Lying in the heart of Southeast Asia, Thailand has both geographic and economic advantages that make it one of the most dynamic economy in the region. With the population of more than 69 million people, Thailand is a promising market for foreign investors. However, to be successful in this country, you need to understand its language. Here are the facts about Thai language that will give you insights into the unique culture of Thailand.
Thai language is not only spoken in Thailand
Thai is the official and national language of Thailand. It is spoken by more than 69 million Thai people in the country. Even though Thai and Laotian are written with slightly different script, they are linguistically related. Both of them belong to the Tai language family, thus, they share a large number of similar words. That is the reason why Thai music and TV programs are widely received and understood in Laos. Many Laotian people can also speak and read Thai language.
Outside Thailand, there is a large community of Thai speakers in Los Angeles and California with more than 80,000 Thai immigrants. There is even a Thai town in Los Angeles with many Thai sweet shops, bookstores, restaurants, markets and newspaper offices.
Learning Thai is easier than you think
Thai language greatly differs from most western languages. It is a context tonal language with five tones, 44 consonants and 36 vowels. Thus, remembering Thai words and its use in different circumstances can be a massive task for foreign learners.
However, the grammar of Thai language is very easy. There are no conjugations, declensions or inflections. Thai words do not change with different gender, number or tense. The speakers will add expression of time such as yesterday, tomorrow, already to indicate tense. Also, there are no articles in Thai language, the complicated use of “a”, “an” or “the” in English is omitted in Thai. Therefore, the sentences are very simple.
Thai borrows many words from English
Many Thai words, especially the terms related to science and technology, are borrowed from English. They are adapted to the Thai sound system so that Thai people can use them easily. There are also borrowed words with unchanged spelling like format, movie, etc.
Learning Thai will help you with other languages
Since Thai language is closely related to Lao, learning Thai can open the door to studying Lao language. Besides Lao, Cambodian is also the language that you will find easier to learn. Due to close contact between Thai and Cambodia for centuries, there are certain similarities in the languages of the two countries.
Body language is important in Thai conversation
In conversation with Thai people, body language is an important factor. Thai people consider the head to be sacred and the feet to be dirty. To show respect to senior people in a conversation or when passing by, Thais always try to lower their head. Western habit of resting a foot on the desk is offensive to Thais. Therefore, you should be careful with your gestures when you are in Thailand.
Thai language represents Thai culture and people. If you chose Thailand to be the next destination of your international business, one of the most important things to do is to adapt your documents, websites or marketing campaigns to Thai language.
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