What Languages Do They Speak In Thailand?

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Thailand is a vibrant country with many cultures, traditions, and religions. This mixture of cultures makes Thailand a unique place to visit, especially considering the various foreign influences in the country throughout the years. But what languages do they speak in Thailand?

Thai is the most commonly spoken language in Thailand, with 88% of the Thai population speaking a dialect of this language. In addition to Thai, many people speak Yawi, Teochew, Lao, English, Burmese, French, and German. There are also many Thai dialects in Thailand, adding to the variation.

What Is The Main Language Spoken In Thailand?

Thai is the primary language spoken in Thailand. An estimated 88% of Thai people speak Thai. However, what’s interesting is that only about 30 – 40% of the population speaks Thai as their mother tongue. In addition, there are many dialects of Thai, meaning that people on opposite sides of the country may have difficulty understanding each other.

Of course, there are also many minority languages and immigrant languages spoken in Thailand, like Burmese, Chinese, and Hmong. The languages you hear most depend on where you are moving around in Thailand.

Do They Speak English In Thailand?

English is commonly spoken in Thailand, especially in Bangkok and other tourist-centered cities. English is the primary business language in Thailand, meaning that most business is conducted in English. English is also one of the languages taught in schools. As a result, most people can speak English to some degree.

That doesn’t mean you should expect perfect English wherever you travel in Thailand. You’ll likely be able to communicate with most people using basic English. Still, most people in the countryside may not use their English too often. You may have a more challenging time communicating fluently in the countryside.

Related: Do They Speak English In Thailand?

Are The Signs In Thailand In English?

In addition to being able to communicate (for the most part) in English in Thailand, you can also get around quickly since most road signs and other signs in Thailand appear in English. Bus numbers and town names are also often written in English, meaning you’ll get from point A to B without worry.

In some areas, primarily in rural towns or the countryside, signs don’t always appear in English and only in Thai. However, for the most part, there are plenty of English signs. So you should be fine navigating between the English signs and English speakers around Thailand.

Are The Menus In English In Thailand?

You’ll likely want to eat out when visiting Thailand. Fortunately, most restaurants have English menus available. If the menu is not in English, you can also use Google Translate to translate the menu from Thai to English. Open Google Translate, access the camera function and hover over the menu to see a translation.

You can also order from the menu by looking at the pictures. Thai menus usually have plenty of pictures displaying the food. By looking at the pictures, you can choose which meal you want.

Try learning some basic Thai words for dishes you like or food you are allergic to when traveling to Thailand, so you can communicate your needs clearly.

Should You Learn Thai When Visiting Thailand?

While it isn’t necessary to learn Thai before visiting Thailand, it is certainly advisable. Learning basic phrases like “where is the bathroom,” or “do you speak English” can help you find your way around Thailand much easier. Not all Thai people can speak English well, and some cannot speak it at all.

Learning conversational Thai when traveling to Thailand can help you communicate with locals. It can help locals open up to you more, and it may result in you making new friends or seeing more of the authentic side of Thailand, usually closed to foreigners.

Knowing some basic Thai can also help in an emergency since emergency response officers may not always know English too well.

Can You Speak English Anywhere In Thailand?

As mentioned before, most people in Thailand can speak English to some extent. But that doesn’t mean everyone speaks English fluently. Many Thai people only know basic English, and some don’t speak any English.

This means that you may have a lot of trouble understanding or communicating with people in Thailand if you only rely on speaking English. Fortunately, since most of the population speaks English to some extent, you will likely be able to help yourself in most situations, even if you must rely on a translator.

Is Thai The Only Language Spoken In Thailand?

Thai is one of many languages spoken in Thailand. In fact, there isn’t even only one version of Thai spoken in Thailand. Thai is a tonal language, meaning different areas may pronounce words differently. Thai people may not even understand other Thai people who speak a different dialect.

Other languages commonly spoken in Thailand include several minority languages – Yawi, Teochew, and Lao. In addition, more than 50 indigenous languages are spoken in Thailand, including Chinese, Hmong-Mien, and Sino-Tibetan.

Finally, several foreign languages are spoken in Thailand, including Burmese, English, Japanese, French, German, and Korean. Thailand was once a French colony, which is why you may notice French influences throughout the country. So, you might find some people in Thailand speaking your mother tongue when you visit.

Do Kids Learn English In Thailand?

All Thai schools offer English as a second language to ensure the population has some basic English proficiency. Teaching English in schools keeps the Thai population gaining English language training.

Since English is the official business language in Thailand and the rest of the world, Thai people must have some English proficiency for business reasons. Overall, English proficiency is better in tourist cities, where people use English more often.

Regardless, people in all areas of Thailand learn English in schools. Many children also attend private language schools to further their English studies and become more proficient. Universities also offer English classes; some courses are only available in English.

Are There English Schools In Thailand?

Apart from the English taught at public schools in Thailand, international schools operate solely in English. These schools are primarily for international students and children of foreigners who migrate to the country.

The most prominent international school in Thailand is located in Bangkok. This is where most international students attend school. They also learn Thai in these schools to effectively communicate with the local Thai population.

Do Tour Guides Speak English In Thailand?

Most tour guides in Thailand speak English reasonably well since their job is to communicate with foreigners. Some tour guides also speak several languages, including English and Thai, so they can accommodate more people on tours.

If you want a more authentic experience in Thailand and don’t speak any Thai, ask a tour guide for help. They can help you reach more unique locations without causing too many headaches because of the potential language barrier.