language HUA HIN

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Speaking Thai in Hua Hin

thai alphabet Once you've made the decision to settle in Thailand, it would be useful to try and learn to speak some of the language. Although many Thais in Hua Hin speak rudimentary English, some understanding of their language can only make your life here more easy.

If you're dealing with Immigration, large restaurants or the like, English will get you through, but once you venture off the beaten track, it will not. The Thais really do appreciate the fact that you are conversing with them in their own language and even if you make mistakes, they will be laughed off and you'll be corrected - but only in a joking, helpful way.

Some expats don't make any effort to learn Thai and even after 10 years in the country are not able to say more than a few words. That's obviously up to them, but as you're likely to have quite a bit of spare time on your hands, at least an attempt to learn can't be a bad idea. At the end of the day, if you find yourself in a bit of a tricky situation, a few words of Thai can help to defuse the problem quickly and hopefully to everyones' satisfaction.

Some of us are more linguistically skilled than others and once the basics have been learnt, they'll pick the language up quickly. The less fortunate will have to perservere, but keep at it because it will reap rewards in the long run. Some learning aids will be indispensible, so a good dictionary will be necessary as will a decent introductory book to the language that explains the tones, sentence structure and everyday phrases.

There are plenty of audio tapes that you can get hold of, especially in Bangkok, and these will help you with pronounciation even more. If you have a computer, a really helpful tool to bookmark is:

It has has over 30,000 entries and you search a word or phrase in English with the translation being given in "English Thai" and Thai script.

As Thai is a tonal language (there are 5), it's important to listen carefully to how the locals pronounce a word. If you say it in the wrong tone, it will have a totally different meaning, although you generally won't be misunderstood in the context of a phrase or conversation. If you've made the effort to get a decent dictionary, one simple way to increase your vocabulary is to think ahead to the following day about a task you have to do. So, for instance, if you're going to the laundry, try to think of all the words you might want to use there - laundry, washing powder, conditioner, ironing etc etc. Learn them in Thai and using this system you'll be amazed at how quickly your vocabulary is expanded.

We would offer two other pieces of advice. Firstly, when you're speaking the language, do so slowly and clearly. There's no point in rushing things as it will only lead to confusion. Secondly, if you're really intent on speaking Thai well, then learn to read and write it as well. There will be no better substitute for the advancement of your linguistic capabilities.

In short, perservere, enjoy the learning process and don't be put off if you make mistakes at the start. The Thais won't mind at all.

If you're interested in improving your Thai, ask questions on our Language forum. There are plenty of good (and some novice) Thai speaking foreigners who will be only too happy to "educate" you.

We have tried to set out below some of the words and phrases that you may need at the outset in your everyday life here. It cannot be exhaustive, so again good language aids, as mentioned above, are necessary. Finally, Thais take great stock in politeness and this is reflected in the language. So, it is polite to end every sentence with either the word "krap" or "kap" if the speaker is male and "ka" if female. In practice, you will learn when these words are not necessary, but at the start, use them all the time and you'll never go wrong.

