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Thai alphabet

Thai alphabet

Overview
Thai script is used to write the Thai language
Thai language
Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

 and other, minority, languages in Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

. It has forty-four consonants , fifteen vowel symbols that combine into at least twenty-eight vowel forms, and four tone marks .

Although commonly referred to as the "Thai alphabet", the character set is in fact not a true alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

 but an abugida
Abugida
An abugida , also called an alphasyllabary, is a segmental writing system in which consonant–vowel sequences are written as a unit: each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is obligatory but secondary...

, a writing system in which each consonant may invoke an inherent vowel sound, described as an implied 'a' or 'o'.
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Encyclopedia
Thai script is used to write the Thai language
Thai language
Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

 and other, minority, languages in Thailand
Thailand
Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...

. It has forty-four consonants , fifteen vowel symbols that combine into at least twenty-eight vowel forms, and four tone marks .

Although commonly referred to as the "Thai alphabet", the character set is in fact not a true alphabet
Alphabet
An alphabet is a standard set of letters—basic written symbols or graphemes—each of which represents a phoneme in a spoken language, either as it exists now or as it was in the past. There are other systems, such as logographies, in which each character represents a word, morpheme, or semantic...

 but an abugida
Abugida
An abugida , also called an alphasyllabary, is a segmental writing system in which consonant–vowel sequences are written as a unit: each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is obligatory but secondary...

, a writing system in which each consonant may invoke an inherent vowel sound, described as an implied 'a' or 'o'. Consonants are written horizontally from left to right, with vowels arranged above, below, to the left or to the right of the corresponding consonant or in a combination of those positions.

Thai has its own set of Thai numerals
Thai numerals
Thai numerals constitute a numeral system of Thai number names for the Khmer numerals traditionally used in Thailand, also used for the more common Arabic numerals, and which follow the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.-Usage:...

 which are based on the Hindu Arabic numeral system , but the standard western Hindu-Arabic numerals  are also commonly used.

History



The Thai alphabet is derived from the Old Khmer script
Khmer script
The Khmer script is an alphasyllabary script used to write the Khmer language . It is also used to write Pali among the Buddhist liturgy of Cambodia and Thailand....

 , which is a southern Brahmi
Brāhmī script
Brāhmī is the modern name given to the oldest members of the Brahmic family of scripts. The best-known Brāhmī inscriptions are the rock-cut edicts of Ashoka in north-central India, dated to the 3rd century BCE. These are traditionally considered to be early known examples of Brāhmī writing...

c style of writing called Vatteluttu
Vatteluttu
Vatteluttu alphabet, also spelled Vattezhuttu alphabet is an abugida writing system originating from the Tamil people of Southern India...

. Vatteluttu was also commonly referred to as the Pallava script by scholars of Southeast Asian studies
Southeast Asian studies
Southeast Asian Studies refers to research and education on the language, culture, and history of the different states and ethnic groups of Southeast Asia.-Publication:Southeast Asian Studies is also the English name of the Japanese scholarly journal...

 such as George Coedes
George Coedès
Georges Cœdès was a 20th century scholar of southeast Asian archaeology and history. Coedès was born in Paris to a family of supposed Hungarian-Jewish emigres. In fact, the family was known as having settled in the region of Strasbourg before 1740. His ancestors were working for the royal Treasury...

.
According to tradition it was created in 1283 by King Ramkhamhaeng the Great .

Orthography


Thai letters do not have small and capital forms like the Roman alphabet. Space between words is not used, except in certain linguistically motivated cases.

Minor pauses in sentences may be marked by a comma , and major pauses by a period , but most often are marked by a blank space . A bird's eye ๏ formerly indicated paragraphs, but is now obsolete.

A khomut ๛ can be used to mark the end of a chapter
Chapter (books)
A chapter is one of the main divisions of a piece of writing of relative length, such as a book. Chapters can be numbered in the case of such writings as law code or they can be titled. For example, the first chapters of some well-known novels are titled:*"The Boy Who Lived" – Harry Potter...

 or document
Document
The term document has multiple meanings in ordinary language and in scholarship. WordNet 3.1. lists four meanings :* document, written document, papers...

.

Thai writing also uses quotation marks and parentheses (round brackets) , but not square brackets or braces. Moreover, many consonants from Sanskrit and Pali loanwords are generally silent. The spelling of the words resembles Sanskrit or Pali orthography:
  • Thai (spelled sǎamaarth but pronounced [sǎːmâːt] because the r is silent) "to be able" (Sanskrit समर्थ samartha)
  • Thai (spelled chanthr but pronounced [tɕan] because the th and the r are silent) "moon" (Sanskrit चन्द्र candra)

Consonants


There are 44 consonants representing 21 distinct consonant sounds. Duplicate consonants represent different Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 and Pali
Páli
- External links :* *...

 consonants pronounced identically in Thai. The consonants are divided, as shown in the table below, into three classes — low , middle and high — which determine the tone of the following vowel. There are in addition four consonant-vowel combination characters not included in the tally of 44.

To aid learning, each consonant is traditionally associated with an acrophonic
Acrophony
Acrophony is the naming of letters of an alphabetic writing system so that a letter's name begins with the letter itself. For example, Greek letter names are acrophonic: the names of the letters α, β, γ, δ, are spelled with the respective letters: ....

 Thai word that either starts with the same sound, or features it prominently. For example, the name of the letter ข is kho khai (ข ไข่), in which kho is the sound it represents, and khai (ไข่) is a word which starts with the same sound and means "egg".

Two of the consonants, ฃ (kho khuat) and ฅ (kho khon), are no longer used in written Thai, but still appear on many keyboards and in character sets. Some say that when the first Thai typewriter was developed by Edwin Hunter McFarland in 1892, there was simply no space for all characters, thus two had to be left out. Also, neither of these two letters correspond to a Sanskrit or Pali letter, and each of them, being a modified form of the letter that precedes it (compare ข and ค), has the same pronunciation and the same consonant class as the preceding letter (somewhat like the European long s
Long s
The long, medial or descending s is a form of the minuscule letter s formerly used where s occurred in the middle or at the beginning of a word, for example "ſinfulneſs" . The modern letterform was called the terminal, round, or short s.-History:The long s is derived from the old Roman cursive...

). This makes them redundant. Set in 1890's Siam, a 2006 film titled in Thai: ฅนไฟบิน Flying Fire Person (in English: Dynamite Warrior
Dynamite Warrior
Dynamite Warrior is a 2006 Thai martial arts film directed by Chalerm Wongpim and starring Dan Chupong .-Plot:The story is set in 1890s Siam. Siang is a young Muay Thai warrior and rocketry expert who steals back water buffalo taken from poor Isan farmers by unscrupulous cattle raiders...

