Thai Numerals
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Thai Numerals

Thai numerals (Thai: , RTGSlek thai, pronounced [lê:k tj]) are a set of numerals traditionally used in Thailand, although the Arabic numerals are more common due to extensive westernization of Thailand in the modern Rattanakosin period. Thai numerals follow the Hindu-Arabic numeral system commonly used in the rest of the world. In Thai language, numerals often follow the modified noun and precede a measure word, although variations to this pattern occur.

## Usage

The Thai language lacks grammatical number. A count is usually expressed in the form of an uninflected noun followed by a number and a classifier. "Five teachers" is expressed as "teacher five person" khru ha khon (Thai: or with the numeral included Thai: ? .) Khon "person" is a type of referent noun that is also used as the Thai part of speech called in English a linguistic classifier, or measure word. In Thai, counting is kannap (; nap is "to count", kan is a prefix that forms a noun from a verb); the classifier, laksananam ( from laksana characteristic, form, attribute, quality, pattern, style; and nam name, designation, appellation.[1]) Variations to this pattern do occur, and there really is no hierarchy among Thai classifiers.[2] A partial list of Thai words that also classify nouns can be found in Wiktionary category: Thai classifiers.

## Main numbers

### Zero to ten

Thai s?n is written as oval 0 (number) when using Arabic numerals, but a small circle ? when using traditional numerals, and also means centre in other contexts.[3] It is from Sanskrit nya, as are the (context-driven) alternate names for numbers one to four given below; but not the counting 1 (number).

Thai names for N +1 and the regular digits 2 through 9 as shown in the table, below, resemble those in Chinese varieties (e.g., Cantonese and Min Nan) as spoken in Southern China, the homeland of the overseas chinese living in South East Asia . In fact, the etymology of Thai numerals 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 is Middle Chinese, while the etymology of Thai numeral 5 is Old Chinese, as illustrated in the table below[4]

Number Thai
Numeral Written RTGS IPA Archaic Etymology
0 ? sun /s?:n/ Sanskrit nya
1 ? nueng /n/ ? (ai) Proto-Tai /n/[4]
2 ? song /s:?/ (yi) Middle Chinese /sa?/[4] (compare Min Nan ? sang1) and /nyijH/[4] (compare Min Nan ? ji7)
3 ? sam /s?:m/ (sam) Middle Chinese /sam/[4] (compare Hakka/Cantonese ?sam1)
4 ? si /sì:/ (sai) Middle Chinese sijH[4] (compare Min Nan ? si3)
5 ? ha /hâ:/ ? (ngua) Old Chinese /*?a?/[4] (compare Min Nan ? ngo.)
6 ? hok /hòk/ (lok) Middle Chinese /ljuwk/[4] (compare Hakka + Cantonese ? liok8)
7 ? ? chet /tèt/ ? (chet) Middle Chinese /tshit/[4] (compare Min Nan ? chit4)
8 ? paet /p:t/ (paet) Middle Chinese /peat/[4] (compare Cantonese ? pat4)
9 ? ? kao /kâ:w/ (chao) Middle Chinese /kjuwX/[4] (compare Min Nan ? kau2)
10 sip /sìp/ (chong) Middle Chinese dzyip (compare Min Nan[4] (compare Hakka ? sip8)

Numerical digit characters, however, are almost identical to Khmer numerals. Thai and Lao words for numerals are almost identical, however, the numerical digits vary somewhat in shape. Shown above is a comparison between three languages using Cantonese and Minnan characters and pronunciations. Shown below is a comparison between three languages using Khmer numerals. Thai and Lao. The Thai transliteration uses the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS).

Number Thai Khmer Lao
Numeral Written RTGS IPA Archaic Numeral Written IPA Numeral Written IPA
0 ? sun /s?:n/ (Sanskrit nya) ? /soun/ ? /s?:n/
1 ? nueng /n/ ? (ai) ? /mu?j/ ? ? /n?̌?/
2 ? song /s:?/ (yi) ? /pi:/ ? /s?:?/
3 ? sam /s?:m/ (sam) ? /j/ ? /s?:m/
4 ? si /sì:/ (sai) ? /?u?n/ ? /sì:/
5 ? ha /hâ:/ ? (ngua) ? /pram/ ? /hâ:/
6 ? hok hòk (lok) ? /pram mu?j/ ? /hók/
7 ? ? chet /tèt/ ? (chet) ? /pram pi:/ ? ? /tét/
8 ? paet /p:t/ (paet) ? ? /pram j/ ? /p?́t/
9 ? ? kao /kâ:w/ (chao) ? /pram ?u?n/ ? /kâw/
10 sip /sìp/ (chong) /p/ /síp/

