Gloss
ក្រុង (/kroŋ/) กรุง [krūŋ] capital city
ខ្ទើយ (/kʰtəːj/) กะเทย [kā.tʰɤ̄ːj] kathoey
ខ្មួយ (/kʰmuəj/) ขโมย [kʰā.mōːj] to steal, thief
ច្រមុះ (/crɑː.moh/) จมูก [tɕā.mùːk] nose
ច្រើន (/craən/) เจริญ [tɕā.rɤ̄ːn] prosperous
ឆ្លាត or ឆ្លាស
(/cʰlaːt/ or /cʰlaːh/)
ฉลาด [tɕʰā.làːt] smart
ថ្នល់ (/tʰnɑl/) ถนน [tʰā.nǒn] road
ភ្លើង (/pʰləːŋ/) เพลิง [pʰlɤ̄ːŋ] fire
ទន្លេ (/tɔn.leː/) ทะเล [tʰā.lēː] sea


Malay words Thai rendition IPA Gloss
kelasi กะลาสี [kā.lāː.sǐː] sailor, seaman
sagu สาคู [sǎː.kʰūː] sago
surau สุเหร่า [sū.ràw] small mosque


Persian words Thai rendition IPA Gloss
گلاب‎ (golâb) กุหลาบ [kū.làːp] rose
کمربند‎ (kamarband) ขาวม้า [kʰǎːw.máː] loincloth
ترازو (tarâzu) ตราชู [trāː.tɕʰūː] balance scale
سقرلات (saqerlât) สักหลาด [sàk.kā.làːt] felt
آلت (âlat) อะไหล่ [ʔā.làj] spare part


The Portuguese were the first Western nation to arrive in what is modern-day Thailand in the 16th century during the Ayutthaya period. Their influence in trade, especially weaponry, allowed them to establish a community just outside the capital and practise their faith, as well as exposing and converting the locals to Christianity. Thus, Portuguese words involving trade and religion were introduced and used by the locals.

Portuguese words Thai rendition IPA Gloss
carta / cartaz กระดาษ [krā.dàːt] paper
garça (นก)กระสา [krā.sǎː] heron
leilão เลหลัง [lēː.lǎŋ] auction, low-priced
padre บาท(หลวง) [bàːt.lǔaŋ] (Christian) priest[37]
pão (ขนม)ปัง [pāŋ] bread
real เหรียญ [rǐan] coin
sabão สบู่ [sā.bùː] soap


Tamil words Thai rendition IPA Gloss
கறி‎ (kaṟi) กะหรี่ [kā.rìː] curry, curry powder
கிராம்பு‎ (kirāmpu) กานพลู [kāːn.pʰlūː] clove
நெய் (ney) เนย [nɤ̄ːj] butter

Writing system

"Kingdom of Thailand" in Thai script.

Thai is written in the Thai script, an abugida written from left to right. The language and its script are closely related to the Lao language and script. Most literate Lao are able to read and understand Thai, as more than half of the Thai vocabulary, grammar, intonation, vowels and so forth are common with the Lao language.

The Thais adopted and modified the Khmer script to create their own writing system. While in Thai the pronunciation can largely be inferred from the script, the orthography is complex, with silent letters to preserve original spellings and many letters representing the same sound. While the oldest known inscription in the Khmer language dates from 611 CE, inscriptions in Thai writing began to appear around 1292 CE. Notable features include:

  1. It is an abugida script, in which the implicit vowel is a short /a/ in a syllable without final consonant and a short /o/ in a syllable with final consonant.
  2. Tone markers, if present, are placed above the final onset consonant of the syllable.
  3. Vowels sounding after an initial consonant can be located before, after, above or below the consonant, or in a combination of these positions.


