The Thai language belongs to the family of sino-tibetan languages. Like Chinese, Thai is a monosyllabic language, a structure that is totally unknown to westerners. In Thai a word can have five different meanings, depending in which tone it is spoken. In the common language there are five different tones: Rising, falling, the high, the middle and the dropped tone. This is even for the keen learner among foreigners quite a challenge. A well developed sense of hearing could be an advantage here.

    The Dewanagari Alphabet used by the Thais, which was introduced in the 13. century and is based on the South-Indian Pali writing, represents a further difficulty. But there is one consolation: The structure of sentences and the grammar of the Thai language are relatively simple.

    Good language classes are being offered, among others, by the AUA (American University Alumni Association), which can be found not only in Bangkok but also in various tourist centres.

    Urban schoolchildren participating in a language test