Thai Words and Phrases

thai alphabetLearning commonly used Thai words is a great way to start learning the language, and will prove useful when traveling abroad or wishing to communicate in Thai. If you are traveling in the major tourist areas of Thailand, you will not have trouble meeting locals who speak English. However, knowing a few handy Thai words and phrases can go a long way and garner you a friendly reception when abroad. Locals appreciate when you attempt to learn their language. Also, once you start to learn a language, the easier it is to learn even more of it and become fluent. The more you speak it, the more you learn!

It is essential to learn how to pronounce Thai words correctly if you wish to learn the language, and incorporating language learning and memorization methods can help make the process easier.

Familiarize yourself with the Thai alphabet and it will become easier to learn to decipher how to pronounce Thai words.

Let’s take a look at commonly used Thai words and phrases with the phonetic pronunciations.

Basic Thai Words and Phrases

Thai language uses long and short tones, high tones and low tones in pronunciation to describe a word.  For example, a word such as “kao” has many meanings, depending on the tone with which it is spoken. “Kao” can mean: nine, knee, rice, come in, or news, depending on the tone used when it is spoken.

The words listed below have been written as you would pronounce them in English. Because the Thai alphabet is different than the one we use in English, it requires learning the different letters and how to pronounce them in order to read Thai. Let’s take a look first at common Thai words, but using our Latin alphabet. This way you will gain an understanding of how to pronounce Thai commonly used Thai words and a feel for the sound of the language. Then, we will take a look at Thai words and phrases written in the Thai alphabet.

The best way to learn is to be unafraid of practicing with the locals when you are traveling abroad. Going to markets where you have to communicate with many people is a fun way to learn basic Thai and learn more about the local culture.

English Word/Phrase              Pronunciation of Thai Word

Hello                                           Sawa dee

Thank you                                  Kob Khun Krap (man says)
Thank you                                  Kob Khun Ka (woman says)
How are you?                            Khun sabai di mai?
I am fine thanks                        Pom sabai di krap. (man says)
I am fine thanks                        Chan sabai di ka. (woman says)
Basically, women say “ka” at the end of a sentence in Thai, while men say “krap.”

You’re welcome                        Yin dee krap / ka
Wait                                           Roh sakru
                                                 pom (man)
I                                                   chan (woman)
Come                                          ma
Come from                                ma jak
I come from Australia             Pom ma jak pratet Australia. (man)

Chan ma jak pratet Australia. (woman)

I love Thailand                         Pom/chan rak Meuang Thai.
I love you                                   Pom/chan rak khun.

room                                           hong
water                                           nam
toilet                                            hong nam
Where is the toilet?                  hong nam yu nai?
to enter                                       kao
heart                                        jai
to understand                      kao jai (literally: “to enter the heart”)
don’t understand                mai kao jai

have                                         mi
I have                                      pom/chan mi
I don’t have                           pom/chan mai mi
you have                                khun mi
you don’t have                     khun mai mi
can not hear you                 mai dai yin khun
I can hear you                      pom/chan dai yin khun

Eating and Drinking

Following are commonly used Thai words and phrases pertaining to eating and drinking. They will prove helpful to know and are words and expressions used daily, so try to memorize them before you travel abroad!

English word                                  Thai word pronunciation

eat                                                       gin
drink                                                  deun
food                                                    ahan
candies                                             kanom
Have eaten already?                   gin leu mai krap/ka?
Rice                                                    kao
to eat                                                 kin kao (literally: “eat rice”)
I am hungry                                   Pom/chan heeu kao
Are you hungry?                          Khun heeu kao mai?
tasty                                                 aroy
I have eaten already, thank you.         Pom/chan kin leu krap/ka
I am full, thank you.                                  Pom/chan im leu krap/ka

water                                                   nam
hard                                                     keng
ice                                                        nam keng (literally: “hard water”)
hot water                                          nam ron
cold water                                        nam yen

Speaking of food…while learning another language is a great way to gain insight into the country’s culture, so is learning about additional aspects of the culture, such as local cuisine.

Take a look at option for learning about other areas of Thai culture that may be of interest and try a cooking course. Becoming familiar with multiple aspects of a culture only further enhance and enrich your experience with it and the language. Give it a try!

How to Ask a Question or Make a Negative Phrase

To ask a question in Thai, just add mai at the end of the phrase or sentence.

To make the statement negative, just add mai at the beginning of the phrase or sentence.

Let’s take a look at some examples!

