The Thai language is liberally sprinkled with words from Pali and Sanskrit (the classical languages, respectively, of Theravada Buddhism and Indian Hinduism). Written Thai employs an alphabet of 44 consonants and 32 vowels that combine to form syllabic sounds.

King Ramkhamhaeng the Great who ruled the Sukhothai Kingdom from 1279-1298 initiated the Thai inscription in 1292. The inscription is considered to be a seminal source of Sukhothai history as well as a masterpiece of Thai literature.

Thai is a tonal monosyllabic language. The same word can be said in five different ways - normal or middle tone, high, low, rising and falling.

Like English, it is read from left to right, but that is where the similarities end. Some English sounds like "th", "v" and "z" do not appear at all, while some Thai sounds are not commonly used in English either. Further, it should be noted that in transcribing Thai sounds into English phonetics some consonants (e.g., b, p, l, n, d, and t) can be used interchangeably.

There are no plurals in Thai, nor are there tenses as such. A word or two is usually added to determine the past, present or future.

In Thailand's major cities, the level of English can be quite good, but visitors will find that the Thais' ability to speak English diminishes as one moves further away from the population centers.

In Thai there is a "politening" word attached to the end of anything you say. For men it is "khrap," for women it is "kha."

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