Do you speak Thai? Do you find it particularly peaceful when you listen to a conversation in Thai? Does language make the person who use it sound more polite or is it the people who are inherently courteous and when the language is spoken, it projects graciousness?
You would have read or experienced it yourself that the Thais are always smiling, pleasant, humble and patient. They laugh easily, speak softly and they treat you as if you are always the guest-of-honor. The expression Mai Pen Rai, which loosely means “never mind”, characterizes that the Thai people general focus in life is to “enjoy life – never mind”. That may summarize why they are always seem to be in a state of bliss.
For a nation who is so proud of their heritage and the fact that they have never been ruled by any Western power, it is not surprising that Thailand’s revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej insisted on the preservation of their very own usage of the Thai language.
On July 29, 1962, more than fifty years ago, King Bhumibol visited Chulalongkorn University to join the academicians in a discussion on the ways Thai words are used. He emphasized on the importance of using the language in its proper context and pronunciation. He is concerned of the overuse of foreign words that has influenced its authenticity. Even if the younger generation is to introduce new words into a sentence structure, it would be beneficial to master the Thai language first.
To increase awareness of the King’s utmost concern, and to preserve their language, the government has proclaimed July 29 each year, since 1999, to be National Thai Language Day.
Leading to the day where all Thai people will be practicing the proper use of the language, let us join in the fun by learning a few phrases ourselves:
Hello – sà-wàt-dee
How are you? – sà-baai dee rĕu?
I’m fine – If you are male, say “sà-baai dee króp”. If you are female, say “sà-baai dee kâ”
Please to meet you – yin dee têe dâi róo jàk
Good morning or evening – If you are male, say “sà-wàt-dee kráp”. If you are female, say “sà-wàt-dee kâ”
How much is this? – raa-kaa tâo rài?
Thank you – kòp kun
You will always be pleasantly treated when you are in someone’s house or in a foreign land when you appreciate someone’s culture where it leads you to respect their customs and practices as well. One of the world’s widely accepted gesture which transcends any language you speak anywhere in the world is to smile. Then, the best way to travel is to master a few good phrases when you are in a country and speak the words with a broadest smile.
Happy National Thai Language Day 2014.