Thai language

Last updated
Thai
Siamese
ภาษาไทย, Phasa Thai
Thai Language.png
Pronunciation [pʰāːsǎːtʰāj]
Region Malaysia (Kedah, Perlis, Kelantan and Hulu Perak)
Thailand
Myanmar (Tanintharyi)
Cambodia (Koh Kong District)
Ethnicity Central Thai, Thai Chinese, Malaysian Siamese
Native speakers
20 to 36 million (2000) [1]
44 million L2 speakers with Lanna, Isan, Southern Thai, Northern Khmer and Lao (2001) [1]
Kra–Dai
Thai script
Thai Braille
Official status
Official language in
Flag of Thailand.svg  Thailand
Infobox ASEAN flag.png  ASEAN [2]
Recognised minority
language in
Regulated by Royal Society of Thailand
Language codes
ISO 639-1 th
ISO 639-2 tha
ISO 639-3 tha
Glottolog thai1261 [3]
Linguasphere 47-AAA-b
Idioma tailandes.png

Thai, [lower-alpha 1] Central Thai [lower-alpha 2] (historically Siamese; [lower-alpha 3] Thai : ภาษาไทย), is the national language of Thailand [4] [5] and de facto official language; it is the first language of the Central Thai people [lower-alpha 4] and most Thai Chinese, depending on age. It is a member of the Tai group of the Kra–Dai language family, and one of over 60 languages of Thailand. Over half of Thai vocabulary is derived from or borrowed from Pali, Sanskrit, Mon [6] and Old Khmer. It is a tonal and analytic language, similar to Chinese and Vietnamese.

Contents

Thai has a complex orthography and system of relational markers. Spoken Thai is partly, depending on standard sociolinguistic factors such as age, gender, class, spatial proximity, and the urban/rural divide, mutually intelligible with Lao, Isan, and some fellow Southwestern Tai languages. These languages are written with slightly different scripts but are linguistically similar and effectively form a dialect continuum. [7]

History

The Thai language is classified as a Tai language, closely related to other Southwestern Tai languages including Lao, Shan in Myanmar, and numerous indigenous languages spoken in an arc from Hainan and Yunnan south through Laos and Northern Vietnam to the Cambodian border. It is the principal language of education and government and spoken throughout the country. The standard is based on the dialect of the central Thai people, and it is written in the Thai alphabet.

Thai has undergone various historical sound changes. Some of the most significant changes occurred during the evolution from Old Thai to modern Thai. The Thai writing system has an eight-century history and many of these changes, especially in consonants and tones, are evidenced in the modern orthography.

Old Thai

Old Thai had a three-way tone distinction on live syllables (those not ending in a stop), with no possible distinction on dead syllables (those ending in a stop, i.e. either /p/, /t/, /k/ or the glottal stop which automatically closes syllables otherwise ending in a short vowel).

There was a two-way voiced vs. voiceless distinction among all fricative and sonorant consonants, and up to a four-way distinction among stops and affricates. The maximal four-way occurred in labials (/p pʰ b ʔb/) and dentals (/t tʰ d ʔd/); the three-way distinction among velars (/k kʰ ɡ/) and palatals (/tɕ tɕʰ dʑ/), with the glottalized member of each set apparently missing.

The major change between old and modern Thai was due to voicing distinction losses and the concomitant tone split. This may have happened between about 1300 and 1600 CE, possibly occurring at different times in different parts of the Thai-speaking area. All voiced–voiceless pairs of consonants lost the voicing distinction:

However, in the process of these mergers the former distinction of voice was transferred into a new set of tonal distinctions. In essence, every tone in Old Thai split into two new tones, with a lower-pitched tone corresponding to a syllable that formerly began with a voiced consonant, and a higher-pitched tone corresponding to a syllable that formerly began with a voiceless consonant (including glottalized stops). An additional complication is that formerly voiceless unaspirated stops/affricates (original /p t k tɕ ʔb ʔd/) also caused original tone 1 to lower, but had no such effect on original tones 2 or 3.

The above consonant mergers and tone splits account for the complex relationship between spelling and sound in modern Thai. Modern "low"-class consonants were voiced in Old Thai, and the terminology "low" reflects the lower tone variants that resulted. Modern "mid"-class consonants were voiceless unaspirated stops or affricates in Old Thai—precisely the class that triggered lowering in original tone 1 but not tones 2 or 3. Modern "high"-class consonants were the remaining voiceless consonants in Old Thai (voiceless fricatives, voiceless sonorants, voiceless aspirated stops). The three most common tone "marks" (the lack of any tone mark, as well as the two marks termed mai ek and mai tho) represent the three tones of Old Thai, and the complex relationship between tone mark and actual tone is due to the various tonal changes since then. Since the tone split, the tones have changed in actual representation to the point that the former relationship between lower and higher tonal variants has been completely obscured. Furthermore, the six tones that resulted after the three tones of Old Thai were split have since merged into five in standard Thai, with the lower variant of former tone 2 merging with the higher variant of former tone 3, becoming the modern "falling" tone. [lower-alpha 6]

Early Old Thai

Early Old Thai also apparently had velar fricatives /x ɣ/ as distinct phonemes. These were represented by the now-obsolete letters ฃ kho khuat and ฅ kho khon, respectively. During the Old Thai period, these sounds merged into the corresponding stops /kʰ ɡ/, and as a result the use of these letters became unstable.

At some point in the history of Thai, a palatal nasal phoneme /ɲ/ also existed, inherited from Proto-Tai. A letter ญ yo ying also exists, which is used to represent a palatal nasal in words borrowed from Sanskrit and Pali, and is currently pronounced /j/ at the beginning of a syllable but /n/ at the end of a syllable. Most native Thai words that are reconstructed as beginning with /ɲ/ are also pronounced /j/ in modern Thai, but generally spelled with ย yo yak, which consistently represents /j/. This suggests that /ɲ/ > /j/ in native words occurred in the pre-literary period. It is unclear whether Sanskrit and Pali words beginning with /ɲ/ were borrowed directly with a /j/, or whether a /ɲ/ was re-introduced, followed by a second change /ɲ/ > /j/.

Proto-Tai also had a glottalized palatal sound, reconstructed as /ʔj/ in Li Fang-Kuei (1977[ full citation needed ]). Corresponding Thai words are generally spelled หย, which implies an Old Thai pronunciation of /hj/ (or /j̊/), but a few such words are spelled อย, which implies a pronunciation of /ʔj/ and suggests that the glottalization may have persisted through to the early literary period.

