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the standard spoken and literary language of Thailand, belonging to the Tai language family of Southeast Asia. It is based largely on the dialect of Bangkok and its environs in the central region of the country but retains certain consonant distinctions (such as l versus r, kl versus k), which are usually merged in the spoken language but preserved in the orthography. Other dialects, differing mostly in their tones and to some degree their consonants, are spoken in other major regions of the country. These are Northeastern (e.g., in Ubon Ratchathani, Khon Kaen), Northern (around Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai), and Southern (Songkhla, Nakhon Si Thammarat). The Northeastern dialects are similar to those of Laos.