), uses ฅ kho khon to spell ฅน Person. Compare entry for ฅ in table below, where person is spelled คน.

Equivalents for romanisation are shown in the table below. Many consonants are pronounced differently at the beginning and at the end of a syllable. The entries in columns initial and final indicate the pronunciation for that consonant in the corresponding positions in a syllable. Where the entry is '-', the consonant may not be used to close a syllable. Where a combination of consonants ends a written syllable, only the first is pronounced; possible closing consonant sounds are limited to 'k', 'm', 'n', 'ng', 'p' and 't'.

Although an official standard for romanisation is the Royal Thai General System of Transcription
Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

 (RTGS) defined by the Royal Thai Institute, many publications use different Romanisation systems. In daily practice, a bewildering variety of Romanisations are used, making it difficult to know how to pronounce a word, or to judge if two words (e.g. on a map and a street sign) are actually the same. For more precise information, an equivalent from the International Phonetic Alphabet
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

 (IPA) is given as well.

Each consonant is assigned to a "class" (low, middle, or high), which plays a role in determining the tone with which the syllable is pronounced. The class designations of the Thai letters are based on the phonetic qualities (i.e., presence or absence of voicing or aspiration) of the Indic letters to which they correspond.

Alphabetic

Symbol Name Royal Thai IPA Class
Thai RTGS
Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

 (meaning)
Initial Final Initial Final
ก ไก่ ko kai (chicken) k k [k] [k̚] mid
ข ไข่ kho khai (egg) kh k [kʰ] [k̚] high
ฃ ขวด kho khuat
Kho Khuat
Kho Khuat is the third letter of the Thai alphabet. It is a high consonant in the Thai tripartite consonant system . The letter is now rarely used, being replaced universally by kho khai...

(bottle) [obsolete]
kh k [kʰ] [k̚] high
ค ควาย kho khwai (water buffalo) kh k [kʰ] [k̚] low
ฅ คน kho khon (person) [obsolete] kh k [kʰ] [k̚] low
ฆ ระฆัง kho ra-khang (bell) kh k [kʰ] [k̚] low
ง งู ngo ngu (snake) ng ng [ŋ] [ŋ] low
จ จาน cho chan (plate) ch t [tɕ] [t̚] mid
ฉ ฉิ่ง cho ching (cymbals) ch [tɕʰ] high
ช ช้าง cho chang (elephant) ch t [tɕʰ] [t̚] low
ซ โซ่ so so (chain) s t [s] [t̚] low
ฌ เฌอ cho choe (tree) ch [tɕʰ] low
ญ หญิง yo ying (woman) y n [j] [n] low
ฎ ชฎา do cha-da (headdress) d t [d] [t̚] mid
ฏ ปฏัก to pa-tak (goad
Goad
The goad is a traditional farming implement, used to spur or guide lifestock, usually oxen, which are pulling a plough or a cart; used also to round up cattle. It is a type of a long stick with a pointed end, also known as the cattle prod. Though many people are unfamiliar with them today, goads...

, javelin
Javelin
A Javelin is a light spear intended for throwing. It is commonly known from the modern athletic discipline, the Javelin throw.Javelin may also refer to:-Aviation:* ATG Javelin, an American-Israeli civil jet aircraft, under development...

)
t t [t̚] [t] mid
ฐ ฐาน tho than (pedestal) th t [tʰ] [t̚] high
ฑ มณโฑ tho montho (Mandodari
Mandodari
Mandodari is the Queen Consort of Ravana, the demon king of Lanka, according to the Hindu epic Ramayana. The Ramayana describes Mandodari as beautiful, pious, and righteous...

, character from Ramayana
Ramayana
The Ramayana is an ancient Sanskrit epic. It is ascribed to the Hindu sage Valmiki and forms an important part of the Hindu canon , considered to be itihāsa. The Ramayana is one of the two great epics of India and Nepal, the other being the Mahabharata...

)
th t [tʰ] [t̚] low
ฒ ผู้เฒ่า tho phu-thao (elder) th t [tʰ] [t̚] low
ณ เณร no nen (samanera
Samanera
A samanera ) may be translated as novice monk in a Buddhist context. The literal meaning is 'small samana', that is, small renunciate where 'small' has the meaning of boy or girl. In the Vinaya monastic discipline, a man under the age of 20 cannot ordain as a bhikkhu, but can ordain as a samanera...

)
n n [n] [n] low
ด เด็ก do dek (child) d t [d] [t̚] mid
ต เต่า to tao (turtle) t t [t] [t̚] mid
ถ ถุง tho thung (sack) th t [tʰ] [t̚] high
ท ทหาร tho thahan (soldier) th t [tʰ] [t̚] low
ธ ธง tho thong (flag) th t [tʰ] [t̚] low
น หนู no nu (mouse) n n [n] [n] low
บ ใบไม้ bo baimai (leaf) b p [b] [p̚] mid
ป ปลา po pla (fish) p p [p] [p̚] mid
ผ ผึ้ง pho phueng (bee) ph [pʰ] high
ฝ ฝา fo fa (lid) f [f] high
พ พาน pho phan (tray) ph p [pʰ] [p̚] low
ฟ ฟัน fo fan (teeth) f p [f] [p̚] low
ภ สำเภา pho sam-phao (sailboat) ph p [pʰ] [p̚] low
ม ม้า mo ma (horse) m m [m] [m] low
ย ยักษ์ yo yak (giant, yaksha
Yaksha
Yaksha is the name of a broad class of nature-spirits, usually benevolent, who are caretakers of the natural treasures hidden in the earth and tree roots. They appear in Hindu, Jain and Buddhist mythology. The feminine form of the word is ' or Yakshini .In Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist mythology,...

)
y y [j] [j] low
ร เรือ ro ruea (boat) r n [r] [n] low
ล ลิง lo ling (monkey) l n [l] [n] low
ว แหวน wo waen (ring) w w [w] [w] low
ศ ศาลา so sala (pavilion) s t [s] [t̚] high
ษ ฤๅษี so rue-si (hermit) s t [s] [t̚] high
ส เสือ so suea (tiger) s t [s] [t̚] high
ห หีบ ho hip (chest) h [h] high
ฬ จุฬา lo chu-la (kite) l n [l] [n] low
อ อ่าง o ang (basin) * [ʔ] mid
ฮ นกฮูก ho nok-huk (owl) h [h] low


* อ is a special case in that at the beginning of a word it is used as a silent initial
Zero consonant
A zero consonant, silent initial, or null-onset letter is a consonant-like letter that is not pronounced, but indicates that a word or syllable starts with a vowel...

 for syllables that start with a vowel (all vowels are written relative to a consonant — see below). The same symbol is used as a vowel in non-initial position.