Vowel developments

The vowel system of modern Thai contains nine pure vowels and three centering diphthongs, each of which can occur short or long. According to Li (1977[ full citation needed ]), however, many Thai dialects have only one such short–long pair (/a aː/), and in general it is difficult or impossible to find minimal short–long pairs in Thai that involve vowels other than /a/ and where both members have frequent correspondences throughout the Tai languages. More specifically, he notes the following facts about Thai:

Furthermore, the vowel that corresponds to short Thai /a/ has a different and often higher quality in many of the Tai languages compared with the vowel corresponding to Thai /aː/.

This leads Li to posit the following:

  1. Proto-Tai had a system of nine pure vowels with no length distinction, and possessing approximately the same qualities as in modern Thai: high /i ɯ u/, mid /e ɤ o/, low /ɛ a ɔ/.
  2. All Proto-Tai vowels were lengthened in open syllables, and low vowels were also lengthened in closed syllables.
  3. Modern Thai largely preserved the original lengths and qualities, but lowered /ɤ/ to /a/, which became short /a/ in closed syllables and created a phonemic length distinction /a aː/. Eventually, length in all other vowels became phonemic as well and a new /ɤ/ (both short and long) was introduced, through a combination of borrowing and sound change. Li believes that the development of long /iː ɯː uː/ from diphthongs, and the lowering of /ɤ/ to /a/ to create a length distinction /a aː/, had occurred by the time of Proto-Southwestern-Tai, but the other missing modern Thai vowels had not yet developed.

Note that not all researchers agree with Li. Pittayaporn (2009[ full citation needed ]), for example, reconstructs a similar system for Proto-Southwestern-Tai, but believes that there was also a mid back unrounded vowel /ə/ (which he describes as /ɤ/), occurring only before final velar /k ŋ/. He also seems to believe that the Proto-Southwestern-Tai vowel length distinctions can be reconstructed back to similar distinctions in Proto-Tai.

Connection to ancient Yue language(s)

Thai descends from proto-Tai-Kadai, which has been hypothesized to originate in the Lower Yangtze valleys. Ancient Chinese texts refer to non-Sinitic languages spoken cross this substantial region and their speakers as "Yue". Although those languages are extinct, traces of their existence could be found in unearthed inscriptional materials, ancient Chinese historical texts and non-Han substrata in various Southern Chinese dialects. Thai, as the most-spoken language in the Tai-Kadai language family, has been used extensively in historical-comparative linguistics to identify the origins of language(s) spoken in the ancient region of South China. One of the very few direct records of non-Sinitic speech in pre-Qin and Han times having been preserved so far is the "Song of the Yue Boatman" (Yueren Ge 越人歌), which was transcribed phonetically in Chinese characters in 528 BC, and found in the 善说 Shanshuo chapter of the Shuoyuan 说苑 or 'Garden of Persuasions'. In the early 80's the Zhuang linguist Wei Qingwen using reconstructed Old Chinese for the characters discovered that the resulting vocabulary showed strong resemblance to modern Zhuang. [8] Later, Zhengzhang Shangfang (1991) followed Wei's insight but used Thai script for comparison, since this orthography dates from the 13th century and preserves archaisms vis-à-vis the modern pronunciation. [9] The following is a simplified interpretation of the "Song of the Yue Boatman" by Zhengzhang Shangfang quoted by David Holm (2013) with Thai script and Chinese glosses being omitted. [10] The upper row represents the original text, the next row the Old Chinese pronunciation, the third a transcription of written Thai, and the fourth line English glosses. Finally, there is Zhengzhang's English translation.

 
ɦgraamsɦeebronstshuuʔɦgraams
glamxɦeeblɤɤncɤɤ, cɤʔglamx
eveningptl.joyfulto meetevening
Oh, the fine night, we meet in happiness tonight!
lathjang < khljanggaahdraaglathjangtju < klju
raadjaanghkraʔ -ʔdaakraadjaanghcɛɛu
we, Ibe apt toshy, ashamedwe, Ibe good atto row
I am so shy, ah! I am good at rowing.
𩜱胥 胥
tjukhaamʔtjujenɦaadzinsa
cɛɛukhaamxcɛɛujɤɤnhɦaadjɯɯnhsaʔ
to rowto crossto rowslowlyptl.joyfulsatisfy, please
Rowing slowly across the river, ah! I am so pleased!
moonslaɦaatjau < kljaudaansdzinlo
mɔɔmraaɦaacauxdaanhdjinruux
dirty, raggedwe, Iptl.princeYour Excellencyacquaintedknow
Dirty though I am, ah! I made acquaintance with your highness the Prince.
srɯmsdjeʔ < gljeʔsɦloigaaigaa
zumhcaïrɯaihgraihgaʔ
to hideheartforever, constantlyto yearnptl.
Hidden forever in my heart, ah! is my adoration and longing.
Map of the Chinese plain at the start of the Warring States Period in the 5th century BC, showing the locations of the states of Yue and Wu. Chinese plain 5c. BC with Yue-en.png
Map of the Chinese plain at the start of the Warring States Period in the 5th century BC, showing the locations of the states of Yue and Wu.

Besides this classical case, various papers in historical linguistics have employed Thai for comparative purposes in studying the linguistic landscape of the ancient region of Southern China. Proto-reconstructions of some scattered non-Sinitic words found in the two ancient Chinese fictional texts, Mu tianzi zhuan 穆天子傳 (4th c. B.C.) and Yuejue shu 越絕書 (1st c. A.D.), are used to compare to Thai/Siamese and its related languages in Tai-Kadai language family in an attempt to identify the origins of those words. The following examples are cited from Wolfgang Behr's work (2002):

"The say for 'good' and huăn for 'way', i.e. in their titles they follow the central kingdoms, but in their names they follow their own lords."

< MC ʔjij < OC *bq(l)ij ← Siamese diiA1, Longzhou dai1, Bo'ai nii1 Daiya li1, Sipsongpanna di1, Dehong li6 < proto-Tai *ʔdɛiA1 | Sui ʔdaai1, Kam laai1, Maonan ʔdaai1, Mak ʔdaai6 < proto-Kam-Sui/proto-Kam-Tai *ʔdaai1 'good'

缓 [huăn] < MC hwanX < OC *awan ← Siamese honA1, Bo'ai hɔn1, Dioi thon1 < proto-Tai *xronA1| Sui khwən1-i, Kam khwən1, Maonan khun1-i, Mulam khwən1-i < proto-Kam-Sui *khwən1 'road, way' | proto-Hlai *kuun1 || proto-Austronesian *Zalan (Thurgood 1994:353)

jué < MC dzjwet < OC *bdzot ← Siamese codD1 'to record, mark' (Zhengzhang Shangfang 1999:8)

"The Middle mountains of are the mountains of the Yuè's bronze office, the Yuè people call them 'Bronze gū[gū]dú'."

