Sawasdee, sawatdee, sawatdii or however you’d like to spell, they all mean the same things “hello and goodbye” which I’m sure 99% of you who are reading this already knew the meanings. But I’m also sure that in those 99%, not everyone pronounces it correctly. And since you are here on eThaier.com, I assume you many of you want to know to speak Thai in the right way. So let’s just straight to the point!
How to say hello in Thai?
“สวัสดี or sawasdee” is a Thai word everybody in Thailand uses pretty much every day (they might shorten word to be more casual which will be explained later in this article). Is it necessary to use this word as a foreigner? Absolutely YES! It’s a super easy first impression that will set the tone of whole conversation. Think about when you hear foreigners speak your language with that cute accent, you can’t help but love them.
The word consists of 3 syllables: sa-wat-dee as everyone knows. But do you know Thai language is a tonal language? That basically means different tones give different meanings as well. Do you also know a length of vowel sounds defines tones? Later on I’ll explain about vowel rules. Now let’s see what are tones of each syllable in the word hello in Thai:
Sa: short vowel, low tone
Wat: short vowel, low tone
Dee: long vowel, flat tone
It’s a super easy word to start with when you want to speak Thai language. But if you are experienced foreigners in Thailand, you probably know that many Thais saves their energy by deduct the first syllable “Sa” and just use “Wat-dee” as casual greeting when they already knew people they are talking to. So it’s up to you to use either long or short way. No matter how, just don’t forget to use polite words “khrap, kha” at the end of any sentence, I guarantee you will sound 10 times better than not using those words. Check out how to use polite words correctly in Thai language.