Phonetic


The consonants can be organised by place and manner of articulation according to principles of the International Phonetic Association
International Phonetic Association
The International Phonetic Association is an organization that promotes the scientific study of phonetics and the various practical applications of that science. The IPA’s major contribution to phonetics is the International Phonetic Alphabet—a notational standard for the phonetic...

.
Thai distinguishes among three voice/aspiration patterns for plosive consonants:
  • unvoiced, unaspirated
  • unvoiced, aspirated
  • voiced, unaspirated


Where English has only a distinction between the voiced, unaspirated /b/ and the unvoiced, aspirated /p/, Thai distinguishes a third sound which is neither voiced nor aspirated, which occurs in English only as an allophone of /p/, approximately the sound of the p in "spin". There is similarly an alveolar /t/, /tʰ/, /d/ triplet. In the velar series there is a /k/, /kʰ/ pair and in the postalveolar series the /tɕ/, /tɕʰ/ pair.

In each cell below, the first line indicates International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), the second indicates the Thai characters in initial position (several letters appearing in the same box have identical pronunciation). Note how the conventional alphabetic order shown in the table above follows roughly the table below, reading the coloured blocks from right to left and top to bottom.
  Bilabial
Bilabial consonant
In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. The bilabial consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Labio-
dental
Labiodental consonant
In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.-Labiodental consonant in IPA:The labiodental consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Alveolo-
palatal
Alveolo-palatal consonant
In phonetics, alveolo-palatal consonants are palatalized postalveolar sounds, usually fricatives and affricates, articulated with the blade of the tongue behind the alveolar ridge, and the body of the tongue raised toward the palate...

Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

  [m]
    [n]
ณ,น
      [ŋ]
 
Plosive [p]
[pʰ]
ผ,พ,ภ
[b]
*
  [t]
ฏ,ต
[tʰ]
ฐ,ฑ,ฒ,ถ,ท,ธ
[d]
ฎ,ด*
    [k]
[kʰ]
ข,ฃ,ค,ฅ,ฆ**
  [ʔ]
***
Affricate
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

      [tɕ]
[tɕʰ]
ฉ, ช, ฌ
     
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

  [f]
ฝ,ฟ
[s]
ซ,ศ,ษ,ส
        [h]
ห,ฮ
Trill
Trill consonant
In phonetics, a trill is a consonantal sound produced by vibrations between the articulator and the place of articulation. Standard Spanish <rr> as in perro is an alveolar trill, while in Parisian French it is almost always uvular....

      [r]
       
Approximant
Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

        [j]
ญ,ย
  [w]
 
Lateral
approximant
      [l]
ล,ฬ
       

*At the end of a syllable บ and ด are devoiced, becoming pronounced as [p] and [t] respectively.
** ฃ and ฅ are no longer used. Thus, modern Thai is said to have 42 consonants.
*** Initial อ is silent and therefore considered as glottal plosive.



Although the overall 44 Thai consonants provide 21 sounds in case of initials, the case for finals is different. Only 8 ending sounds, as well as no ending sound, are available in Thai pronunciation. Among these consonants, excluding the disused ฃ and ฅ, seven (ฉ ฌ ผ ฝ ห อ ฮ) cannot be used as a final and the other 35 are grouped as following.
  Bilabial
Bilabial consonant
In phonetics, a bilabial consonant is a consonant articulated with both lips. The bilabial consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Labio-
dental
Labiodental consonant
In phonetics, labiodentals are consonants articulated with the lower lip and the upper teeth.-Labiodental consonant in IPA:The labiodental consonants identified by the International Phonetic Alphabet are:...

Alveolar
Alveolar consonant
Alveolar consonants are articulated with the tongue against or close to the superior alveolar ridge, which is called that because it contains the alveoli of the superior teeth...

Post-
alveolar
Postalveolar consonant
Postalveolar consonants are consonants articulated with the tongue near or touching the back of the alveolar ridge, further back in the mouth than the alveolar consonants, which are at the ridge itself, but not as far back as the hard palate...

Palatal
Palatal consonant
Palatal consonants are consonants articulated with the body of the tongue raised against the hard palate...

Velar
Velar consonant
Velars are consonants articulated with the back part of the tongue against the soft palate, the back part of the roof of the mouth, known also as the velum)....

Glottal
Glottal consonant
Glottal consonants, also called laryngeal consonants, are consonants articulated with the glottis. Many phoneticians consider them, or at least the so-called fricative, to be transitional states of the glottis without a point of articulation as other consonants have; in fact, some do not consider...

Nasal
Nasal consonant
A nasal consonant is a type of consonant produced with a lowered velum in the mouth, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. Examples of nasal consonants in English are and , in words such as nose and mouth.- Definition :...

[m]
[n]
ณ,ญ,น,ร,ล,ฬ
      [ŋ]
 
Plosive [p]
บ,ป,พ,ฟ,ภ
  [t]
จ,ช,ซ,ฎ,ฏ,ฐ,ฑ,ฒ,
ด,ต,ท,ธ,ศ,ษ,ส
  [k]
ก,ข,ค,ฆ
[ʔ]*
Affricate
Affricate consonant
Affricates are consonants that begin as stops but release as a fricative rather than directly into the following vowel.- Samples :...

     
Fricative
Fricative consonant
Fricatives are consonants produced by forcing air through a narrow channel made by placing two articulators close together. These may be the lower lip against the upper teeth, in the case of ; the back of the tongue against the soft palate, in the case of German , the final consonant of Bach; or...

     
Trill
Trill consonant
In phonetics, a trill is a consonantal sound produced by vibrations between the articulator and the place of articulation. Standard Spanish <rr> as in perro is an alveolar trill, while in Parisian French it is almost always uvular....

     
Approximant
Approximant consonant
Approximants are speech sounds that involve the articulators approaching each other but not narrowly enough or with enough articulatory precision to create turbulent airflow. Therefore, approximants fall between fricatives, which do produce a turbulent airstream, and vowels, which produce no...

    [j]
  [w]
 
Lateral
approximant
     

* The glottal plosive appears at the end when no final follows a short vowel

Vowels


Thai vowel sounds and diphthongs are written using a mixture of vowel symbols on a consonant base. Each vowel is shown in its correct position relative to a base consonant and sometimes a final consonant as well. Note that vowels can go above, below, left of or right of the consonant, or combinations of these places. If a vowel has parts before and after the initial consonant, and the syllable starts with a consonant cluster, the split will go around the whole cluster.

