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Thailand Language Day: Celebrating the Thai Language

If we were to ask you, “What language is spoken in Thailand?” you would, of course, answer “Thai!” But did you know Thailand has a day set aside to celebrate the Thai language and encourage its use?

Thailand Language Day is a unique facet of Thai culture, and you’ll see why once you’ve read up on its history. What could make your Thai language-learning more meaningful than discovering its history and significance in Thailand today?

In this article, we’ll be going over some information on the history of modern Thai written language and its journey as the national language of Thailand, as well as celebrations that take place on Thai Language Day (including learning how to make Thai desserts!).

At ThaiPod101.com, we hope to make this learning adventure both fun and informative!

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1. What is National Thai Language Day?

King Rama IX created Thai Language Day to promote and raise awareness among Thai people of the value and importance of the national language, and to help preserve it in Thailand forever.

In the past, the Thai language was adapted from the Cambodian language. But in 1283, King Ramkhamhaeng decided this was not good enough because the Thai language is tonal. He had an initiative to modify Thai characters for easier writing and to add high and low tone symbols to match with pronunciation in the language. These new characters are adapted from Balinese and Sanskrit languages and have contributed immensely toward the success of the Thai language.

Note that Thai is a language that incorporates new slang from time to time. Currently, there’s popular slang such as “The Vance Kids” which refers to teenagers who like to race motorcycles at night. This term is derived from the sound a motorcycle makes when accelerating.

2. When is Thai Language Day?

Many Hoisted Flags

Each year, Thailand celebrates its national language day on July 29.

3. Reading Practice: National Thai Language Day Celebrations

People Holding Speech Bubbles

Do you know how Thailand celebrates its language day? Read the Thai text below to find out, and check your reading skills against the English translation directly below it.

เนื่องในวันภาษาไทยแห่งชาติ เพื่อเป็นการอนุรักษ์ภาษาไทยและให้เยาวชนสามารถใช้ภาษาไทยได้อย่างถูกต้อง กิจกรรมยอดนิยมตามสถานศึกษาคือ การจัดประกวดการเขียนเรียงความพร้อมกับการอ่านออกเสียง เพื่อชิงทุนการศึกษา เพื่อเป็นการกระตุ้นให้เยาวชนหันมาใช้รูปประโยคที่ถูกต้อง รวมไปถึงการอ่านออกเสียงที่ถูกต้อง โดยเฉพาะการออกเสียง ร และเสียงควบกล้ำ

ไม่เพียงแต่การใช้ภาษาไทยเท่านั้น ตามหน่วยราชการต่างๆก็จะอนุญาตให้ข้าราชการสามารถแต่งกายชุดไทยมาทำงานได้ มีการจัดกิจกรรมเพื่ออนุรักษ์วัฒนธรรมไทยขึ้นในหลายรูปแบบ ทั้งการสาธิตการทำขนมไทยโบราณ การร่วมกิจกรรมการละเล่นพื้นบ้าน รวมไปถึงการแสดงนาฏศิลป์ไทย

On National Thai Language Day, to preserve the usage of Thai language and promote proper usage to young people, popular activities held in educational institutes include competitions on essay writing and oral reading competitions to win the scholarships. This is to encourage young people to use the correct forms of sentences and correct pronunciation, especially on the ‘r’ sound and diphthongs.

Today, not only the usage of Thai language is encouraged, but some government officials are also allowed to wear Thai costumes to work. There are also activities to preserve Thai culture, such as an ancient dessert cooking demonstration, Thai folk plays, and Thai dance shows.

4. Composition of the Thai Alphabet

Do you know the composition of the Thai alphabet?

There are forty-four letters, twenty-one vowels, and four consonants. Thai characters are arranged from left to right, with vowels placed in front, above, below, and at the back. Each word is formed by mixing letters like in English, but there are symbols to control the tone of each word in Thai.

You can learn more about the Thai alphabet and how it works by reading some of our relevant content.

5. Useful Vocabulary for National Thai Language Day

Thai Alphabet

Here’s some vocabulary you should know for National Thai Language Day!

  • ภาษา (phaa-sǎa) — “language”
  • คำ (kham) — “word”
  • ตัวอักษร (dtuua àk-sǎawn) — “alphabet”
  • ภาษาราชการ (phaa-săa râat-chá-gaan) — “official language”
  • เสียงสูงต่ำ (sĭiang sǔung dtàm) — “intonation”
  • พยัญชนะ (phá-yan-chá-ná) — “consonant”
  • สระ (sà-rà) — “vowel”
  • วรรณยุกต์ (wan-ná-yúk) — “intonation marks”
  • คำศัพท์ (kham sàp) — “vocabulary”
  • ภาษาถิ่น (phaa-săa thìn) — “dialect”
  • สำเนียง (săm-niiang) — “accent”

To hear each vocabulary word pronounced, check out our National Thai Language Day vocabulary list!

Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about National Thai Language Day, and that you’re more excited than ever to continue in your Thai studies. At ThaiPod101.com, we provide an array of fun and practical learning tools, including more insightful blog posts like this one and free Thai vocabulary lists. You can also discuss lessons with fellow students or reach out for help on our community forums!

While Thai isn’t an easy language to learn, know that your hard work and determination will pay off. You’ll be speaking, writing, and reading Thai like a native before you know it, and ThaiPod101 will be here with you each step of the way.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if your country has a day to celebrate its national language. We’re curious. ;)

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