Talk:Thai language

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well maybe some people will disagree on whether lao and central thai are different dialects or different languages

Would one of the contributors like to explain the number of speakers data? Based on visits to a few hundred of 600+ amphoes,covering all regions of the country and 39 years, I would estimate that at least 80 per cent of ~64 million Thai nationals *can and frequently do* speak good Central Thai, which is and long has been the only language of instruction in government schools, the only language in network TV and radio and national publications.

The figures are from Ethnologue. Make of them what you will. Change them if you won't.  :-) -- Heron 18:52, 6 Mar 2004 (UTC)
I've added a note that "Most speakers of dialects and minority languages speak Central Thai in addition". Markalexander100 05:04, 7 Mar 2004 (UTC)
The numbers don't add up. Totaling them on this page is still less than 50 million, and there's 66 million living in Thailand. But without a better source there's not much to do I suppose. (talk) 20:32, 17 April 2012 (UTC)

I removed a reference to the Thai "inflectional system"- surely some mistake, unless it's a usage I'm not familiar with. And the phonology may be different from European languages, but it's not particularly "complex". Markalexander100 07:15, 26 Mar 2004 (UTC)

A few things to think about/look at:

  • As far as I understand it there is a 'formal' transliteration called the Royal Thai General System of Transcription. From experience of official transliterations and my experience of various languages I would guess that the transliterations were developed by the French (who historically had a huge presence in this part of SE Asia) and should be pronounced as if they were French words (there are of course a load of exceptions).
  • The description of the origin of the script is at odds with the page describing the alphabet. I guess that they could be simply merged as it isn't really known where the script comes from (or maybe the Khmer script originates from the Devanagari script).
    • I checked with the Britannica and updated both articles to agree with each other. According to the EB, the Devanagari and Khmer scripts are separate branches of Brahmic (which is the only extant branch of Indic), and Thai comes from the Khmer branch. The reference to Pali was a red herring, as that is a language that can be written in any number of scripts. -- Heron 21:03, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)
  • There are also other 'polite particles' (for example 'ja'), but I will check with a native speaker before changing that paragraph.
  • There seems to be no mention that Thai is subject weak. This really ought to be there at least in the section on verbs and the section on word order if nowhere else.

--KayEss 20:22, 29 Mar 2004 (UTC)

Vowels + dialects[edit]

I've added the beginnings of a section on vowels.

As for the question of whether Lao is a dialect of Thai, or vice-versa; there really is no scientific distinction between dialect and language. Linguists like to joke that a language is a dialect with a flag and an army. (Just ask the Norwegians!) Northern Thai, for instance, is historically much closer to Tai Lue than it is to either Standard Thai or Lao; but under China's nationalities policy Tai Lue is a language with its own (modernized) alphabet, while Northern Thai is considered a dialect in Thailand.

--Mrrhum 21:38, 2 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I think BKK(ภาษาคนกรุง) thai is different from standard language(ภาษากลาง).
I think we may implied that Standard Languge is a formal language.
But,For today BKK language have more aggressive than other language except from people from southen of thailand.In the past, Bangkok people usually talked much more slower than today. Because of a vast immigration of people from china, bkk language become more quickly and absorb a short Pronunciation from chinesse language.
You can indicated the different and the origin from this.
I Think thai(s) are very dynamically language. Today many of grammar in thai language such as academic was intefered from paper, such as passive voice, So, I think this make a news language.
Buddish have an origin from india, By this reason Pali and sansakrit language become a fundamental in naming their child. Royal language usually comes from Khmer language so when you call anythings and any activities aboult royals. you must use a royal word. So, I think only a few people speak this kind of words, reporters and thai language teachers, Due to rare oppotunity in spoken.

As a Lao person I can tell you that Lao and Thai are almost the same language with different dialects and accent.Most nouns are the same, many adjectives and verbs are the same, many adjectives and verbs that are different rhyme.Ex.(where are you going) translation is bai sai(in Lao) in Thai it is bai nai.I find it interesting that many Thais do not associate with Lao even though we are closely related.What isn't discussed is the underlying prejudice many Thais have against Lao as the Lao dialect sounds funny to them.It would be ridiculous to think that Lao people can understand Thai but Thai cannot understand Lao. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Hulahoopsta09 (talkcontribs) 03:59, 20 June 2008 (UTC)

Work in progress[edit]

I've done various bits and bobs- still to do (at least) are a table of tone rules and information on the other particles. Markalexander100 06:41, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Good. Please keep going! -- Heron 08:31, 7 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Thanks! I've done the most common particles and a tone table. I hope it works in different browsers/on different computers- I can never tell what's going to look horrible. Markalexander100 06:48, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Nice work. You might like to know that Wikipedia has its own, more compact, syntax for creating tables. I have converted your 'vowels' table to the Wikipedia syntax to show you how it works. There is no law (yet) against using the HTML table syntax, so it's up to you which one you use. The format is explained in MediaWiki User's Guide: Using tables. -- Heron 08:51, 8 Jul 2004 (UTC)

Two questions. The symbol we're using to romanise the "aw" sound (e.g. the last pronoun in the Pronouns section) doesn't work for me- I've tried, western, Thai and Unicode encoding, and all I see is a question mark. Does anyone else have the same problem? Does anyone not have the problem? Also, the section on the six-hour clock seems to me not really to fit in here. It's giving some fairly specific vocabulary, rather than the general information about the language in the rest of the article. Would there be any objections to spinning it off to its own article? Markalexander100 07:51, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

That symbol doesn't work for me, either. It's not even in Arial Unicode. I have found a font that does contain it: Doulos SIL. This is a Roman font, works in IE6, and is free to download (but on my system it looks lumpy at some font sizes). I would agree with splitting off the six-hour clock section. -- Heron 11:39, 11 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I've changed that to something more standard, and hopefully intuitive. Markalexander100 07:46, 26 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I'm now attempting to hammer out a standardized Wikipedia format for romanizing Thai over at Wikipedia:Manual of Style for Thailand-related articles, please join in. Jpatokal 07:25, 17 Sep 2004 (UTC)

Bangkok Thai?[edit]

From the article "Bangkok Thai... sometimes considered as a separate dialect" I don't think there is a difference in dialect or accents between Central and Bangkok Thai, granted the vocabularly in Bangkok evolves at a much faster rate.

"Central Thai" as used in the article means the standard Thai ("newsreader Thai", if it works the same way as in English), rather than Thai as spoken colloquially in the central region. What it's getting at is the differences between BKK Thai and standard Thai, which are real enough. We should probably make it a bit clearer, though I'm not sure how. Markalexander100 00:47, 29 Jul 2004 (UTC)

I think if you want to listen for Central Thai you may listen to sun-tra-ra-porn. Because they have their duty to preserve Thai Landguage from Evolution...


There is a slight accent difference between Bangkok's accent and other provinces far from Bangkok, yet all still considered as Central dialect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:09, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


This entry: The Thai Royal Institute [1] ( publishes a set of rules for transliterating English words into the Thai alphabet, but these rules are not intended to be used in reverse is incorrect. There is a set of rules for transliterating Thai words into Roman script, but not the reverse, called the "Romanization Guide for Thai Script." (1954, 1968, last update 1982) The Royal Institute also forwarded a format for standardization to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 1998 ISO 11940:1998 --Ruj 05:36, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)

These rules are remarkably hard to track down. Are they on the TRI website somewhere? Markalexander100 06:03, 27 Sep 2004 (UTC)
There's actually rules published by the Thai Royal Institute both for transliterating English words into Thai and vice versa. They are: for transliterating Thai words into English for transliterating English words into Thai script.

I've added tables showing the equivalents to Royal Thai General System of Transcription; translating the rules on capitalisation and word division will take a little longer.  ;)Markalexander100 03:57, 18 Oct 2004 (UTC)

This statement "As the system is based on pronunciation, not orthography, reconstruction of Thai spelling from RTGS romanisation, is not possible." is wrong, it is exactly the opposite of the truth. When Thai is transliterated into English using the Royal system, the purpose is to reflect Thai spelling and NOT pronunciation by non-Thai speakers. There are endless examples. The first Thai letter "gaw gai" is represented as a "K" when in fact is clearly and unequivocally a "g" as in "girl" sound. Many Thai names are spelled to reflect Thai spelling and become, as a result, impossible to pronounce correctly unless you know what is happening. Many examples, the "Bpaw Bplah" letter is not a B it is a BP, Thai has a separate letter for "B" i.e. "Baw Bai Mai". The letter "Thaw Thow" is not a "T" but a "TH" as in "this" or "that". "Waw Waan" is not a "V" but a "W". On and on. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:54, 11 October 2013 (UTC)

Does anyone has information about these 3 Thai symbols: อฺ อ๎ อํ ?[edit]

See Talk:Thai alphabet --KayEss 08:30, 3 Nov 2004 (UTC)

The last one seems part of the vowel "am", which I added to the vowel list --Woodstone 21:01, 2004 Dec 3 (UTC)

I unadded am, because it's a vowel letter, not a distinct vowel sound, and therefore belongs under Thai alphabet. we don't want to make things any more confusing than they already are. ;) Some of the changes to the vowel pronunciations were also questionable, although obviously it depends somewhat on your English (and indeed Thai) accent. Mark1 07:54, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

"Am" should be considered as a vowel because we are talking about the Thai writing system, which considers it as a vowel. The article mentions that the system is an abugida, and if we follow that link we find that "vowel[s] may be changed by adding vowel marks to the basic character". The "am" character is in this secondary category. The litmus test is whether a character can exist on its own without a consonant to support it.

I am new to this forum so don't know the protocols yet. Can I change it back myself, or should I wait for feedback? --IanSmith 16:48, 28 December 2005 (UTC)

No, Thai alphabet is our article about the writing system. This article is about the sounds. am is correctly listed at Thai alphabet. Mark1 16:48, 28 December 2005 (UTC)
Are these alphabets are San-sa-krit ? If so There is some different in spelling. ก์ mean Eliminate ก voice.

And the Others will represent กํ = กัง and If กฺ then it mean ก will be a following charecter(อักษรตาม).



Woodstone 11:38, 2004 Dec 4 (UTC)-- In many transcription systems for Thai (based on British English) the "vowel"+r is used to indicate a long vowel; it is therefore quite misleading to use this to transcribe the short vowels as was reverted to with "burn" (instead of "putt") and "for" (but I agree "go" is also not ideal)

The sound of i in English "it" does not occur in Thai; long and short i both sound like English "ee" except for their lenghth.

The sound reverted to as eugh+burn is spelled as "oei" in the Royal Thai system, it definitely does not end in an a sound.

I have not modified the article yet again and I would appreciate your comment. --Woodstone 11:38, 2004 Dec 4 (UTC)

เอิ: since this is an indication of pronunciation, rather than a transcription system, the use of r in some transcription systems isn't relevant. However, I'd agree that the r is out of place because it might imply a rhoticised vowel. How about "u" in burn?
กิ: agreed, but I'd pronounce the y in "holy" as a short ay sound. "Y" in greedy?
เกย: I'll check my table and get back to you tomorrow. ;) Mark1 07:26, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Woodstone 22:41, 2004 Dec 5 (UTC) My point is that in English any vowel before "r" is long, so it should not be used to explain a short vowel. It is not a coincidence that it is used often to indicate long vowels in Thai.

The "u" in "putt" (the golf term, not "put") is short and comes reasonably close to the Thai sound.

For the long sound "burn" comes really close in my ear.