Main page: Social:Romanization of Thai

There is no universally applied method for transcribing Thai into the Latin alphabet. For example, the name of the main airport is transcribed variably as Suvarnabhumi, Suwannaphum, or Suwunnapoom. Guide books, textbooks and dictionaries may each follow different systems. For this reason, many language courses recommend that learners master the Thai script.[38][39][40][41]

Official standards are the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS), published by the Royal Institute of Thailand,[42] and the almost identical ISO 11940-2 defined by the International Organization for Standardization. The RTGS system is increasingly used in Thailand by central and local governments, especially for road signs.[43] Its main drawbacks are that it does not indicate tone or vowel length. As the system is based on pronunciation, not orthography, reconstruction of Thai spelling from RTGS romanisation is not possible.


The ISO published an international standard for the transliteration of Thai into Roman script in September 2003 (ISO 11940).[44] By adding diacritics to the Latin letters it makes the transcription reversible, making it a true transliteration. Notably, this system is used by Google Translate, although it does not seem to appear in many other contexts, such as textbooks and other instructional media.

See also

  • Thai script
  • Thai honorifics
  • Thai literature
  • Thai numerals
  • Thai braille
  • Thai typography

Explanatory notes

  1. In Thai: Template:Wiktth Phasa Thai
  2. In Thai: Template:Wiktth RTGSPhasa Thai Klang; Not to be confused with Central Tai
  3. In Thai: ภาษาสยาม Phasa Sayam
  4. Although "Thai" and "Central Thai" have become more common, the older term, "Siamese", is still used by linguists, especially when it is being distinguished from other Tai languages (Diller 2008:6[full citation needed]). "Proto-Thai" is, for example, the ancestor of all of Southwestern Tai, not just Siamese (Rischel 1998[full citation needed]).
  5. Xiānluó was the Chinese name for Ayutthaya, a kingdom created by the merger of Lavo and Sukhothai or Suphannabhumi
  6. The glottalized stops /ʔb ʔd/ were unaffected, as they were treated in every respect like voiceless unaspirated stops due to the initial glottal stop. These stops are often described in the modern language as phonemically plain stops /b d/, but the glottalization is still commonly heard.
  7. Modern Lao, Isan and northern Thai dialects are often described as having six tones, but these are not necessarily due to preservation of the original six tones resulting from the tone split. For example, in standard Lao, both the high and low variants of Old Thai tone 2 merged; however, the mid-class variant of tone 1 became pronounced differently from either the high-class or low-class variants, and all three eventually became phonemic due to further changes, e.g. /kr/ > /kʰ/. For similar reasons, Lao has developed more than two tonal distinctions in "dead" syllables.
  8. Initial อ is silent and therefore considered as a glottal stop.
  9. ฃ and ฅ are no longer used. Thus, modern Thai is said to have 42 consonant letters.
  10. The glottal plosive appears at the end when no final follows a short vowel