「姑[沽]瀆」 gūdú < MC ku=duwk < OC *aka=alok

← Siamese kʰauA1 'horn', Daiya xau5, Sipsongpanna xau1, Dehong xau1, xău1, Dioi kaou1 'mountain, hill' < proto-Tai *kʰauA2; Siamese luukD2l 'classifier for mountains', Siamese kʰauA1-luukD2l 'mountain' || cf. OC < kuwk << *ak-lok/luwk < *akə-lok/yowk < *blok 'valley'

"... The Yuè people call a boat xūlú. ('beard' & 'cottage')"

< MC sju < OC *bs(n)o

? ← Siamese saʔ 'noun prefix'

< MC lu < OC *bra

← Siamese rɯaA2, Longzhou lɯɯ2, Bo'ai luu2, Daiya 2, Dehong 2 'boat' < proto-Tai *drɯ[a,o] | Sui lwa1/ʔda1, Kam lo1/lwa1, Be zoa < proto-Kam-Sui *s-lwa(n)A1 'boat'

"[Líu] Jiă (the king of Jīng 荆) built the western wall, it was called dìngcuò ['settle(d)' & 'grindstone'] wall."

dìng < MC dengH < OC *adeng-s

← Siamese diaaŋA1, Daiya tʂhəŋ2, Sipsongpanna tseŋ2 'wall'

cuò < MC tshak < OC *atshak

? ← Siamese tokD1s 'to set→sunset→west' (tawan-tok 'sun-set' = 'west'); Longzhou tuk7, Bo'ai tɔk7, Daiya tok7, Sipsongpanna tok7 < proto-Tai *tokD1s ǀ Sui tok7, Mak tok7, Maonan tɔk < proto-Kam-Sui *tɔkD1

According to Ethnologue, Thai language is spoken by over 20 million people (2000). Moreover, most Thais in the northern and the northeastern (Isaan) parts of the country today are bilingual speakers of Central Thai and their respective regional dialects due to the fact that (Central) Thai is the language of television, education, news reporting, and all forms of media. [15] A recent research found that the speakers of the Northern Thai language (or Kham Mueang) have become so few, as most people in northern Thailand now invariably speak Standard Thai, so that they are now using mostly Central Thai words and seasoning their speech only with "kham mueang" accent. [16] Standard Thai is based on the register of the educated classes in Bangkok. [17] [18] In addition to Central Thai, Thailand is home to other related Tai languages. Although some linguists classify these dialects as related but distinct languages, native speakers often identify them as regional variants or dialects of the "same" Thai language, or as "different kinds of Thai". [19]

Dialects

Central Plains Thai

Capital Core Thai (Thai of Chinese origin)

Upper Central Thai (Sukhothai dialects)

Southwestern Thai (Tenasserim Thai)

Khorat Thai

Registers

Central Thai is composed of several distinct registers, forms for different social contexts:

Most Thais can speak and understand all of these contexts. Street and Elegant Thai are the basis of all conversations. [20] [ citation needed ] Rhetorical, religious, and royal Thai are taught in schools as part of the national curriculum.

Script

Thai is written in the Thai script, an abugida written from left to right. Many scholars believe[ citation needed ] that it is derived from the Khmer script. Certainly the numbers were lifted directly from Khmer. The language and its script are closely related to the Lao language and script. Most literate Lao are able to read and understand Thai, as more than half of the Thai vocabulary, grammar, intonation, vowels and so forth are common with the Lao language.

The Thais adopted and modified the Khmer script to create their own writing system. While in Thai the pronunciation can largely be inferred from the script, the orthography is complex, with silent letters to preserve original spellings and many letters representing the same sound. While the oldest known inscription in the Khmer language dates from 611 CE, inscriptions in Thai writing began to appear around 1292 CE. Notable features include:

  1. It is an abugida script, in which the implicit vowel is a short /a/ in a syllable without final consonant and a short /o/ in a syllable with final consonant.
  2. Tone markers, if present, are placed above the final onset consonant of the syllable.
  3. Vowels sounding after an initial consonant can be located before, after, above or below the consonant, or in a combination of these positions.

Transcription

There is no universally applied method for transcribing Thai into the Latin alphabet. For example, the name of the main airport is transcribed variously as Suvarnabhumi, Suwannaphum, or Suwunnapoom. Guide books, textbooks and dictionaries may each follow different systems. For this reason, most language courses recommend that learners master the Thai script.[ citation needed ]

Official standards are the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS), published by the Royal Institute of Thailand, [21] and the almost identical ISO 11940-2 defined by the International Organization for Standardization. The RTGS system is increasingly used in Thailand by central and local governments, especially for road signs. [22] Its main drawbacks are that it does not indicate tone or vowel length. As the system is based on pronunciation, not orthography, reconstruction of Thai spelling from RTGS romanisation is not possible.

Transliteration

The ISO published an international standard for the transliteration of Thai into Roman script in September 2003 (ISO 11940). [23] By adding diacritics to the Latin letters it makes the transcription reversible, making it a true transliteration. Notably, this system is used by Google Translate, although it does not seem to appear in many other contexts, such as textbooks and other instructional media.

Phonology

Consonants

Initials

Standard Thai distinguishes three voice-onset times among plosive and affricate consonants:

Where English makes a distinction between voiced /b/ and unvoiced aspirated /pʰ/, Thai distinguishes a third sound - the unvoiced, unaspirated /p/ that occurs in English only as an allophone of /pʰ/, for example after an /s/ as in the sound of the p in "spin". There is similarly an alveolar /d/, /t/, /tʰ/ triplet in Thai. In the velar series there is a /k/, /kʰ/ pair and in the postalveolar series a /t͡ɕ/, /t͡ɕʰ/ pair, but the language lacks the corresponding voiced sounds /ɡ/ and /dʑ/. (In loanwords from English, English /ɡ/ and /d͡ʒ/ are borrowed as the tenuis stops /k/ and /t͡ɕ/.)

In each cell below, the first line indicates International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), the second indicates the Thai characters in initial position (several letters appearing in the same box have identical pronunciation). The letter ห, one of the two h letters, is also used to help write certain tones (described below).

