Known as the "Land of Smiles", the language of the warm locals of Thailand has a major contribution to this uniqueness and the country Thailand does not disappoint the world - whether it is the travel experience or the uniqueness they can represent.
There are almost 73 living languages in Thailand!
However, do you know what the most spoken Thailand language is?
If you answered Thai, you are in the right direction. Thailand's national language is spoken by approximately 88 per cent of the country’s population of around 69 million people.
The Thai language, historically known as Siamese, has a complex yet dynamic blend of historical background. It is part of the larger Tai language family that emerged from the Proto-Tai. Their speakers migrated to South East Asia over 2,000 years ago, and it was first written in 1283.
The interesting fact about the Thai language resembles the original and today’s form of it.
As the official language and the most common one, the Thai language was translated into the Roman alphabet, although it has its own language. This is done to ease the communication of those who speak Western languages.
Nevertheless, Thai is not a monolith as there are different dialects of the Thai language spoken throughout the country. As Thai is a tonal language where the meaning changes depending on one’s tone, the tone and consonants' fine differences make it incomprehensible for different dialect users.
Phu Thai, Shan, Southern Thai, Nyaw, Northern Thai, Song, Isan, Phuan, and Lu are included in regional Thai dialects.
Other foreign loanwords are also included in Thai, for instance – Chinese, Sanskrit, Khmer, Pāli, Portuguese, and more.
The other languages of Thailand
Among the 73 recognized languages, 51 are indigenous, and many are regional dialects in Thailand. Thai communities of different dialects can understand and communicate with each other in some mutual dialects. The 51 distinct indigenous languages can be divided into 5 language families – Austronesian, Hmong-Mien, Thai, Mon-Khmer, and Sino-Tibetan. These indigenous groups are spread throughout the country, and they are referred to as hill people, mountain people, highlanders, or hill tribes.
Talking about the language, in different borders of the country, people’s languages are different. Karen languages are spoken along the border with Myanmar. The Khmer language is spoken near Cambodia, Lao is spoken along the borders with the Laos PDR, and Malay is the spoken language in the south near Malaysia.
Apart from the domestic languages, international languages are also spoken in Thailand - mainly spoken by international workers, expats, and business people, including English, Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, Karen, Vietnamese, and more.
Each language carries different indigenous cultures since people have arrived from other countries to Thailand due to colonization, decolonization, and internal political instability.
When all is said and done, it can be said that separation, both geographically and politically, is one of the main reasons for the diversity in languages in Thailand. Except for all the variations, standard Thai, spoken in the Bangkok metropolitan region, is the most common language in Thailand amid various verbal expressions.
Thailand is a melting pot of languages and culture, but don't let that stop you from exploring the opportunity to discover how you can start a new beginning in Thailand.
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