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Speaking Thai: Some Basic Words

Speaking Thai: Some Basic WordsFrom the North to the South of Thailand there are many different dialects of the Thai language spoken. What is known as ‘Standard Thai’ is actually Thai which is spoken in Bangkok and nearby provinces. ‘Standard Thai’ is used when it comes to administration, education, and media and nearly 100% of Thai people can understand ‘Standard Thai’ even if they use a different dialect in their everyday speech.

This article, which will give you the basic words and phrases you need to get by, uses ‘Standard Thai’ hopefully meaning that you can be understood by most. Local people really appreciate it if you try to the effort to communicate with them in their own language. If at first you don’t succeed, don’t worry just smile, point and try again. It’s surprising how much you can be understood with just a few helpful words.

One point to remember is that to be polite to others it is usual to add the word krap (for a man) or ka (for a lady) to the end of a question or a statement. It is always worth noting that in Thai the letter “R” is usually pronounced as “l”.

Hello – Sa-wat-dee-(krap)(ka)

How are you – Sa-bai-dee-mai

Thank you – Korp khun (krap) (ka)

Yes – Chai

No – Mai

Water – Nam

I don’t understand – Mai kow Jai

Big – Yai

Small – Lek

Good – Dee

Bad (not good) – Mai dee

Delicious – a-roy (pronounced al-oy)

Go – Pai

Go where (Where are you going) – Pai nai

Slow – Chah

Fast – re-oew

Want – Ow

Don’t want – Mai ow

Hot – Rorn (pronounced lorn)

Cold – Yen

How much – Tow-rai

Expensive – Peng

Cheap – Took

Like – Chorp

Don’t like – Mai chorp

Eat – Gin

Girl – Poo ying

Boy Poo Chai

What’s your name – Cheu a-rai

Happy – Dee jai

Sad – Sow

Hungry – Hew

A little – Nit noy

A lot – Mahk

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