Thai Language/ภาษาไทย

IMG_1438Thailand enters the modern world with multiple role models, as the cultural DNA of language readily shows, not-so-parfait with American English on top as the current business-role model.  Below that is Indian Sanskrit in its own and Khmerized forms as the religious and pre-modern model, analogous to the French/Latin influence in English.  Deeper still is the Chinese and Thai tribal past, the racial and linguistic underpinnings of the entire race, overlaid on a Mon pre-history, similar to the Anglo-Saxon and later Danish incursions on a Celtic sub-strata.

Somehow it all gets mixed and mashed into a fairly uniform system of pronunciation that is recognizably Thai regardless of the origin.  For a modern newcomer to the stew, sometimes the hardest part of learning the language is learning how to correctly mispronounce English.  I wonder if Indians feel the same way about the manipulation of Sanskrit into forms unrecognizable.  I’m sure that French feel the same way about English, but that probably says more about them than language considering what they themselves did to Latin.  I know it’s hard to learn the language of a people that you don’t especially like.  That’s for sure.  It’s also hard to learn the language of a people who refuse to speak it back to you–Psycholinguistics 101…

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