How to read years in Thai and avoid common mistakes

by | Dec 21, 2020 | Thai, Tips

There are two ways to read the year in Thai. (Both Buddhist and gregorian year are read the same way). I will give you examples and later I will point out common mistakes that English speakers often make.

Reading years in Thai

Number by number

If you can count 1-9 then you can already say the year in Thai. Let’s see some examples.

So the year 1999 is said like one-nine-nine-nine.

  • I was born in the year 2535 (Buddhist year)
    ฉันเกิดปี สอง-ห้า-สาม-ห้า
    chăn gèrt bpee · sŏng · hâa · săam · hâa

  • I graduate in the year 2018
    ฉันเรียนจบปี สอง-ศูนย์-หนึ่ง-แปด
    chăn rian jòp bpee · sŏng · sŏon · nèung · bpàet

In thousands

Another very common way to say the year is starting from thousands พัน (pan), hundreds ร้อย (rói), tens สิบ (sìp). Let’s take a look at some examples.

So the year 1999 would be 1 thousand, 9 hundred, ninety-nine.

  • The war occurred in 1945
    สงครามเกินขึ้นปี หนึ่งพัน-เก้าร้อย-สี่สิบ-ห้า
    sŏng-kraam gern kêun bpee · nèung pan · gâo rói · sèe sìp · hâa

  • I met him in the year 2008
    ฉันเจอเขาปี สองพัน-แปด
    chăn jer kăo bpee · sŏng pan · bpàet

Common mistakes

Mistake 1

Both ways I wrote about above are used often. However, in normal everyday conversations, try to choose the shortest one.

For example, for 1945, you would not want to use the second format because saying it in thousands will make it very long. So, one-nine-four-five is better than one thousand-nine hundred-forty five.

On the other hand, for 2000 you would not want to say the number one by one because the shortest way is to just a ‘ two thousand’ สองพัน (sŏng pan).

Mistake 2

English speakers can say nineteen-twenty for 1920, or twenty-twenty for 2020. However, in Thai you can never say it like that. That leaves you with the two choices discussed above.

I hope now you have learned about how to read the year in Thai. Take care and I will see you in the next article.

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