Twenty-one vowel symbol elements are traditionally named, which may appear alone or in combination to form compound symbols.
Symbol Name (Thai/RTGS) Combinations
วิสรรชนีย์ Wisanchani (from Sanskrit ) ◌ะ; ◌ัวะ; เ◌ะ; เ◌อะ; เ◌าะ; เ◌ียะ; เ◌ือะ; แ◌ะ; โ◌ะ
◌ั ไม้หันอากาศ Mai hanakat ◌ั◌; ◌ัว; ◌ัวะ
◌็ ไม้ไต่คู้ Mai tai khu ◌็; ◌็อ◌; เ◌็◌; แ◌็◌
ลากข้าง Lak khang ◌า; ◌า◌; ◌ำ; เ◌า; เ◌าะ
◌ิ พินทุอิ Phinthu i ◌ิ; เ◌ิ◌; ◌ี; ◌ี◌; เ◌ีย; เ◌ียะ; ◌ื◌; ◌ือ; เ◌ือ; เ◌ือะ
◌̍ ฝนทอง Fon thong ◌ี; ◌ี◌; เ◌ีย; เ◌ียะ
◌̎ ฟันหนู Fan nu ◌ื◌; ◌ือ; เ◌ือ; เ◌ือะ
◌ํ นิคหิต Nikkhahit ◌ึ; ◌ึ◌
◌ุ ตีนเหยียด Tin yiat ◌ุ; ◌ุ◌
◌ู ตีนคู้ Tin khu ◌ู; ◌ู◌
ไม้หน้า Mai na เ◌; เ◌◌; เ◌็◌; เ◌อ; เ◌อ◌; เ◌อะ; เ◌า; เ◌าะ; เ◌ิ◌; เ◌ีย; เ◌ีย◌; เ◌ียะ; เ◌ือ; เ◌ือ◌; เ◌ือะ; แ◌; แ◌◌; แ◌็◌; แ◌ะ
ไม้โอ Mai o โ◌; โ◌◌; โ◌ะ
ไม้ม้วน Mai muan ใ◌
ไม้มลาย Mai malai ไ◌
ตัว อ Tua o ◌อ; ◌็อ◌; ◌ือ; เ◌อ; เ◌อ◌; เ◌อะ; เ◌ือ; เ◌ือะ
ตัว ย Tua yo เ◌ีย; เ◌ีย◌; เ◌ียะ
ตัว ว Tua wo ◌ัว; ◌ัวะ
ตัว ฤ Tua rue
ฤๅ ตัว ฤๅ Tua rue ฤๅ
ตัว ฦ Tua lue
ฦๅ ตัว ฦๅ Tua lue ฦๅ
These symbols are always combined with phinthu i (◌ิ)

The inherent vowel
Inherent vowel
An inherent vowel is part of an abugida script. It is the vowel sound which is used with each unmarked or basic consonant symbol....

s are /a/ in open syllables (CV) and /o/ in closed syllables (CVC). For example, ถนน transcribes /ànǒn/ "road". There are a few exceptions in Pali loanwords, where the inherent vowel of an open syllable is /o/. The circumfix
Circumfix
A circumfix is an affix, a morpheme that is placed around another morpheme. Circumfixes contrast with prefixes, attached to the beginnings of words; suffixes, that are attached at the end; and infixes, inserted in the middle. See also epenthesis...

 vowels, such as เ–าะ /ɔʔ/, encompass a preceding consonant with an inherent vowel. For example, /ɔʔ/ is written าะ, and /tɕʰaɔʔ/ "only" is written ฉพาะ.

Typographic ligature characters ฤ ฤๅ (plus ฦ ฦๅ, which are obsolete) are usually considered as vowels, the first being a short vowel sound, and the latter, long. As alphabetical entries, ฤ ฤๅ follow , and themselves can be read as a combination of consonant and vowel, equivalent to รึ (short), and รือ, (long) (and the obsolete pair as ลึ, ลือ) respectively. Moreover, can act as ริ as an integral part in many words mostly borrowed from Sanskrit
Sanskrit
Sanskrit , is a historical Indo-Aryan language and the primary liturgical language of Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism.Buddhism: besides Pali, see Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit Today, it is listed as one of the 22 scheduled languages of India and is an official language of the state of Uttarakhand...

 such as กษณะ (kritsana, not kruetsana) ทธิ์ (rit, not ruet) กษดา (kritsada, not kruetsada), for example. It is also used to spell อังกangrit English and ประเทศอังกPrathet angrit England.

The pronunciation below is indicated by the International Phonetic Alphabet
International Phonetic Alphabet
The International Phonetic Alphabet "The acronym 'IPA' strictly refers [...] to the 'International Phonetic Association'. But it is now such a common practice to use the acronym also to refer to the alphabet itself that resistance seems pedantic...

  and the Romanisation according to the Royal Thai Institute
Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

 as well as several variant Romanisations often encountered. A very approximate equivalent is given for various regions of English speakers and surrounding areas. Dotted circles represent the positions of consonants or consonant clusters. The first one represents the initial consonant and the latter (if it exists) represents the final.

Ro han (ร หัน) is not usually considered a vowel and is not included in the following table. It represents the sara a /a/ vowel in certain Sanskrit loanwords and appears as ◌รร◌. When used without a final consonant (◌รร), /n/ is implied as the final consonant, giving [an].
Short vowels Long vowels
Name Symbol IPA RTGS Variants Similar Sound
(English RP pronunciation)
Name Symbol IPA RTGS Variants Similar Sound
(English RP pronunciation)
Simple vowels
สระอะ Sara a ◌ะ

