Modern Standard Thai Lessons
Thai, also known as Siamese, is the National Language of Thailand and is spoken by 50 million Thai people worldwide. The language originates from the Tai-Kadai language family and has etymological roots in Sanskrit. Thai has a complicated orthography as it borders Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, producing many dialects across the North, South and centre of the country.
Among these dialects are Standard Thai which is widely taught in schools and namely spoken in Phitsanulok, Ayutthaya, Bangkok and Thonburi. The more central dialects comprise the Suphanburi, Prachuap, Ratchaburi and Khorat dialects. There are numerous Southern dialects, while Northern dialects include Lao, Isan and Thai Yuan. As a whole, Thai language is tonal, meaning it is comprised of five tones: low, middle, high, falling and rising, each with their own marker.
The Thai script originates from the Khmer script, which itself is a predecessor of the Brahmic script from the Indic/Indian/Hindi alphabet family. The Thai alphabet consists of 44 consonants and 28 vowel-sounds. These give rise to vocalisations that conform to initial and final phonetic arrangements and devoiced syllables, known as mātrā or มาตรา. Consonants are also grouped into low, middle, and high classes, which inform the correct tonal pronunciations.
When undertaking Thai language lessons, learning vocabulary about food is a useful topic to start with, as it is a fundamental part of Thai culture. Often, Thai people will greet one another by asking ‘Have you eaten yet?’ So, understanding how to order food in restaurants and markets and distinguish between the nation’s abundant dishes and ingredients will take you far. It is also beneficial to be informed about Thailand’s national Buddhist holidays, such as Songkran (Thai New Year) and Loy Krathong.
Following vocabulary, the next logical step in a Thai course is to practice listening, then speaking, reading, and finally writing, which is the most challenging part of learning Thai. This is because many Thai spellings have silent consonants and vowels that can surround the consonants on every side.
Currently, Cambridge provides an IGCSE in Thai that is tailored to native speakers. Thailand’s leading Chulalongkorn University offers a comprehensive standardised Thai proficiency test that covers reading, speaking, listening and writing. The results of this test can be used for professional qualifications or personal development. The levels of the test are:
- Novice (ฝึกพูด)
- Intermediate (กลาง)
- Advanced (ดี)
- Superior (ดีมาก)
- Distinguished (ดีเด่ม)
Once these core concepts are grasped with a Thai tutor, studying Thai is an effective means of picking up the Indic family cluster of languages. As Thailand is part of the political and economic union of ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations), learning about the country and its language is worthwhile for anyone who is interested in the wider region of Southeast Asia.
Thai Tutors & Courses in London
Mayfair Consultants offers fully-qualified Thai tutors for private tuition across London. Our tutors are either native or fluent Thai speakers who use interactive and immersive approaches, focussing on extending clients’ vocabularies while perfecting their pronunciation and writing. We also focus on Thai culture and business etiquette. Many of our tutors use literary materials, as well as online, journalistic and other non-fiction sources, as part of their instruction tools. We work with learners of all ages and abilities, including those preparing for Thai GCSE, A-Level and IB exams, and those acquiring the language for research, travel or business purposes.
If you would like to arrange Thai lessons or have any questions about our courses or tuition services, please call us on Tel: +44 (0) 207 665 6606 or you can send us an email via our contact form.
Thai Language Resources
https://www.tpa.or.th/slc/eng/course.php?lang=tt TPA Thai Language Proficiency Test
https://www.langcen.cam.ac.uk/resources/langt/thai.html Cambridge University Thai Language Resources
http://www.hawaii.edu/thai/tech.htm Thai University Resources
http://thaiarc.tu.ac.th/ Thai Language Audio Resource Centre
https://www.soas.ac.uk/library/subjects/sea/country/thailand/ SOAS Thai Language Centre
https://www.soas.ac.uk/languagecentre/languages/thai/ Thai Language Resources
https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/east-asian-studies/doc/thai University Thai Language Courses
http://www.anglothaisociety.org/ Anglo Thai Society
https://www.thaipod101.com/thai-resources/ Thai Language Resources
https://www.expatden.com/thai/resources/learning-thai/ Expat Thai Language Resources
https://www.sti.chula.ac.th/ Thai test for Non Natives
https://www.commisceo-global.com/resources/country-guides/thailand-guide Thai Culture Guide
https://www.thailandnow.in.th Thailand Now
https://thailandconnect-english.mfa.go.th Thailand Connect
https://www.tourismthailand.org/home Tourism Authority Thailand
https://london.thaiembassy.org/en/index Thai Embassy London Cultural Information & News