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal [m]
[n]
ณ,น
[ŋ]
Plosive voiced [b]
[d]
ฎ,ฑ,ด
tenuis [p]
[t]
ฏ,ต
[k]
[ʔ]
**
aspirated [pʰ]
ผ,พ,ภ
[tʰ]
ฐ,ฑ,ฒ,ถ,ท,ธ
[kʰ]
ข,ฃ,ค,ฅ,ฆ*
Affricate tenuis [tɕ]
aspirated [tɕʰ]
ฉ,ช,ฌ
Fricative [f]
ฝ,ฟ
[s]
ซ,ศ,ษ,ส
[h]
ห,ฮ
Approximant [l]
ล,ฬ
[j]
ญ,ย
[w]
Trill [r]

* ฃ and ฅ are no longer used. Thus, modern Thai is said to have 42 consonant letters.
** Initial อ is silent and therefore considered as a glottal stop.


Finals

Although the overall 44 Thai consonant letters provide 21 sounds in case of initials, the case for finals is different. For finals, only eight sounds, as well as no sound, called mātrā ( มาตรา ) are used. To demonstrate, at the end of a syllable, บ (/b/) and ด (/d/) are devoiced, becoming pronounced as /p/ and /t/ respectively. Additionally, all plosive sounds are unreleased. Hence, final /p/, /t/, and /k/ sounds are pronounced as [p̚], [t̚], and [k̚] respectively.

Of the consonant letters, excluding the disused ฃ and ฅ, six (ฉ ผ ฝ ห อ ฮ) cannot be used as a final and the other 36 are grouped as following.

Labial Alveolar Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal [m]
[n]
ญ,ณ,น,ร,ล,ฬ
[ŋ]
Plosive [p̚]
บ,ป,พ,ฟ,ภ
[t̚]
จ,ช,ซ,ฌ,ฎ,ฏ,ฐ,ฑ,
ฒ,ด,ต,ถ,ท,ธ,ศ,ษ,ส
[k̚]
ก,ข,ค,ฆ
[ʔ]*
 
Approximant [w]
[j]
* The glottal plosive appears at the end when no final follows a short vowel

Clusters

In Thai, each syllable in a word is considered separate from the others, so combinations of consonants from adjacent syllables are never recognised as a cluster. Thai has phonotactical constraints that define permissible syllable structure, consonant clusters, and vowel sequences. Original Thai vocabulary introduces only 11 combined consonantal patterns:

  • /kr/ (กร), /kl/ (กล), /kw/ (กว)
  • /kʰr/ (ขร,คร), /kʰl/ (ขล,คล), /kʰw/ (ขว,คว)
  • /pr/ (ปร), /pl/ (ปล)
  • /pʰr/ (พร), /pʰl/ (ผล,พล)
  • /tr/ (ตร)

The number of clusters increases when a few more combinations are presented in loanwords such as /tʰr/ (ทร) in อินทรา (/intʰraː/, from Sanskrit indrā) or /fr/ (ฟร) in ฟรี (/friː/, from English free); however, it can be observed that Thai language supports only those in initial position, with either /r/, /l/, or /w/ as the second consonant sound and not more than two sounds at a time.

Vowels

The vowel nuclei of the Thai language are given in the following table. The top entry in every cell is the symbol from the International Phonetic Alphabet, the second entry gives the spelling in the Thai alphabet, where a dash (–) indicates the position of the initial consonant after which the vowel is pronounced. A second dash indicates that a final consonant must follow.

Monophthongs of Thai. From Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993:25) harvcoltxt error: no target: CITEREFTingsabadh_&_Abramson1993 (help) Thai vowel chart (monophthongs).svg
Monophthongs of Thai. From Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993 :25)
Diphthongs of Thai. From Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993:25) harvcoltxt error: no target: CITEREFTingsabadh_&_Abramson1993 (help) Thai vowel chart (diphthongs).png
Diphthongs of Thai. From Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993 :25)
  Front Back
Unrounded Rounded
shortlongshortlongshortlong
High /i/
 -ิ 
/iː/
 -ี 
/ɯ/
 -ึ 
/ɯː/
 -ื- 
/u/
 -ุ 
/uː/
 -ู 
Mid /e/
เ-ะ
/eː/
เ-
/ɤ/
เ-อะ
/ɤː/
เ-อ
/o/
โ-ะ
/oː/
โ-
Low /ɛ/
แ-ะ
/ɛː/
แ-
/a/
-ะ, -ั-
/aː/
-า
/ɔ/
เ-าะ
/ɔː/
-อ

The vowels each exist in long-short pairs: these are distinct phonemes forming unrelated words in Thai, [24] but usually transliterated the same: เขา (khao) means "he" or "she", while ขาว (khao) means "white".

The long-short pairs are as follows:

LongShort
ThaiIPAExampleThaiIPAExample
–า/aː/ ฝาน /fǎːn/'to slice'–ะ/a/ ฝัน /fǎn/'to dream'
–ี /iː/ กรีด /krìːt/'to cut'–ิ /i/ กริช /krìt/'kris'
–ู /uː/ สูด /sùːt/'to inhale'–ุ /u/ สุด /sùt/'rearmost'
เ–/eː/ เอน /ʔēːn/'to recline'เ–ะ/e/ เอ็น /ʔēn/'tendon, ligament'
แ–/ɛː/ แพ้ /pʰɛ́ː/'to be defeated'แ–ะ/ɛ/ แพะ /pʰɛ́ʔ/'goat'
–ื- /ɯː/ คลื่น /kʰlɯ̂ːn/'wave'–ึ /ɯ/ ขึ้น /kʰɯ̂n/'to go up'
เ–อ/ɤː/ เดิน /dɤ̄ːn/'to walk'เ–อะ/ɤ/ เงิน /ŋɤ̄n/'silver'
โ–/oː/ โค่น /kʰôːn/'to fell'โ–ะ/o/ ข้น /kʰôn/'thick (soup)'
–อ/ɔː/ กลอง /klɔːŋ/'drum'เ–าะ/ɔ/ กล่อง /klɔ̀ŋ/'box'

There are also opening and closing diphthongs in Thai, which Tingsabadh & Abramson (1993) analyze as underlyingly /Vj/ and /Vw/. For purposes of determining tone, those marked with an asterisk are sometimes classified as long:

LongShort
Thai scriptIPAThai scriptIPA
–าย/aːj/ไ–*, ใ–*, ไ–ย, -ัย/aj/
–าว/aːw/เ–า*/aw/
เ–ีย/iːə/เ–ียะ/iə/
–ิว/iw/
–ัว/uːə/–ัวะ/uə/
–ูย/uːj/–ุย/uj/
เ–ว/eːw/เ–็ว/ew/
แ–ว/ɛːw/
เ–ือ/ɯːə/เ–ือะ/ɯə/
เ–ย/ɤːj/
–อย/ɔːj/
โ–ย/oːj/

Additionally, there are three triphthongs. For purposes of determining tone, those marked with an asterisk are sometimes classified as long:

Thai scriptIPA
เ–ียว*/iəw/
–วย*/uəj/
เ–ือย*/ɯəj/

Tones

Mid tone (Thai).png
Low tone (Thai).png
Falling tone (Thai).png
High tone (Thai).png
Rising tone (Thai).png
The five phonemic tones of Standard Thai pronounced with the syllable '/naː/':

There are five phonemic tones: mid, low, falling, high, and rising, sometimes referred to in older reference works as rectus, gravis, circumflexus, altus, and demissus, respectively. [25] The table shows an example of both the phonemic tones and their phonetic realization, in the IPA.

