Why Learn Thai? 5 Great Reasons Why It’s Worth Learning the Thai Language
Last Updated On: February 7, 2023 by The Migration Translators
The Thai language is the official language of Thailand and so used in everyday use by around 69 million people in this southeastern Asian nation. Thai is actually the most common dialect used by people in eastern and central Thailand. There are many different dialects of Thai as well as languages used by ethnic minorities such as the Karen, but Central Thai as a dialect has been chosen to be the only official language spoken in Thailand. Laotian is similar but not exactly the same as Thai. Thais and Laotians can more or less understand each other, while they also use the same written script.
Is Thai easy or difficult to learn? This depends on your age, what your own native language is, what your motive for learning Thai might be, and how many other tonal languages you have learned already. For most Europeans, Thai is not a particularly easy language to learn, partly because it is not an international language like English, French, or even Chinese. It uses a completely different written script from the Latin or Cyrillic script of European languages. It is also a tonal language, which means that the meaning of a word may depend on how it is pronounced and the emphasis of different syllables. Words that seem to look exactly the same could have totally different meanings when tones are taken into consideration!
Given the relatively limited geography of the Thai language and its difficulty in learning, one might wonder why people might make the effort to learn it at all. Here are five great reasons for learning Thai.
Reasons why it’s worth learning the Thai language
#1 It makes a visit to Thailand on holiday much more enjoyable
Thailand is one of the most visited South East Asian tourism hotspots. It has a huge variety of experiences, including typical beach locations, island getaways, snorkeling and diving destinations, and cultural attractions in the form of monasteries, temples, and other architectural wonders. It also has a busy nightlife with bars, casinos, and nightclubs in many urban centers. If you are only intending to Thailand once for a short visit, you will find that there is enough English spoken that you can get by without learning Thai, but if you are a repeat visitor (and many people are), learning more than just rudimentary Thai can be of great value. You will certainly find Thai people warm to your attempts to learn their language and you will enjoy your time in Thailand much more.
#2 It may enhance your business opportunities
Some people end up staying in Thailand and starting a business. Others visit the country regularly on business. These are both very good reasons why you might want to learn Thai. If you are intending starting up a business in Thailand, even if you have a Thai partner, you may find that learning Thai is a must.
#3 You may need it if you gain employment in Thailand
If you are looking for work in Thailand or are posted to a position in Thailand as a representative of a foreign organization or business, then this is certainly an opportunity for learning Thai. You may find that if you work in a Thai business or for a public employer, then understanding Thai might be an essential criterion for acceptance.
#4 Family and romantic purposes
It is not uncommon for visitors to Thailand to form relationships with Thai citizens and end up getting married to them. Learning Thai makes it easy to communicate, especially if your new partner’s family doesn’t speak much English. If you do go on to have a family, whether you stay in Thailand, return to your own home country, or go somewhere else, it is important for your children to maintain a link with their heritage.
#5 To appreciate Thailand’s unique culture better
Thailand has a unique culture, which can only be appreciated to the full when you learn at least some Thai, especially the written form of the language which you will find everywhere.
Not everyone has the time or aptitude for learning Thai, so if you need to have anything translated into, or from, Thai, make sure you use a professional Thai English translator.