ClassificationStandard Thai is classified as one of the Chiang Saen languages—others being Tai Lanna, Southern Thai and numerous smaller languages, which together with the Northwestern Tai and Lao-Phutai languages, form the branch of . The Tai languages are a branch of the Kra–Dai language family, which encompasses a large number of indigenous languages spoken in an arc from and south through Laos and Northern Vietnam to the Cambodian border. Standard Thai is the principal language of education and government and spoken throughout Thailand. The standard is based on the dialect of the central Thai people, and it is written in the .
HistoryAccording to a Chinese source, during the , (1405–1433), reported on the language of the Hsien Lo that it somewhat resembles the local patois as pronounced in Thai has undergone various historical sound changes. Some of the most significant changes occurred during the evolution from Old Thai to modern Thai. The Thai writing system has an eight-century history and many of these changes, especially in consonants and tones, are evidenced in the modern .
Old ThaiOld Thai had a three-way tone distinction on "live syllables" (those not ending in a stop), with no possible distinction on "dead syllables" (those ending in a stop, i.e. either or the which automatically closes syllables otherwise ending in a short vowel). There was a two-way voiced vs. voiceless distinction among all and consonants, and up to a four-way distinction among stops and s. The maximal four-way occurred in labials () and s (); the three-way distinction among velars () and s (), with the glottalized member of each set apparently missing. The major change between old and modern Thai was due to voicing distinction losses and the concomitant . This may have happened between about 1300 and 1600 CE, possibly occurring at different times in different parts of the Thai-speaking area. All voiced–voiceless pairs of consonants lost the voicing distinction: *Plain voiced stops () became voiceless aspirated stops ().The glottalized stops were unaffected, as they were treated in every respect like voiceless unaspirated stops due to the initial glottal stop. These stops are often described in the modern language as phonemically plain stops , but the glottalization is still commonly heard. *Voiced fricatives became voiceless. *Voiceless sonorants became voiced. However, in the process of these mergers, the former distinction of voice was transferred into a new set of tonal distinctions. In essence, every tone in Old Thai split into two new tones, with a lower-pitched tone corresponding to a syllable that formerly began with a voiced consonant, and a higher-pitched tone corresponding to a syllable that formerly began with a voiceless consonant (including glottalized stops). An additional complication is that formerly voiceless unaspirated stops/affricates (original ) also caused original tone 1 to lower, but had no such effect on original tones 2 or 3. The above consonant mergers and tone splits account for the complex relationship between spelling and sound in modern Thai. Modern "low"-class consonants were voiced in Old Thai, and the terminology "low" reflects the lower tone variants that resulted. Modern "mid"-class consonants were voiceless unaspirated stops or affricates in Old Thai—precisely the class that triggered lowering in original tone 1 but not tones 2 or 3. Modern "high"-class consonants were the remaining voiceless consonants in Old Thai (voiceless fricatives, voiceless sonorants, voiceless aspirated stops). The three most common tone "marks" (the lack of any tone mark, as well as the two marks termed ''mai ek'' and ''mai tho'') represent the three tones of Old Thai, and the complex relationship between tone mark and actual tone is due to the various tonal changes since then. Since the tone split, the tones have changed in actual representation to the point that the former relationship between lower and higher tonal variants has been completely obscured. Furthermore, the six tones that resulted after the three tones of Old Thai were split have since merged into five in standard Thai, with the lower variant of former tone 2 merging with the higher variant of former tone 3, becoming the modern "falling" tone.Modern northern Thai dialects are often described as having six tones, but these are not necessarily due to preservation of the original six tones resulting from the tone split. For example, in standard Lao, both the high and low variants of Old Thai tone 2 merged; however, the mid-class variant of tone 1 became pronounced differently from either the high-class or low-class variants, and all three eventually became phonemic due to further changes, e.g. > . For similar reasons, Lao has developed more than two tonal distinctions in "dead" syllables. and
Early Old ThaiEarly Old Thai also apparently had velar fricatives as distinct phonemes. These were represented by the now-obsolete letters ฃ ''kho khuat'' and ฅ ''kho khon'', respectively. During the Old Thai period, these sounds merged into the corresponding stops , and as a result the use of these letters became unstable. At some point in the history of Thai, a palatal nasal phoneme also existed, inherited from . A letter ญ ''yo ying'' also exists, which is used to represent a palatal nasal in words borrowed from and , and is currently pronounced at the beginning of a syllable but at the end of a syllable. Most native Thai words that are reconstructed as beginning with are also pronounced in modern Thai, but generally spelled with ย ''yo yak'', which consistently represents . This suggests that > in native words occurred in the pre-literary period. It is unclear whether Sanskrit and Pali words beginning with were borrowed directly with a , or whether a was re-introduced, followed by a second change > . Proto-Tai also had a glottalized palatal sound, reconstructed as in Li Fang-Kuei (1977). Corresponding Thai words are generally spelled หย, which implies an Old Thai pronunciation of (or ), but a few such words are spelled อย, which implies a pronunciation of and suggests that the glottalization may have persisted through to the early literary period.