I hear no difference between "y" in "holy" or in "greedy", so agree to use either (Oxford and Websters do not indicate different sounds).

Part of the confusion may have been caused by my atrocious Thai typing (เอิ)- I've fixed that one now, and added the agreed change.
เอิ is apparently a close-mid back unrounded vowel which doesn't exist in English; how about u in burn (short) and u in burn for those two?
เกย: u in burn+ y in yes? Mark1 03:07, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Woodstone 22:42, 2004 Dec 6 (UTC) I think your made a mistake in the last Thai spelling change; every vowel in the list has "ko kai" somewhere to show relative position except your most recent change. It should be:
short: เกอะ, best approximation (in my opinion still) "putt"
long: เกอ or เกิก (the latter only used if another consonant follows) best approximation "burn"

did minor correction (typo) at "Cleo"

Ah, right the first time. FWIW, [1] says This Short vowel also represents the sound 'eu' as in 'fir'. Mark1 01:44, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Woodstone; Mark, you never came back to เกย as promised; I did that one and the other pending ones (except "putt") as agreed. --Woodstone 23:00, 2004 Dec 23 (UTC)

I went through and put IPA symbols on all the vowels, but I don't speak Thai, so there may be some errors in what I did. Could someone who speaks Thai check? Thanks. --Marnen Laibow-Koser (talk) 15:28, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)

Your added IPA symbols are the first that I can see correctly in my browser (IE6); however when I type them like here [ɔ] I just see a square in the browser; any suggestion what can cause this difference? What do you see?
The values you give are not all correct, but I need more time to study it better before correcting.Woodstone 20:32, 2005 Jan 11 (UTC)
I see the symbol in your comment; it's probably a font issue. In any case, I've been surrounding the symbols with {{IPA|}}, which forces display in a font that contains IPA symbols, so I'd type your example as {{IPA|[ɔ]}}. This would show up as [ɔ]. --Marnen Laibow-Koser (talk) 21:44, 11 Jan 2005 (UTC)
I completed the correction of the IPA symbols fitting to Thai vowel pronunciation. I also found an external resource for verification and they have the same mapping as my personal choices. The forced IPA font is working fine now. --Woodstone 12:58, 2005 Jan 16 (UTC)

This may just be a problem in my browser (Firefox), but the IPA notice is pushing the language box at the top of the article to the left, which in turn pushes the lead into a very thin strip. Is it happening to anyone else, and would anyone mind if I shifted it (I don't know if there's a standard position for the notice to be in)? Mark1 03:14, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I'm using a 1024x1280 display so it looks acceptable; I tried 780x1024 and it becomes ugly, at 600*800 the intro is only a few letters wide, at good old VGA 480*640 the IPA notice jumps on top of the language template and it looks ok again. The IPA notice was generated automatically by wiki; if you now how to force it elsewhere (e.g. above the language box), fine. --Woodstone 08:36, 2005 Jan 17 (UTC)

The other language pages seem to solve the problem by moving the notice to the top of the phonology section, so I've done that here. Mark1 09:10, 17 Jan 2005 (UTC)

I think there are many example in our literate that make us confusing. For Example, In phonolofy we shouldn't use word นา /náː/ because "น" letter isn't simple to change the tone. In thailand we usually use "ก" letter in this example. I have read my school book. Thai letters have divided in three group.
Middle (อักษรกลาง) 9 Letters
ก จ ฏ ฎ ค ต บ ป อ
higher (อักษรสูง) 11 Letters
ข ฃ ฉ ฐ ถ ผ ฝ ศ ษ ส ห
lower (อักษรต่ำ) 24 Letters . Divided in 2 Gruop
Dual (อักษรคำคู่) 14 Letters
ค ต ฆ ช ซ () ฑ ฒ ท ธ พ ฟ ภ ฮ **in () In can't find a key.
Mono (อักษรคำเดี่ยว) 10 Letters
ง ญ ณ น ม ย ร ล ฬ ว
After we divide these characters. I think there is another problem. The Tone markers and their tones aren't directly linked. And Higher letter and lower letter can be replace in non-existed tone.
I think we may look in an official website for more information such as
Because thai language has been explained in an international system by an expertise,And in school book we have to learn thai comparing with the international standard.
The section you talk about in this article deals with Thai pronunciation (using examples in Thai spelling). The sound [na] is used, because it actually exists with all possible tones (not so with [ka]). The remarks above deal with the Thai writing system and are discussed in the article Thai alphabet. Please have a look there. −Woodstone 20:23, 5 May 2006 (UTC)

--- To say, "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." is untrue. This misleading information foreigners to sound like foreigners when speaking Thai. The letter 'ป' is both voiced and aspirated. Hang a sheet of paper in front of your mouth and say the word 'beer' loudly. If the sheet of paper does not move very much, that is 'บ'. If the sheet of paper moves a great deal, that is 'ป'. Practice this and Thais will comment "พูดชัดแล้ว". Therefore, in reality 'ป' should be transcribed as /bh/- not /p/.

Similarly, 'ก' is usually transcribed as /k/. In fact, 'ก' is voiced- not unvoiced. If you say the sentence 'ใครขายใข่ไก่' as /krai kai kai kai/ nobody will understand you. If you say /krai krai: kai gai/ (second word has a low rise, third and fourth are low) Thais will understand you.

Also, I did not see (maybe I overlooked) the vowel 'เ-าะ'in this which sounds like 'ɒ'. Therefore, saying 'ko' as in 'ko samui' does not even come close to /gɒ/ (low consonant + short vowel = low tonality) which is a closer representation of not only accent, but pronunciation. --- Please direct anglicizing comments to —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:06, 28 March 2008 (UTC)

IPA tables[edit]

I have done a major revision of the phonetic tables, adapting them to the IPA handbook. There are some small inconsistentcies in the handbook that I need to figure out still. Now we should have a look if merging the various Thai spelling/phonetics/language/romanisation articles is appropriate. Currently there is a lot of overlap. −Woodstone 22:18, 2005 Apr 17 (UTC)


Does anybody know anything about Thai punctuation? What does a period look like?

--- It is a space in a sentence: ie. mynameispaul icomefromaustralia ihavestudiedthaifor10years nowilivehere

However, the grammar is more like... inamepaul icomefromaustralia istudylanguagethaihavefor 10 year presentiresideathere ( ผมชื่อพอล ผมมาจากออสเตรเลีย ผมเรียนภาษาไทยมา ๑๐ ปี ช่วงนี้ผมอาศัยอยู่ที่นี่ )


Can user Markalexander100 please quit removing a reference arbitrarily? The other two are not mentioned in the arcticle either. Does he perhaps have a personal grudge against this particular book? To me it is a welcome additional source of information. −Woodstone 10:51, 2005 Jun 13 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Cite_sources. The references section is for references, not for books which you find interesting. Mark1 03:00, 14 Jun 2005 (UTC)

The other two books are not referenced anywhere in the article either. So your removal is entirely arbitrary. The ones left may be the books you used, but you don't know what books other contributers used. Anyway there should be a place to refer to any useful sources. −Woodstone 20:11, 2005 Jun 14 (UTC)

"Some unknown person may at some point in the past have read the book, so it's a reference"? Fortunately, our academic standards are not that low. Mark1 01:58, 15 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I think we copy Punctuation style from english? Is that correct?


Are Thai numbers borrowed from Chinese? I've noticed that they're very similar-sounding to certain dialects of Chinese.

The Thai number 3 is "Sahm" which is similar to a number of East Asian languages. Eight is "Bpaat" like "baseball bat" but low tone. I believe some Chinese dialects have a similar pronunciation.

It is worth noting the Thai words used to denote rank and sequence are similar to many European languages as it comes directly from Sakskrit - "Mai Ehk" is the first tone. "Ehk" is one or "uni" and the first tone mark is a single vertical line like a "one". Two is "Toh" which is very close in pronunciation to the English and the 2nd tone mark is a cursive two. The third tone mark is "Three", exactly like English, it is a kind of cursive 3 rotated 90 degrees to the right. The fourth tone mark is a cross like the symbol above the = on a keyboard, it is pronounced "Juht thuh way" and is similar in shape to a 4. A bachelor's degree is Brinyah Ehk, a masters is Brinyah Toh, a doctorate Brinyah Three. Ranks in the military use the same numeration. Many other examples.

English equivalents in the vowel tables[edit]

Which variety of English are these meant to be from? To me (a native speaker of British English), some of them seem very strange. For example, ham with [ɛː] seems weird ([ɛː] to me sounds like the vowel of English air) and at with [ɛ] seems like a South African or New Zealand accent. Another example: in non-rhotic English English (e.g. Received Pronunciation) raw and stressed for generally have the same vowel with no length difference, while unstressed for has a different vowel altogether, so I'm surprised to see them representing long and short [ɔ].

(I should point out that I'm basing my judgements on the IPA symbols and not the real Thai vowels.)--JHJ 16:49, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

It's a bit of a mish-mash: partly because we were trying to be neutral between US and UK English, partly because I think I did most of the English equivalents, while Woodstone did the IPA. And partly because the Thai vowel letters are not wholly phonetic (e.g. "แ " can sound like "ham" (แฮม) or "fair" (แฟร์) ). Mark1 02:55, 15 October 2005 (UTC)
I think that, given the complexity of both languages' phonologies, I'd suggest scrapping the English (and French) approximations and using sound files of the Thai words to illustrate the sounds. If I took what's there at the moment literally (and ignored the IPA) then I'd probably end up using a short [a] for what the IPA bits say are [ɛː] and [ɛ], and front rounded vowels for what the IPA bits say are back unrounded vowels [ɯ] and [ɤ]. Speakers of other English varieties are likely to have different problems.--JHJ 17:24, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Thai vowels in general sound very different from any English vowels. Any explanation in terms of English will be off the mark. However, also IPA is quite approximate. Each symbol covers a wide range of allophones. Especially the mentioned case of [ɛː] is inaccurate. Looking at the position on the chart it could better have been denoted as [æː]. The symbols given are the ones found in the Thai section of the IPA handbook. To avoid endless discussions, I did not modify to the ones that correspond better in my ear. In the article we should keep both English (for the average reader) and IPA (for the initiated), but adding soundfiles would be welcome. −Woodstone 18:10, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, I don't think the English should be kept (it's too confusing, given the obvious differences between the two vowel systems and the variety of accents in English and probably in Thai too) but if you really think it should stay, then please say which varieties of English the sounds are based on (neither [ɛː] or [æː] is the vowel of ham where I come from, if the recordings at Open-mid front unrounded vowel and Near-open front unrounded vowel are anywhere near accurate), and check things like the raw/for thing mentioned above. At the moment I just find these tables confusing, and am left wondering whether to believe the IPA or the English (and French) equivalents.--JHJ 21:22, 17 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree entirely with Woodstone. I don't think that we should prefer one variety of English over another (unless it's Scottish English in the Aberdonian accent). I don't think that the English equivalents should be removed (IPA squiggles alone would not help resolve the confusion of 99% of our readers). Mark1 07:51, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I agree that it is desirable to have phonetic description of the vowels that is not reliant on knowledge of IPA. I would suggest taking the tack of many introductory texts on a foreign language by describing each vowel in a complete sentence, using a formula like this: "This vowel is similar to the vowel of the english word word, except it is pronounced with the tongue lower/tongue further back/for a longer time/without a glide/etc." Explain what English vowel it is most like (and specify a dialect if necessary), and then explain in what way it differs from the English vowel. Nohat 08:26, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
That seems like a reasonable suggestion. It's especially likely to help for things like the back unrounded vowels.--JHJ 17:11, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
But as it stands the article does prefer one variety of English over others; it just doesn't say which. Given the variety in English vowels from Bradford to Chicago and from Glasgow to Auckland, it's rather difficult to avoid doing so. At the moment, it seems to be based on a dialect of English that uses a longer vowel in raw than in for, one that uses something like [ɛː] in ham and [ɛ] in at (assuming that the IPA transcriptions are correct) etc. etc. (For what it's worth, if the sound recordings of IPA sounds are anything to go by I have [a] in both ham and at, but I'm not from Chicago or Auckland.)--JHJ 17:11, 19 October 2005 (UTC)
I don't think it does prefer one variety. What we can do (and have tried to do) is to find examples which sound reasonably close in various different varieties. I've no objections to Nohat's proposal, though I don't have the linguistics to do it myself. Mark1 05:31, 20 October 2005 (UTC)
I believe the use of ham for a vowel transcribed [ɛː] perfers Australian and American varieties over most of those in Britain. I think the use of nut for a vowel transcribed [a] and at for a vowel transcribed [ɛ] prefers southern hemisphere (and some southern English) varieties over northern English ones and Scottish ones. (In fact, it seems that an older version of the table - here didn't use ham or at, and used fan where the table now uses nut, which makes much more sense to my northern English ears.) I've no idea where the suggestion of a length contrast between raw and for came from.--JHJ 16:50, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

