A girl I once met and I travelled a lot around Thailand together talking about
all kinds of things that only belong in everyday chat. She asked me what car
I have back in England, a topic that is important to Thais because they
find it inspirational that we all have a car each and do not have to share.
The interest was followed with what car is the best car in England?
I said Aston Martin, presuming she intended British made cars.
She went on to explain that the best car in Thailand is the Fellerlei.
I enquired of her, "I have never heard of that car before, what make
Thai is a difficult language to grasp and a good self-help tutor is
Pimsleur's Thai and there are a lot of resources on the web but they are
often misleading or incorrect. One of the better sites is
Thai-language.com. Their dictionary is an excellent resource and I
often use it to decipher something completely unintelligible that my better half has
uttered. Conversely we also use it to correct my Thai with the 'former mentioned'
explaining what is wrong with their diction, which means they also have errors.
The problem is not that they are wrong; it is that it is not common speech.
Below are a few simple phrases for absolute beginners. Try not to panic or
give up at the first hurdle and you can find a printer friendly version
Click on the speaker to hear how it should be pronounced then try it yourself.
Some of the sounds do not match well to the Western alphabet and often sounds are silent or
only half used such as the letter 'h' except when in conjunction with 'c'.
Chew is pronounced as in the English 'to chew your food' and translates
directly as 'name', whereas Khao is pronounced cow (extending the
'k' sound with a silent h as in heat). This word does not translate
into English because it has no syntax in its singular form but it could be interpreted as
rice or food.
Khrap - used by men to end a request or statement or on its own to say 'yes'
Ka - used by women but extended to Khaa when saying 'yes'
To say hello or goodbye (or any other greeting) is Sawasdee - pronounced sow wa' dee
So, a man would say sawasdee khrap
And women say sawasdee ka
Here is an example of how too many websites get it wrong with asking 'how are you':
Do not say sabai dee ruu, this is how are you but Thais say 'How are we?' this example is wrong . . . . .
Instead ask sabai dee mai pronounced sab I dee my ee - and add khrap or ka at the end if it is a statement.
If you are asked how you are, you could answer sabai dee korb khun khrap or ka - I am good thank you
Now listen to the above as a conversation
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