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UPDATED: Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List

UPDATED: Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List

UPDATED: A top 100 Thai vocabulary list…

In the post, Compiling a Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List, I put together a Thai words list and asked for suggestions. New words came in via email, Facebook, and in the comments of the post.

While that list was percolating, I created a list from a different direction: A Top 100 Thai Word List Created from Phrases.

Today I’m going back to the original list from the first post. Taking everyone’s thoughts and suggestions into account, I then started trimming the list. But even though I tried, I couldn’t get below 117 must know Thai words! Frustrated, I went to Jo from Learn Thai Podcast for help. Jo helped me to decide which 17 to leave out. Thanks Jo!

UPDATE: LTP now has a FREE basic Thai course (the first two lessons are live, more to come): Beginners Course – Top 300 Thai Words.

A (final?) top 100 Thai vocabulary list…

Below are the Thai words that made it into the final 100 top list, Buzan-style.

Unlike the list created from useful phrases, I’m still not sure how communicating with just these 100 words works in real life, but I’m working on it. Promise.

If I can’t get someone to share their experience via interview I might just try it on for size myself. But not in Thai. I have a trip to Italy coming up and as there’s a product already available for Italian, I could take a break from Thai to learn Italian with this method, and then get back to you.

Berlitz: A revolutionary way to learn a language, “Shortcut to Italian” offers instant time-saving techniques to help you learn basic Italian words and build simple sentences. You only need to learn 100 Italian words in order to speak over 500 of the most useful phrases. In just 100 words, you can: meet people, communicate effectively, navigate your way, book restaurants and hotels, read a menu, enjoy shopping and much more!

Anyway… on to that list!

already (tense marker): แล้ว /láew/
also, likewise, then, so, in addition: ก็ /gôr/
– often used when trying to think what to say
as well, also, too: ด้วย /dûay/
ask for, ask, request for: ขอ /kŏr/
bad (not good): ไม่ดี /mâi-dee/
be at, live at, stay: อยู่ /yòo/
be, to be something: เป็น /bpen/
beautiful, attractive, pretty: สวย /sŭay/
before, first, former: ก่อน /gòn/
big: ใหญ่ /yài/
but, only: แต่ /dtàe/
can, be able to, get, have done, have chance to: ได้ /dâai/
come, arrive (shows direction to the speaker): มา /maa/
delicious: อร่อย /a-ròi/
do, make: ทำ /tam/
excuse me, I’m sorry: ขอโทษ /kŏr tôht/
expensive: แพง /paeng/
far: ไกล /glai/
fast: เร็ว /reo/
friend: เพื่อน /pêuan/
from, depart, leave, go away from: จาก /jàak/
full (food): อิ่ม /ìm/
go, leave, depart (shows direction away from the speaker): ไป /bpai/
good, nice [v]: ดี /dee/
have (possessive), there is: มี /mee/
have to, must: ต้อง /dtông/
he, she, him, her, they, them: เขา /kăo/
hello, goodbye, good morning, good afternoon, good evening: สวัสดี /sà-wàt-dee/
help, aid, assist [v]: ช่วย /chûay/
here: ที่นี่ /têe-nêe/
how: ยังไง /yang-ngai/
how much, how many: เท่าไหร่ /tâo-rài/
how much, how many: กี่ /gèe/
hungry: หิวข้าว /hĭw kâao/
I, me, my [f]: ฉัน /chăn/
I, me, my [m]: ผม /pŏm/
in front of, front, top, next, following, upcoming: หน้า /nâa/
in, of: ใน /nai/
intensifier: ไม่….เลย = not….at all (see dictionary for more): เลย /loie/
know (someone, something, someplace): รู้จัก /róo-jàk/
know (something): ทราบ /sâap/
left: ซ้าย /sáai/
like: ชอบ /chôp/
little bit: นิดหน่อย /nít-nòi/
name: ชื่อ /chêu/
near: ใกล้ /glâi/
nevermind, no problem, that’s ok: ไม่เป็นไร /mâi-bpen-rai/
new, recent, the latest, again, once more: ใหม่ /mài/
no, that’s not right: ไม่ใช่ /mâi-châi/
no, no: ไม่ /mâi /
now, right now, at this moment: ตอนนี้ /dton-née/
one more time: อีกที /èek-tee/
P: Polite particle [f]: ค่ะ /kâ/
P: Polite particle [m]: ครับ /kráp/
P: Question particle: ไหม /măi/
P: Question particle [f]: คะ /ká/
P: Question, confirmative: เหรอ or หรือ /rĕr or rĕu/
P: Softens request or command, a bit: หน่อย /nòi/
person, people, classifier for people: คน /kon/
play: เล่น /lên/
really: จริงๆ /jing-jing/
receive, get, accept: รับ /ráp/
right: ขวา /kwăa/
slowly, slower: ช้าช้า /cháa-cháa/
small, little: เล็ก /lék/
speak: พูด /pôot/
straight: ตรงไป /dtrong-bpai/
tell, say, describe: บอก /bòk/
thank you: ขอบคุณ /kòp-kun/
that: นั้น /nán/
there: ที่นั่น /têe-nân/
there (further): ที่โน่น /têe-nôhn/
think, calculate: คิด /kít/
thirsty: หิวน้ำ /hĭw náam/
this, these: นี้ /née/
time, when: เวลา /way-laa/
tired: เหนื่อย /nèuay/
to, at, that, which, who, the place, area: ที่ /têe/
today: วันนี้ /wan-née/
tomorrow: พรุ่งนี้ /prûng-née/
turn: เลี้ยว /líeow/
understand: เข้าใจ /kâo-jai/
very much, a lot, very: มาก /mâak/
want to: อยาก /yàak/
want, take, bring: เอา /ao/
watch, look, see, appear, seem: ดู /doo/
we, us, our: เรา /rao/
well, fine: สบายดี /sà-baai-dee/
what: อะไร /a-rai/
when, whenever: เมื่อไหร่ /mêua-rài/
where (shortened version of ที่ไหน), whichever one: ไหน /năi/
where is, which place: ที่ไหน /têe-năi/
who, someone, anyone: ใคร /krai/
why: ทำไม /tam-mai/
will, shall: จะ /jà/
with, together with: กับ /gàp/
write: เขียน /kĭan/
yes: ใช่, ครับ, ค่ะ /châi, kráp, kâ/
yesterday: เมื่อวานนี้ /mêua-waan-née/
you, your: คุณ /kun/