Vowel developmentsThe vowel system of modern Thai contains nine pure vowels and three centering diphthongs, each of which can occur short or long. According to Li (1977), however, many Thai dialects have only one such short–long pair (), and in general it is difficult or impossible to find minimal short–long pairs in Thai that involve vowels other than and where both members have frequent correspondences throughout the Tai languages. More specifically, he notes the following facts about Thai: *In s, only long vowels occur. (This assumes that all apparent cases of short open syllables are better described as ending in a glottal stop. This makes sense from the lack of tonal distinctions in such syllables, and the glottal stop is also reconstructible across the Tai languages.) *In s, the long high vowels are rare, and cases that do exist typically have diphthongs in other Tai languages. *In closed syllables, both short and long mid and low do occur. However, generally, only words with short and long are reconstructible back to Proto-Tai. *Both of the mid back unrounded vowels are rare, and words with such sounds generally cannot be reconstructed back to Proto-Tai. Furthermore, the vowel that corresponds to short Thai has a different and often higher quality in many of the Tai languages compared with the vowel corresponding to Thai . This leads Li to posit the following: #Proto-Tai had a system of nine pure vowels with no length distinction, and possessing approximately the same qualities as in modern Thai: high , mid , low . #All Proto-Tai vowels were lengthened in open syllables, and low vowels were also lengthened in closed syllables. #Modern Thai largely preserved the original lengths and qualities, but lowered to , which became short in closed syllables and created a phonemic length distinction . Eventually, length in all other vowels became phonemic as well and a new (both short and long) was introduced, through a combination of borrowing and sound change. Li believes that the development of long from diphthongs, and the lowering of to to create a length distinction , had occurred by the time of Proto-Southwestern-Tai, but the other missing modern Thai vowels had not yet developed. Note that not all researchers agree with Li. Pittayaporn (2009), for example, reconstructs a similar system for Proto-Southwestern-Tai, but believes that there was also a mid back unrounded vowel (which he describes as ), occurring only before final velar . He also seems to believe that the Proto-Southwestern-Tai vowel length distinctions can be reconstructed back to similar distinctions in Proto-Tai.
DialectsAccording to Ethnologue, Thai language is spoken by over 20 million people (2000). Moreover, most Thais in the northern and the northeastern (Isaan) parts of the country today are bilingual speakers of Central Thai and their respective regional dialects due to the fact that (Central) Thai is the language of television, education, news reporting, and all forms of media. A recent research found that the speakers of the (or Kham Mueang) have become so few, as most people in northern Thailand now invariably speak Standard Thai, so that they are now using mostly Central Thai words and seasoning their speech only with "kham mueang" accent. Standard Thai is based on the of the educated classes in Bangkok. In addition to Central Thai, Thailand is home to other related . Although some linguists classify these dialects as related but distinct languages, native speakers often identify them as regional variants or dialects of the "same" Thai language, or as "different kinds of Thai".
Central Plains Thai* Eastern Central Plains. ** Ayutthaya dialect (Standard Thai, Northern Bangkok), natively spoken in the vicinity of Bangkok such as Ayutthaya, , , , , , , and s, along with Northern Bangkok. This dialect is the traditional working class in Northern Bangkok and become standard form and is the only one used in the educational system, and on Thai Royal News or conservative Thai language media, it's colloquialism in Thai as ''Samniang Juyjeaw'' (สำเนียงเจื่อยแจ้ว; literally: ''Melodious accent'') or ''Ner Ayutthaya'' (เหน่ออยุธยา; literally: ''Ayutthaya bumpkin accent'') ** Thonburi dialect (also called Bangkok dialect), spoken in the of . This dialect has some and influences. ** Minburi dialect, spoken in Eastern Bangkok ( , Nongchok, Khlongsamwa and Latkrabang), this dialect has some Melayu language influence. ** Eastern dialect, spoken in (except Mueang Paet Riu, Bang Khla, and s, which speak the Chonburi dialect) and (except and Prachantakham Districts which speak ) ** Vientiane Central Thai, spoken in Tha Bo District and some parts of . Closely related to and is sometimes considered as a variety of the Ayutthaya dialect. * Western Central Plains. ** Suphanburi dialect, spoken in , Sing Buri, , part of , part of and some parts of . This dialect was the standard form in the Ayutthaya Kingdom, but today remain in only. ** Kanchanaburi dialect, spoken in . Closely related to and is sometimes classified as a variety of the Suphanburi dialect. ** Rayong dialect, spoken in , Bang Lamung (outside Pattaya City), and part of Si Racha District ** Chantaburi-Trat dialect, spoken in Chanthaburi Province, Chanthaburi, Trat Province, Trat and Southern part of Sa Kaeo Province, Sa Kaeo and part of Koh Kong Province of Cambodia.
