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Thailand - Thai Culture - Language and Linguistics

Linguistic Culture: The Thai language of today - Phasa Thai - was created over 700 years ago by King Ramkhamhaeng the Great in an effort to unite the Siamese people with a single language. Today the common language have evolved with local dialects. The Thai's in the north of the country speak Thai a lot faster than the southerners.

Basically the Thai language is made up of monosyllabic words. Each of the words is complete in itself. The complication for westerners new to the language is that so many words sound the same! The root of this assumption is that words generally do have a number of meanings depending on the five different tonal inflections in the voice.

There are the neutral, high, low, rising and falling tones which give the words their meanings - the wrong tone makes it the wrong (different) word!

For the technical amongst you: The Thai alphabet consists of 44 letters that include 2 obsolete ones. 20 consonant phonemes and 22 vowels.

Many Thai words have their roots in other languages, English, Chinese, Khmer, Malay, Pali and Sanskrit being the most common roots of this type of word.


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