Thai is one of the oldest languages in East and South-East Asia. It is a monosyllabic language which uses five tones (high, mid, low, rising, and falling tone) to alter the meaning of a single syllable. This makes it rather tricky to learn for most Westerners used to speaking non-tonal languages.
The Thai script, introduced by King Rham Khamhaeng in 1283, consists of 44 consonants and 48 vowels, and is of Sanskrit origin.
When being polite the speaker ends his or her sentence with 'khrap' (for men) or 'kha' (for women). khrap and kha are also commonly used to answer 'yes' or to show agreement.
In the following examples tones are represented by colours (High, Mid, Low, Rising, Falling)
No? - Isn't it?
Mai - Chai mai
|You||Khun (for peers)
Thaan (for elders)
|Thank you||Khawp Khun (khrap/kha)||Like||Chawp|
|Hello||Sawatdee (khrap/kha)||Hello Paul||Sawatdee (khrap/kha) Khun Paul|
|Understand||Khao jai||I understand||Khao jai (khrap/kha)|
|Don't understand||Mai khao jai||I don't understand||Mai khao jai (khrap/kha)|
|Kor tot||I'm sorry
Excuse me please
|Kor tot (khrap/kha)|
|Today||Wan nee||John is going today||Khun John pai wan nee|
|Tomorrow||Prung nee||Go tomorrow||Pai prung nee (khrap/kha)|
|How much||Tao rai||How much is this||Nee tao rai (khrap/kha)|
|Where||Tee nai||Where is the bathroom||Hong naam tee nai (khrap/kha)|
|When||Meu arai||Go to Pattaya when||Pai Pattaya meuarai (khrap/kha)|
|Go||Pai||I'm not going||Mai pai (khrap/kha)|