Rescribe: Thai Translation Notes

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Thai is the official language of Thailand and is spoken by approximately 38 million people, over 80% of Thailand's population. It derives from the "Tai" group of languages spoken in Thailand, Northern Myanmar, Laos, Northern Vietnam, and several southern Chinese provinces.

Thai is divided into several regional dialects:

  • "Khorat Thai"—most common
  • "Northeastern Thai"—also called "Isan"
  • "Standard Thai"—spoken in Bangkok
  • "Southern Thai"—spoken in the southern isthmus
  • "Northern Thai"—often called "Lanna"
  • "Lao"—spoken in Laos. Often called "Eastern Thai"

The language makes use of tones to distinguish between otherwise identical words. There are five distinct tones in Thai: mid, low, falling, high, and rising. Inflection is completely lacking in Thai, but word compounding occurs widely. Thai freely incorporates foreign words. Hundreds of literary words are borrowed from Pali and Sanskrit, and new words are also coined from Sanskrit roots. Additional loanwords are from Khmer, from 16th-century Portuguese, from Austronesian, and in modern times increasingly from English.

The Thai alphabet, instituted in the 13th century AD, derives ultimately from the southern type of Indic script. Writing proceeds from left to right, and spaces indicate punctuation, not word division. The alphabet has 42 consonant signs, 4 tone markers, and many vowel markers.


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