‘Sawatdee Kha’ or Hi! Free tips how you can teach yourself Thai fast and easy so you will be able to read and speak Thai at your next visit to Thailand using common Thai phrases.
Learn to speak Thai
The first thing to do when learning the Thai language is listening how Thai people speak English. You will notice a distinct Thai accent and “oddities” that you will need to incorporate when speaking Thai:
- Thai don’t pronounce the letter at the end of the words:
- “six” will sound like “sic“
- “important” will sound like “importan”
That’s why when men greet you with “sawatdee khrab”, you will hardly hear the end “b”
- Thai people break up words:
- “smile” becomes “sa-mile“
- “sport” becomes “sa-port” and Thai people will make the last part sound louder.
Common Thai phrases
How to say hello in Thai? You will hear this Thai greeting when entering shops, restaurants… almost anywhere you go in Thailand:
- Men well greet you with sawatdee khrab
- Women will greet you with sawatdee kha
Other common phrases in Thai
- Men will say thank you as: kharb koon
- Women will say thank you as: kha koon
If you hear Thai men talk on the phone only saying “khrab khrab khrab”, they mean “yes, yes, yes”.
If you want to act as an educated foreigner and not a drunk ‘farang‘ (foreigner as they say in Thailand), do pronounce the local Thai beer Singha as “beer sing“. Only farangs that don’t know better will say “singer”.
The popular Koh Samui islands are pronounced like “Goh! Samui“.
Thai language tones
The most challenging part for westerners learning Thai is to get the tones right.
You surely have noticed the “strange singing” when you listen to Thai people talking. That’s because there are 5 tones: low, middle, high, falling and rising. Different tones on the same word will have different meanings:
- ‘Mai mai mai mai‘ pronounced in the right tones means “New wood burns, doesn’t it?”
Apart from tones, making the sounds of a word short or long could also change the meaning. Some western languages do have this oddity as well.
60 minutes to learn the Thai alphabet
It is very difficult to write Thai words using English letters. I did this on this page as a guide. Yet it is much better if you try and learn the Thai alphabet. It is not as difficult as it looks…
This Thai alphabet shape resembles the image of a person Chained to a Tree, at the beach:
- at the start of a syllable, the sound is Ch
- at the end of a syllable, the sound is T.
Teach yourself the Thai alphabet now in less than an hour using these visual memory techniques, so you will impress all Thai ladies and beat your non Thai competitors.