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Essential Thai phrases every ESL Teacher should know


As an ESL teacher in Thailand, it can be helpful to learn some basic Thai phrases to communicate with your students and colleagues. Here are some essential Thai phrases for ESL teachers:

  • สวัสดี (sà-wàt-dee) - Hello

  • ขอโทษ (kŏr tôht) - Excuse me/I'm sorry

  • ช่วยด้วย (chûai duay) - Help, please

  • ขอบคุณ (kòp-khun) - Thank you

  • ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัก (yin-dee têe dâi rúe-jàk) - Nice to meet you

  • พูดช้าๆ (pôot cháa-cháa) - Speak slowly

  • ฉันไม่เข้าใจ (chăn mâi khâo-jai) - I don't understand

  • คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้ไหม (khun pôot paa-săa ang-grìt dâi măi) - Can you speak English?

  • คุณเข้าใจหรือไม่ (khun khâo-jai rĕu mâi) - Do you understand?

  • ให้ฉันลองอีกครั้ง (hâi chăn lŏng èek khráng) - Let me try again.

Remember, Thai is a tonal language, so the tone in which you speak the words can affect their meaning. It's a good idea to practice these phrases with a native speaker or language tutor to get the tones right.

Additionally, learning a few basic classroom commands and instructions in Thai can also be helpful:

  • นั่ง (nâng) - Sit

  • ยืน (yêun) - Stand

  • เปิดหน้าต่าง (bpèrd nâa dtàang) - Open the window

  • ปิดหน้าต่าง (bpìt nâa dtàang) - Close the window

  • เปิดประตู (bpèrd bprà-dtu) - Open the door

  • ปิดประตู (bpìt bprà-dtu) - Close the door

  • เขียนบนกระดาน (kĭan bon grà-daan) - Write on the board

  • อ่าน (àan) - Read

  • ฟัง (fahng) - Listen

  • พูด (pôot) - Speak

These phrases should provide you with a good starting point for your communication in the classroom and with your Thai colleagues. The effort to learn and use some Thai phrases will likely be appreciated by your students and help create a positive learning environment.


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