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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: What are the different dialects of Thai?
Just like other languages, Thai has different dialects. Thai dialects categorise according to the different parts of Thailand. These are north, south, north-east, and central. Each dialect has influences from neighboring countries. Today I’ll teach you some basic knowledge of these dialects.
The most common language used in Thailand is standard Thai or ภาษากลาง (phaa-săa glaang). It’s most commonly used in the central part of Thailand, mainly Bangkok metropolitan region. It’s also one that beginners of Thai learn as it’s the most standard. Let’s see two sample sentences in standard Thai, which I’ll compare with other dialects:
อาหารอร่อยไหม. (aa hăan à-ra auy mǎi “Is the food delicious?”) The response to this question is อาหารอร่อยมาก. (aa hăan à-ra auy mâak, “The food is very delicious.”)
Let’s see now the Northern Thai, or ภาษาเหนือ (phaa-săa nǔuea). This dialect is derived from the independent kingdom Lanna and is mostly spoken in the north of Thailand. Its derivation from Lanna caused the dialect to have a soft and pleasant sound. The vocabs are slightly changed as well. With the same sentence, in Northern Thai it’s now กิ๋นข้าวลำก่อ. (gǐn khǎao lam gàaw means “Is the food delicious?”) And in response, อาหารลำขนาด (aa hăan lam khà-nàat means “the food is very delicious” in Northern Thai
Northeastern Thai dialect, or ภาษาอีสาน (phaa-săa ii-săan), is derived from Laos. So, there are some similarities in this dialect to Laos. For example, อาหารแซ่บบ่ (aa hăan sàaeb bàaw) means “is the food delicious?” in northeastern Thai. To respond in this dialect, you reply, อาหารแซบหลาย (aa hăan sàaeb lăai). This means “the food is very delicious.”
And lastly, Southern Thai, or in Thai ภาษาปักษ์ใต้ (phaa-săa bpàk dtâi). Southern Thai has influences from Malay. The dialect, just like every dialect, is slightly different from standard Thai in terms of words. For example, อาหารหรอยหม้าย (aa hăan ràauy mâai), “Is the food delicious?” The response would be หรอยจังหู้ (ràauy jang hûu), “The food is very delicious.”
So let’s recap:
Standard Thai:
อาหารอร่อยไหม (aa hăan à-ra auy mǎi) “Is the food delicious?”
อาหารอร่อยมาก (aa hăan à-ra auy mâak) “The food is very delicious.”
Northern Thai:
กิ๋นข้าวลำก่อ (gǐn khǎao lam gàaw) means “Is the food delicious?”
ลำขนาด (lam khà-nàat) means “(The food is) very delicious.”
This sentence is completely different from the other dialects. This is because instead of using อาหาร (aa hăan) to mean “food,” Northern Thai uses ข้าว (khǎao), “rice,” to mean food. Since rice is always consumed when Thais eat, it’s considered food in general.
อาหารแซ่บบ่ (aa hăan sàaeb bàaw), “is the food delicious?”
อาหารแซบหลาย (aa hăan sàaeb lăai) means “the food is very delicious.”
Southern Thai:
อาหารหรอยหม้าย (aa hăan ràauy mâai) “Is the food delicious?”
หรอยจังหู้ (ràauy jang hûu) “The food is very delicious.”
Keep in mind that Standard Thai, or phaa-săa glaang, is the language that we teach at ThaiPod101.com, and the language that Thai people learn at school.


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