There are many differences in the way English and Thai are spoken. Thai is a tonal language. That means a word that is spelled the same can have different meanings because of the tone or sound. The Thai language has five tones. Another difference is that Thai’s speak “house my” where English speaks “my house.” One more difference for Thai language students to note is that Thai does not have “a” or “the” and is spoken quite simply. Instead of “lets go to the store” Thai’s would simply speak “go store.” Thai language students are better off learning simple words first like who, what, where, when and why. You can do a lot of communicating with those one-word questions. Also if you learn simple sentence words like to, go, from, this, and come first, you will understand what the phrases mean because you will know the individual words. Another difference in Thai is that when the subject is understood it is not spoken.
Thai language students should start with learning the tones. The first tone is called “Middle tone” and has no mark or change in the sound. The second tone is called “mai egg” or low tone. The pitch of the speaker’s voice drops slightly. The third tone is called “mai tool” and the sound is a falling tone. It is the opposite of asking a question. The fourth tone is called “mai dtee” or high tone. It is simply spoken higher than normal. The fifth tone is “mai jut to wha” or rising tone. Spoken like asking a question. For Thai language studies it is helpful to know the tones. However don’t put to much importance in them because very few words will change in definition. It is also much more of a matter of context than tone that reveals what you are speaking.
Thai language grammar is another part of learning Thai. Grammar is the least important thing to learn and takes the longest to use correctly. Grammar is not really important to communication. It just makes you sound better. Personally I love to hear the mistakes made when a person who is speaking English as a second language speaks. I always understand what they mean.
Thai language lessons are taught at the World Word Exchange. It is an inexpensive online language school with a native Thai speaker teaching you. You study the Thai words spelled phonetically in English. You also see the native Thai words in case you are learning to write Thai.
I have found that it is very exciting to speak and understand a new language. For Thai language students the challenges are not really that difficult, they are only different. Practice and study and you will soon be communicating in Thai. Of all the languages I have heard Thai seems a little more like singing than speaking. Please leave a comment thanks.