If you are going to spend your vacation in the Kingdom of Thailand you should possibly be interested in the fascinating Thai language spoken there by local population, which will naturally give you the chance to get closer to Thailand’s culture and people. Most Thais will certainly be astonished to listen to a foreigner speaking Thai language. Be sure that knowing even a couple of words in Thai will certainly help you to orient at shops and markets in getting discounted prices.
Thai language has it all- stunning variety of letters and characters and extraordinary sounds of words. Thai is the national and official language of the Kingdom of Thailand spoken by more than 50 million people in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Yunnan province of China. It belongs to the south-western branch of Tai-Kadai family and is considered to be a language of intercultural communication. Thai language is closely related to Lao language, the latter descended from Tai languages. Due to their geographic proximity these languages have influenced each other, sharing most of their basic vocabulary. Thai and Chinese languages also have a lot in common, both having a tonal structure. Linguists have identified hundreds of identical words in these languages. Dating back to the 13th century, Thai alphabet is derived from “Old Khmer” and is also a mixture of European languages (particularly English) and Indian languages (particularly Sanskrit).
Thai is a tonal and analytic language. Thai alphabet covers a large amount of letters: 44 consonants being pure Thai letters, 32 vowels and 5 phonemic tones, including high, low, middle, falling and rising ones, which determine the meaning of a word. Consonants belong to a certain class of tone and are distributed in three different classes: low, middle and high. All Thai words always begin with a consonant.
Vowels include 18 single vowels, 6 compound vowels and 8 consonant- like vowels. Thai vowels can appear above, below, behind or in front of a consonant. Due to complex nature of Thai language each letter represents up to two different sounds. In learning Thai language pay attention to concentrate on three things: the initial sound, the final sound and the class. In Thai language the characters are distributed horizontally, the text is written from left to right, without spaces between words; there is no punctuation or capitalization. The peculiarity of Thai language is that it has no articles, conjunctions or particles, no noun declensions, also missing gender, imperfect modals, number and case. One the one hand, the language of course is unique due to it, but on the other hand the process of communication becomes complicated. The problem is that you should be very careful and accurate in making a sentence.
On the whole, Thai grammar is much easier than Thai writing. A simple sentence in Thai language consists of subject, verb and object where subject is always omitted. The noun is always followed by adjectives; verbs are not conjugated. Thai pronouns are selected according to the gender and relative status of speaker and audience. Two types of plurals are underlined: generic or specific. To express tense forms in Thai language is an easy task. Past tense is expressed by adding a time word (e.g. yesterday) at the end of the sentence.
Future tense is expressed by adding the word ‘ja’ (shall or will) before the verb; and to express the present continuous, you can simply add the word ‘gamlang’ again before the verb. Thai language is used everywhere in daily life and is also taught in all the schools of Thailand. Do not think that learning Thai language is a trouble; just vice-versa-it is a fun. Learn Thai language and experience new culture.