A good way to learn the Thai language is through listen .Listening to Thai music can improve your listening skill as well as to learn new words .
One band that is easy to listen to with many meaningful lyrics is a band called Loso (very famous rock band in Thailand).They have many albums from heavy rock song with stinging lylics like Mai tong huang chun "don't worry about me"(Lo Society album) ,smooth sweet melodic love songs like Som Sarn (Entertainment album).For people who don't know Loso "The Best of Loso" is a good introduction to this band's music.
If you don't know what to listen to then just pick a CD cover you like and start improving your Thai listening skill.
The Thai language is comprised of 44 consonants, 32 vowels and five tones in Thai pronunciation, along with a script that has Indian origins. The Thai language, belonging to the Tai family, is the main language in Thailand although there are several regional dialects as well. Other languages spoken in Thailand are Chinese, Lao, Malay and Mon-Khmer, while English use is becoming more prevalent in government and commerce.
Some Basic Thai Phrases:
Yes - Chái
No - Mâi chái
Thank you - Khàp khun
No, thank you - Mâi ao khàp khun
Hello - Sawàt dii
Excuse me - Khãw thôht
Please - Karuna
I do not understand - Mâi Khâo jai
I like you! - Phom chawp koon
I cannot speak Thai - Poot passat Thai mai dai
Can speak a little Thai - Poot passat Thai nit noy
How much? - Thâo rai or Kee Baht?
Can you discount a little - Lot rakka dai mai
Too expensive - Paeng Pai.
I want it cheaper - ow thuuk
Thai is the official language of Thailand, and is spoken by some 65 million people. Thai is written in a variation of the Khmer script that is used in Cambodia and Laos. Thai writing uses 44 consonants and 15 vowels, and no capital or small letters (similar to many other Asian languages).
Learn a few basic phrases. My favorites are:
Sawadeekap (in English sa-what-ee-cop) -- Hello
Kapgunkap (cop-goon-cop) -- Thank you
Soi Mak Ma (soy mock maaaaa) -- That is very beautiful (and yes, you say maaaaa!)
http://www.thai2english.com/ ... here is a Thai-English dictionary.
Since Thai is a tonal languag, you cannot indicate mood, emotion, or politeness by tone as in English. To do this Thai has particles, words that frequently end phrases or sentences. I saw above the recommendation that you say "khorp koon ka" for "thank you." This is only said by a woman. Said by a man it should be "khorb koon khrap." "Ka" is the female politness particle; "khrap" is the male politeness particle.
So far, I have found the thai language harder to get the hang of than any other. I've managed to get by in spanish and french in the past, but when the alphabet is totally different, it presents a whole new challenge. I hate to come accross as the ignorant tourist who can't be bothered to learn at least some of the language, but be prepared for quite some challenge!
Fortunately most signs that you will need are in both Thai and English, such as this one in a Sky Train station.
Do learn a few phrases in Thai before you go -- but a warning -- it is a tonal language and you're likely to make a mess of anything more than those few phrases.
The best to learn are:
sawatdee kha [for a woman] = hello/goodbye
sawatde khrab [for a man]
khorb koon kha [khrab] = thank you
mai pen rai = nevermind, doesn't matter
mai ow = I don't want
Thai is a tonal language belonging to the group of Ka-Tai languages, the five tones are monotone, low, falling, high, and rising. This can be a rather complicated language for the visitor; however, English is quite widely understood, particularly in Bangkok where it is almost the major commercial language
In cultural, Thailand as a division of Asian countries has the tradition which is similar with my country too. Always smile, polite in answering or asking and talking in friendly actentuation. For the best result, say "sawasdee" to say 'hi' for them or in the beginning of conversation. Then always say "kop koon ka" (thanks) after asking or someone's giving service (in a hotel, restaurant or taxi). Meanwhile "mai pen rai" means it's okay.
For Thailanese, touch the head is not polite. And if you're going to the temples, please using proper clothes.
After the Chinese and Japanese alphabet, probably one of the most difficult to read alphabet around might be the Thai alphabet. Looks like lljjijllfjif (or f without -) or any variation on number or combination of characters.
For my sake, it looks like most word look the same except for length. It makes it very difficult to find a city on a map, follow directions on road signs, although numbers are the same (at least).
Learn some Thai! I WISH I knew more than this: Sawadee Kha (hello, said by a woman) and Kop Khun Kha (thank you, again said by a woman). Kha is the ending when a woman speaks. Must try and learn something more than two words next time :'>
IMPORTANT THAI PHRASES/ BASIC WORDS:
It's important to learn a few basic words of Thai before your trip. Firstly, you'd impress the people of this lovely country tremendously and secondly, it makes you find your way around Thailand and for this matter, Phuket so much easier!
Thank you very much
korp kun mark
That's allright/You're welcome
mai pehn rai
sa wat dee
rar tree sa wat
sa wat dee
See you later
laiw jer gan
sa wat dee
How do you do? Pleased to meet you
yin dee tee roo jak
How are you?
pehn yang ngai
Very well, thanks.
sa bai dee korp kun, laiw
I beg your pardon?
Do you speak English?
kun poot par sar ang grit dai mai
Isn't it so easy to memorize the above phrases? :-D
Photo Below: That's me and VT member 'Kallista' in AYUTHAYA, the ancient city of Siam.
It's always good to know some words in language which they speak in the country you are going too... so if you are going to Thailand, try to learn some of them:
SAWADDI - good morning;
SAWADDI KRAP - good bye (men);
SAWADDI KHA - good bye (women);
CHAI - yes;
MAI - no;
KHOPKUN - thank you;
KHO THOT - sorry;
KARUNA /PROT - please;
DEE - good /ok;
CHAN MAI KAO CHAI - i don't understand;
KHUNG TONG KAN TAO RAI? - how much does it cost?;
numbers 1-10: NEUNG, SORNG, SARM, SEE, HAR, HOK, CHET, PAET, KAO, SIP;
BIA - beer;
CHA YEN MANAO - ice tee with limon;
KAFAE DAM - black coffee;
NAAM YEN - water with ice;
KAI - chicken;
PLAH - fish;
KHAI - egg;
KHAO - rice.
This is how...It is pronounced the same! So if want a Pepsi just say Pep See! Coke is also just Coke but of course the script is different.