Curious What Are The Dialects Of Thai? Look At 4 Major Dialects Here

What Are The Dialects Of Thai-ling-app-chaophraya river

Traveling across the regions in Thailand and wondering what are the dialects of Thai? Read on to learn the four most widely spoken varieties in terms of vocabulary!

As you explore different parts of Thailand, you may be curious about the various Thai dialects spoken there. Interestingly, there are four regions in Thailand where Thai people use vastly distinct vocabularies, down to the word like “speak”: standard Thai พูด (pûut), Northern Thai อู้ (ûu), Northeastern Thai เว้า (wáao), and Southern Thai แหลง (lɛ̌ɛng) all use a distinct lexicon.

See? How unbelievable that they are distinct terms with no shared consonants or vowels!

So, if you’re curious, “what are the dialects of Thai?” then keep reading to gather knowledge that will come in handy on your upcoming trip!


What Are The Dialects Of Thai?

Does the Tai language family ring any bells with you?

It’s a language belonging to the Kra-Dai group. Standard Thai (ภาษาไทย, paa sǎa tai) of Thailand, the Shan language of Myanmar, Lao or Laotian of Laos, and Zhuang of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in southwestern China are all Tai languages.

The languages of neighboring nations and regions can affect the Thai language, sometimes causing significant changes. Here we’ve listed the four major regional dialects:

  1. Standard Thai language (official language)
  2. Northern Thai Dialect
  3. Northeastern Thai Dialect (Isan)
  4. Southern Thai Dialect

Although there are four primary dialects in Thailand, there are several minor ones that are interesting to know, such as Thai Puan, Phu Thai, Thai Malay language, Thai Korat, Thai Loei, and many more.

Let’s dive into this article and learn the four major dialects spoken in Thailand.

What Are The Dialects Of Thai-bangkok

1. Standard Thai – ภาษากลาง (Paa Sǎa Glaang)

Let’s start with the national language, Thailand’s most spoken language. You can also playfully call it the Bangkok dialect. It’s called the central Thai language, widely used in provinces like Lopburi, Ayutthaya, and Chonburi (Pattaya), for example. If you’re learning Thai, you’ll encounter this kind of Thai official language in textbooks, government documents, TV broadcasts, social media, and general conversations with locals.

In other dialects, they only use distinct vocabulary on some familiar terms, but they all use the same Thai alphabet, so if you’re intrigued but worried about relearning the alphabet, you don’t have to!

In light of this, it would be fun to compare standard Thai with regional varieties of the language word for word. So, let’s look at examples of Thai words in different dialects!

What Are The Dialects Of Thai-rice field

2. Northern Thai Dialect – ภาษาเหนือ (Paa Sǎa Nʉ̌a)

Are you familiar with world-famous destinations like Chiang Mai, which attract millions of tourists annually? This major city, along with many others like Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Prae, and many more, speak the northern Thai tongue.

Let’s look at examples of Northern Thai vocabulary below!

EnglishNorthern ThaiTranscriptionPronunciationStandard ThaiTranscriptionPronunciation
He (3rd person)เปิ้นBpə̂ənเขาKǎo
Theyหมู่เขาMùu kǎoพวกเขาPûak kǎo
Weหมู่เฮาMùu haoพวกเราPûak rao
Thai particle “na”เน้อNə́əนะ
Manป้อจายBpɔ̂ɔ jaaiผู้ชายPûu chaai
Womanแม่ญิงMɛ̂ɛ yingผู้หญิงPûu yǐng
Childrenละอ่อนLá ɔ̀ɔnเด็กDèk
Brother (or males who are older)อ้ายâaiพี่ชายPîi chaai
Sister (or females who are older)ปี้Bpîiพี่สาวPîi sǎao
Lieขี้จุ๊Kîi júโกหกGoo hòk
Upsetใจ๋ขึ้นJǎi kʉ̂nอารมณ์เสียAa rom sǐa
DeliciousลำLamอร่อยà rɔ̂ɔi
SchoolโฮงเฮียนHoong hianโรงเรียนRoong rian
HospitalโฮงบาลHoong baanโรงพยาบาลRoong pá yaa baan
HowจะไดJà daiอย่างไรYâang rai
Whatอะหยังà yǎngอะไรà rai
What Are The Dialects Of Thai-Isaan

3. Northeastern Thai Dialect – ภาษาอีสาน (Paa Sǎa Ii Sǎan)

Tourists frequently use Thailand as a jumping-off point to explore nearby countries like Laos. In this section, you’ll learn some Northeastern Thai or the Isaan dialect, a language that shares many similarities with the Lao language but also has its unique nuances.