Words taken out of the list…

Below are the 17 Thai words Jo from LTP advised to take out of the 117 list I mulled over so intently.

To decide on 17 words to delete, Jo targeted words not as useful for forming basic Thai sentences. You can read Jo’s explanation underneath each one.

Btw: Jo wanted me to mention that it was really difficult to choose which ones to delete. I SO agree! I fell in love with those words and more; it was painful to lose even one.

back side or adj: ข้างหลัง /kâang lăng/
Jo: Not used that often.
because, because of, beautiful (voice): เพราะ /prór/
Jo: Only for compound sentences, too complicated.
Cannot: ไม่ได้ /mâi-dâai/
Jo: You already have “can” and “not”.
Day: วัน /wan/
Jo: You already have “today” and “day” is commonly used with numbers but you don’t have numbers.
don’t have, there isn’t: ไม่มี /mâi-mee/
Jo: You already have “have” and “not”.
Front: ข้างหน้า /kâang-nâa/
Jo: You already have “หน้า”.
get, receive: ได้รับ /dâai-ráp/
Jo: Not used that often.
give, offer, let: ให้ /hâi/
Jo: It can be used in many different ways. So, it won’t help people who don’t know how to use it properly.
happy, well, fine: สบาย /sà-baai/
Jo: You already have “สบายดี” (well, fine”).
heart, mind, spirit: ใจ /jai/
Jo: The word “jai” alone is not used so often. It is normally used as a prefix or suffix.
it, potato, greasy, the fat, to be fun (slang): มัน /man/
Jo: No used that often. The word “it” as a pronoun can be omitted.
maybe: อาจจะ /àat-jà/
Jo: It’s too complicated for a basic sentence.
of, item: ของ /kŏng/
Jo: Not used that often.
Out: ออก /òk/
Jo: Not used that often.
prefix: put before verb to show action is happening: กำลัง /gam-lang/
Jo: It is related to tenses and too complicated.
say, tell, blame, criticise: ว่า /wâa/
Jo: You already have “tell / say”.
together, jointly, one another, each other: กัน /gan/
Jo: It can be omitted in a basic sentence.

The Top 100 word posts in this impromptu series…

Here are the posts in this series so far. I fear that there will be yet another top 100 Thai words list in my future, so don’t say you haven’t been warned ;-)

Learning Languages: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
Compiling a Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List
A Top 100 Thai Word List Created from Phrases

Oh. And there will absolutely be a Loci Method post (the original reason for this insane venture into finding the top 100 Thai words one must know).

Note: The transliteration comes from T2E as is. There are mistakes in the transliteration but I don’t have the time or inclination to correct each and every one so unless you learn to read Thai you’ll have to use the transliteration as a ballpark crutch to pronunciation (reading actual Thai script is the only real answer… honest).

