chapter  15
Thai speech conventions
Pages 16

Politeness can be conveyed verbally in Thai by the appropriate choice of vocabulary, such as polite final particles (10.2), deferential pronouns (4.1) and formal vocabulary. As in most languages, the pitch and volume of voice can also be used to convey politeness. Speaking Thai softly and undemonstratively can be both a mark of politeness (reflecting the speaker’s unwillingness to be too assertive) and a sign of authority and high status (reflecting the speaker’s lack of need to be assertive); the foreigner who assumes these to be signs of weakness and indecision is likely to become culturally lost very quickly.