Thai society is very hierarchised.

In Thai language many words are used to to say "I" or "YOU". The ways of saying "I" or "YOU" are depending on the person your are talking to. It depends on your status, on the status of the person in front of you.

That is why clothes are very important in Thai society. Many foreigners don't understand why Thai people wear pants instead of shorts, shirts with tie-rack, shirts with high sleeves and so on... with a so hot weather. That is because appearance is important in Thai society, it can reveal the status of the person. On the opposite point Thai people are always puzzled by foreign tourists who wear so few, so short clothes. They are really puzzled.

When talking to Thai people for the first time, they always talk about your age, your family, your job and your wages. First it is surprising but they have no bad idea in mind, it is just a way to know your status, your rank.

Here are the most common words to say "I" or "YOU". Their use depends on the interlocutor.

Foreigners shall not use these two last words as they are really not polite at all. If foreigners use them with a Thai people, they loose a friend forever.

There is also many different words when talking with sons of the king, daughters of the king. Different words for five generations. Since King Rama 5, people lost their royal ranking status after 5 generations.

Thai monks
Vocabulary used when speaking with a monk is not the same as everyday vocabulary. Monks deserve respect. Depending on the age of the monk different words are used when talking to a monk.
Thai monks

A boy has to be seven years old at least in order to ordain ("BANPHACHA" - บัพชา) and become a Buddhist novice.

A person who has spent a Lent in monkhood is called "THIT" (ทิด) meaning a cultivated person who is mature enough to have a family of his own.

Even for monks, the rank and status appear in Buddhist ceremonies. When a group of monks go for their morning alms walk, the monk with the highest rank and age is at the front of the line while the youngest monk is at the end.

The end of the sentence is also very important. When speaking with unknown persons, end of sentence particle shall be used to show politeness. With closed friends it is not necessary at all. Like words to say "I" or "YOU" there is many end of sentence particles. Here are the most common.

Thai society is an image of Thai family. Relations elder-younger are part of Thai society. The following example shows the relationship between the village chief and the villagers.

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