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A Top 100 Thai Word List Created from Phrases

Compiling a Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List

Compiling a top 100 Thai vocabulary list from phrases…

Searching for a top 100 Thai vocabulary list to use with the Loci Method has totally gobbled my interest! Since starting this adventure I’ve found many ways to compile such a list and I’m now on version three. Or four.

In the comments of Compiling a Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List, the consensus was to create a dedicated top Thai phrases post and then create a top 100 Thai vocabulary list from there. It’s a good idea (and apologies for taking this long). Not wanting to show up to the party nakid, I searched for Thai phrases, shortened the phrases to suit beginners, counted the Thai words used, and then added even more words and phrases.

During the selection I kept in mind the ability to use either iPhone/smart phone apps with pictures and/or hard-copy picture phrase books, and a calculator (either on your phone or dangling from a keychain). The phrasebooks were reviewed last year here: Picture Phrase Books: For When They Can’t Speak Thai. Not reviewed yet (but in my hot little hands) are 3 iPhone apps: ICOON on iPhone and iPod Touch, ShowMe, and Show it!

I also chose words that when combined would make new words, increasing the working word list but not in the original 100 count. And where one basic word would do, I avoided adding another. I’m still not sure I made the best decision with เอา /ao/ and รับ /ráp/!

I also attempted to do without internationally understood words like Thai (ไทย /tai/) for Thai language or Thailand, taxi (แท็กซี่ /táek-sêe/), and OK (โอเค /oh-kay/). But most are included in the phrases.

Oh. And I dropped out (some) words covered by internationally understood hand signals (mimicking a phone call is a good for instance).

Vocabulary list: Top 100 Thai words from phrases…

So here you go, a clean 100 word list from the most basic of ever Thai phrases. The difference between this list and Tony Buzan’s well-known hundred most common words is striking.

And truthfully, staring at my Top Thai Word List created under Buzan’s restraints left me wondering just how sentences are to be cobbled together for actual communication. But I’ll leave that subject for another post. Promise.

already (tense marker): แล้ว /láew/
be [v]: เป็น /bpen/
be at, live at, stay: อยู่ /yòo/
beautiful, attractive, pretty: สวย /sŭay/
big: ใหญ่ /yài/
can: ได้ /dâai/
cannot: ไม่ได้ /mâi-dâai/
come, arrive (shows direction to the speaker): มา /maa/
delicious: อร่อย /a-ròi/
do, make: ทำ /tam/
doctor: หมอ /mŏr/
don’t!: อย่า! /yàa/
excuse me, I’m sorry: ขอโทษ /kŏr tôht/
expensive: แพง /paeng/
far: ไกล /glai/
fast: เร็ว /reo/
full (food): อิ่ม /ìm/
get, receive, accept: รับ /ráp/
go, leave, depart (shows direction away from the speaker): ไป /bpai/
good: ดี /dee/
have: มี /mee/
he, she, him, her, they, them: เขา /kăo/
hello, goodbye, see you later: สวัสดี /sà-wàt-dee/
help, aid, assist [v]: ช่วย /chûay/
here: ที่นี่ /têe-nêe/
hot (spicy): เผ็ด /pèt/
hot (temperature): ร้อน /rón/
hotel: โรงแรม /rohng-raem/
how: ยังไง /yang-ngai/
how much, how many: เท่าไหร่ /tâo-rài/
how much, how many: กี่ /gèe/
hungry: หิวข้าว /hĭw kâao/
I, me, my [f]: ฉัน /chăn/
I, me, my [m]: ผม /pŏm/
injured: บาดเจ็บ /bàat jèp/
know (someone, something, someplace): รู้จัก /róo-jàk/
know (something): ทราบ /sâap/ รู้ /róo/
left: ซ้าย /sáai/
like: ชอบ /chôp/
little bit: นิดหน่อย /nít-nòi/
look, see, appear, seem, watch: ดู /doo/
lost: หลงทาง /lŏng taang/
market: ตลาด /dtà-làat/
name: ชื่อ /chêu/
near: ใกล้ /glâi/
no problem, that’s ok, nevermind: ไม่เป็นไร /mâi-bpen-rai/
no, not: ไม่ /mâi/
now, right now, at this moment: ตอนนี้ /dton-née/
stop, park: จอด /jòt/
one more time: อีกที /èek-tee/
person, people, classifier for people: คน /kon/
police: ตำรวจ /dtam-rùat/
P: Polite particle [f]: ค่ะ /kâ/
P: Polite particle [m]: ครับ /kráp/
P: Question particle: ไหม /măi/
P: Question particle [f]: คะ /ká/
P: Question, confirmative [m/f]: เหรอ or หรือ /rĕr or rĕu/
P: Question, “what about …?”: ล่ะ /lâ/
P: Softener, makes it more persuasive: นะ /ná/
P: Softens request or command, a bit: หน่อย /nòi/
P: Used in requests, congratulations or condolences ด้วย (ค่ะ/นะคะ) /dûay/ (ka/ná-ka)
really: จริงๆ /jing-jing/
restaurant: ร้านอาหาร /ráan aa-hăan/
right: ขวา /kwăa/
slowly, slower: ช้าช้า /cháa-cháa/
speak: พูด /pôot/
stop!: หยุด! /yùt/
straight: ตรงไป /dtrong-bpai/
sure [v]: แน่ใจ /nâe-jai/
Thai currency: บาท /bàat/
thank you: ขอบคุณ /kòp-kun/
that: นั่น /nán/
there: ที่นั่น /têe-nân/
there (further): ที่โน่น /têe-nôhn/
think, calculate: คิด /kít/
thirsty: หิวน้ำ /hĭw-náam/
this, these: นี่ /nêe/
tired: เหนื่อย /nèuay/
to, at, that, which, who, the place, area: ที่ /têe/
today: วันนี้ /wan-née/
toilet: ห้องน้ำ /hông-náam/
tomorrow: พรุ่งนี้ /prûng-née/
turn: เลี้ยว /líeow/
understand: เข้าใจ /kâo-jai/
u-turn: กลับรถ /glàp-rót/
very much, a lot, very: มาก /mâak/
want, take, bring: เอา /ao/ (รับ /ráp/)
want to: อยาก /yàak/
we, us, our: เรา /rao/
well, fine: สบายดี /sà-baai-dee/
what: อะไร /a-rai/
when, whenever: เมื่อไหร่ /mêua-rài/
where (shortened version of ที่ไหน), whichever one: ไหน /năi/
where is: ที่ไหน /têe năi/
who, someone, anyone: ใคร /krai/
why: ทำไม /tam-mai/
write: เขียน /kĭan/
yes: key-word response, ใช่, ครับ, ค่ะ /châi, kráp, kâ/
yesterday: เมื่อวานนี้ /mêua-waan-née/
you: คุณ /kun/

