August 18, 2007

New section of the Royal Institute website

It looks as if the Royal Institute is poised to a open a new portion of its website at under the banner รู้ รัก ภาษาไทย Know, Love the Thai Language.

This website is clearly aimed at native speakers, and (if I had to guess) is probably an overdue project meant to coincide with National Thai Language Day this past July 29th (the release of the online version of RID99 was also meant to roughly coincide with this date, but it was released into the wild early--maybe too early). This annual day of observance for the language is fairly new, I believe, but I can't find any specifics about when it was established. I say it's new because my wife had never heard of a National Thai Language Day, and from what I saw, it didn't really get much press attention.

Right now the site's basically just a placeholder. There's not much real content yet--the phrase โปรดติดตามข้อมูลเนื้อหา
ในเร็วๆ นี้ ("Check back for content soon") is plastered everywhere.

There's a menu on the side with 12 items (English translations and comments mine):
หน้าหลัก (Main page)
ข่าวสารและกิจกรรม (News and activities)
รู้ รัก ภาษาไทย (Know, Love the Thai Language)
วิดีไทย (Video? Not sure if this is a play on วิดีทัศน์, the RI-coined term for "video," or what)
ภาษาไทยใช้ให้ถูก (Using the Thai language correctly)
สปอตรณรงค์ (Campaign spots--in the sense of a radio "spot" or advertisement; there are already two of these up for download)
กระดานสนทนา (Discussion board)
แนะนำเว็บไซต์ (Recommended websites)
บุคคลต้นแบบ (Exemplary individuals)
คลังความรู้ภาษาไทย (Treasury of Knowledge of the Thai language--links to a longstanding section of the Royal Institute website with articles about the language, some of which I've linked to before on this blog)
หลักเกณฑ์การใช้ภาษาไทย (Rules for using the Thai language)
คำต่างประเทศที่ใช้คำไทยแทนได้ (Foreign words that you can use Thai words instead of)

I'm particularly interested in what we'll see in the "Exemplary Individuals" section, and I think the last menu item is also intriguing. The French equivalent of the Royal Institute has a similar aversion to foreign (particularly English) phrases in colloquial speech, so it's not surprising to see the Royal Institute continue to try to convince the masses that a Thai phrase is inherently better than an English one, even though the "Thai" phrase will most likely be constructed from Pali/Sanskrit roots.

I have some issues with their website design and layout, but Thai websites in general are stuck in the 90s (ahem--blinking graphics,
scrolling text, visit counters), so this is better than many (although Google isn't going to find the site if they insist on using graphical menu items and links all over--search engines need text to index). I'll reserve further judgment until we see more content rolled out. According to the counter, 672 visitors so far.

Stay tuned.

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