Thai language and culture. Interesting facts.

Why Thai language and culture is so interesting?

Wherever we travel in Thailand, the Thai language or one of its dialects, depending on the area we visit, will be part of our visit to the same extent as landscapes and architecture. Therefore, we hope that these clarifications on some of the particularities of the Thai language will help you to appreciate some of the fundamental characteristics of this rich and varied language.

Thai, or Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand. It is the mother tongue of the Tai ethnic group, the preponderant one in the country, and its number of speakers is around twenty-five million. Its area of influence is mostly in the center and around the country. In the rest of the territory numerous dialects and other languages proliferate in many cases related to or related to the bordering countries (Malaysia, Burma, and Laos). However, the standard Thai language is used in all official bodies, schools, and media, which makes it known by most of the inhabitants of the country and serves as an element of communication between different regions.

Let’s try to speak and learn Thai language

The Thai language belongs to the branch of Tai-Kadai languages, originally from southern China. Although the Thai script is an adaptation of the Cambodian script of the Khmer period (11th century), which owes the culture of South India, the alphabet was created and instituted by King Ramkhamheng (1283) during the dynastic period of Sukhothai Since then, the language has been a sign of identity for the people of Siam, the “true Thais,” as they like to call themselves. This has favored that the monarchy shows, from always, a special predilection for the subjects related to the language; an effort that culminated in the creation of the Royal Society of Thailand in 1933, in order to regulate and standardize the use of the language. This institution, located in Bangkok, is responsible, among many other things, for creating the prescriptive dictionary, for applying the Royal Thai General System of Transcription to the Latin alphabet and for the transliteration of foreign words to the Thai alphabet.

At first glance, it seems to Westerners that Thais do not speak, they sing. This perception is not very misleading, because one of the main characteristics of the Thai language is the continuous changes of tone that have made it known as the language “that sings a song”. In fact, Thai is part of the so-called tonal languages, in which the inflection of the tone (the variation between acute and severe) has phonological quality, that is, it influences us when it comes to differentiating the meanings of words. However, this resource is not exclusive to the Thai language but is part of the linguistic arsenal of many other languages throughout the world. The best-known example, obviously for the number of speakers, also in Asia, is the Chinese language; but the tonal characteristics are typical of Sub-Saharan and Bantu languages of Africa, European languages such as Swedish, Native American languages of the USA (Navajo), Mexico or the Amazon, as well as most of the Papuan languages ??of New Guinea.

In Trips to Thailand, we hope to have unraveled some of the mysteries that, at first glance, seem to enclose the melodic patterns of the Thai language. If so, we would love you to share this article on social networks. In this way, it can serve as a guide or help to all those who approach the subject for the first time.

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