100 words doesn’t handle a lot. From that list you can: ask questions, give answers, make the briefest of polite talk, give instructions to a taxi driver, and buy stuff (with mostly pointing and using a calculator).

And while this list doesn’t give you the backbone of sentence structure (as the Buzan-type lists promise) I’m thinking you won’t be left with as many holes either. But what do I know. I’m still waiting to be enlightened! And I will. Be.

The chosen top Thai phrases…

Due to the nature of the project – zero knowledge of Thai – the phrases are as brief as I could make them. Spoken Thai is mostly inferred anyway so a great deal can easily be left out. Two of the most common words to be left out are ผม/ฉัน /pŏm/chăn/ (I) so go easy on me, ok? The polite particles can be thinned out or beefed up too – up to you.

NOTE: This list is just a getting-out-of-the-phrase-gate list. In no way do I consider it final. I didn’t have time to create phrases from everything so I would seriously welcome your help filling it out.

Hello/goodbye/see you later.
สวัสดี /sà-wàt-dee/

How are you?
สบายดีหรือ /sà-baai dee rĕu/

(I’m) fine, thank you.
สบายดี ขอบคุณ ค่ะ/ครับ /sà-baai-dee kòp-kun/

I’m fine, and you?
สบายดี แล้วคุณล่ะ /sà-baai-dee láew kun lâ/

What about you?
แล้วคุณล่ะ /láew kun lâ/

What is your name?
คุณชื่ออะไร /kun chêu a-rai/

My name is ______.
ผม/ฉัน ชื่อ ______ /pŏm/chăn chêu/
Or just plain ‘ole…
ชื่อ _______ /chêu _______ /

Thank you.
ขอบคุณ /kòp-kun/

Thank you very much.
ขอบคุณมาก /kòp-kun mâak/

You’re welcome.
ไม่เป็นไร /mâi-bpen-rai/

What do you want?
รับอะไร คะ/ครับ /ráp a-rai/ [ká/kráp]

Do you want ___?
เอา ___ ไหม /ao ___ măi/

Yes please.
ค่ะ/ครับ ขอบคุณ ค่ะ/ครับ /kâ/kráp kòp-kun kâ/kráp/

Have: มี /mee/
มี /mee/ ____

(I) have a doctor.
มีหมอ /mee mo/

Do you have?
มี ____ ไหม / mee ____ măi/

Do you have a doctor?
มีหมอไหม /mee mŏr măi/

I don’t have a doctor.
ไม่มีหมอ /mâi mee mŏr/

yes: ใช่, ครับ, ค่ะ /châi, kráp, kâ/
no: ไม่ใช่ /mâi-châi/
can: ได้ /dâai/
cannot: ไม่ได้ /mâi-dâai/