English phrase                         Thai pronunciation

Are you hungry?                     khun heeu kao mai?
Are you happy ?                      khun di jai mai?
Do you have a boy friend ?  khun mi fen leu mai?
I don’t understand.                 mai kao jai. (literally: “doesn’t enter the heart”)
No, thanks you.                        mai ao krap/ka.
I don’t know.                              mai ru krap/ka.
I don’t like it.                             mai chob krap/ka.

Numbers

Following is a list of basic numbers and the Thai pronunciation of the number. Knowing basic numbers will prove useful when shopping at the markets or ordering at restaurants when abroad, as well as in just communicating in Thai on a basic level.

Number       Thai pronunciation

1                      neung
2                      song
3                      sam
4                      si
5                      ha
6                      hok
7                      chet
8                      pet
9                      kao
10                    sip
11                    sip et
12                    sip song
13                    sip sam
14                    sip si
15                    sip ha
20                    yee sip

21                    yee sip et
22                    yee sip song
23                    yee sip sam
24                    yee sip si
25                    yee sip ha
30                    sam sip
40                    si sip
50                    ha sip
60                    hok sip
70                    chet sip
80                    pet sip
90                    kao sip
100                 neung roi
150                  neung roi ha sip
500                 ha roi
1000              neung pan
1500              neung pan ha roi
2000             si pan
5000             ha pan

Thai Phrases and Language Difficulties

Following are commonly used Thai words and phrases pertaining to communicating in Thai or English when you are abroad. The Thai words as written in the Thai alphabet are included below, as well as a phonetic pronunciation of the word, using English as a reference. While it may seem intimidating at first, don’t be afraid! The more familiar you become with the words and phrases, the easier they will be to learn. Practice using language learning methods, too, to make your progress faster and easier!

English Phrase                         Thai Phrase                                 Thai Pronunciation

Do you speak English?           คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษหรือเปล่า?  kun pôot paa-săa                                                                                                                        ang-grìt rĕu bplào?

Do you speak Thai?                คุณพูดภาษาไทยเป็นไหม?        kun pôot paa-săa tai                                                                                                                   bpen măi?

I don’t speak Thai.                  ฉันพูดไทยไม่เป็น                   chăn pôot tai mâi bpen.

Please speak more slowly.       พูดช้าลงหน่อย                        pôot cháa long nòi.

Please say that again.              พูดซ้ำอีกทีสิ                               pôot sám èek tee sì.

Please write it down.              เขียนลงบนกระดาษได้ไหม?      kĭan long bon grà-d.

Can you translate it for me?    แปลให้ฉันได้ไหม?              bplae hâi chăn dâi măi?

What does this mean?             อันนี้แปลว่าอะไร?                   an née bplae wâa à-rai?

How do you say…in Thai?     ภาษาไทย … พูดว่าอย่างไร   paasăa tai … pôot wâa                                                                                                               yàang-ra?

How do you pronounce that? คำนั้นออกเสียงว่าอย่างไร?   kam nán òk sĭang wâa                                                                                                               yàang rai?

Do you understand?               เข้าใจไหม?                               khâo jai mái?

What is your name?                คุณชีออะไร?                             kun chêu a-rai?

My name is…                          ผมชื่อ …                                   pŏm chêu … (male says)
ดิฉันชื่อ                               dì-chăn chêu …(female says)

Where are you from?            คุณมาจากทีไหน?                      kun maa jàak tee năi?

I am from…                            ผมมาจาก …                       pŏm maa jàak … (male says)
ดิฉันมาจาก …           dì-chăn maa jàak … (female says)

I understand.                           เข้าใจแล้ว                                 kâo jai láew

I don’t understand.                 ไม่เข้าใจ                                   mâi khâo jai

Helpful Travel Phrases

Following are Thai words and phrases pertaining to travel that may come in handy during your travels abroad.

English phrase                                     Thai pronunciation

I’d like to check out                            chăn jà chék ao

Could you please call me a taxi?    ak táek-sêe hâi nòi?

May I see the bill, please?                  kŏr doo bin nòi?

How much is the total bill?                 táng mòt tâo-rai?

I think there is a mistake on the bill.   chăn wâa bin pìt ná

Practice, Practice, Practice!

The best way to learn a foreign language is to practice speaking it. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, everyone does! And you will certainly improve your ability to speak Thai with practice. Practicing memorization of Thai words and phrases with the help of language learning methods may help the process easier.

It may prove helpful to bring along these lists of Thai words and phrases during your travels abroad. If you have trouble memorizing them, you can always reference them if you have them handy.

Don’t forget to take lots of photos on your trip! Take a look at these helpful tips for taking great travel photos, and turn your travel photos into works of art.

Whatever you are attempting to learn that is new – Thai, photography, cooking – don’t be afraid to dive in and give it a try. Why not get started today?