Thai language facts:

Official language based on Bangkok speech; an analytic language with 5 tones; Indic derived alphabetic writing system; Pali-Sanskrit loanwords form a large part of vocabulary.

The Thai language at Cornell:

Beginning Thai consists of 2 sequential classes, THAI 1121 and THAI 1122. The 2 semesters in Fall and Spring offer a unique learning experience for students to acquire basic “survival” skills. Both courses use visual aids with a communicative, task-based approach to enable students to think in Thai and learn to “get around” in various situations in daily life.

Intermediate Thai is an expansion of the first-year basic skills for solid grounding and for enhancing creativity in language use. The second-year courses are also for heritage students who may have some spoken skill but lack reading and writing skills.

Advanced, third-year Thai will further develop creativity toward each student’s own interests. Special reading courses to get acquainted with Thai literature are also offered. Additionally, there are Directed Study courses at the fourth-year level for individual projects. 

Aside from the 4 level courses above, there is a prep course, THAI 1100, for short-term visitors to Thailand. THAI 1100 combines some basic Thai language and culture for background understanding of Thai society. THAI 1100 is appropriate for researchers as well as for those who have a general interest in Thailand.

Khun Kriengkrai Waiyakij’s image of Wat Hualamphong temple amidst modern surroundings in the picture below vividly portrays the co-existence of the old and new in present day Thailand.

Bangkok scene at night

Thai language resources:

Related people

Image of Bandara Herath
Bandara Herath

Senior Lecturer

Image of Ngampit Jagacinski
Ngampit Jagacinski

Senior Lecturer

All research areas

Bangla    Burmese    Chinese (Mandarin)    Hindi-Urdu    Indonesian    Japanese    Kannada    Khmer (Cambodian)    Korean    Nepali    Pali    Punjabi    Sanskrit    Sinhala    Tagalog (Filipino)    Tamil    Thai    Tibetan (Classical and Modern)    Vietnamese