Excuse me.
ขอโทษ นะคะ/นะครับ /kŏr tôht ná-kâ/ná-kráp/

I’m sorry.
ขอโทษ /kŏr tôht/

I speak Thai only a little bit.
พูดไทยนิดหน่อย /pôot tai nít-nòi/

Please speak slowly.
พูดช้าช้าหน่อย /pôot cháa-cháa nòi/
OR
ช้าช้าหน่อย /cháa-cháa nòi/
OR
ช้าช้า /cháa-cháa/

slow: ช้า /cháa/
fast: เร็ว /reo/

I don’t understand – I only speak Thai a little.
ไม่เข้าใจ พูดไทยนิดหน่อย /mâi kâo-jai pôot tai nít-nòi/

I don’t understand.
ไม่เข้าใจ /mâi kâo-jai/

I understand.
เข้าใจ /kâo-jai/

Help write (it for me) please.
ช่วยเขียนหน่อย ค่ะ/ครับ /chûay kĭan nòi kâ/kráp/

How do you say it in Thai?
ไทยพูดยังไง /tai pôot yang-ngai/

Repeat it please.
พูดอีกที ค่ะ/ครับ /pôot èek-tee kâ/kráp/

Help!
ช่วยด้วย /chûay dûay/

How: ยังไง /yang-ngai/
v + ยังไง /yang-ngai/

What: อะไร /a-rai/
What? อะไร คะ/ครับ /a-rai ká/kráp/

What happened?
อะไร คะ/ครับ /a-rai ká/kráp/

No, nothing happened.
ไม่ มี อะไร /mâi mee a-rai/
(polite for “none of your business” if asked “what happened?”)

What is this?
นี่อะไร /nêe a-rai/

What is that?
นั่นอะไร /nân a-rai/

What do you want?
รับคะ/ครับ /ráp ká/kráp/

When? เมื่อไหร่ /mêua-rài/
v + เมื่อไหร่ /mêua-rài/

When are you coming?
มาเมื่อไหร่ /maa mêua-rài/
OR
เมื่อไหร่ /mêua-rài/

Today: วันนี้ /wan-née/
Tomorrow พรุ่งนี้ /prûng-née/

Where are you going?
ไปไหน /bpai năi/
(Thai for “hello, how are you doing?”)

ไป _____ /bpai _____ /

Who? ใคร /krai/
n + ใคร /krai/
ใคร /krai/ + verb

Who is that person?
คนนั้นใคร /kon nán krai/

Who does it? Who makes it?
ใครทำ /krai tam/

Who is it?
ใคร คะ/ครับ /krai ká/kráp/

Why?: ทำไม /tam-mai/

How much, how many?: เท่าไหร่ /tâo-rài/, กี่ /gèe/

How many baht?
กี่บาท /gèe bàat/

What’s the matter?
เป็นอะไร /bpen a-rai/

What do you think?
คุณคิดยังไง /kun kít yang-ngai/

Are you sure?
คุณแน่ใจไหม /kun nâe-jai măi/

Is it possible?
เป็นไปได้ไหม /bpen bpai dâai măi/

Is it good?
ดีไหม /dee măi/

What is this?
นี่อะไร /nêe a-rai/

Really?
จริงๆเหรอ /jing jing rĕr/

It’s fine.
ดี /dee/

O.K./All right.
โอเค /oh-kay/

That’s all right, no problem, never mind.
ไม่เป็นไร /mâi-bpen-rai/

I don’t know (something).
ไม่ทราบ /mâi sâap/
ไม่รู้ /mâi róo/

I don’t know (someone, something, someplace).
ไม่รู้จัก /mâi róo-jàk/

Beautiful: สวย /sŭay/

Is it beautiful?
สวยไหม /sŭay măi/

It’s not beautiful.
ไม่สวย /mâi sŭay/

Delicious: อร่อย /a-ròi/

Is it delicious?
อร่อยไหม /a-ròi măii/

It’s not delicious.
ไม่อร่อย /mâi a-ròi/

Wonderful, very good: ดี มาก /dee mâak/
Expensive: แพง /paeng/

Is it expensive?
แพงไหม /paeng măi/

No, not expensive.
ไม่แพง /mâi paeng/

Is it ____?
_____ ไหม /măi/

Hot (temperature): ร้อน /rón/
Hot (spicy): เผ็ด /pèt/
Hot (really spicy): เผ็ดเผ็ด /pèt-pèt/
Not spicy: ไม่ เผ็ด /mâi pèt/