Let’s look at examples of Northeastern Thai vocabulary below!

EnglishNortheastern ThaiTranscriptionPronunciationStandard ThaiTranscriptionPronunciation
WeเฮาHaoพวกเราPûak rao
Brother (or call males who are older)อ้ายâaiพี่ชายPîi chaai
Thai particle “na”เด้อDə̂əนะ
Breakfastข้าวแลงKâao lɛɛngข้าวเช้าKâao cháao
Lunchข้าวงายKâao ngaaiข้าวกลางวันKâao glaang wan
Dinnerข้าวสวยKâao sǔaiข้าวเย็นKâao yen
MissคึดฮอดKʉ́t hɔ̂ɔtคิดถึงKít tʉ̌ng
Deliciousแซ่บSɛ̂ɛpอร่อยà rɔ̂ɔi
Funม่วนMûanสนุกSà núk
Howจังได๋Jang dǎiอย่างไรYâang rai
WhatอีหยังLi yǎngอะไรà rai
What Are The Dialects Of Thai-beautiful beach

4. Southern Thai Dialect – ภาษาใต้ (Paa Sǎa Dtâai)

Is a trip to Phuket’s five-star hotels and Krabi’s white sandy beaches in your near future?

At this point, we’ve reached the region of Thailand most frequently visited by tourists and the home of the Southern Thai language. Even for native Thai speakers, keeping up with the rapid speech of the natives in this dialect would be a big challenge.

Let’s look at examples of Southern Thai vocabulary below!

EnglishSouthern ThaiTranscriptionPronunciationStandard ThaiTranscriptionPronunciation
Theyโบ๋สูBǒo sǔuพวกเขาPûak kǎo
Weโบ๋เราBǒo raoพวกเราPûak rao
(In Standard Thai, people use the verb พา (paa) with the object, not human. On the other hand, the Thai Southern people use the word พา (paa) with both.)
Nam maa/paa bpai
Lieขี้หกKîi hòkโกหกGoo hòk
DeliciousหรอยRɔ̌ɔiอร่อยà rɔ̂ɔi
Neverไม่หอนMâi hɔ̌ɔnไม่เคย Mâi kəəi
WhenตอใดDtɔɔ daiเมื่อไหร่Mʉ̂a rài

How are you?
พันพรือPan prʉʉเป็นอย่างไรBpen yâang rai


So, Which Dialects Do You Like The Most?

Something is intriguing about the fact that some common words in Thai are completely distinct from what people in Thailand speak in different parts of the country.

There are a lot of terms to learn if you want to sound like a native Thai speaker, but don’t worry; most Thais can speak “standard Thai,” the official language in the country’s central region. But we swear that if you travel to those local areas and use some of these words we shared, the locals will be so impressed!

Do you wish you knew more Thai words? Then, we’ve got the top app for you!

Learn Thai With Ling App


Learn Thai With The Ling App

If you’re working on learning Thai and want access to a massive library of words that you can study and memorize, the Ling app is your best bet. So, if you decide to use Ling as your best resource throughout your time spent learning Thai, you will:

  • Master the Thai language and use it fluently in all of your conversations.
  • Playfully recall more vocabulary with a game-like memory aid.
  • Explore more grammatical topics to become a sentence-building pro.
  • Improve your listening and pronouncing abilities by listening to the natural voice of a native speaker.

Most Thai learners chose the Ling app to help them succeed, so why not join them? Download the Ling app from Google Play Store and Apple App Store now, and prepare to be fluent in Thai soon!

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