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Thai grammar

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Title: Thai grammar  
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Thai grammar

Thai is an analytic (or isolating) language, like many languages in Southeast Asia. Also like other languages in the region, Thai syntax conforms to subject–verb–object word order, is head-initial (displaying modified-modifier ordering), and has a noun classifier system.[1] Basic Thai word order is also regular with every sentence structured by an "SVO (subject–verb–object)" order like English.[2]


Thai verbs do not inflect to indicate tense, number, etc., so there are no plural verb forms. There are no conjugations for grammatical person either.[3] There is no grammatical marker in Thai for the perfective/imperfective aspect.[4] Past tense is expressed by adding a separate time word.[2] When a verb is reduplicated, the action indicated by the verb is intensified.


Thai nouns do not have a grammatical gender.[5] Thai does not have an associative plural [1] In a noun phrase construction "and" is different from "with".[6] Certain nouns are reduplicated to form collectives, for example เด็ก dek (child) is often repeated as เด็ก ๆ dek dek to refer to a group of children.

Adjectives and adverbs

There is no morphological distinction between adjectives and adverbs in Thai. Many words can function as either. Adjectives can function in two different ways. They can be attributive, functioning to modify a noun to form a noun phrase. In this case they precede the noun they modify. Adjectives can also serve as predicate modifiers.[7]


There are no articles in Thai like "the" or "a" in English.


Possession in Thai is indicated by adding the word "khong" in front of the noun or pronoun, but it may often be omitted.

  • ex. ลูกของแม่ (luk khong mae) = "child belonging to mother" English = mother's child
  • ex. นาอา (na a) = "field uncle" English = uncle's field [8]


Thai does not possess a morphological case marker.[9]


  1. ^ a b "". Retrieved 17 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "". Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Östen Dahl (1985). Tense and Aspect Systems. Blackwell: Oxford.
  5. ^ Campbell, Stuart and Shaweevongse, Chuan. (1962). The fundamentals of the Thai language. Paragon Book Gallery: New York.
  6. ^ Noss, Richard B. (1964). Thai Reference Grammar. Foreign Service Institute, Department of State, United States Government: Washington DC.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "". Retrieved 18 September 2010. 
  9. ^ Campbell, George. (2000). Compendium of the World's Languages. Routledge: London / New York.
  • Bisang, W. (1991). Verb serialisation, grammaticalisation, and attractor positions in Chinese, Hmong, Vietnamese, Thai and Khmer. in Partizipation: das sprachliche Erfassen von Sachverhalten. Seiler, Hansjakob and Premper, Waldfried (ed.)
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