What is Tinglish?

What is Tinglish? It’s a conjunction between the words Thai and English which is commonly used to describe the way a Thai person speaks. Tinglish is just another word for broken English, generally speaking unless the Thai is from a wealthy background they will be speaking too you in Tinglish. If they are from a wealthy background( Hi So) the chances are they wont be speaking too you at all.

Why do Thais speak Tinglish?

Is it because they are stupid? Well I don’t want to offend a whole country by answering that question so I won’t. One reason for why their English is “not so good” is due to the fact of terrible English teachers that work in Thai schools. I could go and be a teacher in some schools because I have a degree, even though my English grammer is horrible and my blog full of spelling miscakes.

Some of the farang school teachers are underpaid, not given the correct materials to teach properly, some teachers should not even be teaching children they are that stupid. That’s not to say that there are not good farang school teachers in Thailand, because there are, sadly they seem to be few and far between.

The best way to communicate with a Thai person?

Well this is obvious one isn’t it, speak Thai! But aint nobody got time for dat, aint nobody! I get complimented often by Thais and my friends for being able to talk and understand Tinglish very well. This is by far the most successful method I have had trying to create dialog a good dialogue with Thais.

Tinglish, What is Tinglish?

How to Speak Tinglish yourself

I always try and keep to a small set of rules I have whenever I am talking in Tinglish which are

  • Speak slowly
  • Don’t use words with more than two syllables
  • Don’t use confusing words
  • Use as few words as possible in each sentence
  • Don’t give Thais any credit for being understand any adjectives
  • Don’t confuse them with any unnecessary details

Examples of Tinglish

Me talking to my western friend:

Hey Davechai, what are you up to? I have to go to the bank later on today, I need to get my statements printed for the last month to be able to put a deposit down on my new condo in Thong lor.

Me talking to a Thai in Tinglish:

Hi Somchai, how you? I go bank today, for print bank statement because need for proof to make deposit on my new Condo.

You should be able to see a few subtle differences between the two monologues. Keep it short and sweet, the more you talk, the harder their brains are working to understand, you don’t want to throw them into overload :).

The best way to practice your Tinglish I would suggest is via messaging or typing, then you can slowly move on to speech. Thankfully it’s not hard in Thailand to find yourself a few Tinglish Partners.


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