Capital Core Thai* Core area. ** Krung Thep dialect (also called Phra Nakhon dialect; Prestige (sociolinguistics), prestige dialect), natively spoken in the core area of the Phra Nakhon District, Phra Nakhon side of (but not in Eastern and Northern Bangkok which natively speak Standard Thai), very high Teochew dialect, Teochew and some Hakka Chinese, Hakka influences. Almost all of media in Thailand operated in this dialect, it's colloquialism ''Phasa Klang'' (ภาษากลาง; literally: ''Lingua franca, Central language, Common language, Received Pronunciation''). ** Chonburi dialect (called Paet Riu dialect in Chachoengsao Province), spoken in most coastal parts of Chonburi Province, Chonburi (Mueang Chonburi District, Mueang Chonburi, Si Racha District, Si Racha, Bang Lamung districts, include Pattaya), Chachoengsao Province, Chachoengsao ( Mueang Paet Riu, Bang Khla, and s) and eastern part of Samut Prakan provinces. This dialect is very similar with the Krungthep dialect. * Enclave areasThese dialects are oftentimes stereotype, stereotyped as Krung Thep dialects by outsiders. ** Photharam dialect, a Ethnic enclave, language enclave in Photharam District, Photharam, Ban Pong District, Ban Pong and Mueang Ratchaburi District, Mueang Ratchaburi districts. This dialect is enclaved by the Ratchaburi dialect. ** Nangrong dialect, spoken by Teochew traders in Nang Rong District. This dialect is enclaved by the , Northern Khmer dialect, Northern Khmer and Kuy language, Kuy languages. ** Hatyai dialect, spoken by non-Peranakan of Thai Chinese, Chinese origin (particularly Teochews) in Hat Yai District (Peranakans speak Southern Thai language). Very high Teochew dialect, Teochew and some Southern Thai language, Southern Thai influences, in Southern Thai called ''Leang Ka Luang'' ( sou, แหลงข้าหลวง, literally: ''Bureaucrat speech''). This dialect is enclaved by Southern Thai (Songkhla dialect). ** Bandon dialect, spoken by non-Peranakan of Chinese origin (particularly Hokkien, Hoklos and Teochews) in Mueang Surat Thani District, Bandon District; very similar with the Hatyai dialect and also enclaved by Southern Thai (mostly Standard Southern Thai and Chaiya dialects). ** Betong dialect, spoken by non-Peranakan of Chinese origin (particularly Cantonese people, Cantonese from Yulin, Guangxi, Watlam and Teochews) in the Patani area, high Goulou Yue and Teochew with some Southern Thai language, Southern Thai and Kelantan-Pattani Malay, Yawi language influences. This dialect is enclaved by the Southern Thai and Yawi languages.
Upper Central Thai (Sukhothai dialects)* New Sukhothai dialect, spoken in Sukhothai Province, Sukhothai, Kamphaeng Phet Province, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit Province, Phichit and part of Tak Province. High Northern Thai language, Northern Thai influence. * Phitsanulok dialect, or old Sukhothai dialect, spoken in Phitsanulok Province, Phitsanulok, Phetchabun Province, Phetchabun and part of Uttaradit Province. This dialect was the standard form in the Sukhothai Kingdom, vassal state of Phitsanuloksongkwae. * Pak Nam Pho dialect, spoken in Nakhon Sawan Province, Nakhon Sawan, Uthai Thani Province, Uthai Thani, Chainat Province, Chainat, part of Phichit Province, Phichit and part of Kamphaeng Phet Province.
Southwestern Thai (Tenasserim Thai)* Ratchaburi dialect, spoken in and most areas in Samut Songkhram Province. * Prippri dialect, spoken in Phetchaburi Province, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces (except Thap Sakae District, Thap Sakae, Bang Saphan District, Bang Saphan and Bang Saphan Noi Districts).