In order to be of use to as many readers as possible, examples for pronunciation should not be based on small regional variants. We should limit to the major "standard" versions. Perhaps just the pronunciations predominant at BBC and CNN. That would rule out representing [a] by ham or at. The problem with [a] is that the English Great Vowel shift made it disappear from the language. Only a few words like father still have an 'a'-like sound [ɑː]. Using fan as example for the Thai vowel denoted by [ɛː] seems right to me. What words would you propose to use to represent [ɛ], [a], [aː], [ɑ], [ɑː], [ɔ], [ɔː]? It is obvious that an approximation for [ɯ] does not exist in English. −Woodstone 21:47, 21 October 2005 (UTC)

I also prefer the earlier version regarding ham and nut, so perhaps we could agree to revert to that version as a start. (However "–ะ " is one of the Thai letters which represents two distinct sounds in different words. It would be more accurate to include IPA and equivalents for both sounds, but that would mess up the long/short equivalent pattern which I think is, on the whole, useful.)
Regarding raw and for, for sounds eccentric to me - "o in hot" would make more sense in a BrE context at least. But my understanding is that most varieties of English don't distinguish between long and short vowels as phonemes. If that's right, then there's no point complaining that the table doesn't reflect those varieties. All we can do is use equivalents which work where there is a distinction. In any case, the fact that the vowels are grouped into long vowel and short vowel columns shows the contrast that is being made. Mark1 04:00, 22 October 2005 (UTC)
On this topic, I would also like to note that describing [ɯ] as like the vowel in French du is completely backwards. [ɯ] is a back and unrounded vowel. The vowel of French du is [y], which is a front (the opposite of back) and rounded (the opposite of unrounded) vowel. The only thing they have in common is that they are both high vowels. Nohat 05:45, 22 October 2005 (UTC)

In English the distinction between long and short vowels is not phonemic, but still exists in some cases as allophones. Generalising, vowels are:

  • short before unvoiced plosives (p, t, k) or if unstressed
  • long if stessed and before liquids (l, r) and nasals (m, n, ng) or the end of a syllable
  • more complicated rules otherwise (e.g. before voiced plosives (b, d, g))

So it is wise to pick examples accordingly. That was done in most cases in the table. Exceptions are for and burn. Furthermore [i], [u], [o] do not seem to be contentious (it should be noted that English [o] is mostly a diphthong, while the Thai one is not). I collected proposals for the remainder in the table below, trying to use examples where the Am/Br disctinction is not important. Still neither British not American English have any sound approximating [a], [ɯ], so what shall we do there? As Nohat remarks, the French example is also not perfect. The hard "i" in Russion comes closer, but is hardly helpful. Comments please!

Long Short
Thai IPA Current example Proposed example Thai IPA Current example Proposed example
–า a in "father" ? –ะ a u in "nut" u in "nut" (Am.En.)
เ– a in "lame" a in "lame" เ–ะ e e in "set" a in "mate"
แ– ɛː a in "ham" a in "fan" แ–ะ ɛ a in "at" a in "hat"
–ื ɯː u in French "dur" (long) ? –ึ ɯ u in French "du" (short) ?
เ–อ ɤː u in "burn" (long) u in "burn" (long) เ–อะ ɤ u in "burn" (short) u in "putt"
–อ ɔː aw in "raw" aw in "raw" (Br.En.) เ–าะ ɔ o in "for" o in "hot" (Br.En.)
If the sounds are really [ɛ] and [ɛː], then I'd prefer bet and fair respectively (from a British perspective). It's actually very common in Britain (even in modern RP-ish accents) to use [a] in words like fan and at. The Oxford dictionaries now use /a/ as their symbol for that phoneme. Using [ɛ] is something I associate with very old-fashioned RP, South African and New Zealand accents and some non-native speakers. For [ɯ] how about something like "similar to the vowel of boot but without rounded lips"?--JHJ 17:31, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

In the IPa handbook's Thai section, the symbol [ɛ] is drawn at the position where the general table has [æ] and in my perception (I'm not Thai) actually sounds like that. So in my view bet would not be a good approximation, but fair would be alright for the long variant. The symbol [a] cannot be used for this sound, because a very clear [a] (with allphone [ɑ]) exists in Thai as well and is quite distinct. The sound indicated by [ɯ] is also drawn more towards [ɨ] and in my ear sounds like that. It is definitely not rounded. In Au.En perhaps lure would not be too far off for [ɯː]. Note that the Royal Thai General System of Transcription indicates [ɛ] by ae, [ɯ] by ue, and [ɤ] by oe, probably inspired by German. −Woodstone 19:56, 23 October 2005 (UTC)

From the vowel table, it's clear that [ɛ] is close to [æ]. Near-open_front_unrounded_vowel gives "fat" as an example in both UK and US English. Perhaps that for short and "after (US)" for long? Mark1 09:48, 24 October 2005 (UTC)
Well, it gives fat as an example in RP, which isn't the same thing as UK English in general - the sound file linked from that page doesn't sound like the vowel I use in fat. (The one at Open front unrounded vowel does.) But if the sound is really [æ] then there's no reason why RP (and GenAm) fat shouldn't be used as examples. However, I think there's a case for a note saying that the sound may be more like [æ] than [ɛ]; in transcriptions of English the latter symbol is usually associated with the bet vowel, which was partly responsible for my earlier confusion.--JHJ 16:19, 24 October 2005 (UTC)

Collecting the above remark, we are at:

Long Short
Thai IPA Proposed example Thai IPA Proposed example
–า a in "father" –ะ a u in "nut" (Am.En.)
เ– a in "lame" เ–ะ e a in "mate"
แ– ɛː a in "fair"
(sound more towards /æː/)
แ–ะ ɛ a in "fat"
(sound more towards /æ/)
–ื ɯː u in French "dur"
(sound more towards /ɨː/)
–ึ ɯ u in French "du"
(sound more towards /ɨ/)
เ–อ ɤː u in "burn" (long) เ–อะ ɤ u in "putt" (Br.En)
–อ ɔː aw in "raw" (Br.En.) เ–าะ ɔ o in "hot" (Br.En.)
(I can't type IPA on this computer, so apologies for circumlocutions). I don't think that we need the "(sound more towards /æː/)": AFAIK the first vowel is the correct one, but we're using /æː/ English equivalents because the latter is more common in English and the difference between them is small. And I still don't like "putt"- I can't imagine any pronunciation where it's close to the Thai vowel. Otherwise that looks good. Mark1 05:51, 30 October 2005 (UTC)
I would definitely advise against using any examples that include rhotic vowels because it's hard for us Americans to separate the rhotic and non-rhotic parts of vowels like in "fair". And "burn" has no non-rhotic part in American English, so that seems an especially bad example. I agree that "(sound more towards ..)" is not very useful because if the reader understands the IPA after towards, then they can understand the IPA for the actual vowel. Something along the lines of "ɯ, like 'oo' in boot, but without the lips rounded", as in the suggestion above, is much more useful. Nohat 09:02, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

Could some of the native English speakers suggest a better (non-rhotic) example for fair (how about man?) and burn. And we are going to need an agreed example for short [ɤ] (so preferably ending in p,t or k). P.S. I will be in a small Thai village without any internet for about a week starting tomorrow. So don't expect progress from my side. −Woodstone 12:21, 30 October 2005 (UTC)

I live in Bangkok and am studying Thai with the senior Thai teacher at a leading language school. It has become very apparent to me that there are no english words nor 'ordinary' phonetics that really capture the real sounds of some of the Thai consonants and vowels. I would have thought that the best solution to the 'sound' problem would be to use the IPA phonetics AND include on the webpage .wma/.wav etc. files. That way, there cannot possibly be any confusion!

Also, I notice that, in (all?) Thai grammar books written by farangs, on and in the Wikipedia pages, 4 Thai vowels are not correctly explained. อำ, ใ, ไ and เอา are in fact classified as *long* vowels, and the tone rules follow accordingly. However, their pronounciation may be either *long* or *shorter*, but never short.

Also, it should be pointed out that the final sound of the vowels ไ and ใ differ from the final sound of ย. The latter has a 'throat' finish, the other two finish high up in the middle-to-back of the mouth. Tony

To me, อำ, ใอ/ ไอ and เอา vowels are short sounds for อาม, อาย, อาว --manop 06:36, 15 December 2005 (UTC)
I haven't come across that.
Looking for another Thai source on this, I found that Khun Benjawan Poomson Becker, in her various books, says that the four vowels "may sound either short or long, but they are categorized as long vowels for tone rule purposes". She specifically mentions the following words as being pronounced long: เก้า ใด้ ใต้ ไต้ เท้า น้ำ ไม้ ไมล์ and ไหว้. I also noticed that in another Thai-source, น้ำ was also given as pronounced with a long vowel.
Does anyone know a Professor, of Thai language at one of the Universities, who could help on this? Tony 11:43, 21 December 2005 (UTC)
I (a Thai speaker, not linguist) believe ำ ใ ไ เ-า are generally regarded as short vowels. They belong to the สระเกิน (literally extra vowels) group and are held to be vowel/ending-consonant combinations. That is, -ำ = -ัม, ใ- or ไ- = -ัย and เ-า = -ะ with ว as a closing consonant (the pronouonciation of the last three might technically be diphthongs, but Thai language regards ย and ว to be the ending consonants in this case). The tones are determined more complicatedly based on the concept of คำเป็น-คำตาย (literally live words & dead words), which comprise the vowel lengths and the closing consonant sounds (plosive/sonorant) as already discussed in the Phonylogy/Tones section of the article. Schoolbooks state that although they are classified as short vowels, actual pronounciation may differ depending on the nature of the word.--Paul C 18:49, 2 January 2006 (UTC)

I'm starting Thai pronunciations on Wikimedia Commons now at commons:Category:Thai_pronunciation. It might help.--manop 21:15, 9 January 2006 (UTC)

I think you may see in Schoolbooks for the rule such as concept of คำเป็น-คำตาย (come-pen come-tye)(literally live words & dead words), Actually they were many rules that can solve your problems. I think you may refer thai vowel to Pali(บาลี) and sanskrit(สันสกฤต) language. GoodGuy

Details of tone[edit]

It looks completely differently in my edition of the IPA handbook. The symbols you are using are not meant to be used in pairs of triplets and form an unnecessary complication for the level of detail needed in this context. I will probably change to the exact forms in the handbook later. −Woodstone 21:32, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Actually they are meant to be used this way. You need a font such as Charis SIL which will display them properly. However, if you can find a workaround, that would be fantastic! kwami 21:46, 22 January 2006 (UTC)

Thailand vs Thai language[edit]

As always when a language and a country share the same name, some confusion artises. To create clarity, I consider it therefore useful to mention in this article other languages spoken natively in Thailand, even if they are from a different language group. User:Henry Flower keeps reverting this. However at the same time he keeps adding mention of languages from the Mon-Khmer languages group, which is not closely related to Thai. This utterly inconsistent behaviour confuses me. Can this user please explain his motivations? −Woodstone 12:13, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

He cocked up in restoring Suay; apologies for that. HenryFlower 12:19, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Khao's tone[edit]

According to another part of the article, khao is pronounced with a high tone rather than a rising tone.

