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Version 3 - August 8th, 2015, Latest update November 17th, 2019 gmail

by Bertil Jansson   





Use these words a lot and you will make a lot of friends!


Men say : 


Women say :

Sawat-dee krup!  - Hello!   

Kop kuhn krup!  - Tack!

Sawat-dee kah!  

Kop kun kah!


Thai writing

บาท b-ah-t  Baht

To separate sounds in a single word a "-" has been inserted


ปลา bp-l-ah  fish

"bp" symbolizes a mixture of b and p, not much to bother about at this stage, but good to know, to simply pronounce a p without the h-sound afterwards.

ปู      bp-uu    crab
ราคา r-aa-k-aa  price
มาก m-ah-g(k)   much

g(k) is a sound in between g and k, more like k at the end of words, just barely audible. Similar for b becoming p, and d becoming t at the end of words.

มี  m-ee   have
ดี    d-ee       good



Drills with a G in combination with different vowels. Notice that a vowel can be placed after, above, under and even before the consonant, though always prounounced after the consonant.

after  above under
กา           g-ah  กี            gh-ee กู         g-uu


but before

เก        gh-eh แก       g-aeh ไก        g-uy


Some common words with 'uy'

ไน      n-uy   inside  ไป       bp-uy   go ไทย    t-uy-y   Thai


And som examples of the long ae-sound or like in the English "air"

แรก     r-ae-k first แพง    p-ae-ng expensive


The ao

The diphtong ao is written using a Thai 'e' before the consonant and a 'ah' after the consonant. To try to figure that out, won't be rewarding, just accept it and live with it! Strange spelling is of course not a problem to an Englishman.

เรา       r-a-o    we,  us               เขา  k-a-o   he, him



The Thai language has five tones. There are no simple indicators as to which tone should be used. The rules are few, but nested in a way, that makes it a bit beyond the scope of this page to elaborate on. The tone will be depended of letter and tone markers in a combination. Here are a few examples from the excellent site www.thai-language.com

Neutral tone: มา m-a h come

Low tone: บาท b-ah-t Baht

High tone: ร้อน r-aw-n warm, hot

Falling or dropping tone : ข้าว k-ah-o rice

The falling tone starts off at a high pitch.

Rising tone: ขาว k-aa-o white

The rising tone starts off at a low pitch.



The grammar is really very nice and logical, at least the simple grammar, no prefixes, suffixes, endings, neither regular nor irregular that make up so much of the "fun" part of European languages, and make them almost impossible to learn. In Thai you just pile the words on top of each other and everything will turn out nicely as long as you remember one little basic rule. The main word comes first, the stuff describing the main word comes after. If you want to say a big house, you say "house big". Even this is something that we have in Europe - Spanish for example Casa Blanca means the White House - "house white".



And now to the next little peculiarity of the Thai language. The Thais write all their words together in a lump and no spaces in between the words. Spaces are used to separate parts of sentences and sentences, though the concept of sentence is not always what we regard as a sentence.

In order to make things easier for you, we will keep the words apart for the most part in these pages.

Men say "krub" at the end of senctences and women say "kah" if they want to be polite. These words also have the meaning yes or affirmation of what the former speaker just said.

She: ราคา เท่าไร คะ? = How much does it cost?
(r-ah-k-ah t-ao-r-uy k-ah) price how-much kah?


He: สาม บาท ครับ = Three Bahts.
(s-ah-m b-ah-t k-r-u-p) Three baht krap


She: แพง มาก คะ = It is very expensive!
(P-ae-ng m-ah-k k-ah) expensive very ka


She: ไม่ ดี คะ = That is not good!
(M-y d-ee k-ah) not good kah


He: ไม่ แพง ครับ = That is not expensive!
(M-y p-ae-ng k-r-u-p) not expensive krup

กิน ต้ม ยำ กุ้ง ใด้ ไหม
Can I have some Tom Yum Gong?

(G-i-n dt-o-m y-u-m g-o-ng d-y m-y?)
eat Tom Yum Gong can what?


Well, it doesn't get any harder than this, so now you just fill up your brain with new words, letters and sentences.