InitialsStandard Thai distinguishes three voice-onset times among plosive and affricate consonants: *voiced consonant, voiced *tenuis consonant, tenuis (unvoiced, unaspirated) *aspirated consonant, aspirated Where English makes a distinction between voiced and unvoiced aspirated , Thai distinguishes a third sound - the unvoiced, unaspirated that occurs in English only as an allophone of , for example after an as in the sound of the ''p'' in "spin". There is similarly an alveolar , , triplet in Thai. In the velar series there is a , pair and in the postalveolar series a , pair, but the language lacks the corresponding voiced sounds and . (In loanwords from English, English and are borrowed as the tenuis stops and .) In each cell below, the first line indicates help:IPA, International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), the second indicates the Thai characters in initial position (several letters appearing in the same box have identical pronunciation). The letter ห, one of the two ''h'' letters, is also used to help write certain tones (described below).
FinalsAlthough the overall 44 Thai consonant letters provide 21 sounds in case of initials, the case for finals is different. For finals, only eight sounds, as well as no sound, called ''mātrā'' () are used. To demonstrate, at the end of a syllable, บ () and ด () are devoiced, becoming pronounced as and respectively. Additionally, all plosive sounds are Unreleased stop, unreleased. Hence, final , , and sounds are pronounced as , , and respectively. Of the consonant letters, excluding the disused ฃ and ฅ, six (ฉ ผ ฝ ห อ ฮ) cannot be used as a final and the other 36 are grouped as following.
ClustersIn Thai, each syllable in a word is considered separate from the others, so combinations of consonants from adjacent syllables are never recognised as a cluster. Thai has Phonotactics, phonotactical constraints that define permissible syllable structure, consonant clusters, and vowel sequences. Original Thai vocabulary introduces only 11 combined consonantal patterns: * (กร), (กล), (กว) * (ขร,คร), (ขล,คล), (ขว,คว) * (ปร), (ปล) * (พร), (ผล,พล) * (ตร) The number of clusters increases when a few more combinations are presented in loanwords such as (ทร) in (, from Sanskrit ''indrā'') or (ฟร) in (, from English ''free''); however, it can be observed that Thai language supports only those in initial position, with either , , or as the second consonant sound and not more than two sounds at a time.
VowelsThe vowel nuclei of the Thai language are given in the following table. The top entry in every cell is the symbol from the help:IPA, International Phonetic Alphabet, the second entry gives the spelling in the , where a dash (–) indicates the position of the initial consonant after which the vowel is pronounced. A second dash indicates that a final consonant must follow. The vowels each exist in vowel length, long-short pairs: these are distinct phonemes forming unrelated words in Thai, but usually transliterated the same: เขา (''khao'') means "he" or "she", while ขาว (''khao'') means "white". The long-short pairs are as follows: There are also opening and closing diphthongs in Thai, which analyze as underlyingly and . For purposes of determining tone, those marked with an asterisk are sometimes classified as long: Additionally, there are three triphthongs. For purposes of determining tone, those marked with an asterisk are sometimes classified as long:
TonesThere are five phonemic tone (linguistics), tones: mid, low, falling, high, and rising, sometimes referred to in older reference works as ''rectus, gravis, circumflexus, altus,'' and ''demissus,'' respectively. The table shows an example of both the phoneme, phonemic tones and their phonetics, phonetic realization, in the International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA. Notes: #Five-level tone value: Mid , Low , Falling , High , Rising . Traditionally, the high tone was recorded as either  or . This remains true for the older generation, but the high tone is changing to  among youngsters. #For the diachronic changes of tone value, please see Pittayaporn (2007). #The full complement of tones exists only in so-called "live syllables", those that end in a long vowel or a (). #For "dead syllables", those that end in a plosive () or in a short vowel, only three tonal distinctions are possible: low, high, and falling. Because syllables analyzed as ending in a short vowel may have a final (especially in slower speech), all "dead syllables" are phonetically Checked tone, checked, and have the reduced tonal inventory characteristic of checked syllables.
Checked syllablesIn some English loanwords, closed syllables with long vowel ending in an obstruent sound, have high tone, and closed syllables with short vowel ending in an obstruent sound have falling tone. 1 May be in educated speech.
GrammarFrom the perspective of linguistic typology, Thai can be considered to be an . The word order is subject–verb–object, although the subject is often Pro-drop language, omitted. Additionally, Thai is an isolating language lacking any form of inflectional morphology whatsoever. Thai pronouns are selected according to the gender and relative status of speaker and audience.
