What is the Thai Language
Thai, or more precisely Siamese or Central Thai, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people and Thai Chinese. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Over half of the words in Thai are borrowed from Pali, Sanskrit and Old Khmer. It is a tonal and analytic language. Thai also has a complex orthography and relational markers.Thai is mutually intelligible with Lao.
Dialects and related languages
Thai is the official language of Thailand, spoken by over 20 million people (2000), Standard Thai is based on the register of the educated classes of Bangkok In addition to Central Thai, Thailand is home to other related Tai languages. Although linguists usually classify these idioms as related, but distinct languages, native speakers often identify them as regional variants of the “same” Thai language, or as “different kinds of Thai”
Isan (Northeastern Thai), the language of the Isan region of Thailand, a collective term for the various Lao dialects spoken in Thailand that show some Siamese Thai influences, which is written with the Thai script. It is spoken by about over 20 million people. Thais from both inside and outside the Isan region often simply call this variant “Lao” when speaking informally.
Northern Thai (Phasa Nuea, Lanna, Kam Mueang, or Thai Yuan), spoken by about 6 million (1983) in the formerly independent kingdom of Lanna (Chiang Mai). Shares strong similarities with Lao to the point that in the past the Siamese Thais referred to it as Lao.
Southern Thai (Thai Tai, Pak Tai, or Dambro), spoken by about 4.5 million (2006)
Phu Thai, spoken by about half a million around Nakhon Phanom Province, and 300,000 more in Laos and Vietnam (2006).
Phuan, spoken by 200,000 in central Thailand and Isan, and 100,000 more in northern Laos (2006).
Shan (Thai Luang, Tai Long, Thai Yai), spoken by about 100,000 in north-west Thailand along the border with the Shan States of Burma, and by 3.2 million in Burma (2006).
Lü (Tai Lue, Dai), spoken by about 80,000 (2001) in northern Thailand, and 600,000 more in China, Burma, and Laos (1981–2000).
Nyaw language, spoken by 50,000 in Nakhon Phanom Province, Sakhon Nakhon Province, Udon Thani Province of Northeast Thailand (1990).
Song, spoken by about 30,000 in central and northern Thailand (2000).
Siamese Thai is composed of several distinct registers, forms for different social contexts:
Street or common Thai (ภาษาพูด, spoken Thai): informal, without polite terms of address, as used between close relatives and friends.
Elegant or formal Thai (ภาษาเขียน, written Thai): official and written version, includes respectful terms of address; used in simplified form in newspapers.
Rhetorical Thai: used for public speaking.
Religious Thai: (heavily influenced by Sanskrit and Pāli) used when discussing Buddhism or addressing monks.
Royal Thai (ราชาศัพท์): (influenced by Khmer) used when addressing members of the royal family or describing their activities.
Most Thais can speak and understand all of these contexts. Street and elegant Thai are the basis of all conversations; rhetorical, religious and royal Thai are taught in schools as the national curriculum.
Main articles: Thai alphabet and Thai braille
Many scholars believe that the Thai script is derived from the Khmer script, which is modeled after the Brahmic script from theIndic family. However, in appearance, Thai is closer to Thai Dam script, which may have the same Indian origins as the Khmer script. The language and its script. are closely related to the Lao language and script. Most literate Lao are able to read and understand Thai, as more than half of the Thai vocabulary, grammar, intonation, vowels and so forth are common with the Lao language. Much like the Burmese adopted the Mon script (which also has Indic origins), the Thais adopted and modified the Khmer script to create their own writing system. While in Thai the pronunciation can largely be inferred from the script, the orthography is complex, with silent letters to preserve original spellings and many letters representing the same sound. While the oldest known inscription in the Khmer language dates from 611 CE, inscriptions in Thai writing began to appear around 1292 CE. Notable features include:
It is an abugida script, in which the implicit vowel is a short /a/ in a syllable without final consonant and a short /o/ in a syllable with final consonant.
Tone markers are placed above the final onset consonant of the syllable.
Vowels sounding after a consonant are nonsequential: they can be located before, after, above or below the consonant, or in a combination of these positions.
Pali (also Pāḷi) is a Middle Indo-Aryan language that is in the Prakrit language group and was indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. It is a dead language that is widely studied because it is the language of many of the earliest extant Buddhist scriptures as collected in the Pāḷi Canon, or Tipitaka, and it is theliturgical language of Theravada Buddhism. Modern Sinhala is considered to be the direct descendant of this language through centuries of cultural evolution.
“refined speech”) is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, a philosophical language in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, and a literary language that was in use as a lingua franca in the Indian cultural zone. It is a standardised dialect of Old Indo-Aryan language, originating as Vedic Sanskrit and tracing its linguistic ancestry back to Proto-Indo-Iranian and Proto-Indo-European. Today it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand. Sanskrit holds a prominent position in Indo-European studies.
The corpus of Sanskrit literature encompasses a rich tradition of poetry anddrama as well as scientific, technical, philosophical and dharma texts. Sanskrit continues to be widely used as a ceremonial language in Hindu religious rituals and Buddhist practice in the forms of hymns and mantras. Spoken Sanskrit has been revived in some villages with traditional institutions, and there are attempts at further popularisation.
Khmer or Cambodian
It is the language of the Khmer people and the official language of Cambodia. With approximately 16 million speakers, it is the second most widely spoken Austroasiatic language (after Vietnamese). Khmer has been considerably influenced by Sanskrit and Pali, especially in the royal and religious registers, through the vehicles of Hinduism and Buddhism. It is also the earliest recorded and earliest written language of the Mon–Khmer family, predating Mon and by a significant margin Vietnamese.The Khmer language has influenced, and has been influenced by, Thai, Lao, Vietnamese, Chinese and Cham, all of which, due to geographical proximity and long-term cultural contact, form a sprachbund in peninsular Southeast Asia.
Khmer is primarily an analytic, isolating language. There are no inflections,conjugations or case endings. Instead, particles and auxiliary words are used to indicate grammatical relationships. General word order is subject–verb–object, and modifiers follow the word they modify. Classifiers appear after numbers when used to count nouns, though not always so consistently as in languages like Chinese.
Khmer differs from neighboring languages such as Thai, Burmese, Lao and Vietnamese in that it is not a tonal language. Words are stressed on the final syllable, hence many words conform to the typical Mon–Khmer pattern of a stressed syllable preceded by a minor syllable. The Khmer script is an abugidadescended from the Brahmi script via the southern Indian Pallava script; its features include subscripted versions of consonants used to write clusters, and a division of consonants into two series with different inherent vowels.