Numbers and counting
One neung
Two song
Three sam
Four sii
Five haa
Six hok
Seven jet
Eight bad
Nine gow
Ten sip
Eleven sip et
Twelve sip song
Thirteen sip sam
Fourteen sip see
etc to….  
Twenty yii sip
Twenty one yii sip et
Twenty two yii sip song
Twenty three yii sip sam
etc to…  
Thirty sam sip
Fourty sii sip
Fifty haa sip
etc to…….  
One hundred neung roi
One thousand neung pun
Ten thousand neung meun
Hundred thousand neung saen
One million neung laan
Greetings and civilities
Hello sawadii
Goodbye sawadii/lah gorn na
Thankyou khawp khun
Please krap/kap/ka
How are you? sabai dee mai?
I'm fine sabai dee
Everyday words and phrases
Me/I pom (men)
  diichan (women)
You khun
What is your name? khun cheu arai?
My name is.. pom cheu (men)
  diichan cheu (women)
Do you have….? mee……mai?
I have mee
I do not have mai mee
Yes chai
No mai chai
It doesn't matter mai pen rai
I would like….. ao
Who? krai?
What? a rai?
Where? tee nai?
Why? tam mai?
When? mua rai?
(I) inderstand khao jai
(I) do not understand mai khao jai
A little nit noi
What is this? nii arai?
Today wan nii
Tomorrow prung nii
Yesterday meua wan
Go bai
Will go ja bai
Come maa
Will come ja maa
(I) like chawp
(I) do not like mai chawp
Food and Drink
Bowl chahm
Chopsticks dta gee up
Cup too ay
Dessert korng wahn
Fish bplah
Fork sorm
Glass gair o
Knife meet
Meat neua
Menu may noo
Noodles goo ay dtee o
Pepper prik thai
Plate jahn
Rice kao
Salt gleu a
Soup soop
Spoon chorn
Table dto
Another eek………neung
Excuse me (to waiter) koon krap/kap/ka
The bill please chek bin
Butter neree sot
Chilli paste nam prik
Coconut milk ga ti
Fish sauce nam bplah
Sugar nam dtahn
Vinegar nam som
Chicken gai
Beef neua
Pork moo
Duck bpet
Lamb neua gair
Fish bplah
Crab bpoo
Lobster goong yai
Mussels hoy mairng poo
Octopus bplah meuk yuk
Oyster hoy nahng rom
Seafood ah harn talay
Shellfish hoy
Prawn goong
Squid bplah meuk
Apple ah bun
Banana gloo ay
Coconut ma prao
Durian too re un
Fruit pon la mai
Grapes a ngoon
Guava fa rang
Jackfruit ka noon
Lemon/lime ma nao
Longan lam yai
Lychee lim yee
Mango ma moo ung
Mangosteen mang koot
Melon dtaing tai
Orange som
Papaya ma la gor
Pineapple sap bpa rot
Pomelo som oh
Rambutan ngo
Rose apple chom poo
Sapodilla la moot
Strawberry sa dtror ber ee
Water melon dtairng moh
Asparagus nor mai farang
Aubergine ma keua
Bamboo shoots nor mai
Bean sprouts tooa ngork
Cabbage ga lam bplee
Carrot hooa pak gaht dairng
Cauliflower dork galam bplee
Chilli prik
French fries man farang tort
Cucumber dtairng gwah
Garlic gra tee am
Ginger king
Lettuce pak gaht
Mange tout tooa lan dtao
Morning glory pak boong
Mushrooms het
Onion hooa horm
Lentils tooa
Potato man farang
Sweetcorn kao poht
Tomota ma keua tayt
Vegetables pak
Chilled yen
Coffee gah fair
Tea nam chah
Coconut juice nam ma prao
Coke/pepsi coke/pepsi
Orange juice nam som
Ice nam kairng
Milk nam
Water nahm
Beer beera
Bottle koo ut
Gin lao yin
Whisky lao wit sa gee
Wine lao wai
Wine list rai gahn lao wai
Airport sanam bin
Customs soon la gah gom
Immigration dtroo ut kon kao meuung
Ticket office tee jam nai dtoo a
Entrance tahng kao
Exit tahng ork
Air con bus rot bprap ahgaht
Information bpra chah sampan
Ticket office tee jam nai dtoo a
Timetable gam not way la dem rot
Tour bus rot too a
Train rot fai
Platform chahn chah lah
Hotel rohng rairm
Coffee shop korp fee chorp
Double room horng koo
Floor chan
Guesthouse gayt haot
Room horng
Single room horng dee o
Swimming pool sa wai nahm

Learning Thai in Hua Hin

While there is no official school for teaching Thai to foreigners in Hua Hin a number of individuals happily offer their services for an hourly fee. The best way to locate them is through local classifieds or message boards. Many would be happy to trade Thai lessons for English ones. The Hua Hin schools page has more info on learning Thai in Hua Hin.

Books are also an invaluble resource if you can learn without a teacher, Megabooks, which is situated by The Sofitel Hotel, has a good selection however a better choice can be found in the larger shops of Bangkok.





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