Standard Thai, also known as Central Thai or Siamese, is the official language of the Kindgdom of Thailand, spoken by about 65 million people. Standard Thai is composed of several distinct registers, forms for different social contexts:
- Street Thai (ภาษาพูด, spoken Thai): informal, without polite terms of address, as used between close relatives and friends.
- Elegant Thai (ภาษาเขียน, written Thai): official and written version, includes respectful terms of address; used in simplified form in newspapers..
- Rhetorical Thai: used for public speaking.
- Religious Thai: (heavily influenced by Sanskrit and Pali) used when discussing Buddhism or addressing monks.
- Royal Thai (ราชาศัพท์): (influenced by Khmer) used when addressing members of the royal family or describing their activities.
As there is no universal standard for transcribing Thai into the latin alphabet, most language courses recommend that learners master the Thai alphabet. It consists of 44 conconants and 28 vowels. There are five phonemic tones: middle, low, high, rising and falling. The tone of a syllable is determined by a combination of the class of consonant (consonants are divided into 3 classes), the type of syllable (open or closed), the tone marker and the length of the vowel (short or long). There are no spaces between words. Instead, spaces in a Thai text indicate the end of a clause or sentence.
In comparison to English and other European languages, there is a lesser degree of fixed rules in Thai grammar. There are no definite or indefinite articles, no verb conjugations, no noun declensions, no object pronouns, and past and future tenses are often indicated only by context, or with the words "already" or "will" added. Nouns are often omitted in a sentence, being understood by context. This comparative lack of structure can sometimes make understanding sentences in Thai more difficult than other languages with stricter grammar rules.
Translation between Thai and English is therefore notoriously difficult, even more so when considering that Thai is a tonal language while English is not. These challenges to translation can be overcome only by years of learning and language experience. Thaitranslated offers you a simpler route to ease in communication. Choose the service we offer that suits your needs and see how easy communication can be.