What Languages Are Spoken In Thailand?

Asking what languages are spoken in Thailand can seem like a silly questions. After all, there is only one official language in Thailand and that is, of course, Thai. However, that does not show the whole picture. As a country of over 60 million people and an area that spans from China to Malaysia, there is understandably a lot of diversity in the language that is spoken. Whether formally or informally used, these dialects are shaped by the culture of the area.

Sound interesting? I think it is. So let’s look at some of the different dialects and languages that are spoken in Thailand.

Thai: The National Language

Isaan is one of the more well known dialects, spoken in the Northeastern region (more on that later). Then there are Southern Thai and Northern Thai, spoken in the South and the North of the country respectively. These all have differences from Central Thai, but are for the most part mutually intelligible. There are then even smaller groups who speak some variation of Thai too. However, these are no where near as wide spread.

What Other Languages Are Spoken In Thailand Besides Thai?

Then there are the languages of neighboring countries. Understandably, sharing a border with another country will lead to people from that country stopping by. They will bring their languages with them too. In the case of Thailand, there are varying amounts of populations around the border who can speak the corresponding language. For example, closer to Cambodia, many people will have some level of fluency in Khmer, while people of the South will be able to speak Malay. There are also smaller languages brought by minority groups local to the area, offering more diversity in language.

Finally, as a major tourist destination, there has been a notable increase in language learning. This makes it easier to be able to communicate with visitors. As such, you can find many Russian, Chinese, and English speakers around the country. However, they will mostly be concentrated in tourist destinations.

What Is The Isaan Dialect?

Despite some differing vocabulary and accents, Thai people shouldn’t have any difficulty understanding the Isaan dialect. For Thai learners like us, it might take some getting used to before we can fully understand the unique elements of this dialect

Do People Speak English In Thailand?

English speaking abilities amongst Thais varies quite a lot. In major tourist destinations around the country, English should be quite widely understood and spoken. The quality can vary, but generally communication should go smoothly. However, as you start to head outside of the cities and into the smaller towns and villages, English become much less common.

If you are unable to speak Thai, your best bet is to try talking with some of the younger people or students as they usually have better English abilities thanks to improving education in the language. Ultimately, English is quite widely spoken, especially when compared to some other countries in the region. Learning at least some Thai words will definitely make things easier for you, though.

The Other Languages Spoken In Thailand

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Originally published at https://ling-app.com on October 31, 2019.

Ling is a game-like language learning app with a pack of 60+ languages. You will learn languages in fun ways!