◌ั◌
a a u u in "nut" สระอา Sara a ◌า
◌า◌
a ah, ar, aa a in "father"
สระอิ Sara i ◌ิ
◌ิ◌
i i y in "greedy" สระอี Sara i ◌ี
◌ี◌
i ee, ii, y ee in "see"
สระอึ Sara ue ◌ึ
◌ึ◌
ɯ ue eu, u, uh u in French "du" (short) สระอือ Sara ue ◌ือ
◌ื◌
ɯː ue eu, u u in French "dur" (long)
สระอุ Sara u ◌ุ
◌ุ◌
u u oo oo in "look" สระอู Sara u ◌ู
◌ู◌
u oo, uu oo in "too"
สระเอะ Sara e เ◌ะ
เ◌็◌
e e   e in "neck" สระเอ Sara e เ◌
เ◌◌
e ay, a, ae, ai, ei a in "lame"
สระแอะ Sara ae แ◌ะ
แ◌็◌
ɛ ae aeh, a a in "at" สระแอ Sara ae แ◌
แ◌◌
ɛː ae a a in "ham"
สระโอะ Sara o โ◌ะ
◌◌
o o   oa in "boat" สระโอ Sara o โ◌
โ◌◌
o or, oh, ô o in "go"
สระเอาะ Sara o เ◌าะ
◌็อ◌
ɔ o o, aw o in "not" สระออ Sara o ◌อ
◌อ◌
◌◌
◌็
ɔː o or, aw aw in "saw"
สระเออะ Sara oe เ◌อะ ɤʔ oe eu e in "the" สระเออ Sara oe เ◌อ
เ◌ิ◌
เ◌อ◌
ɤː oe er, eu, ur u in "burn"
Diphthongs
สระเอียะ Sara ia เ◌ียะ iaʔ ia iah, ear, ie ea in "ear" with glottal stop สระเอีย Sara ia เ◌ีย
เ◌ีย◌
iːa ia ear, ere, ie ea in "ear"
สระเอือะ Sara uea เ◌ือะ ɯaʔ uea eua, ua ure in "pure" สระเอือ Sara uea เ◌ือ
เ◌ือ◌
ɯːa uea eua, ua, ue ure in "pure"
สระอัวะ Sara ua ◌ัวะ uaʔ ua   ewe in "sewer" สระอัว Sara ua ◌ัว
◌ว◌
u:a ua uar ewe in "newer"
Phonetic diphthongs
สระอิ + ว Sara i + wo waen ◌ิว iu; iw io ew ew in "new"
สระเอะ + ว Sara e + wo waen เ◌็ว eu; ew eo eu, ew สระเอ + ว Sara e + wo waen เ◌ว eːu; eːw eo eu, ew ai + ow in "rainbow"
สระแอ + ว Sara ae + wo waen แ◌ว ɛːu; ɛːw aeo aew, eo a in "ham" + ow in "low"
สระเอา Sara ao เ◌า au; aw ao aw, au, ow ow in "cow" สระอา + ว Sara a + wo waen ◌าว aːu ao au ow in "now"
สระเอีย + ว Sara ia + wo waen เ◌ียว iau; iaw iao eaw, iew, iow io in "trio"
สระอะ + ย
สระไอ
Sara a + yo yak
Sara ai
◌ัย
ใ◌; ไ◌
ai; ay ai i in "hi" สระอา + ย Sara a + yo yak ◌าย aːi; aːy ai aai, aay, ay ye in "bye"
สระเอาะ + ย Sara o + yo yak ◌็อย ɔi; ɔy oi oy สระออ + ย Sara o + yo yak ◌อย ɔːi; ɔːy oi oy oy in "boy"
สระโอ + ย Sara o + yo yak โ◌ย oːi; oːy oi oy
สระอุ + ย Sara u + yo yak ◌ุย ui; uy ui uy
สระเออ + ย Sara oe + yo yak เ◌ย ɤːi; ɤːy oei oey u in "burn" + y in "boy"
สระอัว + ย Sara ua + yo yak ◌วย uai; uay uai uay uoy in "buoy"
สระเอือ + ย Sara uea + yo yak เ◌ือย ɯai; ɯay ueai uai
Extra vowels
สระอำ Sara am ◌ำ am am um um in "sum"
สระไอไม้ม้วน Sara ai mai muan ใ◌ ai; aj ai ay, y i in "I"
สระไอไม้มลาย Sara ai mai malai ไ◌
สระเอา Sara ao เ◌า au; aw ao aw, au, ow ow in "cow"
Rue
ri
rue ru, ri rew in "grew", ry in "angry" ฤๅ Rue ฤๅ rɯː rue ruu
Lue lue lu, li lew in "blew" ฦๅ Lue ฦๅ lɯː lue lu
Only with ร (ro ruea) as final consonant, appearing as ◌ร [ɔːn]. Only with the word ก็ [kɔ̂ː]. Used only in certain words. Traditionally, these sets of diphthongs and triphthongs are regarded as combinations of regular vowels or diphthongs with wo waen (ว, /w/) or yo yak (ย, /j/) as the final consonant, and are not counted among the thirty-two vowels. Extra vowels are not distinct vowel sounds, but are symbols that represent certain vowel-consonant combinations. They are traditionally regarded as vowels, although some sources do not. Sara ai and sara ao fall into both of the above categories.

Diacritics


Diacritics are used with the Thai alphabet to indicate modifications of the values of the letters.

Thai is a tonal language, and the script gives full information on the tones
Tone (linguistics)
Tone is the use of pitch in language to distinguish lexical or grammatical meaning—that is, to distinguish or inflect words. All verbal languages use pitch to express emotional and other paralinguistic information, and to convey emphasis, contrast, and other such features in what is called...

. Tones are realised in the vowels, but indicated in the script by a combination of the class of the initial consonant (high, mid or low), vowel length
Vowel length
In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. Often the chroneme, or the "longness", acts like a consonant, and may etymologically be one, such as in Australian English. While not distinctive in most dialects of English, vowel length is an important phonemic factor in...

 (long or short), closing consonant (plosive
Stop consonant
In phonetics, a plosive, also known as an occlusive or an oral stop, is a stop consonant in which the vocal tract is blocked so that all airflow ceases. The occlusion may be done with the tongue , lips , and &...

 or sonorant
Sonorant
In phonetics and phonology, a sonorant is a speech sound that is produced without turbulent airflow in the vocal tract; fricatives and plosives are not sonorants. Vowels are sonorants, as are consonants like and . Other consonants, like or , restrict the airflow enough to cause turbulence, and...

) and, if present, one of four tone marks. The names and signs of the tone marks are derived from the numbers one, two, three and four in an Indic
Indo-Aryan languages
The Indo-Aryan languages constitutes a branch of the Indo-Iranian languages, itself a branch of the Indo-European language family...

 language. The rules for denoting tones are shown in the following chart:
class="wikitable">
Symbol Name Syllable composition and initial consonant class
Thai RTGS
Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

 
Vowel and final Low Mid High
(ไม่มี) (none) long vowel or vowel plus sonorant mid mid rising
(ไม่มี) (none) long vowel plus plosive falling low low
(ไม่มี) (none) short vowel at end or plus plosive high low low
 –่ ไม้เอก mai ek any falling low low
 –้ ไม้โท mai tho any high falling falling
 –๊ ไม้ตรี mai tri any - high -
 –๋ ไม้จัตวา mai chattawa any - rising -


"None", that is, no tone marker, is used with the base accent (พื้นเสียง, pheun siang). Mai tri and mai chattawa are only used with mid-class consonants.

