Why Thai is Easy – TOP 5 Reasons of why Thai Language is not as hard as you think

I have heard numerous time why Thai is a “difficult language” by some expats living in Thailand (and you can search on the internet by yourself to see people think this is the case). For that reason, I want to discuss some of the reasons that will show you why Thai may not be as hard as you think.

Please bear in mind that it’s just an opinion from a Thai dude that has studied English, Japanese and a little Korean (and this entirely covers the easy aspects not the hard ones).

If you have any topics that you want me to discuss, or if you want to see something in Ubon Ratchathani, please let me know in the comments and I’ll try my best to show you there.

I live in Ubon Ratchathani and this video is a part of my Thailand Insights series where I am going to express my point of view from a Thai person perspective.

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I do not own the music in this video. The music are from the Youtube audio library.

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35 Replies to “Why Thai is Easy – TOP 5 Reasons of why Thai Language is not as hard as you think”

  1. PowerNoob9000

    Thai people don't want you to learn their language. Most of the time they want to be able to talk shit about you. They will also feel inferior if a foreigner can speak Thai while they can't speak any other language.

  2. Glenn Jones

    yea, I struggle with thai and I know I mess it up pretty good, and of course I then get the saying "Oh! Khun poot thai geng", which is a bit of satire and poking fun at my speaking ability…. OK, I still enjoy trying.

  3. Chris Crookson

    Thanks Kittichai. I found that really useful. So few of the Youtube videos that teach Thai, explain this. As for the tones, I'll stop worrying now and just go for it! You really should start a Thai language Vlog. You simplify everything and at the same time make everything great fun! Thank you 😁

  4. chkt

    Thai is a difficult language to learn in the sense that there are a lack of resources to study from. Just go look at Thai learning materials vs English learning materials. Many foreigners can only speak very basic baby-level Thai with very few reaching intermediate or advanced level, maybe only 1-2 percent. Most Thais aren't willing to engage foreigners in Thai and Thai tutors don't teach beyond basic level Thai. Farang roo maak mai dee.

  5. paul h

    Kittichai I can speak thai at a reasonable level the thai like it when im in Thailand its a different story in my own country Australia when I go to a thai restaurant and speak thai to then they snice to bit wired about it

  6. Gar Nelson

    I'll certainly agree, Thai grammar is far easier than English grammar. English grammar is a nightmare for English as a second language students. Thai is so much more friendly. But, listening for tones in Thai is also a nightmare. And maybe 80% of Thais would understand my mispronunciation, but I'm guessing the other 20% live in Udon. 555

  7. ThäSwissKunt

    as u said thai can be easy but in my opinion it is hard bc of two reasons:
    -the writting 44 characters (other languages like vietnamese or indo use latin letters)
    but from my 4 months thai experience and what i heard from other people i can tell that thais will understand any simple sentence without me knowing about which kind of tones to use at all:)
    having smalltalk with locals as a farang talot sanuk susut naaaa kraaab

  8. Alex Abedi

    As much as I love your videos, but I think this one has some issues.

    1. About singular and plural:
    You say there are no singular and plural in Thai. But I disagree. Of course ผู้ชาย can mean man or men, but in most cases where you would use the plural in English you need the classifier in Thai. I just can't say I have 3 houses or he has many houses. I would need to say: ฉันมีบ้านสามหลัง เขามีบ้านหลายหลัง so you need to learn every classifier for every noun, and many classifiers have their own classifiers. This is really really hard for foreigners and I would dare to say that it is much harder then the simple plural concept in English.

    2. About no male/female:
    This is maybe the hardest part in Thai for a foreigner. The personal pronouns…. First you learn that ฉัน is used for female speakers and ผม is used for male speakers. Than you learn that male speaker can use ฉัน too and than you see that you can use ฉัน ดีฉัน ผม กระผม เรา เค้า หนู น้อง พี่ กู (and so on)for the personal pronoun I. It doesn't stop there, in your example
    You have used เขา…. If you don't know the context, this could mean I or him/she. เรา can mean we or I or you, and เธอ can mean you or she…. The whole way of using the personal pronouns right in Thai is maybe impossible for a foreigner.

    3. No tenses
    This is also a very hard thing to learn for foreigners. พรุ่งนี้เราจะไปกรุงเทพ เมื่อวานเขามาหาแลเว ตอนนี้ผมกำลังไปทำงานอยู่ เธอไปไหนมา here are just some examples of tenses in Thai.
    Future tense จะ
    Past perfect: แล้ว
    Present progressive: กำลังverbอยู่
    Present perfect: มา and this one is really tricky as words like มา and ไป don't just mean to come and go, they are time markers and direction markers and have other functions too. To completely understand how to use them is really hard.

    4. Word order
    Yes maybe its SVO, but still it's not easy. You need to know where to place time markers, classifiers, direction markers, question markers and so one. A sentence like: have you been late at work? Would be: ถึงออฟฟิศสายรึเป่ลา and that's not close to the English wordorder. But yes that is still one of the less difficult part of Thai.

    5. Thais will understand you when your tones are off:
    Maybe they could somehow understand, but as long as they can't speak one word English there's will refuse to speak Thai with you unless พูดชัด ถ้าคนต่างชาติพูดไม่ชัดคนไทยก็จะไม่พูดไทยแต่ภาษาอังกฤษ I have made that experience and i have worked my ass off until I have reached a point where Thais speak Thai with me and don't switch to English.

    All in all there is a reason why rarely a Thai speaks correct English and nearly no Farang speaks correct Thai. The languages are just so different, that's it's really hard to get to that point.

  9. Roy

    "Don't worry about tones" hmm… that's not been my experience. Even if I bugger just 1 syllable in a sentence or none at all, some Thais will not understand me. A few reasons that come to mind:
    – they do not wish to engage with me (shy, afraid, can't be bothered etc).
    – they have only ever heard native Thai speakers and are not used to my "accent". I had the same problem at first with Chinese people in Canada when I moved to a big city.
    – some are foreigners themselves and their Thai language is not strong eg Burmese workers

  10. Razor123

    As somebody who has studied Thai for a while now in my experience the hardest parts are: 1. Tones (For a native English speaker it takes a long time to recognize and say the tones correctly) 2. Vowel sounds (When I first started I often mixed up and said the wrong vowel sounds, sometimes changing words. Saying "drum" instead of "medium" for instance) 3. Reading is very difficult because we are used to there being spaces between words. Between that and hidden vowels and silent letters it becomes very difficult to read Thai. Reading definitely requires a better understanding of the language (more than speaking for sure). The most difficult part of Thai language I feel is writing. Even after learning all the characters its really tough to put everything together. I hear that a lot of Thais also have issues writing in Thai correctly.

  11. djrizla420

    I remember talking to a Thai girl and trying to say she was beautiful. I'd listened to the word on Google Translate on my phone, said it a few times to myself, and then told her she was "suay" (สวย) and she gave me a funny look. I realised I must have said it wrong and asked her what I said in English and she told me I'd called her cursed, so I explained what I meant. She then told me I should say "suay" (สวย), but what I actually said "suay" (ซวย)". I said they're the same words and she said no "it's suay not suay" I could literally not tell the difference. it's a rather unfortunate pair of homonyms, you don't want to call a girl cursed when you're trying to say she's beautiful. lol

  12. RugbyLock0914

    The problem with Thai for native English speakers is the fact that it's a tonal language with six differnet tones (IIRC) that can completely change the meaning of the word. These changes in tone are very hard to get, for me at least, and to pronounce. Personally, I would have to be immersed in the language to get it most likely.

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