Thai language, also called Siamese, the standard spoken and literary language of Thailand, belonging to the Tai language family of Southeast Asia. Also spoke in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia. Outside Thailand, the largest concentration of Thai speakers is in Los Angeles, California, where there are an estimated 80,000 Thai immigrants.
Thai freely incorporates foreign words. Perhaps the oldest are Chinese, but recent Chinese loanwords also occur. Hundreds of elegant and literary words are taken from Pāli and Sanskrit, and new words are also coined from Sanskrit roots. There are also loanwords from Khmer (the official language of Cambodia), from 16th-century Portuguese, from Austronesian, and in modern times increasingly from English. The Thai alphabet (instituted in the 13th century ad) derives ultimately from the southern type of Indic script.
The first example of Thai writing is believed by most Thais to be a stone inscription found on a four-sided pillar at Sukhothai, dated 1292 AD. In this inscription King Ramkhamhaeng describes the prosperity of his kingdom, its legal system, the social and economic organisation of society, the benevolence of its ruler and even the invention of the Thai script. In recent years, the authenticity of the inscription has been challenged by a number of academics, both Thai and foreign, but this debate has had little impact beyond a narrow academic circle.
It is based largely on the dialect of Bangkok and its environs in the central region of the country but retains certain consonant distinctions (such as l versus r, kl versus k), which are usually merged in the spoken language but preserved in the orthography.
Other dialects, differing mostly in their tones and to some degree their consonants, are spoken in other major regions of the country. These are Northeastern (e.g., in Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen), Northern (around Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai), and Southern (Songkhla, Nakhon Si Thammarat). The Northeastern dialects are similar to those of Laos.
Thai words are predominantly monosyllabic, but many are polysyllabic. The language makes use of tones to distinguish between otherwise identical words. There are five distinct tones in Thai: mid, low, falling, high, and rising. There are 21 consonant sounds and 9 distinguishable vowel qualities. Inflection is completely lacking in Thai, but word-compounding occurs widely—e.g., khamnam ‘preface’ (literally, ‘word-leading’), and khâwcaj ‘understand’ (literally, ‘enter-heart’). Synonym compounds like hàaŋklaj ‘far distant’ and alliterative compounds like ramádrawaŋ ‘cautious’ add greatly to the expressiveness of the language. Thai word order is quite rigid. The typical sentence contains subject, verb, and object in that order
Thai language on websites ranks on 22nd on its content available on net and it is 1.1% in terms of percentage.
This language has about 60 million speakers in the world.