Adjectives and adverbsThere is no morphological distinction between adverbs and adjectives. Many words can be used in either function. They follow the word they modify, which may be a noun, verb, or another adjective or adverb. Comparison (grammar), Comparatives take the form "A X กว่า B" (''kwa'', ), ''A is more X than B''. The superlative is expressed as "A X ที่สุด" (''thi sut'', ), ''A is most X''. Adjectives in Thai can be used as Stative verb, complete predicates. Because of this many words used to indicate tense in verbs (see Verbs:Tense below) may be used to describe adjectives. :* Remark ฉันหิวแล้ว mostly means "I am hungry right now" because normally, แล้ว () marks the change of a state, but แล้ว has many other uses as well. For example, in the sentence, แล้วเธอจะไปไหน (): ''So where are you going?'', แล้ว () is used as a discourse particle
VerbsVerbs do not inflected language, inflect. They do not change with person, tense, voice, mood, or number; nor are there any participles. Being an analytic and Grammatical case, case-less language, the relationship between subject, direct and indirect object is conveyed through word order and Auxiliary verb, auxiliary verbs. Transitive verb, Transitive verbs follow the pattern ''subject-verb-object''. In order to convey Tense–aspect–mood, tense, aspect and mood (TAM), the Thai verbal system employs auxiliaries and verb serialization. TAM markers are however not obligatory and often left out in colloquial use. In such cases, the precise meaning is determined through context. This results in sentences lacking both TAM markers and overt context being ambiguous and subject to various interpretations. The sentence "''chan kin thi nan"'' can thus be interpreted as "I am eating there", "I eat there habitually", "I will eat there" or "I ate there". Aspect markers in Thai have been divided into four distinct groups based on their usage. These markers could appear either before or after the verb. The following list describes some of the most commonly used aspect markers. A number of these aspect markers are also full verbs on their own and carry a distinct meaning. For example ''yu'' as a full verb means "to stay, to live or to remain at". However as an auxiliary it can be described as a ''temporary aspect'' or ''continuative marker''. * Imperfective aspect, Imperfective **''อยู่ yu'' ** ''ไป pai'' ** ''ยัง yang'' ** ''กำลัง kamlang'' * Perfective aspect, Perfective ** ''ได้ dai'' * Perfect aspect, Perfect ** ''แล้ว laew,'' ** ''มา ma'' * Prospective aspect, Prospective/Future tense, Future ** ''จะ cha'' The imperfective aspect marker กำลัง (''kamlang'', , currently) is used before the verb to denote an ongoing action (similar to the ''-ing'' suffix in English). ''Kamlang'' is commonly interpreted as a Progressive aspect, progressive aspect marker. Similarly, อยู่ (''yu'', ) is a post-verbal aspect marker which corresponds to the continuative or temporary aspect. The marker ได้ (''dai'', ) is usually analyzed as a past tense marker when it occurs before the verb. As a full verb, ''dai'' means to 'get or receive'. However, when used after a verb, ''dai'' takes on a meaning of potentiality or successful outcome of the main verb. แล้ว (''laeo'', :, already) is treated as a marker indicating the Perfect (grammar), perfect aspect. That is to say, ''laeo'' marks the event as being completed at the time of reference. ''Laeo'' has to other meanings in addition to its use as a TAM marker. ''Laeo'' can either be a conjunction for sequential actions or an archaic word for "to finish". Future tense, Future can be indicated by จะ (''cha'', , "will") before the verb or by a time expression indicating the future. For example: The passive voice is indicated by the insertion of ถูก (''thuk'', ) before the verb. For example: ::This describes an action that is out of the receiver's control and, thus, conveys suffering. Negation (rhetoric), Negation is indicated by placing ไม่ (''mai'', not) before the verb. * เขาไม่ตี, (''khao mai ti'') ''He is not hitting.'' or ''He doesn't hit.'' Thai exhibits serial verb constructions, where verbs are strung together. Some word combinations are common and may be considered set phrases.
