It is good to know some useful words when you travel to a new country where English isn’t the first language. Thailand is a country that welcomes a huge number of tourists every year but there are relatively few locals who can communicate in English.
Thai people love foreigners. And they love to speak to them even more. Last year (2013), more than 26 million visitors traveled to our country. But the problem is the Thai school system spends more time teaching English grammar rules than practical usage of English such as speaking, listening and pronunciation skills.
You’ll realize soon after you arrive that few Thais can speak good English. So not only is it useful for you to learn some Thai language but Thai people will be thoroughly impressed if you can speak a little bit of Thai. You might even end up with some discount or a free drink!
So lucky you, here’s a free beginners lesson. Let’s take a look at some useful words and short conversations.
Here’s the basic pronouns:
I = pom (for a man) Chan (for a woman) Y ou = Khun (Both genders ) He= Khao She = Ter
Krub (or krap, depending on how you pronounce your vowel sounds) is (rather ironically) added to the end of a phrase to make it more polite. Ka is the same but for a woman.
Hello = Sa-wa-dee krub ( Man สวัสดีครับ ) , Sa-wa-dee Ka ( woman สวัสดีค่ะ )
How are you? = Khun sa-bai dee mai Krub/Ka( คุณสบายดีไหม )
I’m fine = Pom/Chan sa-bai dee krub/Ka ( สบายดี )
Thank you. = Kop khun krub/ka ( ขอบคุณ ) thank you very much = Kop khun mak ka/krub ( มาก )
You’re welcome or It’s my pleasure = Yin dee krub/ka ( ยินดี )
Sorry or Excuse me = Kor toht krub/ka ( ขอโทษ )
It’s OK, never mind or no worries! = Mai pen rai krub/ka ( ไม่เป็นไร )
How much? = Tao rai krub/ka ( ราคาเท่าไร )
It is a bit expensive = Pairng bai na ( แพงไปนะ )
Can you give a discount? = Chooay lot dai mai (ช่วยลดได้ไหม ) ( Bartering is normal in Thai culture , and remember in touristy areas prices will be extra high! )
I like ….. (a lot) = Pom/Chan chorp ….. (mak) krub/ka ( ชอบ…มากๆ )
No = Mai ( ไม่ ) to be placed before the verb e.g.
I don’t like … = Pom/Chan mai chorp… ( ไม่ชอบ… )
I want to go to… = Pom/Chan ja bai tee… (say place or point to the location in map!) ( จะไปที่ )
Can you help me? = Chuay noi dai mai (ช่วยหน่อยได้ไหม )