What languages are spoken in Thailand?

Thailand Thai Language

The official language of Thailand is Thai. Different parts of Thailand have different dialects and different ways of speaking. There are four main Thai languages spoken in Thailand – spread mainly according to geographical area (Central Thai, Southern Thai, Northeastern Thai (the same language is used in Laos) and Northern Thai, but the language referred to as “standard” Thai is the Central Thai.

For more detailed information about Thai language and basic phrases in Thai, we recommend visiting http://www.learningthai.com/

Do they speak English in Thailand?

English is widely spoken in all mayor cities, but not so much in the more rural areas. English is the country’s second official language, and it is the first foreign language studied in most schools. In rural areas of Thailand most people do not speak English, maybe except for people working in a business involving tourism. In the big cities it is more likely to find people speaking English, though do not expect the majority to do. In the touristic islands (i.e Phuket, Koh Samui, Koh Phi Phi, Krabi) almost all the people which work in any job related to tourism know pretty much reasonable English, enough to help you which what you need. Probably the employees at the hotels/resorts have the higher level of English. In many hotels there are either the owners or the managers which knows very good English.

But please be aware that Thai people pronounce English differently than you would expect in England or America, so it might take a few days to adjust.

You are welcome to visit our Common Thai phrases for travelers page for some basic knowledge of Thai language.

What other languages are spoken in Thailand?

Apart from standard Thai (also known as Central Thai or Siamese), which is the official language of Thailand, there are quite a few other languages spoken in Thailand:
Isan (Northeastern Thai), the language they speak in the Isan region of Thailand; Galung language, the language of Nakhon Phanom Province of Northeast Thailand; Northern Thai, spoken by about millions in the north; Phuan, spoken by people in central Thailand (and also in parts of Laos); and many more…

Each of the languages are spoken in Thailand also has, usually, several types:

  • The Street or common (informal) type
  • Elegant or formal, official type
  • Rhetorical – used for public speaking
  • Religious
  • Royal – used when addressing the royal family

Numbers (digits) in Thailand

Usually, especially in touristic areas, numbers and digits are presented in the way we are used to (the Hindu-Arabic numeral system: 0,1,2,3…). But Thailand languages originally use their own symbols for the digits:

10 ๑๐

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