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Old 13th June 2011, 09:16 PM
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Re: number of Thai speakers

There are a few spoken dialects in Thailand and some even argue that they are distinctive languages but they are all variants of the "Tai" language family. There are certain words that are totally different but for the most part Central, Northern, Northeastern and Southern Thais can understand each other even with different spoken dialects/ slightly different variants. The only small exception is in the deep South where people speak Malay and some refuse to send their kids to schools as they want to teach their kids the Malay language. But the number is quite negligible.

I believe Wikepedia may have used the number of Thai speakers being 20 million because they might have considered that central Thais are the only true native speakers where the standard Thai is spoken at home and consider other Thais as being native speakers of variants of the "Tai" language. However, Central Thai script is the only written Thai script used in school and the official language so most people are bilingual with their native dialect/language and central/standard Thai. So something around 67-70 million Thai speakers should be correct.

More info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_language

Last edited by TrafficDomainer; 13th June 2011 at 09:24 PM..
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