NounsNouns are Uninflected word, uninflected and have no Grammatical gender, gender; there are no article (grammar), articles. Thai nouns are bare nouns and can be interpreted as singular, plural, definite or indefinite. Some specific nouns are reduplication, reduplicated to form collective number, collectives: เด็ก (''dek'', child) is often repeated as เด็ก ๆ (''dek dek'') to refer to a group of children. The word พวก (''phuak'', ) may be used as a prefix of a noun or pronoun as a collective to pluralize or emphasise the following word. (พวกผม, ''phuak phom'', , ''we'', masculine; พวกเรา ''phuak rao'', , emphasised ''we''; พวกหมา ''phuak ma'', ''(the) dogs''). Plurals are expressed by adding Classifier (linguistics), classifiers, used as measure words (ลักษณนาม), in the form of noun-number-classifier: While in English, such classifiers are usually absent ("four chairs") or optional ("two bottles of beer" ''or'' "two beers"), a classifier is almost always used in Thai (hence "chair four item" and "beer two bottle"). Possessive case, Possession in Thai is indicated by adding the word ของ (''khong'') in front of the noun or pronoun, but it may often be omitted. For example:
Nominal PhrasesNoun phrase, Nominal phrases in Thai often use a special class of words Classifier (linguistics), classifiers. As previously mentioned, these classifiers are obligatory for noun phrases containing numerals e.g In the previous example ''khon'' acts as the classifier in the nominal phrase. This follows the form of noun-cardinal-classifier mentioned above. Classifiers are also required to form quantified noun phrases in Thai with some quantifiers such as ทุก(all), บาง(some). The examples below are demonstrated using the classifier ''khon,'' which is used for people. However, classifiers are not utilized for negative quantification. Negative quantification is expressed by the pattern ไม่มี (mai mi, ) + NOUN. Classifiers are also used for demonstratives such as นี้ (ni, ''this/these)'' and นั่น (nan, ''that/those).'' The syntax for demonstrative phrases, however, differ from that of cardinals and follow the pattern ''noun-classifier-demonstrative''. For example, the noun phrase "this dog" would be expressed in Thai as หมาตัวนี้ (lit. dog (classifier) this). Classifiers in Thai
PronounsSubject pronouns are pronoun avoidance, often omitted, with nicknames used where English would use a pronoun. See Thai names#Formal and informal names for more details. Pronouns, when used, are ranked in Thai honorifics, honorific registers, and may also make a T–V distinction#Thai, T–V distinction in relation to kinship terminology, kinship and social status. Specialised pronouns are used for royalty, and for Buddhist monks. The following are appropriate for conversational use: The reflexive pronoun is ตัวเอง (tua eng), which can mean any of: myself, yourself, ourselves, himself, herself, themselves. This can be mixed with another pronoun to create an intensive pronoun, such as ตัวผมเอง (tua phom eng, lit: I myself) or ตัวคุณเอง (tua khun eng, lit: you yourself). Thai also does not have a separate possessive pronoun. Instead, possession is indicated by the particle ของ (khong). For example, "my mother" is แม่ของผม (mae khong phom, lit: mother of I). This particle is often implicit, so the phrase is shortened to แม่ผม (mae phom). Plural pronouns can be easily constructed by adding the word พวก (phuak) in front of a singular pronoun as in พวกเขา (phuak khao) meaning they or พวกเธอ (phuak thoe) meaning the plural sense of you. The only exception to this is เรา (rao), which can be used as singular (informal) or plural, but can also be used in the form of พวกเรา (phuak rao), which is only plural. Thai has many more pronouns than those listed above. Their usage is full of nuances. For example: * "ผม เรา ฉัน ดิฉัน หนู กู ข้า กระผม ข้าพเจ้า กระหม่อม อาตมา กัน ข้าน้อย ข้าพระพุทธเจ้า อั๊ว เขา" all translate to "I", but each expresses a different gender, age, politeness, status, or relationship between speaker and listener. * เรา (rao) can be first person (I), second person (you), or both (we), depending on the context. * Children or younger female could use or being referred by word หนู (nu) when talking with older person. The word หนู could be both feminine first person (I) and feminine second person (you) and also neuter first and neuter second person for children. ** หนู commonly means rat or mouse, though it also refers to small creatures in general. * The second person pronoun เธอ (thoe) (lit: you) is semi-feminine. It is used only when the speaker or the listener (or both) are female. Males usually don't address each other by this pronoun. * Both คุณ (khun) and เธอ (thoe) are polite neuter second person pronouns. However, คุณเธอ (khun thoe) is a feminine derogative third person. * Instead of a second person pronoun such as "คุณ" (you), it is much more common for unrelated strangers to call each other "พี่ น้อง ลุง ป้า น้า อา ตา ยาย" (brother/sister/aunt/uncle/granny). * To express deference, the second person pronoun is sometimes replaced by a profession, similar to how, in English, presiding judges are always addressed as "your honor" rather than "you". In Thai, students always address their teachers by "ครู" or "คุณครู" or "อาจารย์" (each means "teacher") rather than คุณ (you). Teachers, monks, and doctors are almost always addressed this way.
