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Thailand

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In general, Thailand and it's citizens have a very poor standard of spoken English (exceptions include hotel staff, waiters in touristy areas and prostitutes), if any at all, which is compounded by their shyness and the thought of losing face by using broken English. So if someone is making the effort to speak to you in English, be patient, listen carefully and do your best to interact with them. It can be difficult - the tuk-tuk driver who is giving you a thumbs-up and asking you about "lane-loony" is speaking about an English football player, and someone who is asking you if you want to "sa-mock" is almost certainly offering you a cigarette. For most holiday-makers, their English will be better than your Thai, so try and go with it! They also like to break English words and names into individual syllables, so if your name was William Hewitt, this would be pronounced as "will-lee-yum he-you-it", which sounds very different to the English pronunciation.
There is also a colloquial form of English spoken among Thais in urban areas, not inappropriately known as Tinglish, which takes a bit of getting used to if you intend to join in the conversation on local topics. Thais will almost always try to speak 'standardized English' when approached by Western travellers. In general, police stations and government offices will have English-speaking staff on duty, but you CANNOT rely on this. If you need to speak with the police or an official, if you can find someone to translate, things will be so much easier.
Many Thais have trouble pronouncing the consonant clusters of the English language. Common confusion comes from the fact that Thais often pronounce "twenty" as "TEH-wen-ty", making it sound like they're saying "seventy". If you extrapolate this and consider that they change from an L sound to an R sound as and when they see fit, some English words can quickly become unintelligible. Therefore it is a good idea to make use of the calculators that street vendors may offer you to avoid confusion about prices offered when buying goods. If you're willing to learn some numbers and basic greetings in Thai, haggling will be a lot more fun and you will almost certainly be able to get a better price!
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