Talk:Royal Thai General System of Transcription

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Horrible little stub, please expand. The obvious thing to add would be the official English/Thai/English mapping tables. Jpatokal 07:44, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Is this the same as the "romanization guideline proposed by The Royal Institute (1982)"? Then would be a great external link for this article, and there's also a PDF with the complete rules for that romanization scheme. andy 08:11, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Hard to say for sure, but it sure looks like it (and how many royal systems can there be?). Do you have a direct link for the PDF, since I couldn't find it? Jpatokal 08:18, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I didn't find it on that site directly either, but IIRC it came together with that windows software. andy 08:22, 28 Sep 2004 (UTC)
I do agree that the "Royal" trascript has the problems mentioned in the article: "...since it does not differentiate between short and long vowels, or the following differences in pronunciation: จ and ฉ/ช; โอะ and ออ...", however I don't understand the problem with อึ (ue) and เออ (oe). Besides there is another major problem, that the transcript does not include the tones, which are easy to be transcripted as in IPA's system. An improved trascription I saw on .
Maybe the latter refers to an older version of the system? Anyway I've removed it now. Markalexander100 04:32, 30 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Is H silent in Thai transliteration?[edit]

How does the romanization of Thai work? Is the letter H silent in the system? The reason I ask is that Thailand is pronounced as Tailand, Phuket is pronounced as Puket, Phi Phi Islands is pronounced as Pee Pee Islands. Kowloonese 00:47, Jan 5, 2005 (UTC)

'H' in combinations means that the preceding consonant is aspirated. If standalone, it's pronounced like the English H. I've added a note about this to the article. Jpatokal 03:40, 5 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for the clarification. It was confusing because the English language uses PH and TH for different sound more than just aspiration. So in Thailand, do people read English differently? e.g. Tis is my telepone number. Kowloonese 21:28, Jan 5, 2005 (UTC)

Thinglish would be worthy of its own article... but yeah, esp. 'th' is among the most unusual phonemes in English and many ESL speakers pronounce it as 't' or 'd'. The 'ph'→'f' thing is relatively well known though and, very confusingly, occasionally even pops up in nonstandard transliterations of Thai. Jpatokal 02:41, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)
Tinglish. ;) Mark1 04:49, 6 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Just want to clarify that two different (or more) charactors in Thai language are pronounced as the same sound such as ท and ธ. They're pronounced excatly the same but written. So the government define word as T for ท and Th for ธ, then as you known how that sounds?

same as พ and ภ for P and PH respectively. --manop 21:59, August 15, 2005 (UTC)

If you are talking about the Royal Thai General System of Transcription you are mistaken. TH is used both for ท and ธ. The T is used for ต, which is pronounced quite differently. Similarly PH is for both พ and ภ, while P is used for ป.
Sorry for my misunderstading between transcription and transliteration. manop

T-TH, P-PH[edit]

Thai goverment system uses "H" as "a symbol" for different sounds. I saw some learning-Thai book, they use diifferent systems which is be useful for representing the spoken word as shown below

Charactor(s) Royal Thai system Another system Remark
ฐ ฑ ฒ ถ ท ธ TH T sound as /t/
ฎ ต T DT sound closer to /th/ than /t/
พ ภ ผ PH P sound as /p/
P BP sound like 50% /b/ and 50% /p/

--manop 23:51, 28 November 2005 (UTC)

It's not clear to me what the above writer is trying to say. Yes, there are many ways of transcribing Thai, used by various editors of language guides. For consistency, Wikipedia tries to stick to the RTGS Royal Thai General System of Transcription (using only the standard latin alphabet) and to the IPA International Phonetic Alphabet, (including some special characters and diacritics).
As to the facts in the table above:
  • th (ท thahan) and ph (พ phan) are aspirated (pronounced with a puff of air)
  • t (ต tao) and p (ป pla) are not aspirated
The RTGS system as well as IPA use the symbol "h" to indicate aspiration (IPA as a superscript)
Some confusion may be caused by the following facts in English (but not many other languages using the latin alphabet):
  • a leading t or p before a vowel are pronounced aspirated
  • th and ph have a completely different pronuncation (affricative)
So the statements in the column remark are not correct in the phonetic view outside of English context
Woodstone 18:22, 29 November 2005 (UTC)
That was I would like to say ^_^ Similar to the word "Phuket" as someone already said that. When it used in THailand pronounced as \aspirated P\ but outside of Thailand pronounced as \f\ --manop 07:10, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Competing transcription methods[edit]

Should the article mention competing transcription methods? For instance, the sanskrit transcription method commonly used for royal names (turning "Phumiphon Adunyadet" into "Bhumibol Adulyadej"). Patiwat 02:42, 27 April 2006 (UTC)

  • Write an article about it and it'll definitely be worth a "See also" link. Jpatokal 03:07, 27 April 2006 (UTC)
    • Sorry, but I'm too lazy. Partly because the Royal/"Indian" method is very inconsistant. I never figured out why "Ubol Ratana" was used rather than "Ubol Rat", whereas "Sirindhorn" is used rather than "Sirindhara". For that matter, "Bhumibol" should be "Bhumibala". Generally, the Royal/Indian system is pretty consistant with consonants, but falls apart with vowels. Patiwat 02:55, 28 April 2006 (UTC)

Major Reworking of Article 25 Sept 2006 -- Plus Request for More Work[edit]

I've reworked the article substantially to present the information more clearly. Both the bulleted items in the former "Features" section, and the chart with imitated English pronunciaiton in the former "Criticisms" section were awkward or confusing.

