Thailand: Thai Writing System


Different from Western languages, Thai does not use an alphabet-based writing system, but a system referred to as ‘abugida’.

Within the Thai writing system,

There Are
There Are AT LEAST

This means that:
There Are

The Thai written script is awe-inspiring from an artistic standpoint, filled with elegant characters. Once you learn to spot Thai script, it is very easy to distinguish from other Asian writing forms because of the small circular stroke terminals on many of the symbols. That is its most characteristic feature, and a truly beautiful quality. More on this later, though… for it is changing.

Different from Western languages, Thai does not use an alphabet-based writing system, but a system referred to as ‘abugida’. This means that the Thai script is based more on symbols than what we would think of as a typical alphabet.

The symbols are constructed by specific arrangements of segments, which produce the syllable. Every consonant is accompanied by a vowel, which can be positioned above, below, or to the left or right of the consonant.

There are 44 different consonants and at least 28 vowel forms, depending on how you count them. The script is read from left to right and does not differentiate between uppercase and lowercase letters. It also does not use spaces between different words but instead is written in a nonstop sequence with spaces inserted between different sentences.

While it may be a little intimidating at first, learning to read can be a fun challenge. Think about it—when was the last time you were illiterate? When was the last time you had to learn to read? What a fun opportunity to remind yourself how that feels.

Super Hint!

The best way to learn to write

Keep your eyes peeled—in office supply stores or bookstores you can find books for kids that show you how to trace the script. These are awesome! Sharpen your pencils, because this is by far the best way to learn to write and to practice writing these new characters.

thai dialects map

Till next week, folks.
And remember, never stop being open to different ideas.

Interested in Southeast Asia?

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