### Ten to a million

Sanskrit lakh designates the place value of a digit (tamnaeng khong tua lek, ), which are named for the powers of ten: the unit's place is lak nuai (); ten's place, lak sip (?); hundred's place, lak roi (), and so forth.[5] The number one following any multiple of sip becomes et (Cantonese, yat1; Minnan, it4). The number ten (sip) is the same as Minnan ? (sip8, lit.). Numbers from twenty to twenty nine begin with yi sip (Cantonese?, yi6sap6; Minnan?, lit. ji7sip8). Names of the lak sip for 30 to 90, and for the lak of 100, 1000, 10,000, 100,000 and million, are almost identical to those of the like Khmer numerals.

Number Thai RTGS IPA Notes
10 sip /sìp/
11 ? sip et /sìp ?èt/
12 sip song /sìp s:?/
20 yi sip /jî: sìp/
21 ? yi sip et /jî: sìp ?èt/
22 yi sip song /jî: sìp s:?/
30 sam sip /s?:m sìp/
31 ? sam sip et /s?:m sìp ?èt/
32 sam sip song /s?:m sìp s:?/
100 ? roi /r:j/
1 000 ? phan /pn/
10 000 muen /m:n/ From Middle Chinese /mnH/ ?
100 000 saen /s:n/
1 000 000 ? ? lan /lá:n/

For the numbers twenty-one through twenty-nine, the part signifying twenty: yi sip (), may be colloquially shortened to yip ().[] See the alternate numbers section below.

The hundreds are formed by combining roi with the tens and ones values. For example, two hundred and thirty-two is song roi sam sip song. The words roi, phan, muen, and saen should occur with a preceding numeral (nueng is optional), so two hundred ten, for example, is song roi sip, and one hundred is either roi or nueng roi. Nueng never precedes sip, so song roi nueng sip is incorrect. Native speakers will sometimes use roi nueng (or phan nueng, etc.) with different tones on nueng to distinguish one hundred from one hundred and one. However, such distinction is often not made, and ambiguity may follow. To resolve this problem, if the number 101 (or 1001, 10001, etc.) is intended, one should say roi et (or phan et, muen et, etc.).

### Numbers above a million

Numbers above a million are constructed by prefixing lan with a multiplier. For example, ten million is sip lan, and a trillion (1012, a long scale billion) is lan lan.

### Decimal and fractional numbers

Colloquially, decimal numbers are formed by saying chut (, dot) where the decimal separator is located. For example, 1.01 is nueng chut sun nueng ().

Fractional numbers are formed by placing nai (, in, of) between the numerator and denominator or using [set] x suan y ([] x ? y, x parts of the whole y) to clearly indicate. For example, 13 is nueng nai sam (?) or [set] nueng suan sam ([]). The word set () can be omitted.

The word khrueng () is used for "half". It precedes the measure word if used alone, but it follows the measure word when used with another number. For example, kradat khrueng phaen () means "half sheet of paper", but kradat nueng phaen khrueng () means "one and a half sheets of paper".

### Negative numbers

Negative numbers are formed by placing lop (, minus) in front of the number. For example, -11 is lop sip et ().

### Ordinal numbers

Ordinal numbers are formed by placing thi (, place) in front of the number. They are not considered a special class of numbers, since the numeral still follows a modified noun, which is thi in this case.

Thai RTGS IPA meaning
thi nueng /t?î: n/ first
thi song /t?î: s:?/ second
thi sam /t?î: s?:m/ third
thi si /t?î: sì:/ fourth
# thi # /t?î:/ #st, #nd, #rd, #th

## Alternative numbers

### Ai

Ai (Thai: ?) is used for "first born (son)" or for the first month, duean ai (), of the Thai lunar calendar.[6]

### Ek

Ek (Thai: ) is from Pali ?ka, "one" [7] Ek is used for one (quantity); first (rank), more prominent than tho second, in tone marks, education degrees and military ranks; and for the lead actor in a role. In antiquity, a seventh daughter was called luk ek (), though a seventh son was luk chet (?).[8]

### Et

Et (Thai: ?, Cantonese, yat1; Minnan, it4), meaning "one", is used as last member in a compound number (see the main numbers section above).

