The Ultimate Newbie Guide to Thailand

Thai Language, Words & Phrases 

The Thai language is very different from languages that use the Latin alphabet, such as English, the Scandinavian and the Central and South European languages. It consist of 44 script characters, to each of which can be added various tonal markers of pronunciation. The reason for this is that Thai is a tonal language and there are five basic tones or tone levels in the pronunciation of the language. For the benefit of Westerners the language may be written out in a transliteration form; however this will not accurately account for the different tones and other irregularities in pronunciation. A case in point is the letter "R" which many Thais pronounce as an "L". For example, the Thai word for “Darling” (or my love) is Teerak and is pronounced Teelak, with a high sound for the “lak” part.

It would be a simplification to say that only one language is spoken in Thailand. Central Thai is the official language of the Kingdom and taught in all primary and secondary schools, but in the North East, a dialect called “Issan” is spoken, which is closely related to the main language of Laos. In addition to this, area-specific dialects are spoken in the South and in the East. Khmer is spoken by many Thais in the province of Surin and on the Cambodian border. Moreover to this, a Chinese dialect from Shanghai is spoken as a second language by quite a few Thai-Chinese especially in Bangkok and the largest cities.

The purpose of the following is not to present detailed information about Thai pronunciation, tones or script, rather to provide a few handy words, phases and numbers. For words and phrases that are not suitable for polite everyday or public conversation and are more closely related to the P4P scene, please refer to the Abbreviations and P4P Phrases Section.
Note that word Khrap (near silent R) is used often. It is a polite way for a man to finish a sentence addressing a second party. When a female is talking in the same manner she will use the word Kha (long A) instead.
Hopefully you will learn even more when visiting Thailand or searching the Internet, but be very careful in using swearwords or offensive phrases as that surely could spell trouble.

This page is separate from the page that covers: Abbreviations, Acronyms and P4P Phrases 
 

Thai Words or Phrase

 

English translation and additional comments

Sawatdee Khrap

=

Greeting, Hello.  May also be used for Goodbye

La Korn

=

Goodbye

Sabai Dee Mai

=

How are you? (Formal: Khun Sabai Dee Mai)

Sabai Dee Khrap

=

I am fine

Karuna

=

Please

Khor Toat

=

Sorry

Khap Khun Khrap

=

Thank you

Mai ben Rai (Lai)

=

You are welcome (replying a thank you) also means never mind

Mai Ow khrap

=

Don't want or No thank you

Mai khauw Djai

=

Don’t understand

Bai nai khrap

=

Where are you going?

Arai na

=

I beg your pardon?

     

Chai / Mai Chai

=

Yes/No

Mak

=

Very. Mak Mak = very much or too much

Djeb

=

Feel pain

Leeb

=

Hurry (busy)

Leo

=

Hurry (hurry up)

Roh

=

Wait

Cha cha

=

Slow, slow down

     

Gee Baht

=

How Much

Lot Noi Dai Mai

=

Can you make it cheaper?

     

Aroy (Aloy)

=

Delicious (Aroy Aroy = very delicious, same as Aroy Mak)

Mai Aroy

=

Not delicious (taste bad)

Khor Eak Dai Mai

=

Can I have more?

Ped

=

Spicy.

 

Mai Ped = Not Spicy

Ped Nid Noi = Little bit spicy

Ped ha sip ha sip = Medium Spicy

Ped or Ped Dee = Typical Spicy for Thais

Ped Mak = very spicy

Ped Mak Mak= Extremely spicy

Em

=

Full (eating).

 

Em Sabai or Em Po Dee = comfortably full

Em Mak = very full

Geb Tung Khrap

=

Bill/Check please

     

Hong Naam

=

Toilet

Hong Norn

=

Bed Room

     

Teerak (Teelak)

=

Darling or My Love

Som Nam Naa

=

Equivalent of saying 'serves you right' or 'what comes around goes around'

Sanuk

=

'To have fun', generally use in the sense of fun together

     
 

0 =

Soon

   

 

   

 

   

 

1 =

Nueng

 

11 =

Sib et

       

100 =

Nueng Roi

2 =

Song

 

12 =

Sib Song

 

20 =

Yee Sib

   

 

3 =

Saam

 

13 =

Sib Saam

 

30 =

Saam Sib

 

1,000 =

Nueng Pan

4 =

See

 

14 =

Sib See

 

40 =

See Sib

   

 

5 =

Ha

 

15 =

Sib Ha

 

50 =

Ha Sib

 

10,000 =

Nueng Muen

6 =

Hok

 

16 =

Sib Hok

 

60 =

Hok Sib

   

 

7 =

Jed

 

17 =

Sib Jed

 

70 =

Jed Sib

 

100,000 =

Nueng Saen

8 =

Paed

 

18 =

Sib Paed

 

80 =

Paed Sib

   

 

9 =

Gao

 

19 =

Sib Gao

 

90 =

Gao Sib

 

1,000,000 =

Nueng Laan

10 =

Sib

   

 

   

 

     
 

     

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