Two consonant characters (not diacritics) are used to modify the tone:
  • ห นำ ho nam, leading ho. A silent, high-class ห "leads" low-class nasal consonants (ง, ญ, น and ม) and non-plosives (ว, ย, ร and ล), which have no corresponding high-class phonetic match, into the tone properties of a high-class consonant. In polysyllabic words, an initial mid- or high-class consonant with an implicit vowel similarly "leads" these same low-class consonants into the higher class tone rules, with the tone marker borne by the low-class consonant.

  • อ นำ o nam, leading o. In four words only, a silent, mid-class อ "leads" low-class ย into mid-class tone rules: อย่า (ya, don't) อยาก (yak, desire) อย่าง (yang, kind, sort, type) อยู่ (yu, stay). Note all four have long-vowel, low-tone siang ek, but อยาก, a dead syllable, needs no tone marker, but the three live syllables all take mai ek.


Exceptions where words are spelled with one tone but pronounced with another often occur in informal conversation (notably the pronouns ฉัน chan and เขา khao, which are both pronounced with a high tone rather than the rising tone indicated by the script). Generally, when such words are recited or read in public, they are pronounced as spelled.

Other diacritics are used to indicate short vowels and silent consonants:
  • Mai taikhu means "stick that climbs and squats". It is a miniature Thai numeral 8 . Mai taikhu is often used with sara e (เ) and sara ae (แ) in closed syllables.
  • Thanthakhat means "killing as punishment"; karan means "canceled". Compare Virama
    Virama
    Virama is a generic term for the diacritic in many Brahmic scripts, including Devanagari and East Nagari, that is used to suppress the inherent vowel that otherwise occurs with every consonant letter. The name is Sanskrit for "cessation, termination, end"...

    .

Symbol Name Meaning
Thai RTGS
Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

 –็ ไม้ไต่คู้ mai taikhu shortens vowel
 –์ ทัณฑฆาต, การันต์ thanthakhat, karan indicates silent letter


Fan nu means "rat teeth" and is thought as being placed in combination with short sara i and fong man to form other characters.
Symbol Name Use
Thai RTGS
Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

 " ฟันหนู fan nu combined with short sara i (–ิ) to make long sara ue (–ื)
combined with fong man (๏) to make ong mun fan nu ( ๏")

Other symbols

Symbol Name Meaning
Thai RTGS
Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

ไปยาลน้อย pai-yan noi marks formal phrase shortened by convention
Convention (norm)
A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms or criteria, often taking the form of a custom....

ฯลฯ ไปยาลใหญ่ pai-yan yai et cetera
Et cetera
Et cetera is a Latin expression that means "and other things", or "and so forth". It is taken directly from the Latin expression which literally means "and the rest " and is a loan-translation of the Greek "καὶ τὰ ἕτερα"...

ไม้ยมก mai ya-mok preceding word or phrase is reduplicate
Reduplication
Reduplication in linguistics is a morphological process in which the root or stem of a word is repeated exactly or with a slight change....

d
ฟองมัน, ตาไก่ fong man, ta kai previously marked beginning of a sentence, paragraph, or stanza (obsolete); now only marks beginning of a stanza in a poem; now also used as bullet point
" องมันฟันหนู, ฟันหนูฟองมัน, ฝนทองฟองมัน ong mun fan nu, fan nu fong man, fon tong fong man previously marked beginning of a chapter (obsolete)
" ฟองดัน fong dan
อังคั่นเดี่ยว, คั่นเดี่ยว, ขั้นเดี่ยว angkhan diao, khan diao, khan diao previously marked end of a sentence or stanza (obsolete)
อังคั่นคู่, คั่นคู่, ขั้นคู่ angkhan khu, khan khu, khan khu marks end of stanza; marks end of chapter or long section
ฯะ อังคั่นวิสรรชนีย์ angkhan wisanchani marks end of a stanza in a poem
๚ะ
โคมูตร khomut marks end of a chapter or document; marks end of a story
๚ะ๛ อังคั่นวิสรรชนีย์โคมูตร angkhan wisanchani khomut marks the very end of a written work
฿ บาท bat baht


Pai-yan noi and angkhan diao share the same character. Sara a (–ะ) used in combination with other characters is called wisanchani.

Some of the characters can mark the beginning or end of a sentence, chapter, or episode of a story or of a stanza in a poem. These have changed use over time and are becoming uncommon.

Sanskrit and Pali



The Thai script (like all Indic scripts) uses a number of modifications to write Sanskrit and related languages (in particular, Pali). Pali
Pali language
Pāli is a Middle Indo-Aryan language of the Indian subcontinent. It is best known as the language of many of the earliest extant Buddhist scriptures, as collected in the Pāi Canon or Tipitaka, and as the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism.-Etymology of the name:The word Pali itself...

 is very closely related to Sanskrit and is the liturgical language of Thai Buddhism. In Thailand, Pali is written and studied using a slightly modified Thai script. The main difference is that each consonant is followed by an implied short a (อะ), not the 'o', or 'ə' of Thai: this short a is never omitted in pronunciation, and if the vowel is not to be pronounced, then a specific symbol must be used, the pinthu อฺ (a solid dot under the consonant). This means that sara a (อะ) is never used when writing Pali, because it is always implied. For example, namo is written นะโม in Thai, but in Pali it is written as นโม, because the อะ is redundant. The Sanskrit word 'mantra' is written มนตร์ in Thai (and therefore pronounced mon), but is written มนฺตฺร in Sanskrit (and therefore pronounced mantra). When writing Pali, only 33 consonants and 12 vowels are used.

This is an example of a Pali text written using the Thai Sanskrit orthography: อรหํ สมฺมาสมฺพุทฺโธ ภควา . Written in modern Thai orthography, this becomes อะระหัง สัมมาสัมพุทโธ ภะคะวา arahang sammasamphuttho phakhawa.

In Thailand, Sanskrit is read out using the Thai values for all the consonants (so ค is read as kha and not [ga]), which makes Thai spoken Sanskrit incomprehensible to sanskritists not trained in Thailand. The Sanskrit values are used in transliteration (without the diacritic
Diacritic
A diacritic is a glyph added to a letter, or basic glyph. The term derives from the Greek διακριτικός . Diacritic is both an adjective and a noun, whereas diacritical is only an adjective. Some diacritical marks, such as the acute and grave are often called accents...

s), but these values are never actually used when Sanskrit is read out loud in Thailand. The vowels used in Thai are identical to Sanskrit, with the exception of ฤ, ฤๅ, ฦ, and ฦๅ, which are read using their Thai values, not their Sanskrit values. Sanskrit and Pali are not tonal languages, but in Thailand, the Thai tones are used when reading these languages out loud.

