Interview Compilation: Do You Speak Street Thai, Issan Thai, or Professional Thai?

Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

  • Get your FREE Thailand Cheat Sheet ​by entering your email below. The ​Sheet, based on ​our experience with living and working in ​Thailand for 10+ years, shows you how to ​save time and money and ​gives you the tools the thrive in Thailand.

Do you speak more street Thai, Issan Thai, or professional Thai?…

Out of the 50 interviewed, 26 speak professional Thai, 14 speak street Thai, five speak Bangkok Thai (close to Central Thai), four speak Central Thai, and one speaks Tourist Thai. In addition, 11 speak street Thai as well.

Glenn Slayden: Tourist Thai, Chris Pirazzi: Street Thai, Daniel B Fraser: Street Thai, David Long: Street and Professional, Justin Travis Mair: Mostly street Thai with a bit of professional mixed in, Marcel Barang: Both street and professional. Isarn, bor pen, Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj: Professional when I’m working, street Thai on the street and Isaan when I’m in Isaan, David Smyth: Bangkok Thai, Gareth Marshall: Most of my Thai learned has been in Bangkok, Don Sena: Standard Thai (Central Plains dialect), Doug: Semi-pro, Marc Spiegel: Professional Thai, Christy Gibson: I use them all, depending on the situation, venue, and audience, Terry Fredrickson: Professional Thai, street Thai, Issan Thai and southern Thai (I enjoy dialects).

And now on to the rest of the interview…

If you are looking for a good resource to learn Thai online, check out Learn Thai from a White Guy. Upon entering your email, you'll get five free lessons to help you start learning to read Thai.

Aaron Handel

Aaron Handel: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Aaron Le Boutillier

Aaron Le Boutillier: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Adam Bradshaw

Adam Bradshaw: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Andrew Biggs

Andrew Biggs: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Celia Chessin-Yudin

Celia Chessin-Yudin: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Colin Cotterill

Colin Cotterill: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Fabian Blandford

Fabian Blandford: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Grace Robinson

Grace Robinson: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Hamish Chalmers

Hamish Chalmers: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Hardie Karges

Hardie Karges: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

I mostly use modern standard central Thai, but also understand northern Thai–my wife’s native tongue–and can speak and read Lao (Isaan) at probably the intermediate level.

Herb Purnell

Herb Purnell: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Why specify just Issan? There are a lot of other regional people, such as Northern Thai or Southern Thai, in Bangkok too. I do speak Northern Thai, perhaps not as well as Thai, but it’s a lot of fun to speak it. My Northern Thai is much more informal than my Thai because I learned it in a farming village and use it primarily in informal contexts.

Hugh Leong

Hugh Leong: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Ian Fereday

Ian Fereday: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

James (Jim) Higbie

James (Jim) Higbie: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Joe Cummings

Joe Cummings: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

John Boegehold

John Boegehold: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Jonas Anderson

Jonas Anderson: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Jonathan Thames

Jonathan Thames: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Larry Daks

Larry Daks: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Luke Cassady-Dorion

Luke Cassady-Dorion: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Mark Hollow

Mark Hollow: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Martin Clutterbuck

Martin Clutterbuck: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Street Thai, well colloquial Thai, even as spoken by the upper echelons, is a huge challenge, but I will not curse, and there are many elephant traps for the unwary, so yeah, I avoid it, unless I’m feeling confident I won’t cause controversy.

Nils Bastedo

Nils Bastedo: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Paul Garrigan

Paul Garrigan: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Peter Montalbano

Peter Montalbano: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Rick Bradford

Rick Bradford: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Rikker Dockum

Rikker Dockum: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Ryan Zander

Ryan Zander: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Scott Earle

Scott Earle: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Stephen Thomas

Stephen Thomas: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

I do use some Isaan language. I have several Isaan friends and a lot of the vendors I go to regularly are Isaan or Lao. It’s also a good way to show that I’m not just a tourist who learned a few phrases, especially when going into touristy areas. It’s a fun and friendly dialect, and whenever people call me “Farang” I tell them I’m “Bak Seeda.”

Stickman

Stickman: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

I speak proper Thai or professional Thai as you call it, can understand a fair chunk of Isaan as well as some street Thai although my street Thai is actually not that good – but with that said, it is not something I am particularly concerned about.

My desire has always been to be able to speak proper Thai although there from time to time it might be advantageous to speak street Thai, or at the very least, understand it. Isaan Thai is probably more useful to me than street Thai per se as I have a lot of interaction with people from that region, especially those from less privileged, rural backgrounds for whom Isaan Thai is what they speak at home and with their friends.

Tod Daniels

Tod Daniels: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Nope, I can’t speak more than a couple phrases in Issan Thai. Having spent time touring Issan it was my experience EVERYONE under about 50 y/o can understand and speak Bangkokian (Central) Thai just fine. I’ve got more than enough trouble keeping the Central Thai vocab stuck inside my head. I don’t need to throw a wrench in the gears of progress, no matter how slowly they’re turning.

Tom Parker

Tom Parker: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

Vern Lovic

Vern Lovic: Compilation Series: Successful Thai Language Learners

The Series: Successful Thai Language Learners Compilation…

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.