Thai language tone chart Thai tones.svg
Thai language tone chart

Notes:

  1. Five-level tone value: Mid [33], Low [21], Falling [43], High [44], Rising [323]. Traditionally, the high tone was recorded as either [44] or [45]. This remains true for the older generation, but the high tone is changing to [334] among youngsters. [26] [27]
  2. For the diachronic changes of tone value, please see Pittayaporn (2007). [28]
  3. The full complement of tones exists only in so-called "live syllables", those that end in a long vowel or a sonorant (/m/, /n/, /ŋ/, /j/, /w/).
  4. For "dead syllables", those that end in a plosive (/p/, /t/, /k/) or in a short vowel, only three tonal distinctions are possible: low, high, and falling. Because syllables analyzed as ending in a short vowel may have a final glottal stop (especially in slower speech), all "dead syllables" are phonetically checked, and have the reduced tonal inventory characteristic of checked syllables.

Unchecked syllables

ToneThaiExamplePhonemicPhoneticGloss
midสามัญคา/kʰāː/[kʰaː˧]stick
lowเอกข่า/kʰàː/[kʰaː˨˩] or [kʰaː˩]galangal
fallingโทค่า/kʰâː/[kʰaː˥˩]value
highตรีค้า/kʰáː/[kʰaː˦˥] or [kʰaː˥]to trade
risingจัตวาขา/kʰǎː/[kʰaː˩˩˦] or [kʰaː˩˦]leg

Checked syllables

ToneThaiExamplePhonemicPhoneticGloss
low (short vowel)เอกหมัก/màk/[mak̚˨˩]marinate
low (long vowel)เอกหมาก/màːk/[maːk̚˨˩]areca nut, areca palm, betel, fruit
highตรีมัก/mák/[mak̚˦˥]habitually, likely to
fallingโทมาก/mâːk/[maːk̚˥˩]a lot, abundance, many

In some English loanwords, closed syllables with long vowel ending in an obstruent sound, have high tone, and closed syllables with short vowel ending in an obstruent sound have falling tone.

ToneThaiExamplePhonemicPhoneticGloss
highตรีมาร์ก/máːk/[maːk̚˦˥]Marc, Mark
highตรีสตาร์ต/sa.táːt/[sa.taːt̚˦˥]start
highตรีบาส(เกตบอล)/báːt(.kêt.bɔ̄n)/1[baːt̚˦˥(.ket̚˥˩.bɔn˧)]basketball
fallingโทเมกอัป/méːk.ʔâp/[meːk̚˦˥.ʔap̚˥˩]make-up

1 May be /báːs.kêt.bɔ̄l/ in educated speech.

Grammar

From the perspective of linguistic typology, Thai can be considered to be an analytic language. The word order is subject–verb–object, although the subject is often omitted. Thai pronouns are selected according to the gender and relative status of speaker and audience.

Adjectives and adverbs

There is no morphological distinction between adverbs and adjectives. Many words can be used in either function. They follow the word they modify, which may be a noun, verb, or another adjective or adverb.

Comparatives take the form "A X กว่า B" (kwa, [kwàː]), A is more X than B. The superlative is expressed as "A X ที่สุด" (thi sut, [tʰîːsùt]), A is most X.

Because adjectives can be used as complete predicates, many words used to indicate tense in verbs (see Verbs:Tense below) may be used to describe adjectives.

  • Remark ฉันหิวแล้ว mostly means "I am hungry right now" because normally, แล้ว ([lɛ́ːw]) marks the change of a state, but แล้ว has many other uses as well. For example, in the sentence, แล้วเธอจะไปไหน ([lɛ́ːw tʰɤː tɕ͡àʔ paj nǎj]): So where are you going?, แล้ว ([lɛ́ːw]) is used as a discourse particle.

Verbs

Verbs do not inflect. They do not change with person, tense, voice, mood, or number; nor are there any participles.

The passive voice is indicated by the insertion of ถูก (thuk, [tʰùːk]) before the verb. For example:

To convey the opposite sense, a sense of having an opportunity arrive, ได้ (dai, [dâj], can) is used. For example:

Note, dai ([dâj] and [dâːj]), though both spelled ได้, convey two separate meanings. The short vowel dai ([dâj]) conveys an opportunity has arisen and is placed before the verb. The long vowel dai ([dâːj]) is placed after the verb and conveys the idea that one has been given permission or one has the ability to do something. Also see the past tense below.

Negation is indicated by placing ไม่ (mai,[mâj] not) before the verb.

Tense is conveyed by tense markers before or after the verb.

Present can be indicated by กำลัง (kamlang, [kamlaŋ], currently) before the verb for ongoing action (like English -ing form), by อยู่ (yu, [jùː]) after the verb, or by both. For example:
  • เขากำลังวิ่ง (khao kamlang wing, [kʰǎw kamlaŋ wîŋ]), or
  • เขาวิ่งอยู่ (khao wing yu, [kʰǎw wîŋ jùː]), or
  • เขากำลังวิ่งอยู่ (khao kamlang wing yu, [kʰǎw kamlaŋ wîŋ jùː]), He is running.
Future can be indicated by จะ (cha, [t͡ɕaʔ], "will") before the verb or by a time expression indicating the future. For example:
  • เขาจะวิ่ง (khao cha wing, [kʰǎw t͡ɕaʔ wîŋ]), He will run or He is going to run.
Past can be indicated by ได้ (dai, [dâːj], "did") before the verb or by a time expression indicating the past. However, แล้ว (laeo, :[lɛ́ːw], already) is often used to indicate the past tense by being placed behind the verb. Or, both ได้ and แล้ว are put together to form the past tense expression. For example:
  • เขาได้กิน (khao dai kin, [kʰǎw dâːj kin]), He ate.
  • เขากินแล้ว (khao kin laeo, [kʰǎw kin lɛ́ːw], He has eaten.
  • เขาได้กินแล้ว (khao dai kin laeo, [kʰǎw dâːj kin lɛ́ːw]), He's already eaten.

