Thai language is not an easy language. Ask any ‘farang’ living in Thailand and they will tell you all about their struggle to learn it. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t know at least a few phrases when you come to the Land of Smiles. Thais highly appreciate those, who make the effort and you might even get yourself some good deals on taxis and shopping when you try to speak Thai.
Here are some facts about the language and the most useful phrases to know before you visit Thailand.
Thai – know before you start learning
- Thai language is a tonal language. It has 5 tones: low, mid, high, falling and rising. This means that one word, pronounced with a different tone might mean something different. For example, a word ‘mai’, depending on how your pronounce it, might mean ‘no’, ‘new’, ‘to burn’, or be used as a question word added at the end of a sentence. Below phrases are not that difficult to use and pronounce. I chose them to make it easier for you to be understood.
- ‘Ka’ and ‘krub’ are words added to sentences and words to sound more polite. If you are a woman you use ‘ka’ and if you are a man you use ‘krub’.
- Thais like when ‘farangs’ speak their language. However, if you say something that they can’t understand, or say something incorrectly, they might start laughing. Don’t get discouraged though. They don’t laugh at you. This is how they try to make you feel more comfortable.
Useful Thai phrases you should learn before you go
|Hello||sa-wat – dee (ka/krub)|
|How are you?||sà-baai dee măi (ka/krub)|
|I’m fine||sà-baai dee (ka/krub)|
|What’s your name?||kun chêu a-rai (ka/krub)|
|My name is… (male)||pŏm chêu… krub|
|My name is… (female)||di-chún… ka|
|Where are you from?||kun maa jàak năi?|
|I am from … (female)||rao maa jàak … ka|
|I am from … (male)||pŏm maa jàak … krub|
|Do you speak English?||pôot ang-grìt dâai măi (ka/krub)|
|Excuse me/Sorry||kŏr tôht (ka/krub)|
|Thank you||kòp kun (ka/krub)|
|I don’t understand||mâi kâo jai (ka/krub)|
|How much is it?||raa-kaa tâo rài?|
|Not spicy||Mị̀ p̄hĕd|
|Can you lower the price?||Loht (RaaKhaa) Dai Mai (ka/krub)|
Want to learn more?
Check out ThaiPod101 on YouTube or download their podcast on your phone. They have some really fun introduction material for everyone who wants to learn Thai.