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News Forum - Useful Thai phrases every visitors in Thailand should know


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Whether you’re visiting Thailand for business or for pleasure, it’s always beneficial to have a basic understanding of the local language. Learning useful Thai phrases means showing effort and respect to the local culture. It will help ease interactions between you and the locals, making your trip a lot easier and enjoyable. Since Thai is a tonal language, it can be challenging to learn. You’re likely going to make mistakes at first, but don’t let that discourage you. Even if you pronounce something wrong, most locals will still appreciate your effort and may even help you pronounce it the right […]

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1 hour ago, Thaiger said:

Even if you pronounce something wrong, most locals will still appreciate your effort and may even help you pronounce it the right

That’s not my experience of learning Thai. I just get a blank stare, followed by a nervous giggle followed by an exact repeat of the word I said. I know it’s a tonal issue, but Thais seem unable to take your mispronounced word and put it in to the contact of the environment you are in. What else in a coffee shop could you possibly be asking for when you ask for a Latte Yen? You receive the blank stare and the long pause, followed by Oh, latte Yen mai. 

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10 minutes ago, Soidog said:

I just get a blank stare, followed by a nervous giggle followed by an exact repeat of the word I said.

I get that a lot more from kids and teenagers. Adults more often than not seem to at least get what I'm saying even though it might take one or two tries. They'll often teach me a word or tone I should have used or not used, also.

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I understand and can hear the tone in most Thai words. Thais tell me tone is all important and without it the meaning of the word is totally different. I get all of that. What I don’t get, is how they hear the tone when shouting to be heard across a busy nightclub or while talking on a phone while standing next to a road full of busy traffic. That I do not get. 

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44 minutes ago, Soidog said:

That’s not my experience of learning Thai. I just get a blank stare, followed by a nervous giggle followed by an exact repeat of the word I said. I know it’s a tonal issue, but Thais seem unable to take your mispronounced word and put it in to the contact of the environment you are in. What else in a coffee shop could you possibly be asking for when you ask for a Latte Yen? You receive the blank stare and the long pause, followed by Oh, latte Yen mai. 

Get the blank stare from the wife occassionaly also after she makes a statement about something and I answer on that subject, frustrating sometimes.

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26 minutes ago, Soidog said:

I understand and can hear the tone in most Thai words. Thais tell me tone is all important and without it the meaning of the word is totally different. I get all of that. What I don’t get, is how they hear the tone when shouting to be heard across a busy nightclub or while talking on a phone while standing next to a road full of busy traffic. That I do not get. 

One of the great mysteries of the Thai spoken language.

Do believe that because you are a foreigner they pause, think what did he say?, (blank stare) then nerve response kicks in with giggles, by which time you have to repeat your question because they have lost the thread of the conversation completely.

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Just now, palooka said:

One of the great mysteries of the Thai spoken language.

Do believe that because you are a foreigner they pause, think what did he say?, (blank stare) then nerve response kicks in with giggles, by which time you have to repeat your question because they have lost the thread of the conversation completely.

Yes I think that’s right also. Most the time when you drop in to 7/11 the staff are almost in a state of panic as they are expecting you to speak English (I’m white and foreign so I must speak English, right!). Then, when you come out with some poorly toned Thai, it’s the last thing they are expecting 😂😂

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Due to my limited Thai, I'll often get the wife to ask.
''Do you have ---------'', to which I expect a simple ''Yes'' or ''No'' answer, but what follows is a ten-minute conversation to eventually tell me ''She doesn't know'' 🤪

Or the classic I love is when I get the wife to ask a question and the answer is completely unrelated to the question. The wife tells me it's common even for Thais to misunderstand the context of a single word that can mean something else. The problem being they don't like to ask a second time, as it makes one of them look stupid and a loss of face.

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1 hour ago, Soidog said:

I understand and can hear the tone in most Thai words. Thais tell me tone is all important and without it the meaning of the word is totally different.

Try Coca Cola - blank stares.
You mean Coca colaaaaaaa.
Next time, Coca colaaaaaaa - blank stares.  🤔

Now I just ask for a Pepsi.

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1 hour ago, Faz said:

Try Coca Cola - blank stares.
You mean Coca colaaaaaaa.
Next time, Coca colaaaaaaa - blank stares.  🤔

Now I just ask for a Pepsi.

Yes, I no longer order a soda with my Jack Daniel’s. I order So-daaaaa

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