Tense markers are not required.

  • ฉันกินที่นั่น (chan kin thinan, [t͡ɕʰǎn kin tʰîːnân]), I eat there.
  • ฉันกินที่นั่นเมื่อวาน (chan kin thinan mueawan), I ate there yesterday.
  • ฉันกินที่นั่นพรุ่งนี้ (chan kin thinan phrungni), I'll eat there tomorrow.

Thai exhibits serial verb constructions, where verbs are strung together. Some word combinations are common and may be considered set phrases.

Nouns

Nouns are uninflected and have no gender; there are no articles.

Nouns are neither singular nor plural. Some specific nouns are reduplicated to form collectives: เด็ก (dek, child) is often repeated as เด็ก ๆ (dek dek) to refer to a group of children. The word พวก (phuak, [pʰûak]) may be used as a prefix of a noun or pronoun as a collective to pluralize or emphasise the following word. (พวกผม, phuak phom, [pʰûak pʰǒm], we, masculine; พวกเรา phuak rao, [pʰûak raw], emphasised we; พวกหมา phuak ma, (the) dogs). Plurals are expressed by adding classifiers, used as measure words (ลักษณนาม), in the form of noun-number-classifier (ครูห้าคน, "teacher five person" for "five teachers"). While in English, such classifiers are usually absent ("four chairs") or optional ("two bottles of beer" or "two beers"), a classifier is almost always used in Thai (hence "chair four item" and "beer two bottle").

Possession in Thai is indicated by adding the word "khong" in front of the noun or pronoun, but it may often be omitted. For example:

Pronouns

Subject pronouns are often omitted, with nicknames used where English would use a pronoun. See informal and formal names for more details. Pronouns, when used, are ranked in honorific registers, and may also make a T–V distinction in relation to kinship and social status. Specialised pronouns are used for those with royal and noble titles, and for clergy. The following are appropriate for conversational use:

Word RTGS IPA Meaning
ผมphom[pʰǒm]I/me (masculine; formal)
ดิฉันdichan[dìʔt͡ɕʰán])I/me (feminine; formal)
ฉันchan[t͡ɕʰǎn]I/me (mainly used by women; informal) Commonly pronounced as [t͡ɕʰán]
เราrao[raw]we/us, I/me (casual), you (sometimes used but only when older person speaks to younger person)
คุณkhun[kʰun]you (polite)
ท่านthan[tʰân]you (highly honorific)
เธอthoe[tʰɤː]you (informal), she/her (informal)
พี่phi[pʰîː]older brother, sister (also used for older acquaintances)
น้องnong[nɔːŋ]younger brother, sister (also used for younger acquaintances)
เขาkhao[kʰǎw]he/him, she/her
มันman[man]it, he/she (sometimes casual or offensive if used to refer to a person)

The reflexive pronoun is ตัวเอง (tua eng), which can mean any of: myself, yourself, ourselves, himself, herself, themselves. This can be mixed with another pronoun to create an intensive pronoun, such as ตัวผมเอง (tua phom eng, lit: I myself) or ตัวคุณเอง (tua khun eng, lit: you yourself). Thai also does not have a separate possessive pronoun. Instead, possession is indicated by the particle ของ (khong). For example, "my mother" is แม่ของผม (mae khong phom, lit: mother of I). This particle is often implicit, so the phrase is shortened to แม่ผม (mae phom). Plural pronouns can be easily constructed by adding the word พวก (phuak) in front of a singular pronoun as in พวกเขา (phuak khao) meaning they or พวกเธอ (phuak thoe) meaning the plural sense of you. The only exception to this is เรา (rao), which can be used as singular (informal) or plural, but can also be used in the form of พวกเรา (phuak rao), which is only plural.

Thai has many more pronouns than those listed above. Their usage is full of nuances. For example:

Particles

The particles are often untranslatable words added to the end of a sentence to indicate respect, a request, encouragement or other moods (similar to the use of intonation in English), as well as varying the level of formality. They are not used in elegant (written) Thai. The most common particles indicating respect are ครับ (khrap, [kʰráp], with a high tone) when the speaker is male, and ค่ะ (kha, [kʰâ], with a falling tone) when the speaker is female. Used in a question or a request, the particle ค่ะ (falling tone) is changed to a คะ (high tone).

Other common particles are:

Word RTGS IPA Meaning
จ๊ะcha/ja[t͡ɕáʔ]indicating a request
จ้ะ, จ้า or จ๋าcha/ja[t͡ɕâː]indicating emphasis
ละ or ล่ะla[láʔ]indicating emphasis
สิsi[sìʔ]indicating emphasis or an imperative
นะna[náʔ]softening; indicating a request

Register

As noted above, Thai has several registers, each having certain usages, such as colloquial, formal, literary, and poetic. Thus, the word "eat" can be กิน (kin; common), แดก (daek; vulgar), ยัด (yat; vulgar), บริโภค (boriphok; formal), รับประทาน (rapprathan; formal), ฉัน (chan; religious), or เสวย (sawoei; royal), as illustrated below:

"to eat" IPA UsageNote
กิน/kīn/common
แดก/dɛ̀ːk/vulgar
ยัด/ját/vulgarOriginal meaning is 'to cram'
บริโภค/bɔ̄ː.ri.pʰôːk/formal, literary
รับประทาน/ráp.pra.tʰāːn/formal, politeOften shortened to ทาน /tʰāːn/.
ฉัน/t͡ɕʰǎn/religious
เสวย/sa.wɤ̌ːj/royal

Thailand also uses the distinctive Thai six-hour clock in addition to the 24-hour clock.

Vocabulary

Other than compound words and words of foreign origin, most words are monosyllabic.

Chinese-language influence was strong until the 13th century when the use of Chinese characters was abandoned, and replaced by Sanskrit and Pali scripts. However, the vocabulary of Thai retains many words borrowed from Middle Chinese. [30] [31] [32]

Later most vocabulary was borrowed from Sanskrit and Pāli; Buddhist terminology is particularly indebted to these. Indic words have a more formal register, and may be compared to Latin and French borrowings in English. Old Khmer has also contributed its share, especially in regard to royal court terminology. Since the beginning of the 20th century, however, the English language has had the greatest influence, especially for scientific, technical, international, and other modern terms. Many Teochew Chinese words are also used, some replacing existing Thai words (for example, the names of basic numbers; see also Sino-Xenic).[ citation needed ]

OriginExample IPA Gloss
Native Tai ไฟ
น้ำ
เมือง
รุ่งเรือง
/fāj/
/náːm/
/mɯ̄əŋ/
/rûŋ.rɯ̄əŋ/
fire
water
city
prosperous
Indic sources:
Pali or Sanskrit
อัคนี
ชล
นคร
วิโรจน์
/ʔāk.kʰa.nīː/
/t͡ɕōn/
/náʔ.kʰɔ̄ːn/
/wíʔ.rôːt/
fire
water
city
prosperous

Arabic-origin

Arabic wordsThai renditionIPAGloss
الْقُرْآن‎ (al-qurʾān) or قُرْآن (qurʾān)อัลกุรอาน or โกหร่าน/an.kù.rá.aːn/ or /kō.ràːn/ Quran
رجم (rajm)ระยำ/rá.jam/bad, vile (pejorative)

Chinese-origin

From Middle Chinese or Teochew Chinese.