To Be Done Still:

Add an IPA phonetic symbol for "ue" in the new "Features and Limitations" section (and correct the symbols I used for "ae" and "oe" if not accurate).

Expand/Redo the chart. It needs IPA symbols, and these should be for each sound. This means reworking the chart so that, for example, there is a row for both the short version of a vowel and the long version of that vowel, like:

 Thai letter -- RTGS "a" -- IPA [a]
 Thai letter -- RTGS "a" -- IPA [a:]
I'm afraid I consider the recent "major rewording" not an improvement. The previous version was much clearer on features and criticisms. Adding IPA is not a good idea. That is already explained in detail in the Thai alphabet and Thai language articles. This article is about one partcular transcription method. No need to involve others in detail as well. −Woodstone 16:42, 26 September 2006 (UTC)

IPA-Question: Table "Criticism"[edit]

In article Royal Thai General System of Transcription there is a table "Criticism". The Thai letter is described as a "alveo-palatal affricate" (see: Voiceless alveolo-palatal affricate) with the IPA image of [ tɕ ]. As far as I understand that letter it is rather a Voiced postalveolar affricate with / ʤ / in IPA or maybe even a / dʑ /. Is this just a mistake of the IPA representation in "Royal Thai General System of Transcription" or do I have a thorough misunderstanding of the Thai language?

I asked this question already at Portal talk:Language with no answer so far. --hdamm (talk) 12:55, 18 July 2008 (UTC)

These symbols and designations are straight from the Thai section in the IPA handbook. Authors are Kalaya Tingsabadh (dept of linguistics, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok) and Arthur Abrahamson (dept of linguistics, University of Connecticut, USA). There cannot be much doubt as to the authority of these sources. For what it's worth, also in my personal experience, these choices are correct. −Woodstone (talk) 18:48, 18 July 2008 (UTC)
Thank you Woodstone for this information. --hdamm (talk) 07:14, 19 July 2008 (UTC)

Direction of transcription[edit]

The RTGS transcribes from Thai to Roman script. So the table should be organised to start from Thai script, with Roman equivalent in later column. −Woodstone (talk) 10:24, 6 September 2011 (UTC)

Romanization of Thai redirects here[edit]

Romanization of Thai redirects here, so I added the headings for Romanization of House and Palace Names, and a blank section for Criticism of Council of Royal Pundits system. The link to one of the House names awarded by Rama VI still works, but not for all of its (Thai) references. The Thai-language and the Bangkok Post English references for Abhisit's ancestors' award of a Palace Name have been blocked, the one in Thai by robots.txt after I found it on the Wayback Machine and posted it there. Somebody does not want references to history of House and Palace Names available to public view. Also, the subjects of Names and of the Royal Council of Pundits are totally absent from the article on Rama VI. For an example of a romanization article that does not rely on testy Thai sources, see Romanization of Lao. Maybe it should be used as a guide for a Romanization of Thai that does not redirect here; or better yet, replaces this one.--Pawyilee (talk) 16:15, 7 April 2012 (UTC)

PS Why not dump RTGS for ISO 11940,, the ISO standard for the romanization of the Thai alphabet, published in 1998 and updated in September 2003.--Pawyilee (talk) 16:42, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
The method of the Iso standard is a transliteration, not a transcription. As a guide to pronunciation it is useless for the general public. It is never used in public places in Thailand. So we should not adopt it for WP.
Also, I am opposed to mixing other transciption methods in this article dedicated to one specific and well defined system. Please put them in a separate article. There is a template available to refer back to a disambiguation page from a redirected title.
Woodstone (talk) 19:42, 7 April 2012 (UTC)
Your criticism of ISO 11940 is valid, but mine of the Council of Royal Pundits would not be, for I have no access to sources. I know that they used long-established standards for transcriptions from Pali and from Sanskrit into Thai, which accounts for the odd character of the Thai alphabet, but do not know their rationalization for romanization of same. Critique my entry for J#Use_in_other_languages

In Chinese Pinyin, J stands for //, an unaspirated Q. Thai alphabetic symbol #8 จ จาน cho chan with initial value ch (IPA [tɕ]) and final value t (IPA [t̚]) had been transliterated historically as J or j, and preserved in modern usage in, for example, 19th-century King Jessadabodindra and 20th-century House of Sundarakul na Jolburi; as well as for #10 ช ช้าง cho chang with IPA initial tone variation [tɕʰ] as in the name of 21st-century statesman Abhisit Vejjajiva.

