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Keys for Writers, Second Edition
Ann Raimes
ESL Tip Sheet 9: Thai

Spoken in Thailand, Laos, north Burma, Assam, some provinces of China.

The written language
  • Indic alphabet, in addition to symbols for tones.
  • Spaces correspond to punctuation: this leads to problems with end punctuation and internal punctuation of sentences. 47; 50; 51.
  • Words are often not separated.
  • Makes no distinction between upper and lower case. 53.
Sentence structure and word order
  • Uses S-V-O order, but subject can be omitted. 34b; 38d.
Nouns and pronouns
  • No inflections for number, gender, and case: *They have many book. *I saw they. 44a; 60b.
  • No gender or number distinction for third-person pronoun: *My sister likes his job. *After my parents left, I missed him. 44a.
  • Only one form of relative pronoun: *The man which has just left . . . 46a.
  • Pronouns are complex and reflect speaker's attitude as well as sex, age, and position in society of the person addressed. 44a.
  • Pronoun subjects can be omitted: *My boss complained when saw the mess. 38d.
Verbs and verbals
  • No inflections for tense or number: *He have a good time yesterday. 41d; 43a.
  • No auxiliary verbs: *They work? 41c.
Adjectives and adverbs
  • No distinction between no and not: *The committee will no agree. 64a.
  • No distinction between adjective and adverb: *He writes very good. 45b.
  • An adjective can function as a verb so be is not used with adjectives: *The meal very delicious. 38c; 41c; 45c.
  • No articles, so learners either omit them or overuse them: *The books are the important tools for student. 60.

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