### Tho

Tho (Thai: ) is from Pali d, "two".[9] Tho is used for two and for the second-level rank in tone marks, education degrees and military ranks.[10]

### Yi

Yi (Thai: , Cantonese, yi6; Minnan, ji7) is still used in several places in Thai language for the number two, apart from song (): to construct twenty (two tens) and its combinations twenty-one through twenty-nine; to name the second month, duean yi (), of the traditional Thai lunar calendar; and in the Thai northern dialect thin pha yip (?-), which refers to the Year of the Tiger.[11]

### Tri & Trai

Tri () and trai () are from Sanskrit tr?ya?, "three".[12] These alternatives are used for three; third rank in tone marks, education degrees and military ranks; and as a prefix meaning three(fold).[13]

### Chattawa

Chattawa () is the Pali numeral four; used for the fourth tone mark and as a prefix meaning fourth in order or quadruple in number.

### Lo

Lo (Thai: ) means a dozen or twelve. It is usually used for trade. It may also mean jar or bottle.[14]

### Yip

Yip (Thai: or ) in colloquial Thai is an elision or contraction of yi sip () at the beginning of numbers twenty-one through twenty-nine. Therefore, one may hear yip et (?, ?), yip song (, ), up to yip kao (?, ?). Yip may have a long vowel () or be elided further into a short vowel ().

### Sao

Sao (Thai: ) is twenty in the Thai northern dialect[15] and in the Isan language. Xao () is the word for twenty in the Lao language.

### Kurut

Kurut (Thai: ) means a dozen dozen or 144. It is usually used for trade. It is a loanword from gross.[16]

### Kot

Kot (Thai: ?) is ten million used in religious context. It comes from Pali/Sanskrit ki.[17] See also crore.

## Tone marks, education degrees and military ranks

The alternate set of numerals used to name tonal marks (, mai), educational degrees (, parinya), and military rankings derive from names of Sanskrit numerals.

Number Tonal Mark Educational Degree Military Ranking in the Royal Thai Army
Thai RTGS Value Mark Thai RTGS Tone Thai RTGS Degree Thai RTGS Meaning
ek first -? mai ek first tone parinya ek doctor's phon ek General
phan ek Colonel
? roi ek Captain
cha sip ek Master Sgt. 1st Class
sip ek Sergeant (Sgt.)
tho second -? mai tho second tone parinya tho master's ? phon tho Lieutenant General
phan tho Lieutenant Colonel
roi tho Lieutenant
cha sip tho Master Sgt. 2nd Class
sip tho Corporal
tri third -? mai tri third tone parinya tri bachelor's phon tri Major general
phan tri Major
? roi tri Sub Lieutenant
cha sip tri Master Sgt. 3rd Class
sip tri Lance Corporal
chattawa fourth -? mai chattawa fourth tone ? phon chattawa Brigadier General (Honorary)

## References

1. ^ Glenn S., ed. (May 21, 2013). "" (Dictionary). Royal Institute Dictionary - 1982. Thai-language.com. Retrieved 2013. [grammar] a classifier, a numerative noun
2. ^ Constructing Taxonomy of Numerative Classifiers for Asian Languages
3. ^ English-Thai reverse lookup and synonyms
4. Suthiwan, Titima; Uri Tadmor (2009). Martin Haspelmath (ed.). Loanwords in the World's Languages: A Comparative Handbook. Walter de Gruyter. p. 606. ISBN 9783110218442.
5. ^ Online Royal Institute Dictionary Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine, 1999 edition: select "?" and enter ?
6. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999); select ? enter ?
7. ^ Digital Dictionaries of South Asia Sir Ralph Lilley Turner (1888-1983) A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages entry 2462
8. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999), select ? enter
9. ^ Digital Dictionaries of South Asia Sir Ralph Lilley Turner (1888-1983) A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages entry 6455
10. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999), select ? enter
11. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999), select ? enter
12. ^ Digital Dictionaries of South Asia Sir Ralph Lilley Turner (1888-1983) A Comparative Dictionary of the Indo-Aryan Languages entry 5994
13. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999), select ? enter
14. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999), select ? enter
15. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999), select ? enter
16. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999), select ? enter
17. ^ ORID Archived 2009-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Online Royal Institute Dictionary (1999), select ? enter ?