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Lesson Transcript

Culture Class: Holidays in Thailand, Lesson 22 – National Thai Language Day
Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Thailand Series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Thai holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 22, National Thai Language Day. In Thai, it’s called วันภาษาไทยแห่งชาติ (wan phaa-săa thai hàaeng châat).
In this lesson, we’re talking about National Thai Language Day, which falls on July 26 each year. This day was chosen under the initiative of King Rama IX to promote and raise awareness among Thai people of the value and importance of the national language and to help preserve it.
Now, before we get into more detail, do you know the answer to this question-
What is the composition of the Thai alphabet?
If you don't already know, you’ll find out a bit later. Keep listening.
The Thai alphabet was originally 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 each letter’s proper pronunciation. These new characters were adapted from Balinese and Sanskrit languages and have contributed immensely towards the success of the Thai language, or ภาษาไทย (phaa-săa thai).
On National Thai Language Day, to preserve the usage of Thai language and promote proper usage to youth, popular activities are held in educational institutes, including competitions on essay writing and oral reading competitions to win scholarships. These are held to encourage young people to use the correct forms of sentences, or ประโยค (bprà-yòok), and correct pronunciation, or การออกเสียง (gaan àawk sĭiang), especially on ‘r’ sounds and diphthongs.
Today, not only the usage of Thai language is encouraged, but some government officials are also permitted to wear Thai traditional clothing to work. There are also activities performed to preserve Thai culture, such as an ancient dessert cooking demonstration, Thai folk plays, and Thai dance shows.
Thai is a language that incorporates new slang, or คำสแลง (kham sà-laaeng), from time to time. Currently, there’s a popular slang called “The Vance Kids”, which refers to teenagers who like to race motorcycles at night. This term is derived from the sound when a motorcycle is accelerating.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
What is the composition of the Thai alphabet?
There are 44 consonants. Thai characters are arranged from left to right. Vowels are 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.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
What is the major language in your country?
Leave us a comment telling us at ThaiPod101.com!
And I’ll see you in the next lesson!