There are a few exceptions to this system, notably the pronouns chan and khao, which are both pronounced with a high tone rather than the rising tone indicated by the script (in an informal conversation, generally when these words are recited or read in public, they are pronounced in rising tone).

Can somebody explain this apparent inconsistency in information? Thank you -- Ionius Mundus 17:01, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

According to the spelling rules it should have rising thone. That is how it is pronounced on stage and formal talk. In rapid conversation it (and a few other very frequent words) may be reduced to high tone. −Woodstone 17:42, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

In the 'pronouns' section, 'chan' is written with a high tone while 'khao' is written with a rising tone. Shouldn't they be the same? -- Ionius Mundus 18:18, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

You are right "chan" (I) has the same phenomenon as "khao" (he/she). Formally (and by spelling) rising, in daily practice often high. −Woodstone 19:16, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Yeah, but khao is more commonly spoken with a high tone than chan, that means that in conversations almost nobody would pronounce khao with a rising tone while chan is often heard in both tones. But for reason of consistency I would write both words in the same tone in this article Yaemm 14:23, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Hello,Im curently working on a history article on Lanna and ive stumbled across the folowing:

เรื่องที่ 1รายนามกษัตริย์และเจ้าเมืองเชียงใหม่ (ยกเว้นช่วงที่พม่าปกครอง) ดังนี้

๑. พระญามังราย (พ.ศ.๑๘๐๔-๑๘๕๔)๒. พระญาไชยสงคราม (พ.ศ.๑๘๕๔-๑๘๖๘)๓. พระญาแสนภู (พ.ศ.๑๘๖๘-๑๘๗๗) ๔. พระญาคำฟู (พ.ศ.๑๘๗๗-๑๘๗๙) ๕. พระญาผายู (พ.ศ.๑๘๗๙-๑๘๙๘)๖. พระญากือนา (พ.ศ.๑๘๙๘-๑๙๒๘) ๗. พระญาแสนเมืองมา (พ.ศ.๑๙๒๘-๑๙๔๔) ๘. พระญาสามฝั่งแกน (พ.ศ.๑๙๔๕-๑๙๘๔)๙. พระญาติโลกราช (พ.ศ.๑๙๘๔-๒๐๓๐) ๑๐. พระญายอดเชียงราย (พ.ศ.๒๐๓๐-๒๐๓๘) ๑๑. พระญาเมืองแก้ว (พ.ศ.๒๐๓๘-๒๐๖๘)๑๒. พระญาเมืองเกษเกล้า ครั้งที่ ๑ (พ.ศ.๒๐๖๘-๒๐๘๑) ครั้งที่ ๒ (พ.ศ.๒๐๘๖-๒๐๘๘)๑๓. ท้าวซายคำ (พ.ศ.๒๐๘๑-๒๐๘๖) ๑๔. พระนางจิรประภา (พ.ศ.๒๐๘๘-๒๐๘๙) ๑๕. พระไชยเชษฐา (พ.ศ.๒๐๘๙-๒๐๙๐)๑๖. ท้าวแม่กุ (พระเมกุฎิ) (พ.ศ.๒๐๙๔-๒๑๐๗)๑๗. พระนางวิสุทธเทวี (พ.ศ.๒๑๐๗-๒๑๒๑) เจ้าเมืองเชียงใหม่สมัยราชวงศ์กาวิละ (เจ้าเจ็ดตน)๑. พระเจ้ากาวิละ (พ.ศ.๒๓๒๕-๒๓๕๖) ๒. พระยาธรรมลังกา(เจ้าเชียงใหม่ช้างเผือก) (พ.ศ.๒๓๕๙-๒๓๖๕) ๓. พระยาคำฝั้น(เจ้าหลวงเศรษฐี) (พ.ศ.๒๓๖๖-๒๓๖๘)๔. พระยาพุทธวงศ์ (เจ้าหลวงแผ่นดินเย็น) (พ.ศ.๒๓๖๙-๒๓๘๙)๕. พระเจ้ามโหตรประเทศ (พ.ศ.๒๓๙๐-๒๓๙๗) ๖. พระเจ้ากาวิโรรสสุริยวงศ์ (เจ้าชีวิตอ้าว) (พ.ศ.๒๓๙๙-๒๔๑๓) ๗. พระเจ้าอินทรวิชยานนท์ (พ.ศ.๒๔๑๖-๒๔๓๙)๘. พระเจ้าอินทวโรรสสุริยวงศ์ (พ.ศ.๒๔๔๔-๒๔๕๒)๙. เจ้าแก้วนวรัฐ (พ.ศ.๒๔๕๔-๒๔๘๒)

Could someone please translate? Thanks.New Babylon

It looks like a list of royalty and contains a bunch of dates in the Thai calendar (พ.ศ.=Thai year).
Wikky Horse
"๐ ๑ ๒ ๓ ๔ ๕ ๖ ๗ ๘ ๙" are Thai digits. Also, "พ.ศ." is Buddhist calendar year.--Octra Bond 11:15, 7 December 2006 (UTC)
This year (C.E.) 2007 = พ.ศ. (B.E.) 2550. So, if you want to change from B.E. to C.E., minus by 543. Like this, พ.ศ. ๑๘๐๔ - ๑๘๕๔ = B.E. 1804 - 1854 = (1804 - 543) to (1854 - 543)= 1216 to 1311 = C.E. 1216 - 1311. .--User:Sutha ๐๙:๔๕ (09:45), 10 February 2007 (๑๐ กุมภาพันธ์ ๒๕๕๐)

Help with translation[edit]

I'm currently working on a script intended to create short articles on political parties on a variety of wikipedias simultaneously. However, in order for the technique to work I need help with translations to various languages. If you know any of the languages listed at User:Soman/Lang-Help, then please help by filling in the blanks. For example I need help with Thai. Thanks, --Soman 15:19, 30 July 2006 (UTC) For what little I know, see [2]Lee 05:42, 23 October 2006 (UTC)PawYiLee

Phonetic [w] in chart[edit]

IPA [w] is (annoyingly enough) classified as a bilablial-velar I believe.

It should therefore (annoyingly enough) be shown either outside the chart, or in its own "Bilabial-Velar" column -- which (annoyingly enough) doesn't have a logical location to go in, in the chart.

Alternately, [w] can be (news here) considered for casual purposes a primarily bilabial entity with a minor physiological velar element easily ignored in sub-allophonic transcription.

E.g.: put the damn [w] in the biliabial column!

With double asterisks and a footnote "**Technically, as in English, a bilabial-velar".

(I would do this myself, but the chart layout gets very avant-garde when I try to edit the Wiki markup...)


Can someone tell me what governs where a space goes in Thai? I'm working on the layout of a brochure in Thai and the linguists keep inserting and deleting spaces in the most random places. What are the rules? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 17:20, 14 December 2006 (UTC).

Basically, spaces are used to separate clauses, so you'll see them where you'd expect commas and periods in English. In addition, they're used to set apart proper names, including spaces between titles and the given name and surname. When English-style punctuation is used in Thai, such as quote marks, it is also set apart on the outside with spaces, e.g. ประโคยนี้คือ "ตัวอย่าง" ของการเว้นวรรค. That's the basic usage. Can you post a sample with some of the "random" space insertions you mention? rikker 04:46, 7 January 2007 (UTC)
Here's an excellent article on spacing in Thai from [3]. rikker 03:27, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Back and front a[edit]

User:Octahedron80 had done a global substitute equating all to back a's [ɑ] by front a's [a]. There is quite a variation in Thai in pronunciation between the various a's. Although the disctinction is not usually phonemic by itself, it combines with length to make systematic distinctions. There is no reason to suppress this information, leading to incorrect pronunciations. −Woodstone 19:36, 13 February 2007 (UTC)

Thai never say [ɑ] but only [a]. I already wrote reference. --Octra Bond 09:02, 27 February 2007 (UTC)

Redirect page[edit]

Someone please add a "Thai (language)" redirect to this article. (or make this article the redirect and move the contents to there) This article name format is standard for languages that have the same name as a country or nationality. (or food or whatever) -- 21:58, 4 June 2007 (UTC)

done −Woodstone 08:54, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
Thanks! -- 05:15, 8 June 2007 (UTC)

Phonetic realization of tones for short vowels[edit]

The article only gives phonetic realization of tones for long vowels. Does anyone know what they are, generally, for short vowels? Davilla 14:30, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

Voiced and (un)aspirated plosives[edit]

I'm curious if ป has migrated toward บ (as /b/) and ต toward ด (as /d/). I can barely hear a difference, except that ด is possibly post-alveolar and ต is almost dental. But my beginning Thai book doesn't make that distinction. And ก is almost closer to /g/ or at least /ɡ̊/ no? Or is that just English influence on my ears? 20:23, 7 July 2007 (UTC)

B. P. Becker's Thai for Beginners, which transliterates ป as bp and ต as dt, answered one of my questions. "The /dt/ sound lies between the /d/ and the /t/. Similarly, the /bp/ is between /b/ and /p/." I guess I had misread it earlier. I was confused by the following sentence, "(In linguistic terms, they are both unvoiced and unaspirated.)" In linguistic terms, ป and ต are slightly voiced, would be the point that was trying to be made. Becker's explanations are not always very clear. 17:25, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

Yes, it is the influence of your English trained ears. The point is that ป /p/, ต /t/, and ก /k/ are unaspirated, but not voiced. There are seperate aspirated phonemes พ /pʰ/, ท /tʰ/, and ข /kʰ/. Since p, t and k in initial position in English are always aspirated, the unaspirated Thai sounds are difficult to hear and pronounce for native English speakers. They are then mostly confused with the voiced บ /b/ and ด /d/ (none for g). A clear explanation can be found in minimal pair, near the beginning. −Woodstone 17:53, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

I don't understand why IPA doesn't just use separate symbols for aspirated p t k etc. since they are distinct phonemes in so many languages. This is supposed to be a universal system, right? But no, they introduce ambiguity for unaspirated phones which they then choose to resolve with some silly = diacritic. If voiced and unvoiced phones can have separate symbols, why not unvoiced with and unvoiced without aspriation? Because of English? 22:02, 12 July 2007 (UTC)

There are not enough letters in the latin alphabet to support all phonemes occurring in all languages. So new symbols had to be created. In many cases, this is done in a systematic way by taking a letter representing a resembling sound and applying a slight modification or addition. You should see the /tʰ/ as one symbol, composed of two parts—one indicating the location of articulation, the other part the manner of articulation. This procedure makes it actually easier to remember the symbols. −Woodstone 07:32, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Okay, well, thanks for your help. I was corrected today on the street, repeating the word for peanut or something, and I heard the difference! 00:37, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Missing vowel?[edit]

I'm squinting at the tiny text to see there's an omission from the vowel table (as well as my own learning material) that would account for เดิน (walk) as an alternate form of what I understand to be pronounced "เดน". On the other hand, it's listed at Thai script. I don't understand how a script can have sounds associated with it implicitly. Isn't that a function of the language? Why not just combine the relevant information at Thai phonology or Thai phonetics? 02:12, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

The vowel in เดิน is an alternative spelling (เ–ิ –) of the vowel เ–อ, when used in a closed syllable. It is not pronounced the same as เ– (as in เดน). Indeed this variant is missing in the table.
An alphabetic script can surely have implicit sounds. Of course variants can exist if the same script is used for several languages. You are right that there is quite some overlap between the various articles. I do not see any great harm in that. −Woodstone 09:16, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Question Particles[edit]

Are the words ไหม and มั้ย, used to indicate questions and suggestions, considered as particles? If so, we could add them to the table of particles. Wikky Horse 22:03, 24 July 2007 (UTC)

Forgot basic word definitions[edit]

   * คนอ้วน (khon uan, IPA: [kʰon uan ]) a fat person

There should be one like above this saying which word means fat, and which word means person. (Even if one ought to know already.)

