If you are looking at Phuket houses for sale, then you are likely to be spending a lot of time either communicating with islanders or living on the island. For this reason it is a good idea to have basic understanding of the Thai language. Although a lot of inhabitants on Phuket speak good English, thanks to the large number of tourists and investors over the years, it is still good to know the small gestures of politeness and how language is used. The Thai are a hospitable and understanding people, but as in any country, good manners and a willing to learn the host country basics go a long way!
The Thai language is universally known as Siamese or Central Thai, and is the official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people and Thai Chinese. It is a tonal language; Thai has 5 tones which means the learner has to get used to recognising the pitch of a word.Also, very distinct regional dialects are spoken different parts of the country.
Body language is an inherent part of communication and speech. The head is regarded as sacred and the feet as unclean. The Thai people show respect to people of higher status by consciously trying to keep their own head at a lower level in conversation. Western habits such as pointing at something on the ground with a foot or putting feet up on a desk are offensive to Thai’s and should actively not be used.
To show respect polite words are used at the end of a sentence; male speakers add the word ครับ (krúp) and female speakers add ค่ะ (kâh) at the end of a statement and คะ [ká] at the end of a question. Greetings are often accompanied by a ‘wai’ gesture, where the head is bowed and the hands brought together in front of the face in a prayer-like position. This is expected of the younger person, or person of lower social standing, to which the other party should respond with a ‘wai’.
In our next article about Thai language we will describe some of the most common greeting and polite gestures, and soon you will be greeting people at your Phuket luxury villa like a Phuket national!