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In May and June, we have posted the Thai consonants part 1 and part 2. We, therefore, continue to talk about Thai language focusing on Thai vowels in this post. The vowels in Thai language are monophthongs, diphthongs, triphthongs. However, in this post, we will focus on the monophthongs only. A monophthong in Thai language can be one or more than one forms. It will be easier to learn the vowel sound first and memorize the forms of each vowel together. The IPA vowel chart below shows short vowels by tongue’s position. Please click on each vowel in the chart below for pronunciation and please click here to learn more about the IPA.Thai monophthongs can be both short and long vowels. The table below shows the monophthongs [ S ], forms [ F ], sample words, and definitions [ Word ] by column order. The left section is the list of short monophthongs while the right section is the list of long monophthongs.

  S. F. Word S. F. Word
/ i / มิ (neg.): no [ ii ] มี (v.): have
    คิด (v.): think     รีด (v.): iron
[ri] _ฤ_ อังกฤษ (n.): English      
[e] เ_ะ เละ (n.): mess [ee] เ_(_) เซ (v.): stagger
  เด็ก (n.): child     เณร (n.): novice
[ae] แ_ะ และ (conj.): and [aae] แ_(_) แม่ (n.): mother
  แข็ง (adj.): hard     แขน (n.): arm
/a/ _ะ พระ (n.): monk [aa] _า(_) ชา (n.): tea
  วัน (n.): day     วาด (v.): draw
[a(n)] _รร(_) สรร (v.) : choose      
    มรรค (n.): path      
[am] ทำ (v.): do      
[oa] เ_าะ เคาะ (v.): knock [ooa] _อ พ่อ (n.): father
  ก๊อก (n.): faucet   ก็ ก็ (conj.):
            as a result
[o] โ_ะ โต๊ะ (n.): table [oo] โ_ โง่ (adj.): stupid
  _ _ คม (adj.): sharp      
[u] ดุ (adj.): fierce [uu] ปู (n.): crab
      จุด (n.): dot      
/ue/ ดึก (adj.): late /uue/ ลืม (v.): forget
[rue] ฤดู (n.): season [ruue] ฤๅ ฤๅษี (n.): hermit
[lue] — no word — [luue] ฦา ฦาสาย (n.):
            a word to call a king
[oe] เ_อะ เยอะ (adj.,adv.): [ooe] เ_อ เธอ (pron.): you
    many,much   เดิน (v.): walk
        ฤกษ์ (n.):
            auspicious time

“S.” column: Vowel Sound
“F.” column: Vowel Form
“Word” column: vocab and meaning
_: the consonant position (mostly can be any consonants)
(_): optional consonant

_ฤ_, ฤ, ฤๅ, ฦ, ฦา :

We consider these forms as consonants but we would like to show the possibilities of the monophthongs “[ i ], [ ue ], [ uue ], and [ ooe ]” can appear in words.
1: Today, the [am] sound of some word is pronounced as long vowel such as “น้ำ”.
2: Today, some word with the “[ooe]” vowel sound is pronounced as a short vowel such as “เงิน”.
Thai 44 Alphabets Writing Practice Book
Thai Consonants, Vowels & Tones Learning Chart $2.45
  • Filed under: Thai language
  • It has long been known that there are 44 consonant characters in Thai language. As we studied each consonant and vowel thoroughly, we found that the vowels “ฤ ฤๅ ฦ ฦๅ” which are borrowed from Sanskrit language should be categorized as consonants in Thai language. In the study, we do not place importance on the origin of the characters but on the pronunciation and characteristics.

    The “ฤ” script is pronounced as รึ [rue], ริ [ri], and เรอ [rooe] depending on words. The “ฤๅ” script is pronounced as รือ [ruue]. While the “ฦ” script is pronounced as ลึ [lue] and the “ฦๅ” is pronounced as ลือ [luue]. It is obvious that each script is composed of a consonant and vowel. The consonant sound of “ฤ” and “ฤๅ” is ร [r] while ล [l] is the consonant sound of “ฦ” and “ฦๅ”.

    At this point, some might wonder if it is possible to put them in a new category. The answer might not be yes because if we study more from good Thai dictionaries also the Royal Thai Dictionary, we will see that Thai dictionary is sorted by consonants first and then vowels and the four scripts (ฤ ฤๅ ฦ ฦๅ) are sorted in the consonant category. Consequently, it is clearly to see that the Thai dictionary considers the scripts as consonants. Please see the chart below.

    ฤๅ ฦๅ

    Moreover, when we take a close look at the four consonant characteristics, we have found that the “ฤ” and “ฤๅ” are similar to “ถ” while “ฦ” and “ฦๅ” are similar to “ภ”. This is another reason why these four scripts are better categorized as consonants.

    Some might think that the “ๅ” of “ฤๅ” and “ฦๅ” can act as a vowel and its characteristic is also similar to “า”. Therefore “ฤ” and “ฤๅ” can be considered as one script (ฤ) as well as “ฦ” and “ฦๅ”. This is a good analysis and it works well on “ฦ” [lue] turning to be “ฦๅ” [luue]. However, it does not work well on the “ฤ” because the “ฤ” script has three vowels in itself. Turning the “ฤ” to “ฤๅ” by adding “ๅ”, the “ฤๅ” script will be able to pronounce as รื [luuue], รีว [liuue] and เรอว [roouue] while the [iuue] and [oouue] sounds do not exist in Thai language. In addition, all vocabularies starting with “ฤๅ” are pronounced as รื [luuue] only.

    To sum up, it is better to restate that there are 48 consonant scripts in Thai language which will help organize the language system and also help foreigners learning Thai easier. For details of the consonant chart, please click here.
    Thai 44 Alphabets Writing Practice Book
    Thai Consonants, Vowels & Tones Learning Chart $2.45
  • Filed under: Thai language