Are you looking to dive deep into a new language and also want to explore some fascinating cultures? Can you do both? Yes, that’s the Thai language.
Thailand is home to elephants, temples, and cities like Bangkok, Pattaya, and many more popular places — a proper mixture of modernized and cultural spaces with substantial job opportunities.
If incredible Thailand isn’t enough to push you over the edge, I’ve got other positive reasons you should learn Thai today.
But are all those reasons enough for you to know you want to learn the language? Let’s discover ten reasons to learn Thai!
First, let’s find out more about the languages of Thailand and an overview of Thai.
Table of Contents
- Language of Thailand
- About the Thai language
- 10 Outstanding Reasons to Learn Thai
- 1. Connect over 60 million speakers
- 2. A less-taught language can make you unique
- 3. Make your traveling more enjoyable
- 4. Understand Thai people & the culture
- 5. Find a job in Thailand
- 6. Improve career options
- 7. Good for the brain
- 8. Thai language is beautiful and expressive
- 9. It’s not as difficult as you think
- 10. Bargain like the locals and save money
- Conclusion — Should You Learn Thai?
Language of Thailand
As per the research by Ethnologue, Thailand is home to 71 languages, including 62 officially recognized domestic languages.
All these belong to the language families of Austronesian, Hmong-Mien, Mon-Khmer, Thai, and Sino-Tibetan.
In short, Thailand has dozens of languages from different groups.
However, most are not entirely separate languages but regional dialects and creoles.
Many are mutually intelligible to a large extent, especially those who belong to the same language family.
This means speakers of different dialects can easily communicate with each other with little to no difficulty.
Most Thais are bilingual, and many are skilled at varying levels in three or four languages, mainly local ones.
About the Thai language
Thai, also called Central Thai or Siamese, is the standard language of Thailand.
It belongs to the Tai subgroup of the Kra–Dai language family. It is similar to Lao, the primary language of Laos and Isan (Northeastern Thai).
The first written evidence of the Thai language dates back to 1283. Its official language is very similar to its original form. Many Thai words derive from Sanskrit, Pali, and Old Khmer.
Standard Thai comes from the variant of the Bangkok metropolitan region and central Thailand.
Thai has four broad regional dialects, including several subdialects of its own. The most common groups are north, south, northeast, and central dialects.
Central or Bangkok Thai is the most widespread, taught in most schools, and used for most television broadcasts and newspapers.
These local varieties differ in tone and how one speaks. And that’s why some learners find it a tricky language.
The difference in the written is not significant. There are, of course, some words spoken in a particular geographical area based on familiarity and social context.
10 Outstanding Reasons to Learn Thai
Some reasons mentioned below apply to any foreign language (like career opportunities involving languages and personal growth).
In contrast, others are unique to Thai. For example, awareness of the culture and better access to the country.
Here are the top 10 reasons to learn Thai.
1. Connect over 60 million speakers
Nearly 70 million people speak Thai as a native or second language, Thailand’s only official language. The majority population, roughly 88% of the country, speaks this language.
There are global Thai communities. For example, you can find a sizeable number of Thai speakers in Laos, the USA, South Korea, China, Myanmar, etc. This is yet an excellent reason to learn Thai.
Most Thai people don’t speak English or other foreign languages, particularly outside the big cities. So you will have limited people to talk to and understand different aspects of the country without the Thai language.
If you learn Thai, it can open Thailand up to you in new ways. You can increase your circle of friends and participate in more genuine interactions. Plus, you will improve your knowledge of the country, culture, and people.
2. A less-taught language can make you unique
Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and Japanese are some of the world’s most widely studied second languages.
As a result, most educational institutions teach these languages, so you are more likely to run into learners knowing these languages.
On the other hand, Thai is something special that is not widespread, with very few people studying it. So you will speak a language that makes you stand out in the crowd!
From traveling and watching movies to cultural aspects and new job openings, less popular tongues can provide access to a new world.
You may not need it now, but the future is always uncertain, with endless possibilities.
