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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Jay here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Thai questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: How do I read Thai numbers?
When you go to tourist attractions or read cultural, printed media in Thailand, you might come across these weird letters that maybe, you’ve never seen before. (show examples of Thai numbers ๑๖๗๓) In fact, these are Thai numerals, and today I’m going to teach you how to read them. These numerals are derived from the Khmer numerals, which traditionally were used in Thailand.
The only common numeral with the standard number system is 0 sǔun. The rest are different. Here are the numbers 0 through 9 in Thai numerals: ๑ (nùeng “one”), ๒ ( sǎawng “two”), ๓ (săam “three”), ๔ (sìi “four”), ๕ (hâa “five”), ๖ (hòk “six”), ๗ (jèt “seven”), ๘ (bpàaet “eight”), ๙ (gâao “nine”). The usage of these numerals are the same as the standard numbers. For example, 79 is written as ๗๙ jèt sìp gâao in Thai numerals.
Nowadays, Thai numbers are usually used in historical attractions in Thailand, to state the price of tickets, or when the situation is extremely formal, such as official announcements from the royal family. Thai numerals are considered sophisticated and traditional. They’re also used when there's the need to emphasize the cultural importance of an event or object. For example, when addressing the previous kings of Thailand, like “Rama IX,” in Thai we write ราชกาลที่ ๙ (rát-chá-gaan thîi gâo). This is similar to the usage of Roman numerals.


Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! สวัสดี ค่ะ (sà-wàt-dii khâ)