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THAI
Family: Sino-Tibetan
Subgroup: Tai
Branch:  

Tintin

Milou

Capitaine Haddock

Tryphon Tournesol

Dupont

Dupond

 

 

Thai is spoken by over 85 percent of the population of Thailand, or about 50 million people. It is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages, which means that it is distantly related to Chinese. It is closer, however, to Lao, spoken in Laos, and to the Shan language of northern Burma. Like Chinese, Thai is a tonal language, meaning that different tones, or intonations, distinguish words that would otherwise be homonyms.

The origin of the Thai alphabet is obscure, but it is believed to have had its origin in southern India. It consists of forty-four consonants and thirty-two vowels, the latter consisting not of an individual letter, but of a mark written above, below, before, or after the consonant with which it is pronounced. Of the five tones, four are indicated by signs over the consonants, the absence of a sign indicating that the fifth tone is to be used. Words are not separated from each other and the letters generally flow uninterruptedly until the idea changes.


 

PUBLISHER

Sawang WONGPUAPHANT, Duang Kamol, 1993

 

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