ParticlesThe Grammatical particle, particles are often untranslatable words added to the end of a sentence to indicate respect, a request, encouragement or other moods (similar to the use of Intonation (linguistics), intonation in English), as well as varying the level of formality. They are not used in elegant (written) Thai. The most common particles indicating respect are ครับ (''khrap'', , with a high tone) when the speaker is male, and ค่ะ (''kha'', , with a falling tone) when the speaker is female. Used in a question or a request, the particle ค่ะ (falling tone) is changed to a คะ (high tone). Other common particles are:
RegisterCentral Thai is composed of several distinct Register (sociolinguistics), registers, forms for different social contexts: *Street or Common Thai (, ''phasa phut'', spoken Thai): informal, without polite terms of address, as used between close relatives and friends. *Elegant or Formal Thai (, ''phasa khian'', written Thai): official and written version, includes respectful terms of address; used in simplified form in newspapers. *Rhetorical Thai: used for public speaking. *Religious Thai: (heavily influenced by and Pāli) used when discussing Buddhism or addressing monks. *Royal Thai (ราชาศัพท์, ''racha sap''): influenced by Khmer language, Khmer, this is used when addressing members of the Royal Family of Thailand, royal family or describing their activities. (See .) Most Thais can speak and understand all of these contexts. Street and Elegant Thai are the basis of all conversations. Rhetorical, religious, and royal Thai are taught in schools as part of the national curriculum. As noted above, Thai has several registers, each having certain usages, such as colloquial, formal, literary, and poetic. Thus, the word "eat" can be กิน (''kin''; common), แดก (''daek''; vulgar), ยัด (''yat''; vulgar), บริโภค (''boriphok''; formal), รับประทาน (''rapprathan''; formal), ฉัน (''chan''; religious), or เสวย (''sawoei''; royal), as illustrated below: Thailand also uses the distinctive Thai six-hour clock in addition to the 24-hour clock.
VocabularyOther than compound words and words of foreign origin, most words are syllable, monosyllabic. Chinese-language influence was strong until the 13th century when the use of Chinese characters was abandoned, and replaced by Sanskrit and Pali scripts. However, the vocabulary of Thai retains many words borrowed from Middle Chinese. Later most vocabulary was borrowed from and Pāli; Buddhism, Buddhist terminology is particularly indebted to these. Indic words have a more formal register, and may be compared to Latin and French borrowings in English. Old Khmer language, Khmer has also contributed its share, especially in regard to royal court terminology. Since the beginning of the 20th century, however, the English language has had the greatest influence, especially for scientific, technical, international, and other modern terms.
Chinese-originFrom Middle Chinese language, Middle Chinese or Teochew dialect, Teochew Chinese.
Portuguese-originThe Portuguese were the first Western nation to arrive in what is modern-day Thailand in the 16th century during the Ayutthaya Kingdom, Ayutthaya period. Their influence in trade, especially weaponry, allowed them to establish a community just outside the capital and practice their faith, as well as exposing and converting the locals to Christianity. Thus, Portuguese words involving trade and religion were introduced and used by the locals.
Writing systemThai is written in the Thai script, an abugida written from left to right. Many scholars believe that it is derived from the Khmer script. Certainly the numbers were lifted directly from Khmer. The language and its script are closely related to the Lao language and Lao script, script. Most literate Lao are able to read and understand Thai, as more than half of the Thai vocabulary, grammar, intonation, vowels and so forth are common with the Lao language. The Thais adopted and modified the Khmer script to create their own writing system. While in Thai the pronunciation can largely be inferred from the script, the orthography is complex, with silent letters to preserve original spellings and many letters representing the same sound. While the oldest known inscription in the Khmer language dates from 611 CE, inscriptions in Thai writing began to appear around 1292 CE. Notable features include: #It is an abugida script, in which the implicit vowel is a short in a syllable without final consonant and a short in a syllable with final consonant. #Tone markers, if present, are placed above the final Syllable onset#Onset, onset consonant of the syllable. #Vowels sounding after an initial consonant can be located before, after, above or below the consonant, or in a combination of these positions.
