Belonging to the proto-Tai family, Thai is believed to have emerged somewhere between the border of Vietnam and China in the 8th century AD. Also known as Siamese, Thai has three major branches including Northern Tai, Central Tai, and Southwestern Tai.
In 1283, the Sukhothai period king, Ramkhamhaeng, initiated written Thai. Based on Pali, Sanskrit, and Indian, and incorporating words from Mon and Khmer, the written language is not so different from its current one, which means it can be read by Thai scholars of today. The Asian language is said to be connected to languages spoken in eastern Burma (Myanmar), northern Vietnam, Yunnan, and Laos.
There are around 50 million Thai speakers around the world. 20 million of these are native speakers (according to records from 2000 and 2001, respectively).
Where is Thai Spoken?
Did you Know?
There are variations of Thai dialects – regional dialects and social dialects.
• The “khammuang” or Northern dialect
• The “lao” or Northeastern dialect
• The “tai” or Southern dialect
• The “klang” or Central dialect
• High form – “used when talking about members of the royal family, high ranking Buddhist clergy, and persons of high social status”.
• Low form – “used in everyday situations and when talking about persons other than those listed above under high form”.
“Once you’re able to speak Thai, you can easily comprehend Lao, Khmer and other Tai-Kadai languages, too.”
4 Easy Phrases in Thai!
Population vs. Internet Penetration
As of 2020. Source:
Thai Translation Tips
• Thai characters are placed left to right, without spaces, to create syllables, words, and sentences.
• Words do not change or conjugate according to tense, person, possession, gender, number, or subject-verb agreement.
• The words ‘a’, ‘an’, or ‘the’ are not used in the Thai language.
• Like English, sentences are structured by the subject, verb, then the object.
• There are 18 vowels in the Thai language and the vowel length determines word meaning.