Can Your Thai Girlfriend Speak English?

Can Your Thai Girlfriend Speak English?

The vast majority of Thai women don’t speak English to a high level. Generally those who speak fluent English are the ones working for international companies, large businesses, or those employed as English teachers. Some also work in the tourist industry – perhaps at a large hotel or in a restaurant. And then there are the bar girls…

Bar Girl English

Bar girls usually speak fairly little English, and the vocabulary they use will be a little ‘rough around the edges’.  So, dating a Thai bargirl or having a Thai bargirl as a girlfriend can have its advantages… or its disadvantages… depending on how you look at it.

The question is, how important is verbal communication very important to you?

For many men, the answer is not very, and the language barrier causes no problems. They resort to speaking a slow and clear, simplified form of English, with lots of gesticulation. If their girlfriend looks confused, they simply try and explain it again, slower and more clearly this time, until they get there in the end.

There’s also the option of paying for your Thai girlfriend to have some English lessons. Some will be open to this idea, and will relish the opportunity to study. Others, may not be so open to the idea, and will always rely on their ‘Tinglish’ to get them by.

If that’s you… it might be worth your while to at least begin getting the basics of the Thai language.

I love my Thai girlfriend very much. We met online and have been communicating via email, but her English is not so good. Should I learn Thai? Is it a difficult language to learn?

One problem that many Australians face while communicating with their Thai girlfriend is the language. The people of Thailand don’t have strong command over English and it becomes difficult to understand them. Because of this reason many guys have started learning Thai for their girlfriend so that they can understand them better.

Learning Thai is not so difficult and if you really want to understand your girlfriend, it is better that you put in little efforts and start learning Thai as soon as possible. Before you start learning Thai, it is advisable to first understand how the Thai language is different from English.

Thai grammar is very simple. It doesn’t have inflections, declensions, conjugations etc. The forms of the words are changed with person, number, gender or tense. To indicate tense, tomorrow, today or yesterday words are added in the sentence. The formation of the sentence is very simple. You just need to work on the vocabulary. Another important point to be kept in consideration is that Thai is a tonal language. It means a same word represents different things when it is spoken in different tones.

Here are three steps that would help you grasp the Thai language better:

To learn anything new it is always better to practice it more and more. Get a Thai language book for yourself and use it as much as you can.

You can start with some simple Thai sentence or phrase. Use the sentence you have learnt it again and again and you will slowly find that you can build on it. For instance, “my name is XYZ” and then slowly you would comfortable in saying “my name is XYZ and what’s yours?” In this way you will be able to expand simple sentences. And slowly you will realize that it is not difficult for you to say a long sentence out of your mouth.

In beginning don’t worry about the tones. The focus should only be at pronouncing the words correctly. Tones can be learnt slowly and gradually.

These things would make the Thai learning process simpler and faster and once you learn the language you should apply for a visa to Thailand to give your girlfriend a surprise. Not by just visiting her in person but also making her proud of her choice by speaking her language.

Learning Thai would not only make you understand your Thai girlfriend better but it would also make your girlfriend to love you even more and she would respect your love more as in Thailand man do not really take pain to do something special for their girl.

The Language Barrier

Even with my Thai friends who speak fluent English, because of the difference in understanding of some vocabulary and grammar, misunderstandings happen often. With friends, this is usually easily  fixable. But, with more romantic relationships, misunderstandings because of language problems can cause snowballing other problems if not solved immediately.

The vast majority of Thai women don’t speak good English either. In seven years of living in Thailand, the only Thai women I’ve met who speak fluent English are ones working for international companies, large Thai businesses, some English teachers and women who work in the tourist industry. Thai prostitutes too usually speak good English, although the vocabulary they use will be rough (you can often spot a Thai prostitute from how they speak English plus, of course, how they dress). In fact, Thailand has the worst level of English of any south east Asian country so, dating a Thai girl who has poor English can be a perfect situation for language-created problems. Make sure you speak slowly and clearly and explain anything she looks confused about. That way, some problems can be nipped in the bud.

Thai Culture is Drastically Different Than Western Culture – A lot of western men come to Thailand, hang out with other westerners, have few Thai friends and make little effort to learn about Thai culture. A large percentage, unfortunately, have the ingrained idea that western culture is better than Thai culture and, even though they live here for years, spend much of it looking down on Thailand. Therefore, when they meet a Thai woman and start a serious relationship, they’ve already decided they’re going to do things the ‘western way’, as it’s better. In fact, it’s not and your Thai girlfriend will probably not think so either.

Taking your thai girlfriend and settling in Australia is an option too, as she would be able to benefit from free English lessons. Apply for an Australian partner visa, and she’ll get 500 FREE hours of English tuition! Of course she’ll also benefit from being immersed full-time in an English speaking society, where she can practise her new found language skills by interacting with Australians in day-to-day situations.


On September 2, 2010, posted in: Living in Thailand by
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