   * คนอ้วนๆ (khon uan uan, IPA: [kʰon uan uan]) a very/rather fat person
   * คนอ้วนไว (khon uan wai) a person who becomes/became fat quickly
   * คนอ้วนไวๆ (khon uan wai wai) a person who becomes/became fat very/rather quickly

   * ฉันหิว (chan hiw) I am hungry.

Say which word means I and which word means hungry.

   * ฉันจะหิว (chan cha hiew) I will be hungry.
   * ฉันกำลังหิว (chan kamlang hiw) I am becoming hungry. or I am hungry right now.
   * ฉันหิวแล้ว (chan hiw laeo) I am already hungry.

Jidanni 01:52, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

An explicit explanation isn't too necessary, and it would probably clutter the article more. The main paragraph of the Adjective/Adverb subsection states that adjectives/adverbs follow the noun that they describe, so one can deduce what each respective word in the examples means. Also, since the adjective/adverb is the word that is duplicated (instead of the noun), the reader can further confirm his/her findings. Wikky Horse 22:50, 2 October 2007 (UTC)

Need Thai script[edit]

Need Thai script at Mnong, specifically for the name "Khunjunob" that is quoted in the text. Badagnani 05:54, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Writing Direction?[edit]

Which direction one writes/reads this language (ie, left-to-right or vice versa)? Shouldn't this info be in the box? (Or is it already there?) -- nevermind: I found it in Thai_alphabet Wikiak 11:19, 7 October 2007 (UTC)

you forgot to include consonant class[edit]

... or at least I can't find it. Since tone reading depends on class, that needs to be there. You have some odd color scheme going on in the consonant table, which is also unexplained. Maybe you could color code for class. BTW, I'm converting articles over to the IPA, and I transcribed Muay Thai as having two low tones. Please correct me if I'm wrong; "32" doesn't mean anything in the IPA. kwami 07:37, 9 November 2007 (UTC)

Actually, consonant class is not a property of the Thai language (this article), but of the Thai writing system, partly described in Thai alphabet, including the consonant classes. Thai language has tones, which are denoted in the script by a combination of classed consonants and tone marks. The table defining the value of the tone marks should be moved from the present article to the one on the script. −Woodstone 08:39, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Yes, that would make more sense. kwami 09:47, 9 November 2007 (UTC)
Done. −Woodstone (talk) 10:36, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Need romanization[edit]

Someone added Thai กุ้งแห้ง at Dried shrimp, but didn't add a romanization. Is it goong haeng? Badagnani (talk) 04:12, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

According to RTGS it's kung haeng. −Woodstone (talk) 09:31, 9 March 2008 (UTC)


Does anyone know the etymology and literal meaning of the name วิหาร (Wihan)? I assume it comes from the Sanskrit/Pali "Vihara," meaning "monastery." Badagnani (talk) 01:56, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

That is correct. --Paul_012 (talk) 15:07, 7 December 2008 (UTC)
See here: Vihara. --hdamm (talk) 18:35, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

Need Thai assistance[edit]

Need Thai name at Chili oil. Can someone who knows the Thai name add it there? Badagnani (talk) 23:04, 16 July 2008 (UTC)

Is it น้ำมันพริก? Badagnani (talk) 00:38, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

Recent reverted references[edit]

I saw those links that Woodstone reverted yesterday. I agree with removing the link from External links, but looking at those webpages, I think the two references are useful additions that clarify points in the article. Obviously I don't want to start an edit war, so I'm bringing it up here. Thoughts? --rikker (talk) 10:01, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

The reference slice of thai cannot be taken seriously. It is a mixed commercial-hobby site, making propaganda for the author's books and respelling system. Some quotes from the page:
  • All the systems are pretty close in their completeness and suitability for a Thai learner, except for the Thai Government system. (who are they to dismiss it?)
  • IPA: International Phonetic Alphabet: nerds love it (hardly NPOV)
  • Thai Govt+: Lame system used for Thai road signs + tones (not quite a well reasoned judgement)
  • We offer a pretty useful transition system called Easy Thai (used in author's book)
  • From the fantastic (another of the author's sites)
Woodstone (talk) 13:11, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Better to stick to citing newspapers, since they're 100% commercial, right? :P

Seriously though, I like the comparison of romanization systems in particular, because this issue isn't treated anywhere else that I know of. I have no problem with the statement about Thai, because it's not suitable for Thai learners. It's for road signs, just like he says. It doesn't relay information about tones, vowel length, and various important vowel and consonant distinction. Pretty easy to dismiss as a suitable system for learning to pronounce Thai. Even if you're fluent, you can't always guess the right pronunciation based on RTGS.

Also, is not that guy's site -- it's Glenn Slayden's site. Why would you think it was his? Who calls their own site fantastic?

I think the lack of editing on this article causes it to continue to suck. It's hard to make any kind of change to it, because the guard dogs are so fierce. You don't have to chase everyone away.

Point taken about NPOV on his site. Maybe I'm just venting, but I actually want to see this article improve, and it needs references. --rikker (talk) 16:41, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

It does not matter what you and me think of RTGS. It's the official Thai way. (And actually in my personal view quite adequate with added tone marks). Have you had a look at the favorite system at that site? It is like saying the perfect way to transcribe English is by writing like: its eezee too tawk inglish. It would ruin any subsequent attempt at trying to spell right. −Woodstone (talk) 16:56, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

You're missing the point. You're using the dismissal of RTGS to dismiss the site. I'm saying his point is valid -- it's not a system for learners, and is not designed to be one. That is beside the point, which is that a link which expands on an issue treated only superficially in the article is to me a good link. It compares systems. But whatever. I hear you loud and clear. Woof, woof go the guard dogs. Beware of Editing. --rikker (talk) 17:02, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Anyway, this article is about the "Thai language". Not about transcription of Thai. Just a summary indication may have it's place, but an extended discussion has not. If you want to expand on transcriptions of Thai, do it in Thai alphabet, or make a new article Transcription of Thai. A comparison of transcription systems may be valuable, but it should be analytic and not in terms of "nerd", "fantastic" or "lame". −Woodstone (talk) 17:28, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

What we have here is a failure to communicate. Look, I'm not trying to argue about Thai transcription. I don't really care. I was just trying to make the point that if you chase away everyone who tries to add something to the article, it will just continue to suck. I like external links that can expand on things the article doesn't cover, so I personally don't have a problem to links to pages that aren't academic papers. I have no reason to want to link to that particular site. I'm making a general point here about editor behavior. You don't have to be so cautious with the article -- it's already a mess. --rikker (talk) 19:30, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Agree that the article needs improvement. Agree with your doubts about many of the unsourced conjectures. Agree that editors are welcome to try their hand. Do not agree that the contended site is a worthy reference. −Woodstone (talk) 22:43, 28 February 2009 (UTC)

Woodstone, it is quite obvious that you did not even read the references, beyond a cursory glance at the first section or two in order to "confirm" your presuppositions. You have misunderstood or misrepresented the references in a number of ways, so I hardly think you are in a legitimate position to judge the usefulness of the references:

  • We offer a pretty useful transition system called Easy Thai (used in author's book) FALSE: there is no book with Easy Thai! Where are you getting this from? Easy Thai is one of the options available on the site (including IPA, Paiboon, and other systems) and there is no product using Easy Thai. Furthermore there is no favorite system: didn't you notice that the site allows the user to choose a system by checking a box? The site discusses the advantages and disadvantages of all the systems.
  • From the fantastic (another of the author's sites) FALSE has an unrelated owner. Why on earth would someone refer to their own site that way?
  • IPA: International Phonetic Alphabet: nerds love it (hardly NPOV) By this comment, I assume you mean the site is somehow against IPA. If you were to actually read the section on IPA, rather than reading 3 words and inventing your own conclusions, you would see the reference describes IPA as the "bread and butter of linguists" and, in the IPA and other sections, points out the exact phonetic/phonemic issue that Rikker has recently raised. Seems relevant to me. The site is targeted at those learning Thai, and it states quite clearly where IPA is most used and most relevant.
  • All the systems are pretty close in their completeness and suitability for a Thai learner, except for the Thai Government system. (who are they to dismiss it?) Note the phrase for a Thai learner; You seem to selectively miss words...given the facts and reasoning that you did not read, the claim is quite valid when you compare that system with the other systems presented. If the problem is that you personally disagree with the conclusion, but not with the evidence and reasoning, then that is not a valid reason to reject the reference. Let's remember we're talking about a reference here, not any text that gets inserted in the article; it's ridiculous that we even have to have this much discussion.
  • Thai Govt+: Lame system used for Thai road signs + tones (not quite a well reasoned judgement) Well then perhaps you should actually click the link to read the section and its linked sections, where you will find a well-reasoned judgment explaining how that system drops vowel length, tones, and several important vowel distinctions. Again, the reasoning is sound, and you and other readers are welcome to agree or disagree after reading, but the reference remains a useful addition to this article that will "help users find additional information on the topic," a stated goal of references in Wiki's guidelines.

The site is indeed a non-academic hobby site using humor and informal language to help people learn Thai. It has google ads, a donation link, and links to products that use more than one of the systems described (and those systems are not touted above competitors on the page). If your only remaining objection is that the site is not dry and academic in its writing style, then you are welcome to your personal preference, but that is not a valid reason to reject the reference. If you can produce a better reference with full-text available, great, go ahead. Otherwise, let's put these references back in order to help our readers understand a critical aspect of Thai Language that will be relevant to all of them as they are learning Thai. (talk) 17:38, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

Improving this article[edit]

Following on the discussion with Woodstone about being to quick to revert edits, I want to start a new talk section to discuss changes that should be made to the article. I'm of the opinion that the article is very bad right now. In the past I've avoided editing this page because it seems like spats and editing wars break out over minor changes. But the article needs a major overhaul, so we need to discuss this up front if it's going to improve.