--Pawyilee (talk) 08:24, 8 April 2012 (UTC)
I think you need to calm down Pawyilee: What you are writing in these articles makes no sense, and what I do manage to understand seems to be somewhat factually unaccurate and off-target. First of all: I do not at all understand what the comment from the section J#Use in other languages is supposed to mean. Furthermore: the House of Sundarakul na Jolburi does not fit the use that you are trying to illustrate: "Jolburi" is written in Thai identically to the town of Chonburi with ช, not จ.
When it comes to the structure of this article, I think it is now coming out of hand. The article, since it is called 'Royal Thai General System of Transcription' needs to focus on this. Therefore we should first have the definition, then the principles and structure of transcription. Then we can have the section on criticism and possibly comparisons with other systems of transcription, such as mentioned household names, which currently is the first section of the article, and, in my opinion, only tangentially related to the actual topic of the article. V85 (talk) 04:45, 17 April 2012 (UTC)
Agree that the sections on the pandit system do not belong in this article, dedicated to RTGS. They should be removed here and possibly made into a new article, to which reference can be made here. −Woodstone (talk) 09:06, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

I agree with everything said so far, especially that I need to calm down, but Romanization of Thai still redirects here, and the lede still says, The Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS) is the official system, without a citation that says it really IS official[citation needed]. The comment, "Jolburi" is written in Thai identically to the town of Chonburi with ช, not จ, misses the point that "Jolburi" is NOT written identically to "Chonburi," or even comes close. The highly technical language employed at J#Use_in_other_languages obscures the fact that fights and international incidents have erupted over the use of J, as it means so many different things to different peoples who cherish their versions, so it was a wise decision on the part of RIT to drop it like the hot potato it is. Still, not even they can remove it from official[citation needed] spellings. --Pawyilee (talk) 14:11, 19 April 2012 (UTC)

(edit conflict) In WP it is common for a redirect to lead to the most relevant page, where this redirect is then acknowledged, with a reference back to other relevant pages or to a disambiguation page. If a new page for the Pandit system were to be created, it could be added in the list. The UN paper says the system was made official. The document describing the system in Thai also starts by a government endorsement (in Thai). −Woodstone (talk) 17:39, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
My guess would be that the text linked under external links: ""ประกาศสำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี เรื่อง หลักเกณฑ์การถอดอักษรไทยเป็นอักษรโรมันแบบถ่ายเสียง" (in Thai). Royal Gazette 116 (37 ง): 11. 1999-05-11." is the reference for it being the 'official system': The Royal Gazette, as all Thai laws are published in the Gazette. (Alas, my Thai is not good enough for me to read and understand the text in that file.)
Secondly the point that Romanization of Thai is a redirect here, doesn't mean that this article is about romanisation of Thai in general. This is the article about the Royal Thai General System of Transcription, as the article's name implies. Romanization of Thai redirects here, because there is no independent article on romanisation of Thai in general. I would compare this to the articles on romanisation of Chinese: There is a general article on Romanization of Chinese with specific articles on the various schemes employed to romanise it, including pinyin. Just as pinyin is an article about that scheme, so this article should be about RTGS. The lack of an article on Romanization of Thai doesn't mean it should be squeezed into this article, but rather that this could be a topic for an independent article.
What surprised me when I looked at the text in the Royal Gazette, was that there were several inconsitencies with the system as outlined in our article. For example, the diphthong เอือ is rendered as 'uea' in the pdf, while we state that it should be transcribed as 'ua' according to the system. Has the system been changed since the publication of the 1999 Gazette? V85 (talk) 17:26, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
To the strike-out above, indeed the system was changed, as described in the ref "Principle of Romanization for Thai Script by Transcription Method".−Woodstone (talk) 17:44, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
Perhaps this could be used to create a "History" section, outlining how the system has been changed and tweaked over the years? V85 (talk) 18:43, 19 April 2012 (UTC)
I've added a history section. We ought to have information on the precise system. I'm putting together a draft page at User:RichardW57/Precise System of Transliteration of Thai, but I'm not sure I can get it up to Wikipedia standard. It may be that it should be reduced to a short appendix in this page. --RichardW57 (talk) 08:02, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Hey. I went ahead and made a stub at Romanization of Thai. Plenty of empty space over there. --Paul_012 (talk) 04:48, 20 April 2012 (UTC)


Shouldn't ทร be mentioned somewhere in this page? SeeingMole (talk) 07:50, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Yes, perhaps close to where it now says "Transcription of consonants in final position is according to pronunciation". There are a few more cases where pronunciation gets priority over general rules. For example also an initial อ or ห may form an exception. −Woodstone (talk) 09:25, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
I think that whole part can be simplified to say that since it is a transcription, it follows pronunciation rather than orthography. --Paul_012 (talk) 18:20, 12 June 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps that would be too loose. It would open the door to writing "l" for initial ร, and omitting many second parts of clusters. −Woodstone (talk) 17:49, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Would something along the lines of "phonemic pronunciation" be better? --Paul_012 (talk) 19:09, 16 June 2013 (UTC)