  1. 1.0 1.1 Thai at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. "Languages of ASEAN". 
  3. Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds (2017). "Thai". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. 
  4. Diller, A.; Reynolds, Craig J. (2002). "What makes central Thai a national language?". in Reynolds. National identity and its defenders : Thailand today. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books. ISBN 974-7551-88-8. OCLC 54373362. 
  5. Draper, John (2019), "Language education policy in Thailand", The Routledge International Handbook of Language Education Policy in Asia, Abingdon, Oxon; New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 229–242, doi:10.4324/9781315666235-16, ISBN 978-1-315-66623-5 
  6. Baker, Christopher (2014). A history of Thailand. Melbourne, Australia: Cambridge University Press. pp. 3–4. ISBN 978-1-316-00733-4. 
  7. Enfield, N.J.. "How to define 'Lao', 'Thai', and 'Isan' language? A view from linguistic science". Tai Culture 3 (1): 62–67. 
  8. Peansiri Vongvipanond (Summer 1994). "Linguistic Perspectives of Thai Culture". paper presented to a workshop of teachers of social science. University of New Orleans. p. 2. "The dialect one hears on radio and television is the Bangkok dialect, considered the standard dialect." 
  9. Kemasingki, Pim; Prateepkoh, Pariyakorn (August 1, 2017). "Kham Mueang: the slow death of a language". Chiang Mai City Life: 8. "there are still many people speaking kham mueang, but as an accent, not as a language. Because we now share the written language with Bangkok, we are beginning to use its vocabulary as well". 
  10. Andrew Simpson (2007). Language and national identity in Asia. Oxford University Press. "Standard Thai is a form of Central Thai based on the variety of Thai spoken earlier by the elite of the court, and now by the educated middle and upper classes of Bangkok. It ... was standardized in grammar books in the nineteenth century, and spread dramatically from the 1930s onwards, when public education became much more widespread" 
  11. Thepboriruk, Kanjana (2010). "Bangkok Thai tones revisited". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistic Society (University of Hawaii Press) 3 (1): 86–105. "Linguists generally consider Bangkok Thai and Standard Thai, the Kingdom’s national language, to be one and the same.". 
  12. Antonio L. Rappa; Lionel Wee (2006), Language Policy and Modernity in Southeast Asia: Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand, Springer, pp. 114–115 
  13. Lieberman, Victor (2003). Strange Parallels: Volume 1, Integration on the Mainland: Southeast Asia in Global Context, c.800–1830. Studies in Comparative World History (Kindle ed.). ISBN 978-0-521-80086-0. 
  14. Wyatt, David K. (2003). Thailand: A Short History. New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08475-7. 
  15. Ying-yai Sheng-lan: The Overall Survey of the Ocean's Shores (1433), Hakluyt Society at the University Press, 1970, ISBN 0-521-01032-2 
  16. Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993:25)
  17. Frankfurter, Oscar. Elements of Siamese grammar with appendices. American Presbyterian mission press, 1900 [1] (Full text available on Google Books)
  18. Morén, Bruce; Zsiga, Elizabeth (2006). "The Lexical and Post-Lexical Phonology of Thai Tones*" (in en). Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 24 (1): 113–178. doi:10.1007/s11049-004-5454-y. ISSN 0167-806X. 
  19. Zsiga, Elizabeth; Nitisaroj, Rattima (2007). "Tone Features, Tone Perception, and Peak Alignment in Thai" (in en). Language and Speech 50 (3): 343–383. doi:10.1177/00238309070500030301. ISSN 0023-8309. PMID 17974323. 
  20. Teeranon, Phanintra. (2007). "The change of Standard Thai high tone: An acoustic study and a perceptual experiment". SKASE Journal of Theoretical Linguistics, 4(3), 1-16.
  21. Thepboriruk, Kanjana. (2010). "Bangkok Thai Tones Revisited". Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society, 3(1), 86-105.