TranscriptionThere is no universally applied method for transcribing Thai into the Latin alphabet. For example, the name of the main airport is transcribed variously as Suvarnabhumi, Suwannaphum, or Suwunnapoom. Guide books, textbooks and dictionaries may each follow different systems. For this reason, most language courses recommend that learners master the Thai script. Official standards are the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS), published by the Royal Institute of Thailand, and the almost identical defined by the International Organization for Standardization. The RTGS system is increasingly used in Thailand by central and local governments, especially for road signs. Its main drawbacks are that it does not indicate tone or vowel length. As the system is based on pronunciation, not orthography, reconstruction of Thai spelling from RTGS romanisation is not possible.
TransliterationThe International Organization for Standardization, ISO published an international standard for the Thai transliteration, transliteration of Thai into Roman script in September 2003 (ISO 11940).
See also* Comparison of Lao and Thai * * Thai honorifics * Thai literature * Thai numerals
Sources* อภิลักษณ์ ธรรมทวีธิกุล และ กัลยารัตน์ ฐิติกานต์นารา. 2549.''การเน้นพยางค์กับทำนองเสียงภาษาไทย'' (Stress and Intonation in Thai ) วารสารภาษาและภาษาศาสตร์ ปีที่ 24 ฉบับที่ 2 (มกราคม – มิถุนายน 2549) หน้า 59–76. . * สัทวิทยา : การวิเคราะห์ระบบเสียงในภาษา. 2547. กรุงเทพฯ : สำนักพิมพ์มหาวิทยาลัยเกษตรศาสตร์. . * Diller, Anthony van Nostrand, et al. 2008. ''The Tai–Kadai Languages.'' . * Gandour, Jack, Tumtavitikul, Apiluck and Satthamnuwong, Nakarin. 1999. ''Effects of Speaking Rate on the Thai Tones.'' Phonetica 56, pp. 123–134. * Li Fang-Kuei, Li, Fang-Kuei. ''A handbook of comparative Tai''. Honolulu: University Press of Hawaii, 1977. Print. * Rischel, Jørgen. 1998. 'Structural and Functional Aspects of Tone Split in Thai'. In ''Sound structure in language'', 2009. * Tumtavitikul, Apiluck, 1998. ''The Metrical Structure of Thai in a Non-Linear Perspective''. Papers presented to the Fourth Annual Meeting of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society 1994, pp. 53–71. Udom Warotamasikkhadit and Thanyarat Panakul, eds. Temple, Arizona: Program for Southeast Asian Studies, Arizona State University. * Apiluck Tumtavitikul. 1997. ''The Reflection on the X′ category in Thai''. Mon–Khmer Studies XXVII, pp. 307–316. * อภิลักษณ์ ธรรมทวีธิกุล. 2539. ''ข้อคิดเกี่ยวกับหน่วยวากยสัมพันธ์ในภาษาไทย'' วารสารมนุษยศาสตร์วิชาการ. 4.57-66. . * Tumtavitikul, Appi. 1995. ''Tonal Movements in Thai''. The Proceedings of the XIIIth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Vol. I, pp. 188–121. Stockholm: Royal Institute of Technology and Stockholm University. * Tumtavitikul, Apiluck. 1994. ''Thai Contour Tones''. Current Issues in Sino-Tibetan Linguistics, pp. 869–875. Hajime Kitamura ''et al.'', eds, Ozaka: The Organization Committee of the 26th Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics, National Museum of Ethnology. * Tumtavitikul, Apiluck. 1993. ''FO – Induced VOT Variants in Thai''. Journal of Languages and Linguistics, 12.1.34 – 56. * Tumtavitikul, Apiluck. 1993. ''Perhaps, the Tones are in the Consonants?'' Mon–Khmer Studies XXIII, pp. 11–41. * Higbie, James and Thinsan, Snea. ''Thai Reference Grammar: The Structure of Spoken Thai''. Bangkok: Orchid Press, 2003. . * Nacaskul, Karnchana, Ph.D. (ศาสตราจารย์กิตติคุณ ดร.กาญจนา นาคสกุล) ''Thai Phonology'', 4th printing. (ระบบเสียงภาษาไทย, พิมพ์ครั้งที่ 4) Bangkok: Chulalongkorn Press, 1998. . * Nanthana Ronnakiat, Ph.D. (ดร.นันทนา รณเกียรติ) ''Phonetics in Principle and Practical''. (สัทศาสตร์ภาคทฤษฎีและภาคปฏิบัติ) Bangkok: Thammasat University, 2005. . * Segaller, Denis. ''Thai Without Tears: A Guide to Simple Thai Speaking''. Bangkok: BMD Book Mags, 1999. . * David A. Smyth, Smyth, David (2002)
Further reading* Inglis, Douglas. 1999