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Lesson Transcript

Michael: Where is Thai spoken?
Nantanee: And how many varieties of Thai are there?
Michael: At ThaiPod101.com, we hear these questions often. The following situation is typical. Emma Emsiri is meeting another college student Nattapong Nakorntam for the first time. On hearing her speak Thai, the college student asks Emma,
"Where did you learn Thai?"
Nattapong Nakorntam: คุณเรียนภาษาไทยที่ไหน (khun riian phaa-săa thai thîi năi)
Nattapong Nakorntam: คุณเรียนภาษาไทยที่ไหน (khun riian phaa-săa thai thîi năi)
Emma Emsiri: ที่ประเทศไทย (thîi bprà-thêet thai)
Michael: Once more with the English translation.
Nattapong Nakorntam: คุณเรียนภาษาไทยที่ไหน (khun riian phaa-săa thai thîi năi)
Michael: "Where did you learn Thai?"
Emma Emsiri: ที่ประเทศไทย (thîi bprà-thêet thai)
Michael: "In Thailand."

Lesson focus

Michael: In this conversation, we hear
Nantanee: ณัฐพงษ์ นครธรรม (nát-tha-pong ná-khaawn-tham)
Michael: say
Nantanee: คุณเรียนภาษาไทยที่ไหน (khun riian phaa-săa thai thîi năi),
Michael: which means, "Where did you learn Thai?" In response,
Nantanee: เอมม่า เอมศิริ (em-mâa eem-sì-rì)
Michael: says,
Nantanee: ที่ประเทศไทย (thîi bprà-thêet thai),
Michael: which means, "In Thailand."
In this lesson, we’ll talk more about where the Thai language is spoken.
As you might guess, Thai is most widely spoken in and is the official language of the Southeast Asian country of Thailand. It comes from the Kra-Dai language family.
Nantanee: ตระกูลภาษาขร้าไท (dtrà-guun phaa-săa khrâa thai),
Michael: which means it’s mutually intelligible with some other languages within the family, including Lao.
Nantanee: ภาษาลาว (phaa-săa laao).
Michael: In total, "Thai," or
Nantanee: ภาษาไทย (phaa-săa thai),
Michael: is spoken by approximately 35 million speakers. It’s also spoken by an additional 44 million people as a second language in places such as Northern Khmer
Nantanee: เขมรเหนือ (khà-hměen-nǔuea)
Michael: and Lao
Nantanee: ลาว (laao).
Cultural Insight/Expansion
Michael: Besides the Southeast Asia region, the Thai language is also spoken by some people in China,
Nantanee: ประเทศจีน (bprà-thêt-jiin),
Michael: especially in the Yunnan province
Nantanee: มณฑลยูนนาน (mon-thon yuun-naan).
Michael: The universities in Yunnan usually offer students the Thai language as one of the second language choices.
There are also varieties of Thai languages used in different parts of Thailand. The two major dialects in Thailand are Central Thai
Nantanee: ภาษากลาง (phaa-saa-glaang)
Michael: and Northern Thai.
Nantanee: ภาษาเหนือ (phaa-saa-nǔuea).
Michael: Central Thai is considered the official language of Thailand.
In different varieties of Thai languages, there are different words that share similar meanings. For example,
Nantanee: ม่วน (mûuan),
Michael: which means "fun" in Northern Thai language, but has no meaning in the Central Thai language.
Michael: On the other hand,
Nantanee: สนุก (sà-nùk)
Michael: means "fun" in the Central Thai language.
Michael: As you can hear, different Thai varieties can have different words for the same meaning. However, Central Thai, which is considered the official language of Thailand is understood in every region across Thailand.
Michael: The Thai community does exist in many places around the world as well. For example, Thai people ranked 9th in the amount of foreign residents living in Japan, and there are over 260,000 Thais living in the United States as of 2018.
Michael: Thailand is also where one of the most popular martial arts, Muay Thai, originated,
Nantanee: มวยไทย (muuai-thai).
Michael: In Thailand, sightseeing is not the only popular activity. Muay Thai camps are also very popular amongst foreigners. Speaking Thai will not only help you communicate with people in Thailand, but you will get to know more about culture and traditions as well.


Michael: Do you have any more questions? We’re here to answer them!
Nantanee: แล้วพบกันใหม่เร็วๆนี้ค่ะ (láaeo-phóp-gan-mài reo-reo-níi khà).
Michael: See you soon!

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