  22. Pittayaporn, Pittayawat. (2007). "Directionality of Tone Change". Proceedings of the 16th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS XVI).
  23. Warotamasikkhadit, Udom (1972). Thai Syntax. The Hague: Mouton.. 
  24. 24.0 24.1 24.2 Bisang, W. (1991), "Verb serialisation, grammaticalisation, and attractor positions in Chinese, Hmong, Vietnamese, Thai and Khmer", Partizipation: das sprachliche Erfassen von Sachverhalten (Tübingen: Narr): pp. 509–562,, retrieved 2021-05-02 
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 25.4 25.5 Jenny, Mathias; Ebert, Karen H.; Zúñiga, Fernando (2001), "The aspect system of Thai", Aktionsart and Aspectotemporality in non-European languages (Zürich: Seminar für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft, Universität Zürich): pp. 97–140, ISBN 978-3-9521010-8-7,, retrieved 2021-05-02 
  26. 26.0 26.1 Boonyapatipark, Tasanalai (1983) (in en). A study of aspect in Thai. University of London. 
  27. Koenig, Jean-Pierre; Muansuwan, Nuttanart (2005). "The Syntax of Aspect in Thai". Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 23 (2): 335–380. doi:10.1007/s11049-004-0488-8. ISSN 0167-806X. 
  28. Jenks, Peter (2011). The Hidden Structure of Thai Noun Phrases (PDF) (PhD dissertation). Harvard University. ISBN 978-1-267-10767-1. S2CID 118127511. ProQuest 915016895. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-05-03.
  29. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named :1
  30. "The Many Different Ways To Say "I"" (in en-SG). Beginner Thai Speaking. 28 September 2021. 
  31. Joanne Tan. "How to say You in Thai Language". 
  32. 32.0 32.1 "What Do 'krub' And 'ka' Mean In Thai Language & When To Use" (in en-SG). 5 October 2021. 
  33. "The Languages spoken in Thailand" (in en-US). 
  34. Haspelmath, Martin; Tadmor, Uri (2009). Loanwords in the World's Languages: A Comparative Handbook. p. 611. "Thai is of special interest to lexical borrowing for various reasons. The copious borrowing of basic vocabulary from Middle Chinese and later from Khmer indicates that, given the right sociolinguistic context, such vocabulary is not at all immune" 
  35. Haarmann, Harald (1986). Language in Ethnicity: A View of Basic Ecological Relations. p. 165. "In Thailand, for instance, where the Chinese influence was strong until the Middle Ages, Chinese characters were abandoned in written Thai in the course of the thirteenth century." 
  36. Leppert, Paul A. (1992). Doing Business With Thailand. p. 13. "At an early time the Thais used Chinese characters. But, under the influence of Indian traders and monks, they soon dropped Chinese characters in favor of Sanskrit and Pali scripts." 
  37. "S̄yām-portukes̄ ṣ̄ụks̄ʹā: Khả reīyk "chā kāfæ" khır lxk khır thịy h̄rụ̄x portukes̄". 2010. 
  38. Pronk, Marco (2013) (in en). The Essential Thai Language Companion: Reference Book: Basics, Structures, Rules. Schwabe AG. p. v. ISBN 978-3-9523664-9-3. "learn the Thai alphabet as early as possible, and get rid of romanized transcriptions as soon as you can" 
  39. Juyaso, Arthit (2015) (in en). Read Thai in 10 Days. Bingo-Lingo. p. xii. "There have been attempts by Thai language schools to create a perfect phonetic system for learners, but none have been successful so far. ... Only Thai script is prevalent and consistent in Thailand." 
  40. Waites, Dan (2014). "Learning the Language: To Write or Not to Write" (in en). CultureShock! Bangkok. Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 978-981-4516-93-8. "you're far better off learning the Thai alphabet" 
  41. Cooper, Robert (2019). "Learning Thai: Writing Thai in English" (in en). CultureShock! Thailand: A Survival Guide to Customs and Etiquette. Marshall Cavendish. ISBN 978-981-4841-39-9. "take a bit of time to learn the letters. The time you spend is saved many times over when you begin to really learn Thai." 
  42. Royal Thai General System of Transcription, published by the Thai Royal Institute only in Thai
  43. (in th) Handbook and standard for traffic signs, Appendix ง, 
  44. ISO 11940 Standard.