The Thai language is not widely studied. And with a less spoken lingo like Thai up your sleeves, you will be ready when the opportunity comes your way—and indeed, it will. It’s only a matter of time.
3. Make your traveling more enjoyable
Thailand’s geographical location is undoubtedly impressive, with every part of the country offering a unique feature worth visiting.
Enchanting landscapes, fascinating culture, magnificent beaches, and incredible food—it’s no wonder thousands of visitors flock to Thailand every year to explore.
Also, a trip to Thailand is inexpensive. So you can visit beautiful places on a pocket-friendly budget.
You surely don’t need to be fluent in Thai, and you can survive here without knowing Thai if you live in major cities and tourist spots.
But what if you’re an adventurous traveler who wishes to experience the rural and less touristy places of Thailand? Perhaps you are going to be there longer than a vacation?
In that case, you’ll find that learning a little of the language will benefit you in every aspect of your everyday life. Even a little Thai can make your stay more comfortable, engaging, and delightful.
You will not get lost while roaming around various places.
Since it is not an English-speaking country, all the signboards, instructions on the bus, public transport, menu cards, and many more are available in Thai.
This has become difficult for foreigners.
Imagine getting lost while exploring a new place you noted down before landing in the country, and now that you are there, you can’t find it.
All of this was possible because you could speak Thai and eventually read, and so could the signboards.
4. Understand Thai people & the culture
Languages and cultures are usually closely connected.
It implies that the better you understand the Thai language, its nuances, expressions, idioms, or vocabulary, the better you will know its culture.
Learning Thai is a gateway to better understanding the people of Thailand and essential aspects of their culture, customs, and traditions.
And honestly, people love it when somebody attempts to learn their language. They are always supportive. It also gives you an easy card to make friends. Not only that, but it will earn you a lot of respect.
Imagine learning their mother tongue and understanding their culture better – all the perks together.
Getting acquainted with this tongue will get you accustomed to the colloquialism. For example, how to say “Hello,” “Brother,” and “Sister” naturally.
Books often teach you some words that are not really used in everyday life, so natives are the best way to learn those. It’s always better to spend time with people to know the culture & the language better.
But before heading to the country, learn something. First, study basic phrases and day-to-day vocabulary.
Start with what motivates you, travel, connect with people, and learn about their culture.
Thai people will unquestionably appreciate and acknowledge your passion and effort when talking in Thai, even if they speak English.
5. Find a job in Thailand
Thailand is growing in the technical field. Thus, IT & even English teaching jobs are available in the country.
For such jobs, as Thailand is one of the fantastic places to live in Asia, language is essential if you plan to stay there for a long time. It is also an incredible place to retire if you know Thai.
Many people come to Thailand to find work. But, getting employment here is challenging if you don’t know the local language unless you teach English.
But if you want to find other jobs, learn Thai, at least a little. Also, it will go down well with prospective companies. Then, your chances could be greater of getting hired by other competitors of yours.
6. Improve career options
Language speakers, especially high-demanded language speakers, are always in need. These professions and professionals never sit idle.
Industries like the travel and tourism sector, teaching, the content-creating field, marketing, customer service representatives, the IT sector, and many more always have vacancies for professions like these.
If we were to talk about only India, the country alone has over 100,000 language experts, including Thai, required in different fields.
You can work in BPOs, MNCs, export houses, travel companies, digital marketing agencies, and educational institutions.
From a translator, interpreter, and tour guide assisting Thai travelers to a content writer, international sales marketing, and teacher, the list is infinite!
7. Good for the brain
Be it any language, whether famous or less widespread, learning a new tongue is always a joy for your brain—an exercise, to be exact. Studying them plays with your brain—well, positively.
Several pieces of research have revealed that bilinguals are more productive, great at multitasking, have better memories, and are good at solving problems.
It enlightens your brain to learn faster, think efficiently, and be decisive.
Not only that, but it also develops you to let your guard down for some time, especially when you speak with a foreigner in their language.