I’m… hungry, thirsty, full, tired, sad…
ฉัน/ผม ___ chăn/pŏm ___
OR
___

Hungry: หิวข้าว /hĭw-kâao/
Thirsty: หิวน้ำ /hĭw-náam/
Full (of food): อิ่ม แล้ว /ìm láew/
Tired: เหนื่อย /nèuay/
Unwell: ไม่ สบาย /mâi sà-baai/

Here: ที่นี่ /têe-nêe/
There: ที่นั่น /têe-nân/
There (further): ที่โน่น /têe-nôhn/

I…
ฉัน/ผม ___ chăn/pŏm ___
Like: ชอบ /chôp/
Don’t like: ไม่ ชอบ /mâi chôp/

Don’t! อย่า! /yàa/
Stop! หยุด! /yùt/
Police! ตำรวจ! /dtam-rùat/

I’ll call the police.
ฉัน/ผม จะบอกตำรวจ! /chăn/pŏm jà bòk dtam-rùat/

Help!
ช่วยด้วย /chûay dûay/

I’m sick.
ฉัน/ผม ไม่สบาย /chăn/pŏm mâi sà-baai/

I’ve been injured.
ฉัน/ผม บาดเจ็บ /chăn/pŏm bàat jèp/

I’m lost.
ฉัน/ผม หลงทาง /chăn/pŏm lŏng taang/

Where is?: ที่ไหน /têe năi/

Where is ___?
n + อยู่ที่ไหน /yòo têe năi/

Where is the toilet?
ห้องน้ำอยู่ที่ไหน /hông-náam yòo têe năi/

Where is the hotel?
โรงแรมอยู่ที่ไหน /rohng-raem yòo têe năi/

Where is the restaurant?
ร้านอาหารอยู่ที่ไหน /ráan aa-hăan yòo têe năi/

Where is the market?
ตลาดอยู่ที่ไหน /dtà-làat yòo têe năi/

How do I get to _____ ?
จะไป _____ อย่างไร /jà-bpai _____ yàang-rai/

Is it far? ไกลไหม /glai măi/
Is it near? ใกล้ไหม /glâi măi/

go straight: ตรงไป /dtrong-bpai/
turn left: เลี้ยวซ้าย /líeow sáai/
turn right: เลี้ยวขวา /líeow kwăa/
u-turn: กลับรถ /glàp-rót/
(or just say U turn (with a Thai accent)
traffic lights: ไฟแดง /fai-daeng/

(I’m) going to _____ (market, hotel, hospital, shopping…)
ไป _____
bpai _____

Stop here please.
จอดที่นี่ ค่ะ/ครับ / jòt têe-nêe kâ/kráp/

Kidding, joking: พูดเล่น! /pôot lên/

Posts in the Top 100 Thai Words series…

Ok, that’s it for me. I didn’t use all of the words because I’m short on time (and I’d like to do something else this Saturday afternoon). But, I did have fun creating short sentences from these 100 words of Thai.

Two more posts in the series:
Learning Languages: The art and science of remembering everything
Compiling a Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List

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Compiling a Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List

Compiling a Top 100 Thai Vocabulary List

Compiling a top 100 Thai vocabulary list…

Hey all, I need your help putting together a top 100 Thai vocabulary list. The aim is to create a word list for newbies to communicate in Thai at a basic level. Only the barest Thai words are needed, but which ones?

I compiled a sample list of Thai words (below) but I took a kitchen sink approach. So what I need are opinions (yours) on words that are missing or unnecessary. Bottom line: What 100 words do/did you absolutely need to get by in Thai?

EDIT: If you gravitate towards phrases instead of individual words, please share your top sentences as well.

To explain my search for 100 Thai words…

My last post, The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, hooked me on the Loci Method for learning more Thai vocabulary.

Following his instructions (sort of) I experienced the beauty of Loci. Excited about the possibilities, I dropped everything to discover ways to actually show how Loci works for learning Thai. Theory is all fine and good, but…

So I downloaded everything I could find on amazon (co and uk) to my Kindle regarding Loci and read the language related bits.

After getting as much as I could into my head, and as I have an anal nature, I decided that a top 100 Thai vocabulary list was needed.

Well, there isn’t an actual top 100 vocabulary list for the Thai language.

Ok, there is a Thai 100 word list on Glenn’s forum, Most Frequently used words in Thai. But… I wasn’t 100% happy with it so after copying it off I kept hunting.

Tony Buzan has several versions of an English top 100 vocabulary list in a book called Use Your Memory. An early version of the book was published by BBC Books (1995) with the list shared around the Internet (take a peek if you like).

Oxford Online also created a top 100 English vocabulary list: Most common words in English.

The Reading Teachers Book of Lists claims that the first 25 words make up about one-third of all printed material in English, and that the first 100 make up about one-half of all written material.

Note that the items listed may represent more than one actual word; they are lemmas. For instance the entry “be” contains within it the occurrences of “are”, “is”, “were” and “was”.