Chinese wordsThai renditionIPAGloss
交椅 (teochew: gao1 in2)เก้าอี้/kâw.ʔîː/chair
粿條 / 粿条 (min nan: kóe-tiâu) ก๋วยเตี๋ยว /kǔəj.tǐəw/ rice noodle
(hokkien: chiá/ché, teochew:2/zia2)เจ้ or เจ๊/t͡ɕêː/ or /t͡ɕéː/older sister (used in Chinese community in Thailand)
(hokkien: jī, teochew: ri6)ยี่/jîː/two (archaic), but still used in word ยี่สิบ (/jîː.sìp/; twenty)
(middle chinese: dəuH)ถั่ว/tʰùə/bean
(middle chinese: ʔɑŋX/ʔɑŋH)อ่าง/ʔàːŋ/basin
(middle chinese: kˠau)กาว/kāːw/glue
(middle chinese: kˠæŋX)ก้าง/kâːŋ/fishbone
(middle chinese: kʰʌmX)ขุม/kʰǔm/pit
(middle chinese: duo/ɖˠa)ทา/tʰāː/to smear
退 (middle chinese: tʰuʌiH)ถอย/tʰɔ̌j/to step back

English-origin

English wordsThai renditionIPARemark
bankแบงก์/bɛ́ːŋ/means bank or banknote
billบิล/biw/ or /bin/
cakeเค้ก/kʰéːk/
captainกัปตัน/kàp.tān/
cartoonการ์ตูน/kāː.tūːn/
clinicคลินิก/kʰlīː.nìk/
computerคอมพิวเตอร์/kʰɔ̄m.pʰíw.tɤ̂ː/colloquially shortened to คอม /kʰɔ̄m/
corruptionคอรัปชั่น/kʰɔː.ráp.tɕʰân/
dieselดีเซล/dīː.sēn/
dinosaurไดโนเสาร์/dāi.nōː.sǎu/
duelดวล/dūən/
emailอีเมล/ʔīː.mēːw/
fashionแฟชั่น/fɛ̄ː.t͡ɕʰân/
golfกอล์ฟ/kɔ́ːp/
governmentกัดฟันมัน/kàt.fān.mān/(obsolete)
graphกราฟ/kráːp/ or /káːp/
plasticพลาสติก/pʰláːt.sà.tìk/(educated speech)
/pʰát.tìk/
quotaโควตา/kwōː.tâː/
shampooแชมพู/t͡ɕʰɛ̄m.pʰūː/
suitสูท/sùːt/
suiteสวีท/sà.wìːt/
taxiแท็กซี่/tʰɛ́k.sîː/
technologyเทคโนโลยี/tʰék.nōː.lōː.jîː/
titaniumไทเทเนียม/tʰāj.tʰēː.nîəm/
visaวีซ่า/wīː.sâː/
wreath(พวง)หรีด/rìːt/

French-origin

French wordsThai renditionIPARemark
avalอาวัล/ʔāː.wān/
buffetบุฟเฟต์/búp.fêː/
caféคาเฟ่/kāː.fɛ̄ː/
chauffeurโชเฟอร์/t͡ɕʰōː.fɤ̀ː/
consulกงสุล/kōŋ.sǔn/
couponคูปอง/kʰūː.pɔ̄ŋ/
pain(ขนม)ปัง/pāŋ/means bread
parquetปาร์เกต์/pāː.kêː/
pétanqueเปตอง/pēː.tɔ̄ŋ/

Khmer-origin

From Old Khmer.

Khmer wordsThai renditionIPAGloss
ក្រុង (grong)กรุง/krūŋ/capital city
ខ្ទើយ (ktəəy)กะเทย/kà.tɤ̄ːj/ Kathoey
ច្រមុះ (chrâmuh)จมูก/t͡ɕà.mùːk/nose
ច្រើន (craən)เจริญ/t͡ɕà.rɤ̄ːn/prosperous
ឆ្លាត/ឆ្លាស (chlāt)ฉลาด/t͡ɕʰà.làːt/smart
ថ្នល់ (thenâl)ถนน/tʰà.nǒn/road
ភ្លើង (pləəŋ)เพลิง/pʰlɤ̄ːŋ/fire
ទន្លេ (tonle)ทะเล/tʰá.lēː/sea

Portuguese-origin

The Portuguese were the first Western nation to arrive in what is modern-day Thailand in the 16th century during the Ayutthaya period. Their influence in trade, especially weaponry, allowed them to establish a community just outside the capital and practice their faith, as well as exposing and converting the locals to Christianity. Thus, Portuguese words involving trade and religion were introduced and used by the locals.

Portuguese wordsThai renditionIPAGloss
carta / cartaz กระดาษ/krà.dàːt/paper
garça (นก)กระสา/krà.sǎː/ heron
leilão เลหลัง/lēː.lǎŋ/auction or low-priced
padre บาท(หลวง)/bàːt.lǔaŋ/(Christian) priest [33]
real เหรียญ/rǐan/coin
sabão สบู่/sà.bùː/soap

See also

Notes

  1. In Thai: ภาษาไทย Phasa Thai
  2. Not to be confused with Central Tai
  3. Although "Thai" and "Central Thai" has become more common, the older term "Siamese" is still used by linguists, especially to distinguish it from other Tai languages (Diller 2008:6[ full citation needed ]). "Proto-Thai", for example, is the ancestor of all of Southwestern Tai, not just of Siamese (Rischel 1998[ full citation needed ]).
  4. Occasionally referred to as the "Central Thai people" in linguistics and anthropology to avoid confusion.
  5. The glottalized stops /ʔb ʔd/ were unaffected, as they were treated in every respect like voiceless unaspirated stops due to the initial glottal stop. These stops are often described in the modern language as phonemically plain stops /b d/, but the glottalization is still commonly heard.
  6. Modern Lao and northern Thai dialects are often described as having six tones, but these are not necessarily due to preservation of the original six tones resulting from the tone split. For example, in standard Lao, both the high and low variants of Old Thai tone 2 merged; however, the mid-class variant of tone 1 became pronounced differently from either the high-class or low-class variants, and all three eventually became phonemic due to further changes, e.g. /kr/ > /kʰ/. For similar reasons, Lao has developed more than two tonal distinctions in "dead" syllables.
  7. These dialects are oftentimes stereotype as Krung Thep dialects by outsiders.

