Thai Language Blog

Nationalities, in Thai Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Beginner

If someone asks what your nationality is, how would you answer? Most nationalities are easy to say in Thai. You just say ‘person’ followed by the country name.

The word for person in Thai is kon1 คน. The word for China is jeen1 จีน. So for example, to say ‘Chinese’, you’d say kon1 jeen1 คนจีน.

Now, if you wanted to make it a complete sentence, you will need to add ‘I am…’. The word for ‘I’ is pom5 ผม for guys and chan5 ฉัน for women. The word for ‘am’ or ‘to be’ is bpen1 เป็น. So ‘I am’ translates to pom5 bpen1 ผมเป็น.

I am Chinese.

pom5 bpen1 kon1 jeen1



I am Canadian.

Chan5 bpen1 kon1 caa1naa1daa1



Test yourself by saying what your nationality is out loud. There are a few optional exceptions to this rule, of which I’ll cover in a later post.

Asking a person’s nationality follows the same basic grammar structure. The word for ‘you’ is khun1 คุณ. The word for nationality is chaat3 ชาติ. The word for ‘which’ is nai5 ไหน, and goes at the end of the sentence to form a question.

What is your nationality?

khun1 bpen1 kon1 chaat3 nai5?



Instead of the word ‘nationality’, you can also use the word ‘country’. This is the more common way to ask a person’s nationality.

What is your [birth] country?

khun1 bpen1 kon1 bpra2tet3 nai5?



If you noticed above, I used the word ‘what’ in English but ‘which’ in Thai. You can also use the word ‘what’ (a1rai1 อะไร) if you really wanted to, but it can come off as a little harsh if you aren’t careful.

What is your [birth] country?

khun1 bpen1 kon1 bpra2tet3 a1rai1?



Instead of directly asking for nationality, you can also use the words ‘come from’, or maa1 jaak2 มาจาก. This isn’t so common, but still occasionally said.

What country did you come from?

khun1 maa1 jaak2 bpra2tet3 a1rai1?



A final note . . . if the person asking is looking at you when asking this question, it’s assumed they mean ‘you’. As such with the Thai language, anything assumed can be deleted from the sentence.

What is your nationality?

bpen1 kon1 chaat3 nai5?


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