The Thai language also enhances your cognitive skills and makes your brain flexible. It also works towards empowering your brain’s natural strength to focus.
These are just some advantages for you to learning Thai.
8. Thai language is beautiful and expressive
Thai is one of the world’s most beautiful languages. The phrases and sounds are so melodic you’ll love to practice.
Thai letters look mysterious yet smooth and aesthetically pretty.
It is a tonal language, meaning your tone can change the word’s meaning and the vowels and consonants. So you must study how to pronounce the words and learn their proper tone, too; otherwise, locals won’t get it.
While this makes this language difficult, tonality also presents itself as a magnificent sound. It is music to the ear and soul.
Take a glimpse at ชชมพู – Chom-poo (Pink), ใจ – Jai (when we talk about mind or heart), สบายๆ – S̄bāy s̄bāy (I’m feeling good), คิดถึง – Khit Thueng Khun (I miss you), and สวย – Suay (beautiful).t
And the list of beautiful words and phrases is unlimited! What’s not to like?
9. It’s not as difficult as you think
Thai isn’t an easy language. It might take some time to study, but it’s not the most complex language in the world.
As per FSI’s studies, Thai is in category III of language difficulty. So, it is challenging but not as complicated as East Asia languages. It takes about 2200 hours (1:1 for class hours and self-study) to achieve an advanced level.
Learning Thai might be very hard at first. First, study a new script. Second, learn unfamiliar sounds and learn about tones.
Thai is a tonal and analytical language like Chinese and Vietnamese, where word meaning changes as per tone.
Then there are various dialects throughout the nation with lots variety that speakers of one area might have difficulty understanding other regions.
Once you understand the script and the sounds the characters make, reading Thai is pretty straightforward.
Like other languages, Thai does not have many exceptions where the same letter might make many distinct sounds. So it would help if you took the time to memorize the rules.
Once you get over the initial hurdle, you will find it not that hard.
It uses the same word order S-V-O (subject-verb-object) format as English. For example, in English, you say, “I eat food.” Well, in Thai, also the same order ผมกินอาหาร (“pom (I) gin (eat) ahan (food)”).
There are no tenses or conjugations. So you always say กิน gin (to eat). However, in English, “eat” changes to “ate” (I ate food). So it changes to “eats” (like he eats food), but in Thai, it is always gin.
10. Bargain like the locals and save money
Now, traveling looks fascinating, but it comes with some responsibilities. Like managing money, handling priced possessions of yours, bags, and the list goes on.
Many shops for clothes and souvenirs from those places are outstanding at mostly cheap and affordable rates. So if you learn Thai, it will make you a pro bargainer.
As a newbie in the country, you cannot be aware of the actual prices and buy anything for heavy pocket bucks.
Relax; a lot of foreigners travel — especially in Asia.
These scammers, as we call them, are shopkeepers. Despite that, some of them scam foreigners.
They offer to sell things at high prices, assuming you don’t know the actual (fair) prices. They will think of you as a foreigner living in the country.
Speaking in their language, making them feel you are a pro-bargainer, will certainly prevent this problem. So you can save yourself from these scammers through language as well.
Speaking in Thai with them will save you some money.
Conclusion — Should You Learn Thai?
If you wish to live in Thailand or fancy taking vacations in Thailand, it is beneficial to learn Thai. The benefits far surpass the drawbacks you may come across.
If you’ve decided to study Thai, start with introductory things like the alphabet and greetings. Then you can move ahead to speech, grammar, and different aspects of the language.
Maybe enroll in a Thai class, or you can even begin with all the resources available online.
Nowadays, many websites, top-rated language apps, online teachers, YouTube channels, and Podcasts are there for you to study. So pick the one that suits you best!
You can also get the hang of watching a few dramas and movies. You will eventually learn the basic words which will help you while studying.
And your journey to Thailand will be smooth and enhance your personal and professional life.
Do you plan to learn Thai?
I’d love to know your purposes. Share your views in the comments below.