Mainly, I think we need more separate articles to go into all the gory details, to keep the main article as an overview. Right now Thai only has one "Main article:" breakaway -- for the alphabet. Look at any major language page and there are many more. Japanese has five "Main article:" sub-articles, Chinese has seven, English, Korean and Spanish each have nine. And each has a dozen or more relevant "See also" Wikipedia articles. Let's work on fixing this. We can look at other languages for ideas on how to structure, and for ideas about what articles to write for Thai. (Edit: Moved discussion of IPA to a new topic below.)

I'll start off with just this for now, though there are more critiques to be made. Thoughts? --rikker (talk) 02:39, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

IPA revisited[edit]

This is a huge can of worms, I know, but I don't like the use of "strict" IPA. It's very phonetically precise, but I think it's out of place. If you read academic articles about Thai, you'll see that real live linguists don't actually use strict IPA (except perhaps when dealing with in-depth phonetics). It's unwieldy and unnecessary. Rather, a modified "phonemic IPA" is used -- which tends to result in several systems with slight variance (compare the Haas and AUA transcription systems, for example). I know this is a problem. But can we find a way to balance cross-language standards with actual usability? That is represent phonemes without using symbols that are overly opaque and obscure? If not, by strictly following IPA we're not actually helping solve the problem of waaay to many competing transcription systems. We're basically just creating a new one that even professionals don't use. This point may be a losing battle, and a rehash of prior battles, but I thought I'd bring it up anyway. --rikker (talk) 02:39, 1 March 2009 (UTC)

I'm very hesitant to deviate from the IPA as in the IPA handbook, as it will unavoidably lead to endless discussion. The consonants are very straightforward using familiar symbols, except perhaps จ and ฉ or ช. While inspecting it just now, I noticed that on 2008-11-18 the original was replaced by ts̠, whoch should be reverted. The vowels are also quite straightforward except ɯ and ɤ, but these stand for sounds that are not present in English. Only, representing ะ by the glottal stop ʔ may be a bit overzealous in many cases, since the short–long opposition is already indicated by presence or absence of the ː symbol. So it's not clear to me what you would like to "simplify" or why that would be needed. Please clarify. −Woodstone (talk) 09:30, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
I really should have separated these topics, since IPA is the lesser issue here. So now I've made it two topics. I didn't say "simplify", actually. Let me restate the basic problem as I see it: there are many competing transcription systems. This presents an issue for how to accurately transcribe Thai words in articles about Thai language (I agree that RTGS is probably the best choice for non-linguistic general use). Even professional linguists who specialize in Thai do not use strict, phonetically accurate IPA. They use modified IPA, simplified phonemically. Mary Haas' system is probably the closest to true IPA, since it uses /j/ for the palatal glide (i.e. ย ยักษ์). So by insisting on using strict IPA, we are further complicating the problem by introducing yet another system. I think it would be better to have a detailed article about one system of our communal choice, say for argument's sake it was the Haas system. So we write the article Haas system for Thai transcription. In that, we can use detailed phonetic IPA to explain the system. We could -- and should -- also write similar articles for all the prominent systems (Paiboon, Smyth,, etc.). And we should have an overview article that deals with differences between the systems, etc.
This would be the equivalent of all the articles for Chinese using Pinyin. In their case, it just so happens that Pinyin is the most common system, but similar to Thai, Chinese has many competing systems. Wade-Giles, EFEO, Yale, other Pinyin variants -- the list goes on. It would make little sense to use strict IPA for Chinese because that system is useful to no one. Likewise, using strict IPA here doesn't actually add anything. It doesn't enhance our ability to express phonemes -- it just uses unconventional (within the Thai linguistics community) and unfamiliar (to nearly everyone) symbols to do so. Hence, it's not helping the issue. It's not a matter of simplifying at all. It's a matter of using conventional symbols to maintain all of the same distinctions.
Looking at other articles, IPA is rarely used on Wikipedia for non-Roman-script languages. So it's not like we're adhering to some site-wide standard by choosing strict, rather than phonemically simplified, IPA in the main article. I think it's entirely appropriate to use strict IPA for a detailed article about Thai phonology to differentiate allophones and such. Even in IPA for English on Wikipedia, you don't see them indicating the aspirated /k/ with a superscript-h. It's understood that the /k/ is aspirated. Same principle going on here.
And one more specific point, using the macron for mid tone is extremely unconventional, especially when the likeilhood for confusion is very great, given that the macron is a common symbol for vowel length in many languages, and in Thai transliteration (as used to transliterate ancient Thai inscriptions) is based on IAST Sanskrit transliteration, and both of those also use the macron to represent vowel length.
Whew! --rikker (talk) 11:01, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
I must say I'm lost. The IPA in the article is almost entirely phonemic, employing only a few non-latin symbols. There is not much phonetic aspect to "modify". Your example of /kʰ/ versus /k/ is especially troublesome, since—in contrast to English—the distinction is phonemic in Thai. The aspiration cannot be left implied in Thai, because that would conflate a host of Thai word distinctions. Perhaps it would help if you would be explicit about the proposed "modified" system. Furthermore you cannot compare systems like Wade-Giles to systems like Paiboon in notability. The former are widely used academic standards, the latter are just used in a few tourist language books. Finally, I have no idea why you think that IPA is little used for languages that are not normally written in latin script. −Woodstone (talk) 13:12, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Very well, let me try again. I raised the example of /k/ instead of /kʰ/ when transcribing English as an example of deviating from true phonetic accuracy. I certainly wasn't suggesting that this be done for Thai. Sheesh. If you want details, look at the Haas system. It's the most notable IPA-derived system. AUA is also IPA-derived, but it strays a bit further. And again (I feel like I'm explaining everything twice), I'm talking about simplifying notation to use more conventional symbols (and by conventional I mean conventional in Thai spheres). Since everything is already phonemic, then there is no harm in using simpler symbols to represent the very same phonemes.
Changes we might discuss:
  • /c/ for จ and /ch/ or /cʰ/ for ช
  • always leave midtone unmarked (nix the macron), because of possible confusion over variant usage in different transcription/transliteration systems (as I mentioned above)
  • mark tone consistently, instead of the mix of marked and non-marked you have right now (even within the same sentence: see kʰǎw kamlaŋ wiŋ -- tone is left off of วิ่ง)
  • omit glottal stop at the beginning of vowel-initial words (its presence or absence is phonologically conditioned; it's not phonemic)
  • stop including both RTGS and IPA for all the examples, for example, จะ (cha, IPA: [tɕaʔ], will) -- this type of thing seems likely to confuse more than clarify
  • stop using square brackets [ ] for all the transcriptions, since those represent phonetic representation, not phonemic, which should be slashes / /.
  • replace {ɤ} with schwa {ə} -- what you lose in phonetic accuracy you more than gain back in conventional familiarity
  • perhaps replace {ɯ}, though there is less consensus on this one -- some use u-bar {ʉ}, some use i-bar {ɨ}, others use other symbols.
  • I don't suggest changing this, but I do want to point out that {ɛ} is not even phonetically accurate. The proper symbol for สระแอ is {æ}, but Mary Haas actually originated the convention of using {ɛ}. In actual IPA, {ɛ} represents the vowel as in my pronunciation of the word "pen".
And so forth. I'm not really trying to argue for every single one of these changes, necessarily, but these are some possibilities of things that might be different if a pre-existing system were chosen for Thai phonemic representation.
As for the notability of Paiboon, in my understanding its books are the biggest selling Thai language-learning books. And even if I'm mistaken, they're up there. I dislike their romanization system very much, but I find it surprising that you dismiss it as used in "a few tourist language books". They have at least a dozen different books for learning Thai. It's no Wade-Giles, sure. But in academia, there is no widely used or accepted academic standard for transcribing Thai. It's a big hodge podge. So articles on the Paiboon as well as Haas, AUA, and other systems seem perfectly notable to me.
My note about the lack of IPA was based on looking at the Japanese, Chinese, and Russian pages. The Korean article seems to use a lot of IPA. Obviously the Western languages don't use it much. And I was talking about its use in Wikipedia articles, not in academia, lest that be misunderstood. --rikker (talk) 15:12, 1 March 2009 (UTC)
Dear Wikipedia Community: I just finished reading this section of the Thai Language Discussion page and would like to offer my opinion on the discussion just above between Rikker and Woodstone. I can see where Rikker is coming from, but I'm afraid that my feelings regarding using IPA are a bit more in line with what I perceive to be Woodstone's opinion. It might help if I mentioned a little about where I'm coming from. I was born and raised in the U.S. and in college/university I studied Computer Science. I'm not a linguist and I don't have any formal education in linguistics. But, I am a learner of Thai. I find languages to be very interesting, and I have spent varying amounts of time in my life learning and studying Thai, Chinese, Japanese, and Spanish. In my opinion IPA is a very helpful tool in learning a language. I, personally, don't think we should modify the IPA for this article. If we did that, we would be making up yet another system for representing the sounds of Thai, which would mean an additional system to learn for anyone who wanted to use the Wikipedia article on Thai language as a resource for learning Thai. I understand where Rikker is coming from when he advocates that we should use symbols that are more conventional, but there aren't a set of such symbols for learners of Thai. We would essentially be picking symbols that we personally felt would be more conventional and that would be too biased. People have different language backgrounds. What would make sense for one group of people might not make sense for another group of people.
Thai is not like Chinese. The use of pinyin in Chinese has become almost universal in teaching Chinese to learners, thus using pinyin in the articles on Chinese is okay. For Chinese, a separate article displaying the IPA symbols that match up to the pinyin symbols for Standard Mandarin (Chinese) would make sense. Thai, on the other hand, is different. There isn't a universally used romanization system for representing the sounds of Thai to learners of Thai. Therefore, we have to stick to standards instead of making up our own system, and IPA is a good standard to use. I can say as a learner of Thai and other languages, that I'm immensely grateful that IPA exists. It allows me to objectively compare the sounds of any language I'm trying to learn with the sounds that I already know from my native language or other languages that I've learned. I know IPA is large. Some may consider it unwieldy, but it is a standard that one can turn to no matter what their native language is or what their language background is. That is what makes it so useful.
Okay, now that my opinion on IPA is out of the way, I would like to address some of Rikker's specific points. I agree that we should mark tones consistently. I think most people would agree with this (including Woodstone). Now, in defense of the article, I'd like to say that the article is a work in progress. I don't think leaving off tones in some and putting tones in others was a purposefully made inconsistency. Given enough time, the community will add tones to the transcriptions that don't have it to make it consistent. Second, I also think we should be using slashes // instead of square brackets []. Third, I disagree that we should replace } with u-bar {ʉ} or i-bar {ɨ} for the same reasons I stated in my first two paragraphs.
Fourth, Rikker states that "...} is not even phonetically accurate. The proper symbol for สระแอ is }...." Personally, I've been wondering about this one. I know that in English, my native language, there is a phonemic difference between } and }. I also know that in Thai, there isn't a phonemic difference between those two sounds. Now, I've recently been listening carefully to native Thai speakers to try to see if I can determine which of these two sounds more accurately represents the sound used by Thai speakers. To my ear, it does sound a little closer to }, but not enough for me rule out } completely. I would almost say that it's in between the two sounds. I know there isn't an IPA symbol to represent a sound in between those two, but you know what? The sound I've heard from Thai speakers is close enough to both } and }, and since there isn't a phonemic difference between the two sounds in Thai anyway, I would argue that one could analyze the Thai sound into either } or } for the purpose of representing a phonemic transcription. Ultimately, though, it does not matter what my opinion is on which one we should use. Actually, personal opinion shouldn't play a big role in which symbol to use, and we shouldn't be using original research anyway, unless it has been peer-reviewed and has gone through other normal academic scrutiny and has been published. So, before we change from our current usage of }, I think peer-reviewed, published research should be presented to support the change.
Lastly, and on a side note, I'd like to share my opinion on the use of the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS) in the article. Rikker touched on this saying that he felt we should stop including both RTGS and IPA for all examples. While I disagree in that I feel we should continue to use IPA for all examples, I agree that we should stop using RTGS. This is just my personal opinion, but let me share my reasons. While RTGS may be "the official system for rendering Thai language words in the Latin alphabet" according to Wikipedia's entry on it, it doesn't render the Thai language phonemically. That is, there are many phonemic distinctions that RTGS does not differentiate. Therefore, while RTGS may be useful for purposes like providing a standard transcription for names on road signs and in publications, it isn't useful for transcribing Thai words for the purposes of learning the language. Don't get me wrong. I think RTGS is useful, but just not for our purposes.
Thanks for taking the time to read my input. I hope it helps the community here in developing a great Wikipedia entry on the Thai language. (talk) 21:02, 26 April 2009 (UTC)

