The “Thai” Language

A veritable cultural mosaic, Thailand boasts over 60 spoken languages. However, the country's official language is Thai, which is also recognized as a minority language in its neighboring countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Malaysia).

Dating from around 1200 AD, this language belongs to the Tai-Kadai family (*) and has its roots in Sanskrit and Pali (**), as well as in Khmer, from which it borrows many words.

Depending on the tone used, Thai words can take on several meanings.

As for its script (Thai: อักษรไทย), it is derived from the ancient Khmer alphabet.


(*) Tai-Kadai is a family of languages found in southern China, northeastern India and much of Southeast Asia.

(**) Sanskrit and Pali are ancient South Asian languages in which the sacred texts of Buddhism are written.