Note also that these top 100 lemmas listed below account for 50% of all the words in the Oxford English Corpus.

Ok, that’s all well and good but I’m going for spoken, not written (and in Thai to boot). But it does outline the importance of learning a select few words in your target language. So again, for good measure (and the lack of a spoken list) I copied off this one as well.

So I ended up with three lists of 100 top words each. The top Thai, Buzan’s list, and one from Oxford Online. I threw them together, added Thai to the English, and then added Thai words I felt were missing. I also peppered polite particles and classifiers around (I couldn’t resist). Figuring that they could be acquired as needed, I ignored category lists such as food, animals, colours, numbers, days of the week, months, such as that. Hmmmm…

But after compiling the list I realised that there wasn’t a focus on the bare minimum words to get by in Thai. What I have instead is a list of Thai words one should know but that’s not the same. And that’s why I need you.

Below is the list so far. In your opinion, what Thai words are missing? What are not needed at this stage? Please leave your advice in the comments or send it via my contact form. Up to you ;-)

Round 1: The top 100 Thai words one must know…

about, regarding, concerning a problem, trouble, matter, affair, thing: เรื่อง /rêuang/
– classifier: movie, story or tale
again, once more, more: อีก /èek/
already: แล้ว /láew/
– general marker indicating a specified action has happened or a state has been attained
also, likewise, then, so, therefore, well, umm, err, in addition, as a result: ก็ /gôr/
– often used when trying to think what to say
as well, also, too: ด้วย /dûay/
as, like, way, sort, variety: อย่าง /yàang/
– converts an adjective to an adverb, equivalent to English -ly suffix or saying “in a … way”
– classifier: types, kinds or sorts of objects
ask for, request for, ask: ขอ /kŏr/
back side: ข้างหลัง /kâang lăng/
bad (not good): ไม่ดี /mâi-dee/
be (+ noun), to be something: เป็น /bpen/
be at, live at, stay: อยู่ /yòo/
beautiful, attractive, pretty: สวย /sŭay/
because, because of, beautiful (voice): เพราะ /prór/
before, first, former: ก่อน /gòn/
big: ใหญ่ /yài/
but, only: แต่ /dtàe/
can, be able to, get, have done, have chance to: ได้ /dâai/
can’t, cannot (when used after verb): ไม่ได้ /mâi-dâai/
case, item: ราย /raai/
cause, make, to do for: ทำให้ /tam-hâi/
come, arrive: มา /maa/
– shows direction to the speaker
day: วัน /wan/
delicious: อร่อย /a-ròi/
didn’t, did not (when used before verb): ไม่ได้ /mâi-dâai/
do, make: ทำ /tam/
don’t have, there isn’t: ไม่มี /mâi-mee/
excuse me, apologize, sorry: ขอโทษ /kŏr-tôht/
far: ไกล /glai/
follow, come after: ตาม /dtaam/
for, in order to: เพื่อ /pêua/
for, to, on behalf of: สำหรับ /săm-ràp/
friend: เพื่อน /pêuan/
from, depart, leave, go away from: จาก /jàak/
front: ข้างหน้า /kâang-nâa/
get, receive: ได้รับ /dâai-ráp/
give, offer, let, have someone do something, to become, for: ให้ /hâi/
go, leave, depart: ไป /bpai/
– shows direction away from the speaker
good, nice: ดี /dee/
happy, well, fine: สบาย /sà-baai/
have, there is: มี /mee/
have to, must: ต้อง /dtông/
he, she, him, her, they, them, horn, mountain: เขา /kăo/
heart, mind, spirit: ใจ /jai/
hello, goodbye, good morning, good afternoon, good evening: สวัสดี /sà-wàt-dee/
help, aid, assist: ช่วย /chûay/
here: ที่นี่ /têe-nêe/
home, house: บ้าน /bâan/
how much: เท่าไหร่ /tâo-rài/
I (to someone younger), you (to someone older), he, she, him, her (referring to someone older): พี่ /pêe/
I, me (feminine): ฉัน /chan/
I, me (masculine): ผม /pŏm/
if: ถ้า /tâa/
in front of, front, face, front, top, next, following, upcoming: หน้า /nâa/
in, of: ใน /nai/
– intensifier: 1. ‘So… !, Extremely… !, 2. therefore, as a result, 3. to go further
it, potato, greasy, the fat, to be fun (slang): มัน /man/
keep, save, store: ไว้ /wái/
know (someone, something, face, place, know at a basic level): รู้จัก /róo-jàk/
know (something, know in detail): รู้ /róo/
like: ชอบ /chôp/
little bit: นิดหน่อย /nít-nòi/
little, few, not many: น้อย /nói/
love: รัก /rák/
maybe: อาจจะ /àat-jà/
name, be named: ชื่อ /chêu/
near: ใกล้ /glâi/