There is something wrong in the Northern Langauges....the number of speakers is too low. First, you need to distinguish between Northern Tribe languages (related to Thai) and the Northern dialect (Phaasaa Neua). Also, the name of some dialects are wrong...Southern Thai language name is Phaasaa Tdai ,not Phak Thai, which means Southern Region. Ysaan is definitely a dialect of Lao, but in the past years (decades, generations) it has been influenced by Thai. I would regard Ysaan as a "patois" between Thai and Lao, moreover the most northern provinces of Ysaan have more Lao words and less Thai words, while southern provinces of Ysaan have more Central Thai words and less Lao words. Ysaan has at least 9 different sub-dialects and I can claerly distinguish at least the different sound of some of them. Young Ysaan people uses a lot of more Thai words and are discontinuing many Lao words. Regarding Phaasaa Korat, yes, it is half way between Central Thai and Ysaan , I would say it sounds like Central Thai with few different words and an accent in between the accent of Buriram (south ysaan) and eastern Thai (Rayong). Thai people regards Korat as a dialect and they also regard it as half a way between the two. Than, we have a similar situation in some central parts in the zone of Sukothai,Uttaradit, etc... it is like a central Thai with some words of Phaasaa Neaua and a different accent, but i would say it is a sub-dialect or variant of the Central Thai. The same can be said regarding the southern Thai: between Chumphon and Surat Thani , the spoken dialect is still very understandable by Central Thais (only sounds and tones start to change), in fact in this two provinces many typical words of Southern Thai are not used. We can say that 's another "patois" between Central Thai and Southern Thai. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:26, 13 June 2009 (UTC)

Help needed at Imagine Peace Tower page[edit]

There is an opportunity to add the Thai version of the English imperative phrase "Imagine Peace" to the In Other Languages section of Yoko Ono's Imagine Peace Tower. Use the proper script if possible, and put all in upper case if applicable. If a choice of expressions, select words used by "the common man". Thanks. Irv (talk) 05:45, 22 September 2009 (UTC)

Mentioning interfamilial relationships[edit]

The discussion of interfamilial relationships is not really relevant in the individual language articles. If someone wants to know how the Kradai family might be related to other language families in the region, then the discussion belongs at Kradai languages, not here. The Kradai languages have not been related with any certainty to any other language family. There are suggestive data to link it with Austronesian, but the older suggestion of Chinese linguists that they might be related to Sino-Tibetan has been thoroughly rejected by the majority of modern historical linguists. The link to Austronesian isn't widely accepted either, but more historical linguists consider it possible. (Taivo (talk) 14:28, 10 November 2009 (UTC))

Thai Particles[edit]

The section on Thai particles is very brief which is a pity consdiering their importance in colloquial Thai. Here is a good link to Thai particles which would be a useful addition in the links section. bluteyBlutey (talk) 10:30, 13 November 2009 (UTC)

Pitch contours[edit]

Does a diagram of Thai tones exist? Please take a look at Vietnamese tones to see what I mean. Even a simpler graph like Chinese (Mandarin) tones is better than nothing. --Anatoli (talk) 00:20, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

grammar similarity[edit]

Although there seems no evidence of any vocabulary cognate, Thai grammar looks awfully like Chinese grammar, like no difference in adjective and adverb, no inflection of verb (based on gender tense and number) and using tense marker to indicate tenses and aspects. Is there any study on this? Is this pure coincidence or mutual influences?--Tricia Takanawa (talk) 20:41, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Till recently—and still by many Chinese linguists—Thai was classified as belonging to the Sino-Tibetan language family, containing both the Sinitic and Tai-Kadai groups. Now the tendency is to classify the Tai-Kadai group, to which Thai belongs as a separate family. But indeed both in grammar and vocabulary the correspondences are striking (in my non-expert view). −Woodstone (talk) 05:41, 28 April 2010 (UTC)

Thai phonology article[edit]

Should this be created? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Bruinfan12 (talkcontribs) 15:53, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Maybe. I'd say it is still pretty OK as it is, though. But if you were planning on expanding it, that would be a good possibility. Oh, and please sign your talk page posts. --JorisvS (talk) 16:00, 2 September 2010 (UTC)

Ok thanks. Bruinfan12 (talk) 12:22, 14 September 2010 (UTC)


Since the beginning of the 20th century, however, the English language has had the greatest influence, especially for scientific and technical vocabulary.


Do you have a citation for that? Kukrit Pramoj, wrote a series of short stories for the newspaper Siam Rath, later collected in thee novel Si Phaendin (translated into English as Four Reigns in 1981 by Tulachandra)passionatelyรัฐ), specifically to illuminate customs and traditions of from the latter part of reign Rama V to Rama VIII (~1890-1946), with the English word "friend" appearing about the turn of the century as faen for boy-girlfriend relations. But Plaek Pibulsonggram (PM 1938-44) charged the Royal Institute of Thailand with the task of devising Sanskrit-based neologisms for English technical terms, most notably with Greek-derived tele- becoming โทร- pronounced โทระ Tho-rah, which, according to Thai orthographic rules, should be pronounce SO.

British influence is preserved in the English version of name of the road with the British, American and other embassies: Wireless Road (Thai: ถนนวิทยุ Thanon Withayu.) --Pawyilee (talk) 07:36, 17 February 2011 (UTC)

External link proposed[edit]

Learners' resources[edit]

--Pawyilee (talk) 09:53, 14 July 2011 (UTC)

  • Alves, Mark J. (Spring 1997). "Problems in the European Linguistic Analyses of Southeast Asian Languages" (Article 1). Explorations in Southeast Asian Studies. Southeast Asian Studies Student Association. Retrieved July 10, 2011. "A number of problematic claims about the syntax (the order and relationships of words in sentences) of several Southeast Asian languages ...." 
  • English Thai bilingual online dictionary search service with "reverse lookup function" showing a word translated back into the original language, with examples of usage and synonyms or alternate terms for the same word having different meanings in various expressions [4]


Perhaps it should be noted that some Thai with a modicum of English and meaning no offense may address Farang as YOU! Also, a resource for students learning to teach English as a second language (ESL) to Asians: Blog Summary 3: Pronouns and Prepositions--Asian ESL students. --Pawyilee (talk) 01:29, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Southeast Asian languages don't have Pronouns and Prepositions, says Mark J. Alves in Article 1 of Explorations in Southeast Asian Studies, Journal of the Southeast Asian Studies Student Association, Vol 1, No. 1 Spring 1997 Problems in the European Linguistic Analyses of Southeast Asian Languages. --Pawyilee (talk) 13:52, 11 July 2011 (UTC)

Liquid consonants[edit]

Article needs a sub-heading on liquid consonants, which, in the periodic table of consonants below, are those in row 8 and in column 6, with these properties in common.

  1. "Live" syllables end in one of these, the variant forms of -ัม and -ัย, or a long vowel. All other endings are "dead."
  2. Those in row 8 columns 1–5 are nasalized versions of the corresponding consonants in row 1, with the seeming exception of column 2. The row 8 character is still a nasalized version of its row one parent in the dialect and name of the Nyaw people, but in most other dialects is usally pronounced /y-/ when leading and /-n/ when ending a syllable; if the character both ends one and begins another syllable in Thai, it is doubled as in ปัญญา intellect.
  3. Also changing to /-n/ when ending a syllable are ร ล and ฬ; a single ร or ล may end one syllable with /-n/ and begin the next with /l-/.
  4. ร when initial in Thai may be a trill consonant or rhotic consonant R, but is usually pronounced as alveolar lateral approximant /l-/. In the Isan language, corresponding words may be aspirated as /h-/. See Lao script consonant chart: the final character corresponds to the final character of Thai script, but the example word is also Thai but written as ร - เรื่อง. Five lines up are rōt (car) and rākʰáŋ (bell) but Thai, Isan and Lao regularly pronounce these words lōt and lākʰáŋ.

Periodic Table[edit]

0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
3 ศษส

BTW, all rows and and all columns in this periodic table have properties in common. --Pawyilee (talk) 14:57, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

PS: Rhotic and non-rhotic accents in Thai makes no sense to me. --Pawyilee (talk) 15:17, 4 August 2011 (UTC)

To be useful beyond the 5 vargas, the periodic table has to further deviate from alphabetical order. I suggest:

0 1 2 3 4 5 6
4 ศ* ษ* ส* ห*
9 ย* ร* ล* ว*
10 ฬ*

*The asterisked items in rows 9 and 4 follow columns 1 to 5, and the position of ฬ is unsystematic.

I've also reorganised columns 6 to 8, and moved อ to row 2 for phonetic consistency and made ก จ ambiguous so we can say row 2 holds voiceless stops but say that the preferred final consonants are those in Rows 1 and 8. The old column 6 becomes row 9. I was sorely tempted to put ะ in Row 1 Column 6, as it's the symbol for final [ʔ].

--RichardW57 (talk) 12:11, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

@RichardW57 I've inserted a new heading to separate this discussion from the preceding, hopefully to attract some comment there. My table is phonologically inferior to the one in the article, but is useful if drawn on a blank flap at the beginning or end of a Thai dictionary, there to serve as a guide for thumb marks on vertical edges of applicable pages. Rarely used letters would have no place or not be visible, but the rest would be really useful for finding a vocabulary entry, even more so than thumb marks or cutouts on an English dictionary. --Pawyilee (talk) 15:30, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Much of what you (Pawyilee) suggest belongs in the article on the Thai writing system. Of the remainder:

Live v. dead is worth reviving as a co-occurrence restriction between tones and final consonants. I would put it under the section on tones.

Your double reading remarks (ล = -n l-, ญ = -n j- ) would make eminent sense in a morphology section on Sanskrit/Pali-type compounding in Thai. I've jokingly suggested that it gives Thai a genitive case.

A discussion of the substitution of /l/ for /r/ would make sense. However, I wonder how much native Central Thai goes this way outside Bangkok. Southern Thai robustly preserves /r/.

@RichardW57 My Si Sa Ket wife can rip off a rolling /r/ when she wants to. --Pawyilee (talk) 15:30, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

It would be nice to dig up a reference for the establishment of final /s/ and /f/ under the influence of English. -RichardW57 (talk) 13:22, 9 September 2011 (UTC)

@RichardW57 See below. --Pawyilee (talk) 15:30, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Non-native pronunciations of English[edit]

Non-native pronunciations of English needs a section on Thai, for which the section on Vietnamese is a good place to start.

