Thai can be a difficult language to learn mainly because it is a tonal language. One word can have several different meanings depending on the tone used when speaking. Take, for instance, the word may depend on the tone when said it can mean: Not, new, burn, silk, and wood. In all there are five tones used in the Thai language and they are: Low tone, mid tone, high tone, rising tone, and falling tone.
If you are going to Thailand on your first trip, having a basic knowledge of the language and using some Thai words and or sentences will give a smile to the locals and can save you some baht when shopping at the markets. You’ll also find it easy to pick up on words when around the native speakers and youll hear the correct pronunciation. Dont be afraid to speak the Thai that you learn because you may say something the wrong way and inadvertently offend someone, the Thai people know their language is hard to learn for foreigners and can usually figure out what you were trying to say.
I have added some useful Thai phrases before in articles and will do so again but when doing so I do it phonetically in english which is usually close to the correct sound but its not easy to convey the proper tone.
A few resources I have come across and have found to be really useful while learning the Thai language rely on sound and or images and sound to reinforce the proper sounds and tones of the words spoken:
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Pronounced As: ti , formerly Siamese, member of the Tai or Thai subfamily of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. The official language of Thailand, Thai is spoken by approximately 50 million people in Thailand, Vietnam, and the Yunnan province of China. It has several dialects. Although most of the words are monosyllables, a number of them are polysyllabic. Because there is no inflection, word order is important for showing grammatical relationships. The Thai language is also tonal, and the tones serve to distinguish meanings of words otherwise pronounced alike. There are five tones: high, middle, low, rising, and falling. Over the centuries Thai has borrowed many words from Chinese, Khmer, Pali, Sanskrit, and, more recently, from European languages such as French and English. The Thai language has its own alphabet, which ultimately goes back to a script of S India and which was adopted in the 13th cent. A.D. Thai is written from left to right.
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There are lots of social activities even in this country for people who speak other languages, so it can be a great social activity as well! Plus, if you ever want to talk about someone who’s in the room but doesn’t speak your second language, to someone who does, you have a great and easy way to talk behind their back without them even knowing.
Learning a new language is not as hard as you may think. There are all sorts of tools and classes that can help you. You can take a class, either in person or online; you can buy workbooks; you can buy tapes of people speaking in their native tongues; you can play language games online; you can go to conversation groups to help practice. There are even immersion classes where you spend three weeks in a foreign country where they speak your new language; being around people who speak it is shown to help you learn the new language much faster. Most universities offer classes in a variety of foreign languages.
To find one near you, you can try to use Google to search for both local and online classes. You’ll be speaking like a Frenchman, or Spaniard, or Dutch person in no time! Hey, you can even learn how to speak Thai.