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Lao script or Akson Lao is the primary script used to write the Lao language and other minority languages in Laos. It was also used to write the Isan language, but was replaced by the Thai script. It has 27 consonants, 7 consonantal ligatures, 33 vowels, and 4 tone marks.

The Shan language is the native language of the Shan people and is mostly spoken in Shan State, Burma. It is also spoken in pockets of Kachin State in Burma, in Northern Thailand and decreasingly in Assam. Shan is a member of the Tai–Kadai language family and is related to Thai. It has five tones, which do not correspond exactly to Thai tones, plus a "sixth tone" used for emphasis. It is called Tai Yai or Tai Long in the Tai languages.

Southern Thai, also known as Pak Thai or Dambro, is a Southwestern Tai ethnolinguistic identity and language spoken in the fourteen provinces of southern Thailand as well as by small communities in the northernmost Malaysian states. It is spoken by roughly five million people, and as a second language by the 1.5 million speakers of Pattani and other ethnic groups such as the local Thai Chinese communities, Negritos, and other tribal groups. Most speakers are also fluent in or understand the Central Thai dialects.

Tai Lue or Tai Lɯ, Tai Lü, Thai Lue, Tai Le, Xishuangbanna Dai is a Tai language of the Lu people, spoken by about 700,000 people in Southeast Asia. This includes 280,000 people in China (Yunnan), 200,000 in Burma, 134,000 in Laos, 83,000 in Thailand, and 4,960 in Vietnam. The language is similar to other Tai languages and is closely related to Kham Mueang or Tai Yuan, which is also known as Northern Thai language. In Yunnan, it is spoken in all of Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, as well as Jiangcheng Hani and Yi Autonomous County in Pu'er City.

Mizo language Tibeto-Burman language spoken in India and Burma

The Mizo language, or Mizo ṭawng, is a Kuki-Chin-Mizo language belonging to the Tibeto-Burman family of languages, spoken natively by the Mizo people in the Mizoram state of India and Chin State in Burma. The language is also known as Duhlian, a colonial term, as the Duhlian people were the first among the Mizos to be encountered by the British in the course of their colonial expansion. The Mizo language is mainly based on Lusei dialect but it has also derived many words from its surrounding Mizo sub-tribes and sub-clan. Now, Mizo language or Mizo ṭawng is the lingua franca of Mizoram and its surrounding areas and to a lesser extent of Burma and Bangladesh and in India in some parts of Assam, Tripura and Manipur. Many poetic language is derived from Pawi, Paite, and Hmar, and most known ancient poems considered to be Mizo are actually in Pawi. Mizo is the official language of Mizoram, along with English, and there have been efforts to have it included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India.

Kensiu (Kensiw) is an Austro-Asiatic language of the Jahaic subbranch. It is spoken by a small community of 300 in Yala Province in southern Thailand and also reportedly by a community of approximately 300 speakers in Western Malaysia in Perak and Kedah States. Speakers of this language are Negritos who are known as the Mani people or Maniq of Thailand.

Proto-Tai is the reconstructed proto-language of all the Tai languages, including modern Lao, Shan, Tai Lü, Tai Dam, Ahom, Northern Thai, Standard Thai, Bouyei, and Zhuang. The Proto-Tai language is not directly attested by any surviving texts, but has been reconstructed using the comparative method.

This article discusses the phonology of the Inuit languages. Unless otherwise noted, statements refer to Inuktitut dialects of Canada.

Tai Daeng language

Tai Daeng, Táy-Môc-Châu or Red Tai is the language of the Tai Daeng people of northwestern Vietnam and across the border into northeastern Laos. It belongs to the Tai language family, being closely connected with Black Tai and White Tai, as well as being more distantly related to the language spoken in modern Thailand, heretofore referred to as Siamese. Classified as part of the Thái official ethnic community in Vietnam and of the Phu Tai composite group in Laos. However, speakers in Vietnam tend to identify with Black Tai, or Tai Dam, thus denying that they are Red Tai.

The Aiton language or Tai Aiton language is spoken in Assam, India. It is currently classified as a threatened language, with less than two thousand speakers worldwide. Its other names include Antonia and Sham Doaniya.

Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic area Geolinguistic region sharing areal features such as tonality

The Mainland Southeast Asia linguistic area is a sprachbund including languages of the Sino-Tibetan, Hmong–Mien, Kra–Dai, Austronesian and Austroasiatic families spoken in an area stretching from Thailand to China. Neighbouring languages across these families, though presumed unrelated, often have similar typological features, which are believed to have spread by diffusion. James Matisoff referred to this area as the "Sinosphere", contrasted with the "Indosphere", but viewed it as a zone of mutual influence in the ancient period.

Proto-Min is a comparative reconstruction of the common ancestor of the Min group of varieties of Chinese. Min varieties developed in the relative isolation of the Chinese province of Fujian and eastern Guangdong, and have since spread to Taiwan, southeast Asia and other parts of the world. They contain reflexes of distinctions not found in Middle Chinese or most other modern varieties, and thus provide additional data for the reconstruction of Old Chinese.

References

Citations

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  30. Martin Haspelmath, Uri Tadmor Loanwords in the World's Languages: A Comparative Handbook 2009 -- Page 611 "Thai is of special interest to lexical borrowing for various reasons. The copious borrowing of basic vocabulary from Middle Chinese and later from Khmer indicates that, given the right sociolinguistic context, such vocabulary is not at all immune ..."
  31. Harald Haarmann Language in Ethnicity: A View of Basic Ecological Relations 1986- Page 165 "In Thailand, for instance, where the Chinese influence was strong until the Middle Ages, Chinese characters were abandoned in written Thai in the course of the thirteenth century."
  32. Paul A. Leppert Doing Business With Thailand -1992 Page 13 "At an early time the Thais used Chinese characters. But, under the influence of Indian traders and monks, they soon dropped Chinese characters in favor of Sanskrit and Pali scripts."
  33. สยาม-โปรตุเกสศึกษา: คำเรียก "ชา กาแฟ" ใครลอกใคร ไทย หรือ โปรตุเกส

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