R/L confusion[edit]

Badly needed in this article is a paragraph on R/L confusion. Quite a bit has been written about it in Japanese and Mandarin, but I can't find anything about Thai (or Lao, where there is also a confusion with H) on either Google or Yahoo! --Pawyilee (talk) 15:36, 12 September 2011 (UTC) updated


--Pawyilee (talk) 15:48, 12 September 2011 (UTC)


Is it necessary to link phoneme with ties, expecially t͡ɕ? What is this current wiki convention? Prior to the moment, I saw almost articles link them e.g. t͡s t͡ʃ etc. --Octra Bond (talk) 11:07, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

Personal pronouns[edit]

Personal pronouns burut sappanam Thai: บุรุษสรรพนาม (บุหฺรุดสับพะนาม

burut sappanam neung บุรุษที่หนึ่ง first person; burut sappanam song บุรุษที่สอง second person ; burut sappanam sam บุรุษที่สาม third person. From burut บุรุษ (บุหฺรุด) noun. A man, a gentleman (from Mars). Affix -man burut prisani บุรุษไปรษณีย์ (บุหฺรุดไปฺรสะนี) a postman.
Personal pronoun list
burut sappanam neung บุรุษที่หนึ่ง male first person I, we
kha phra putta chao ข้าพระพุทธเจ้า, ข้าพระบาท speaking to the Sovereign (poetic or obsolete)
kha phra putta chao ข้าพระพุทธเจ้า speaking to a Royal Highness
klao kramom เกล้ากระหม่อม, เกล้าฯ, กระหม่อม speaking to a Serene Highness
klao kraphomเกล้ากระผม speaking to a nobleman, a prime minister, minister of state or other person of rank
kraphomกระผม speaking to a superior
phom ผม speaking to an equal, nowadays the most used first person personal pronoun, taking the place of
chan ฉัน, nowadays mostly used by female speakers, but may be used by males when speaking to an inferior, a servant, or familiarly as when talking to one's spouse
kan, u'ah กัน, อั๊ว familiar terms used among men
kha chao ข้าเจ้า in northern Thai dialect, your lordship's servant
khapha chao, kha ข้าพเจ้า, ข้าฯ , your lordship's servant, your servant in literary usage; in Central Thai dialect, a vulgar usage, or to express contempt
ku กู a vulgar usage, or to express contempt
khoi ข้อย Isan dialect, also used by women
nu หนู mouse, used in the first person by a child
burut sappanam neung บุรุษที่หนึ่ง female first person I, we
mom chan หม่อมฉัน when speaking to the Sovereign, a Royal Highness, or a Serene Highness
di chan ดิฉัน, ดีฉัน, when speaking to a noble, a prime minister, a minister of state, a superior or an equal
i-chan, chan อีฉัน, อิฉัน, ฉัน used colloquially
nu หนู mouse, used in the first person by a child, or by woman to express a similar relationship.
Other usages are the same as for a male.
burut sappanam songบุรุษสรรพนามที่สอง second person you, thou, Your Majesty, Your Highness
ใต้ฝ่าละอองธุลีพระบาท, ฝ่าละอองธุลีพระบาท when addressing the King or the Queen
ใต้ฝ่าพระบาท, ฝ่าพระบาท when addressing a Royal Highness
ฝ่าพระบาท, ฝ่าบาท, (familiarly) ท่าน when addressing a Serene Highness
thanท่านor obsolescent tai thao ใต้เท้า or phradecha phra khun พระเดชพระคุณ when the one addressed is a nobleman, a prime minister, a minister of state, or a superior:
khun คุณ most used second person personal pronoun
ther เธอ is used to some extent, sometimes condescendingly.
lonหล่อน is used sometimes when speaking to a woman
kae, leu แก, ลื้อ are used when speaking to an inferior, or familiarly between men
achan อาจารย์, professor or similarly respected teacher is coming into polite usage, though it maybe only a vogue
than ท่าน you, and than phu an ท่านผู้อ่าน, reader, occur in literary usage
meung, eng มึง, เอ็ง are in vulgar usage;
eng เอ็ง (your)self, and chao lord เจ้า occur in dialectal usage, but are considered vulgar in Central Thai.
burut sappanam samบุรุษสรรพนามที่สาม third person (he, she, they; it; His/Her Majesty, His/Her Highness)
phra ong พระองค์when speaking of the King, the Queen, a Royal or a Serene Highness
than ท่าน when speaking of a nobleman, prime minister, minister of state, or superior
khao, ther, kae เขา, เธอ, แก when speaking of an equal
lon, chao lon หล่อน and เจ้าหล่อน refers to women only
man มัน in the third person refers to it, a thing, these, those; expresses contempt in vulgar usage[1].

--Pawyilee (talk) 05:00, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

We have a lot of them due to synonyms and royal-level words. They are not needed to explain here. --Octra Bond (talk) 13:07, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

  1. ^ So Sethaputra, สอ เสถบุตร (2542 BE/AD 1999). New Model Thai-English Dictionary. Bangkok: ไทยวัฒนาพานิช : Thai Watthanā Phānit. pp. 167–8. ISBN 974-08-3253-9. "บุรุษ"  Text "สอ เสถบุตร " ignored (help);

Relational markers?[edit]

How do Thai use linguistic markers relationally? --Pawyilee (talk) 07:22, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

Thai language might have some markers. Example, we can put 'แล้ว' at the end of sentence to tell that the action has done/been done, or put 'กำลัง' before verb to indicate that the action is occuring/being occured. They are all explained under verb section. In the other hand, 'นะ,คะ,ค่ะ,ครับ,จ๋า,จ้ะ', etc are just meaningless particles. --Octra Bond (talk) 13:18, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Citation or Clarification[edit]

The body of the article, at least the first paragraph, is clearly heavily borrowing from this page. I am noting this because someone has flagged relational markers with "Citation needed", and that is where it comes from (along with the rest of the language in the opening paragraph). Instead of "citation needed" it should be flagged for clarification. (talk) 21:18, 2 February 2013 (UTC)

Adding pronunciation[edit]

Could someone add the pronunciations to the articles about the current members of the Thai Royal Family? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:31, 14 April 2012 (UTC)

Siamese grammars[edit]

  • Cartwright, Basil Osborn (1907). A Siamese-English Dictionary. Printed at "The American Presby. mission Press,". Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  • Cartwright, Basil Osborn (1907). A Siamese-English Dictionary. Printed at "The American Presby. mission Press,". Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  • McFarland, William Hays; McFarland, George Bradley; McFarland, Edwin Hunter (1900). An English-Siamese pronouncing hand-book (4, reprint ed.). Bangkok: Printed at the "American Presbyterian mission press,". Retrieved 24 April 2014. 
  • Ratanayapti, Lūang (Sngobh); Gedney, William J. (1901). English-Siamese dictionary. [Phrarakhō̜n? : s.n.] Retrieved 24 April 2014.

Jerezembel (talk) 20:46, 17 November 2012 (UTC)

Siamese dictionaries[edit]



Handbook and Manual

An English-Siamese pronouncing hand-book

An elementary hand-book of the Siamese language

Student's manual of the Siamese language

English and Siamese vocabulary

Sariphot phāsā Thai = Dictionnaire Siamois Franc̜ais Anglais = Siamese French English dictionary

A Siamese-English dictionary for the use of students in both languages = Lipikrommāyon phāsā Thai plǣ pen phāsā ʻAngkrit

An English-Siamese dictionary containing 14,000 words and idiomatic expressions

English-Siamese dictionary

A Siamese-English dictionary

Dictionarium linguae Thai, sive siamensis interpretatione latina, gallica et anglica illustratum

Story of Jesus Christ (1848)

Rajmaan (talk) 23:18, 25 February 2014 (UTC)


Prenouns are nouns fixed but not prefixed to another noun to make another word. --Pawyilee (talk) 14:45, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Conjunctions, Prepositions, and Particles[edit]

The Grammar section of the article covers most aspects of the language, but there are still group(s) of words left out. The following types of words would fall under one or more categories, such as prepositions. I'm going to add these somewhere, but I haven't studied formal Thai grammar to know how they're classified.

  • กับ kap, และ lae = "and"
  • หรือ reu = "or"
  • บน bon = "above"
  • ใต้ tai, ล่าง lang = "below", "beneath"
  • ถ้า tha, เผื่อ puea = "if"
  • ที่ ti indicates a relative clause. It could also be used as a noun.
  • ของ khong indicates possession. It's described as a particle in the Nouns section.

Wikky Horse (talk) 04:08, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

The main parts of speech in Thai are: noun (นาม, nam), pronoun (สรรพนาม, sapphanam), verb (กริยา, kriya), modifier (วิเศษณ์, wiset; note the lack of distinction between adjective and adverb), preposition (บุทบท, bupphabot), conjunction (สันธาน, santhan) and interjection (อุทาน, uthan). กับ และ หรือ ถ้า and เผื่อ would be conjunctions. บน ใต้ and ล่าง are prepositions. ที่ indicating a relative clause is a pronoun. ของ is also a preposition. Note that official Thai grammars don't usually recognise particles as a part of speech. There are also several subclasses of nouns/verbs/pronouns, etc. For example, nouns are divided into common nouns (สามานยนาม, samanyanam), proper nouns (วิสามานยนาม, wisamanyanam), classifiers (ลักษณนาม, laksananam), collective nouns (สมุหนาม, samuhanam) and abstract nouns (อาการนาม, akaranam). This is off the top of my head from primary school, though, so you'll probably need a separate reference to confirm. --Paul_012 (talk) 10:37, 7 August 2013 (UTC)

Personal pronouns used when speaking of or to เพศที่สาม (Kathoey) people[edit]

I was sure this page would cover this topic and am surprised to find it does not. I'm out of my element and have no sources so anyone involved with this article: what and how are personal pronouns used with transgendered people, who are common, in Thailand? Alatari (talk) 07:17, 22 February 2014 (UTC)

In Thai generally the pronouns of second (you: polite khun or familiar thoe) and third (he/she: khao) persons are not gender specific. So there is no issue. The first person (I) pronoun most often is phom for males and (di)chan for females and a transgender can make the choice at will. But even more noticeable is the differentiation in the polite particle, that is attached frequently at the end of a sentence, which is khrap for a male speaker and kha for a female speaker. Again it is the transgender's choice which one to use at any one time. −Woodstone (talk) 07:59, 22 February 2014 (UTC)
So it is easy for the person speaking to the trans person to not offend by sticking with khun and khao. Is there a modern etiquette guide for Thai that includes trans in the discussion? I'm assuming you are a fluent Thai speaker/reader. If so then maybe it could be used for a source on a sentence covering this issue. Alatari (talk) 11:50, 26 February 2014 (UTC)

Thai speakers according Ethnologue[edit]

As it was stated above, Ethnologue has 20 million for Thai. However, it also has "Thai, Northeastern" with 15 million, "Thai, Northern" with 6 million and "Thai, Southern" with 4.5 million. Those can't have been included in "Thai" since they have 25.5 million combined. The exact figure for Thai is 20.2, add 25.5, we get 45.7 million, about 68 percent of population. Sounds reasonable? (talk) 19:57, 14 March 2014 (UTC)

"Thai" here means Siamese, not whatever happens to be within the modern political boundaries of Thailand. Isan is Lao, not Siamese. We could throw in Lao, Shan, and Zhuang as well, but that's not a language. — kwami (talk) 22:19, 14 March 2014 (UTC)
Huh? I said nothing about those. (talk) 17:37, 23 March 2014 (UTC)