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Useful Words in Thai

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Thai is an incredibly difficult language to learn, and the only way to progress beyond the ‘baby steps’ is to listen carefully and mimic, like parrots. Trying to learn it from written English (often called ‘Thinglish’) will cause difficulty, because the various transliterations cannot communicate the correct tones. Without knowing the tones or inflections, almost anything you try to say beyond the most basic will most likely make no sense to the Thai ear. Words like “soi” (lane/small street), “BTS” (Bangkok Mass Transit System), “Sukhumvit” (the name of Bangkok’s main road) and “Su-wan-napoom” (Suvarnabhumi -  Bangkok International Airport) are straightforward, but that’s not usually the case. Here are a few keys words and popular conversational phrases, but if you plan on being there a while, try listening to few tapes and doing your research…you never know what you’re going to need to ask for in Thai!

 

Sawatdee (krub/kah) Hello
Sabai dee ru (krub/kah) How are you?
Sabai dee (krub/kah) Fine
Khob Khun (kup/kaa) Thank you
Chai Yes
Mai chai
No
Dai (You/ I) can
Mai dai Can not
Mai pen rai 
Never mind (handy all purpose phrase to express the Thai go-with-the-flow attitude)
Pood Thai mai dai I cannot speak Thai.
Kow jai mai Do you understand?
Mai kow jai I do not understand
Nee Tao Rai? How much?
Pang Expensive
Pang mak Very expensive
Lot noi dai mai Can you give a little discount?
Took Cheap
Naam Water
Chok dee Good luck
Sanaam bin Airport
Ron Hot
Nao Cold
Hong naam Toilet
Naam keng Ice
Nit noi Small – not much – a little bit
Yai Large
Bia Beer
Soopburi Smoke (inhale cigarette smoke)
Neung 1
Song
2
Sam
3
See
4
Haa 5
Hok 6
Jet
7
Paed
8
Gow
9
Sip
10
Sip-et
11
Sip-song
12
Yee sip
20
Saam sip
30
Roi/loi
100

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