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If you are planning a holiday in Thailand, it makes sense to do a little research into the unique culture that Thailand is so well-known for, and while English is widely spoken in the tourist areas, your experience will be so much better if you learn a few common phrases in Thai, and with that in mind, here are some useful Thai phrases that you can use to impress the locals.
Thai Is A Tonal Language
Thai is a phonetic language that uses 5 tones, unlike English, and while you will not be able to master this in a short time, it is worth noting that the tone can change the meaning. As an example, the word “kow” can mean, “white”, “rice”, “horn”, “kneecap” or “enter”, depending on the tone used, and when you listen to the Thais speak, try to notice the different tones they use. Here are some commonly used phrases to help you get started.
- “Krapp” or “Kaa” – For the man, “krapp” at the end of a sentence is a polite term, while women would say “kaa”, so whatever you are trying to say, add this at the end and you will certainly impress the locals with your language skills. If you are at all concerned about language barriers, there are luxury Thailand vacations and private tours that include an English-speaking guide, and this will certainly give you an insight into every aspect of Thai culture.
- “Hello, how are you?” – This is a common greeting when you meet someone, and for the man, it would be, “Sawadee Krapp, Sabai Dee Mai”, while the women would use, “Sawadee Kaa, Sabai dee mai”
- “I don’t understand” – You will certainly have many opportunities to use this one, which is, “mai kow jai”, while understanding is simply “kow jai”.
- “Thank you” – This is one phrase that you can use very often, and for the man it is, “Kap Kun Krapp”, while a female would say, “kap kun kaa”.
- “How much?” – Great when shopping for souvenirs, all you need to do is point to the item you wish to buy and say, “Tao rai”, and of course, you can add the “krapp” or “kaa” at the end to be extra polite.
- “Spicy” – Thai food is very spicy (pet in Thai), and if you like spicy food, when ordering, just say, “pet”, whereas “mai pet” means not spicy. Unless you happen to love spicy food, “mai pet” is always advised, and even then, it can still be spicy!
There are informative articles you can find online that focus on the basics of the Thai language, which are recommended readings for anyone who is soon to be visiting Thailand. It might be an idea to buy a Thai-English phrasebook to carry around with you, and if you book a tour with the right tour provider, they will provide you with a Thai guide who speaks perfect English. This has many benefits, as the guide can give you an insight into the history and culture of this unique country, and when buying souvenirs, you won’t pay the inflated price, your guide will see to that!
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