In the tables in this section, the Thai value (transliterated according to the Royal Thai system) of each letter is listed first, followed by the IAST
IAST
The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration is a transliteration scheme that allows a lossless romanization of Indic scripts as employed by the Sanskrit language.-Popularity:...

 value of each letter in square brackets. Remember that in Thailand, the IAST values are never used in pronunciation, but only sometimes in transcriptions (with the diacritics omitted). This disjoint between transcription and spoken value explains the romanisation for Sanskrit names in Thailand that many foreigners find confusing. For example, สุวรรณภูมิ is romanised as Suvarnabhumi
Suvarnabhumi Airport
Suvarnabhumi Airport , also known as Bangkok International Airport, is an international airport serving Bangkok, Thailand. It was officially opened for limited domestic flight service on 15 September 2006, and opened for most domestic and all international commercial flights on 28 September...

, but pronounced su-wan-na-pum. ศรีนครินทร์ is romanised as Srinagarindra
Srinagarindra
Srinagarindra was a member of the Thai Royal Family and was a member of House of Mahidol, which is descended from Chakri Dynasty, originated by Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, the Prince of Songkla, son of King Chulalongkorn...

 but pronounced si-nakha-rin.

Plosives (วรรค )


Plosives (also called stops) are listed in their traditional Sanskrit order, which corresponds to Thai alphabetical order from to with three exceptions: in Thai, high-class is followed by two obsolete characters with no Sanskrit equivalent, high-class ฃ and low-class ฅ; low-class is followed by sibilant ซ (low-class equivalent of high-class sibilant ส that follows ศ and ษ.) The table gives the Thai value first, and then the IAST value in square brackets.
classunaspirated
unvoiced
aspiratedvoicedaspirated
voiced
nasal
velar khà khá khá ngá
palatal chà chá chá
retroflex thà thá thá
dental thà thá thá
labial phà phá phá
tone class M H L L L


While letters are listed here according to their class in Sanskrit, Thai has lost the distinction between many of the consonants. So, while there is a clear distinction between ช and ฌ in Sanskrit, in Thai these two consonants are pronounced identically (including tone). Likewise, the Thai phonemes do not differentiate between the retroflex and dental classes, because Thai has no retroflex consonants. The equivalents of all the retroflex consonants are pronounced identically to their dental counterparts: thus ฏ is pronounced like ต, and ฐ is pronounced like ถ, and so forth.

The Sanskrit unaspirated unvoiced plosives are pronounced as unaspirated unvoiced, while the Sanskrit aspirated, voiced, and aspirated voiced plosives are pronounced as aspirated unvoiced. None of the Sanskrit plosives are pronounced as the Thai voiced plosives.

Non-plosives (อวรรค )


Semivowel
Semivowel
In phonetics and phonology, a semivowel is a sound, such as English or , that is phonetically similar to a vowel sound but functions as the syllable boundary rather than as the nucleus of a syllable.-Classification:...

s and liquids
(กี่งสระ king sara branch vowels") come in Thai alphabetical order after , the last of the plosives. The term อวรรค awak means "without a break"; that is, without a plosive.






seriessymbolvaluerelated vowels
palatalyá [ya]อิ and อี
retroflexrá [ra]ฤ and ฤๅ
dentallá [la]ฦ and ฦๅ
labialwá [va]อุ and อู

Sibilants (เสียดแทรก)


เสียดแทรก, pronounced เสียดแซก (siat saek), meaning inserted sound(s), follow the semi-vowel ว in alphabetical order.





seriessymbolvalue
palatalsà [śa]
retroflexsà a]
dentalsà [sa]


Like Sanskrit, Thai has no voiced siblant (so no 'z' or 'zh'). In modern Thai, the distinction between the three high-class consonants has been lost and all three are pronounced 'sà'; however, foreign words with an sh-sound may still be transcribed as if the Sanskrit values still hold (e.g., ang-grit อังกฤษ for English instead of อังกฤส).
ศ ศาลา (so sala
Sala
- Geography :* Sala Municipality, Sweden - a municipality in Sweden* Sala, Sweden - a city in Sweden, seat of Sala Municipality* Sala municipality, Latvia - a municipality in Latvia* Sala, Latvia - a village in Latvia, an administrative centre of Sala municipality...

) leads words, as in its example word, ศาลา. The digraph ศรี (Indic sri
Sri
Sri , also transliterated as Shri or Shree or shre is a word of Sanskrit origin, used in the Indian subcontinent as polite form of address equivalent to the English "Mr." in written and spoken language, or as a title of veneration for deities .-Etymology:Sri has the root meaning of radiance, or...

) is regularly pronounced สี (si), as in Sisaket Province
Sisaket Province
Sisaket , is one of the north-eastern provinces of Thailand. Neighboring provinces are Surin, Roi Et, Yasothon and Ubon Ratchathani. To the south it borders Oddar Meancheay and Preah Vihear of Cambodia.-Geography:...

, Thai: ศรีสะเกษ.
ษ ฤๅษี (so rue-si) may only lead syllables within a word, as in its example, ฤๅษี, or to end a syllable as in ศรีสะเกษ Sisaket and อังกฤษ Anggrit English.
ส เสือ (so suea) spells native Thai words that require a high-class /s/, as well as naturalized Pali/Sanskrit words, such as สารท (สาท) in Thetsakan Sat
Thetsagan Sart
Sat Thai is a traditional Thai mid-year festival, held on the new moon at the end of the tenth lunar month. It has many features of animism, attributing souls or spirits to animals, plants and other entities.- Etymology :...

: เทศกาลสารท (เทด-สะ-กาน-สาท), formerly ศารท (สาท).
ซ โซ่ (so so), which follows the similar-appearing ช in Thai alphabetical order, spells words requiring a low-class /s/, as does ทร + vowel.
ทร, as in the heading of this section, เสียดแทรก , when accompanied by a vowel (implicit in ทรง (ซง song an element in forming words used with royalty); a semivowel in ทรวง (ซวง suang chest, heart); or explicit in ทราย (ซาย sigh sand). Exceptions to ทร + vowel = /s/ are the prefix โทร- (equivalent to tele- far, pronounced โทระ to-ra), and phonetic re-spellings of English tr- (as แตร (trae) meaning trumpet, with the latter respelled phonetically as ทรัมเพ็ท.) ทร is otherwise pronounced as two syllables ทอระ-, as in ทรมาน (ทอระมาน to-ra-man to torment).