General and cited sources

  • อภิลักษณ์ ธรรมทวีธิกุล และ กัลยารัตน์ ฐิติกานต์นารา. 2549. การเน้นพยางค์กับทำนองเสียงภาษาไทย (Stress and Intonation in Thai) วารสารภาษาและภาษาศาสตร์ ปีที่ 24 ฉบับที่ 2 (มกราคม – มิถุนายน 2549) หน้า 59–76. ISSN 0857-1406 ISSN 2672-9881.
  • สัทวิทยา : การวิเคราะห์ระบบเสียงในภาษา. 2547. กรุงเทพฯ : สำนักพิมพ์มหาวิทยาลัยเกษตรศาสตร์. ISBN:974-537-499-7.
  • Diller, Anthony van Nostrand, et al. 2008. The Tai–Kadai Languages. ISBN:978-070-071-457-5.
  • Gandour, Jack, Tumtavitikul, Apiluck and Satthamnuwong, Nakarin. 1999. Effects of Speaking Rate on the Thai Tones. Phonetica 56, pp. 123–134.
  • Li, Fang-Kuei. A handbook of comparative Tai. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1977. Print.
  • Rischel, Jørgen. 1998. 'Structural and Functional Aspects of Tone Split in Thai'. In Sound structure in language, 2009.
  • Tumtavitikul, Apiluck, 1998. The Metrical Structure of Thai in a Non-Linear Perspective. Papers presented to the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 1994, pp. 53–71. Udom Warotamasikkhadit and Thanyarat Panakul, eds. Temple, Arizona: Program for Southeast Asian Studies, Arizona State University.
  • Apiluck Tumtavitikul. 1997. The Reflection on the X′ category in Thai. Mon–Khmer Studies XXVII, pp. 307–316.
  • อภิลักษณ์ ธรรมทวีธิกุล. 2539. ข้อคิดเกี่ยวกับหน่วยวากยสัมพันธ์ในภาษาไทย วารสารมนุษยศาสตร์วิชาการ. 4.57-66. ISSN 0859-3485 ISSN 2673-0502.
  • Tumtavitikul, Appi. 1995. Tonal Movements in Thai. The Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Vol. I, pp. 188–121. Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University.
  • Tumtavitikul, Apiluck. 1994. Thai Contour Tones. Current Issues in Sino-Tibetan Linguistics, pp. 869–875. Hajime Kitamura et al., eds, Ozaka: The Organization Committee of the 26th Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, National Museum of Ethnology.
  • Tumtavitikul, Apiluck. 1993. FO – Induced VOT Variants in Thai. Journal of Languages and Linguistics, 12.1.34 – 56.
  • Tumtavitikul, Apiluck. 1993. Perhaps, the Tones are in the Consonants? Mon–Khmer Studies XXIII, pp. 11–41.
  • Higbie, James and Thinsan, Snea. Thai Reference Grammar: The Structure of Spoken Thai. Bangkok: Orchid Press, 2003. ISBN:974-8304-96-5.
  • Nacaskul, Karnchana (ศาสตราจารย์กิตติคุณ ดร.กาญจนา นาคสกุล) Thai Phonology, 4th printing. (ระบบเสียงภาษาไทย, พิมพ์ครั้งที่ 4) Bangkok: Chulalongkorn Press, 1998. ISBN:978-974-639-375-1.
  • Nanthana Ronnakiat (ดร.นันทนา รณเกียรติ) Phonetics in Principle and Practical. (สัทศาสตร์ภาคทฤษฎีและภาคปฏิบัติ) Bangkok: Thammasat University, 2005. ISBN:974-571-929-3.
  • Segaller, Denis. Thai Without Tears: A Guide to Simple Thai Speaking. Bangkok: BMD Book Mags, 1999. ISBN:974-87115-2-8.
  • Smyth, David (2002). Thai: An Essential Grammar, first edition. London: Routledge.
  • Smyth, David (2014). Thai: An Essential Grammar, second edition. London: Routledge. ISBN:978-041-551-034-9.
  • Tingsabadh, M.R. Kalaya; Abramson, Arthur (1993), "Thai", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 23 (1): 24–28, doi:10.1017/S0025100300004746 

Further reading

External links

      Please be cautious adding more external links.

Wikipedia is not a collection of links and should not be used for advertising.

    Excessive or inappropriate links will be removed.
See Wikipedia:External links and Wikipedia:Spam for details.

If there are already suitable links, propose additions or replacements on the article's talk page, or submit your link to the relevant category at the Open Directory Project ( and link there using language Thai language at Curlie.


Glossaries and word lists
  • Thai phrasebook from Wikivoyage
  • Thai Swadesh list of basic vocabulary words (from Wiktionary's Swadesh-list appendix)
Learners' resources