Thai (th. ภาษาไทย (paasaa thai), lit. the language of Thai) is the official language of Thailand, and of no other country. It is part of the Tai/Daic language family, whose origin is uncertain but which is sometimes linked to the Austroasiatic, the Austronesian or Sino-Tibetan language families. Thai is a tonal language, with both lexical and grammatical uses of tones.
|Table of contents|
2 Thai alphabet
3.1 Tones4 Six-hour clock
3.9 Polite Particles
3.10 Classes of Thai
The status of many of these dialects is debated.
Statistics from Ethnologue 2003-10-4.
The Thai Royal Institute  publishes a set of rules for transliterating English words into the Thai alphabet, but these rules are not intended to be used in reverse.
From the perspective of linguistic typology, Thai can be considered to be an analytic language. Like many Asian languages, the Thai pronomial and inflectional system includes markers for the sex and relative status of both speaker and audience. This combination of tonality, complex orthography, relational markers, in addition to a complex phonology, can make Thai a difficult language for many Europeans to learn.
There are five tones: middle, low, high, rising and falling. The last four are hinted at in written Thai by tone marks, although these are not sufficient to define the correct tone unambiguously, and may be absent if the tone is implicit.
The word-order is Subject-Verb-Object.
Adjectives follow the noun. The are no definite or indefinite articles.
Verbs do not change with person (I, you, they etc.) or with tense.
Nouns are uninflected, and there are no plural forms. Plurals are expressed by adding "nouns of multitude".
For conversational use
For sacred and royal use
To be continued.
Adjectives do not change with number (singular or plural).
Many adverbs are expressed by repeating the adjective. Adverbs usually follow the verb.
The so-called polite particles are untranslatable words added to the end of a sentence to indicate respect for the listener. They are not used in written Thai. A man finishes a sentence with ครับ (pronounced "krup", with a high tone) and a woman with ค่ะ (pronounced "ka" with a falling tone).
Classes of Thai
The Thai langauge can be spoken in different forms depending on the social context. These can be listed as:
Less educated Thais can speak only at the first level. Few Thais can speak the Sacred or Royal versions.
Thais use two systems for telling the time: the 24-hour clock and the traditional Thai six-hour clock. The latter system has been used in some form since the days of the Ayutthaya kingdom, but was codified in its present form in 1901 by King Chulalongkorn (in Royal Gazette 17:206) and is widely used in colloquial speech. It works by dividing the day into four equal parts, then counting the hours within each part. The hours are named as follows:
|1 am||ti 1||ตีหนึ่ง||ti = strike|
|2 am||ti 2||ตีสอง|
|3 am||ti 3||ตีสาม|
|4 am||ti 4||ตีสี่|
|5 am||ti 5||ตีห้า|
|6 am||6 meung chao||หกโมงเช้า||chao = morning|
|7 am||7 meung chao||เจ็ดโมงเช้า||meung = chime|
|8 am||8 meung chao||แปดโมงเช้า|
|9 am||9 meung chao||เก้าโมงเช้า|
|10 am||10 meung||สิบโมง|
|11 am||11 meung||สิบเอ็ดโมง|
|12 noon||thiang wan||เที่ยงวัน|
|1 pm||bai meung||บ่ายโมง||bai = slant, i.e. setting sun|
|2 pm||bai 2 meung||บ่ายสองโมง|
|3 pm||bai 3 meung||บ่ายสามโมง|
|4 pm||4 meung yen||สี่โมงเย็น||yen = cool, i.e. late afternoon|
|5 pm||5 meung yen||ห้าโมงเย็น|
|6 pm||6 meung yen||หกโมงเย็น|
|7 pm||1 thum||หนึ่งทุ่ม||thum = drumbeat|
|8 pm||2 thum||สองทุ่ม|
|9 pm||3 thum||สามทุ่ม|
|10 pm||4 thum||สี่ทุ่ม|
|11 pm||5 thum||ห้าทุ่ม|
|12 midnight||tieng keun||เที่ยงคืน|