Voiced h (มีหนักมีลม)





symbolvalue
hà [ha]


, a high-class consonant, comes next in alphabetical order, but its low-class equivalent, , follows similar-appearing อ as the last letter of the Thai alphabet. Like modern Hindi, the voicing has disappeared, and the letter is now pronounced like English 'h'. Like Sanskrit, this letter may only be used to start a syllable, but may not end it. (A popular beer is romanized as Singha
Singha
Singha, , is a 5% alcohol-by-volume pale lager produced by Boon Rawd Brewery. It is also available in 5% abv draught version as Singha Lager Draft, and the new 3.5% abv Singha Light introduced in 2006.- History :...

, but in Thai is สิงห์, with a mai karan on the ห; correct pronunciation is "sing
Singh
Also see SinhaSingh is a common title, middle name, or surname in Northern India and South India used by sikhs warriors and kings. eg. Man Singh I, Maharana Pratap Singh. It is derived from the Sanskrit word Siṃha meaning "lion and used by Ahir kings of Nepal". It is also used in Sri Lanka by...

", but foreigners to Thailand typically say "sing-ha".)

Vowels (สระ)
















symbolvalue
อะa [a]
อาa [ā]
อิi [i]
อีi [ī]
อุu [u]
อูu [ū]
เอe [e]
โอo [o]
ru
ฤๅru
lu
ฦๅlu


All consonants have an inherent 'a' sound, and therefore there is no need to use the ะ symbol when writing Sanskrit. The Thai vowels อื, ไอ, ใอ, and so forth, are not used in Sanskrit. The zero consonant
Zero consonant
A zero consonant, silent initial, or null-onset letter is a consonant-like letter that is not pronounced, but indicates that a word or syllable starts with a vowel...

, อ, is unique to the Indic alphabets descended from Khmer. When it occurs in Sanskrit, it is always the zero consonant and never the vowel o [ɔː]. Its use in Sanskrit is therefore to write vowels that cannot be otherwise written alone: e.g., อา or อี. When อ is written on its own, then it is a carrier for the implied vowel, a [a] (equivalent to อะ in Thai).

The vowels อำ and อึ occur in Sanskrit, but only as the combination of the pure vowels sara a อา or sara i อิ with nikhahit อํ.

Other symbols


There are a number of additional symbols only used to write Sanskrit or Pali, and not used in writing Thai.

Nikhahit นิคหิตฺ (anusvāra)





SymbolIAST
อํ

In Sanskrit, the anusvāra indicates that the preceding vowel be nasalised. In Thai this is written as an open circle above the consonant. Nasalisation does not occur in Thai, therefore, a nasal consonant is always substituted: e.g. ตํ , is pronounced as ตัง tang by Thai sanskritists
Sanskritism
Sanskritism is a term used to indicate words that are coined out of Sanskrit for modern usage in India, Sri Lanka and elsewhere or neologisms. These terms are similar in nature to taxon terms coined from Latin and Greek-References:*...

. If nikhahit occurs before a consonant, then Thai uses a nasal consonant of the same class: e.g. สํสฺกฺฤตา is read as สันสกฤตา san-si-ki-ta (The ส following the nikhahit is a dental class consonant, therefore the dental class nasal consonant น is used). For this reason, it has been suggested that in Thai, nikhahit should be listed as a consonant. Nikhahit นิคหิต occurs as part of the Thai vowels sara am อำ and sara ue อึ.

Pinthu พินทุ (virāma)


อฺ

Because the Thai script is an abugida
Abugida
An abugida , also called an alphasyllabary, is a segmental writing system in which consonant–vowel sequences are written as a unit: each unit is based on a consonant letter, and vowel notation is obligatory but secondary...

, a symbol (equivalent to virāma
Virama
Virama is a generic term for the diacritic in many Brahmic scripts, including Devanagari and East Nagari, that is used to suppress the inherent vowel that otherwise occurs with every consonant letter. The name is Sanskrit for "cessation, termination, end"...

 in devanagari
Devanagari
Devanagari |deva]]" and "nāgarī" ), also called Nagari , is an abugida alphabet of India and Nepal...

) needs to be added to indicate that the implied vowel is not to be pronounced. This is the pinthu, which is a solid dot below the consonant.

Yamakkan ยามักการ


อ๎

Yamakkan is an obsolete symbol used to mark the beginning of consonant clusters: e.g. พ๎ราห๎มณ phramana . Without the yamakkan, this word would be pronounced pharahamana instead. This is a feature unique to the Thai script (other Indic scripts use a combination of ligatures, conjuncts or virāma to convey the same information). The symbol is obsolete because pinthu may be used to achieve the same effect: พฺราหฺมณ.

Unicode


Thai script was added to the Unicode
Unicode
Unicode is a computing industry standard for the consistent encoding, representation and handling of text expressed in most of the world's writing systems...

 Standard in October, 1991 with the release of version 1.0.

The Unicode block for Thai is U+0E00–U+0E7F. It is a verbatim copy of the older TIS-620 character set which encodes the vowels เ, แ, โ, ใ and ไ before the consonants they follow, and thus Thai, Lao, and Tai Viet
Tai Dam language
Tai Dam Black Tai is a Tai language spoken by the Tai Dam in Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and China . It is called ภาษาไทดำ "Black Tai language" in Thai and Dǎidānyǔ 傣担语 in Chinese....

 are the only Brahmic scripts in Unicode that use visual order instead of logical order. Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points:

See also

  • Thai language
    Thai language
    Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

  • Thai language: Script: Transliteration
    • Royal Thai General System of Transcription
      Royal Thai General System of Transcription
      The Royal Thai General System of Transcription is the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet, published by the Royal Institute of Thailand...

    • ISO 11940
      ISO 11940
      ISO 11940 is an ISO standard for the romanization of the Thai alphabet, published in 1998 and updated in September 2003.-Consonants:The transliteration of the pure consonants is derived from their usual pronunciation as an initial consonant. An unmarked h is used to form digraphs denoting...

  • Thai numerals
    Thai numerals
    Thai numerals constitute a numeral system of Thai number names for the Khmer numerals traditionally used in Thailand, also used for the more common Arabic numerals, and which follow the Hindu-Arabic numeral system.-Usage:...

  • Thailand
    Thailand
    Thailand , officially the Kingdom of Thailand , formerly known as Siam , is a country located at the centre of the Indochina peninsula and Southeast Asia. It is bordered to the north by Burma and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the...


External links