Central Thai is official language of Thailand



Re: Don’t knock them for trying to help foreigners (PM Mailbag Friday, 06 February 2015) – Siamese language, also known as Central Thai, is the official language of Thailand and is used at all government departments, schools & universities. To say it is only used in Bangkok and surrounds is not so.

The Thai population of 67,222,972 (Census 2014), over 65,000000 speak Thai. To say all 65 million live within the confines of Bangkok and surrounds is drawing a long bow.

There are 4 major dialects: Central, North, Issan & Southern. There is also over 73 minor languages or dialects. (Yes I did say 73.) Go into Yaowarat Road in Bangkok and you will find a different dialect is spoken. Move up to Korat and they speak a mixture of Thai and Lao. Move up into Issan and a variation of the Lao language is spoken. But take a short trip into Nakhon Phanom and another dialect is used.

The majority of Thais are multi-lingual and manage to communicate with each other. I pride myself with being able to get by with my Thai, but when we go to my wife’s village they speak Kymer Surin among themselves, but are fluent in Thai.

Chang Mai (Lanna) use a more respectful dialect but is understood ok. If Sawasdee Jao instead of Sawasdee Krub confuses you I suggest you do more research.

There are 14 provinces in southern Thailand and some of them use live ammo, so I’ll let you sort them out.

Bryan Patricks