never mind, no problem, it’s ok: ไม่เป็นอะไร /mâi-bpen-a-rai/
new, recent, the latest, again, once more: ใหม่ /mài/
no, not: ไม่ /mâi/
now, right now, at this moment: ตอนนี้ /dton-née/
of, item: ของ /kŏng/
ok, right? (confirmative particle masculine): นะครับ /ná-kráp/
ok, right? (confirmative particle feminine): นะคะ /ná-ka/
old (humans, animals): แก่ /gàe/
old, to be old: เก่า /gào/
one: หนึ่ง /nèung/
out: ออก /òk/
particle: softens a sentence: หน่อย /nòi/
particle: softens a sentence, makes it more persuasive: นะ /ná/
particle: used by female speakers at the end of questions to make them more polite: คะ /ka/
particle: used by female speakers at the end of sentences to make them more polite: ค่ะ /kâ/
particle: used by male speakers at the end of sentences to make them more polite: ครับ /kráp/
person, people: คน /kon/
– classifier: people
play: เล่น /lên/
prefix: กำลัง… /gam-lang/ 
– put before a verb to show action is happening (present/past continuous tense)
reach, arrive, get to, until: ถึง /tĕung/
really: จริงๆ /jing jing/
say, tell, blame, criticise, sentence connector ‘that’: ว่า /wâa/
search for, look for, to meet: หา /hăa/
self, oneself: ตัว /dtua/
– character, letter, entity
– body, physique
– prefix: for an actor or character
– prefix: meaning “someone or something that does/is…”
– classifier: animals, all pieces of clothing (except ones that come in pairs, but including trousers), chairs, tables and other pieces of furniture, letters and numbers of the alphabet, musical instruments and also functions as a general purpose classifier for things and objects.)
send, send something to someone: ส่ง /sòng/
sense, meaning, substance: ความ /kwaam/
– prefix: converts a verb or adjective into an abstract noun
small, little: เล็ก /lék/
still, yet: ยัง /yang/
suffix: อยู่ /yòo/
– put after verb show the action is happening (present/past continuous tense)
task, work, job: การ /gaan/
– prefix: converts a verb or adjective into an verbal noun
tell, say, describe: บอก /bòk/
Thai currency: บาท /bàat/
Thai, Thailand: ไทย /tai/
thank you: ขอบคุณ /kòp-kun/
that, those: นั้น /nán/
– marker: used after a noun or pronoun to emphasize it as the subject of the sentence, or to show the end of a relative clause
there: ที่นั่น /têe-nân/
there (further): ที่โน่น /têe-nôhn/
think, calculate: คิด /kít/
this (+ noun/classifier): นี้ /née/
time, when: เวลา /way-laa/
to, at, that, which, who, the place, area: ที่ /têe/
together, jointly, one another, each other, obstruct: กัน /gan/
very much, a lot, very: มาก /mâak/
want (+ noun), take, bring: เอา /ao/
want to: อยาก /yàak/
watch, look, see, appear, seem: ดู /doo/
we, us, our: เรา /rao/
what about? (question particle masculine): ละครับ /la-kráp/
what about? (question particle feminine): ละคะ /la-ká/
what, something, anything: อะไร /a-rai/
where, which place: ที่ไหน /têe-năi/
who, someone, anyone: ใคร /krai/
why: ทำไม /tam-mai/
will, shall: จะ /jà/
with, together with, and: กับ /gàp/
work, job, task, event, ceremony, festival: งาน /ngaan/
yes (masculine): ครับ /kráp/
yes (feminine): ค่ะ /kâ/
you, he, she, him, her (used when referring to someone younger): น้อง /nóng/
you (to a friend, teacher to student…): เธอ /ter/
you, your: คุณ /kun/
you; your (to a child, someone younger), I; me (used by young children, and by women when speaking to their elders): หนู /nŏo/

Other top Thai vocabulary lists…

sealang.net: Thai Vocabulary List
thai-language.com: Most Frequently used words in Thai
thai-language.com: Common Words of the Thai Language
womenlearnthai.com: The Top 39 Thai Words You Must Know
womenlearnthai.com: FREE: Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary Download

And lastly, an ongoing conversation: Putting together a 100 word list for conversation in Thai.

Note: The transliteration comes from T2E as is. The English translations are also from T2E and late last night it was edited by Thai Skype Teacher Khun Narisa. The final edits were made by me so I will obviously take the responsibility for any snafus found. Coding this in was a pain and my brain fuzzed out when it came time to do a final edit so there might be some weirdness going on too…

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