Reading and Using Thai Characters

The Thai alphabet is phonic based, similar to English in that each letter/character has an associated sound.
Example: in English, the d has a sound, and my name David, starts with that sound.
In Thai, ด has the same sound as d.

Note, if you cannot see the Thai characters in the article,
Click here, to setup a Windows computer to view Thai characters.

Sample Thai Constants and Their Associated English Sound

Thai
Char
English Equivalent SoundThai Word
b as in Barbaraบาร์บาร่า
ch as in Charlieชาร์ลี
ch as in cha which means teaชา
d as in Davidเดวิด
f as in Fredเฟร็ด
g as in Gregเกร็ก
h as in Hollyฮอลลี่
j as in Jimจิม
k as in Kathyแคธี่
k (low tone) as in Chrisคริส
k (mid tone) as in rak which means loveรัก
l as in Leeลี
m as in Markมาร์ค
n as in Nancyแนนซี่
p as in Patแพท
p as in Paramee (Thai name)ปารม
r as in Robinโรบน
r as in Warisa (Thai name)วริษา
r as in Racha (Thai name)รัชชา
s as in Stanสแตน
s as in Stacyสแตสี or แสตซี่
s as in Steve สตีฟ
s as in Samแซม
sh as in Shawnฌอน
t as in Tomโธม
t as in Pat, where t is falling tone.แพท

Click here, to get a list of common English names written in Thai.

Thai Vowels

Where เ is the a sound in David(เดวิด), แ is the a sound in Ann(แอนน์). The character for the vowel a is written twice when the a sound different.
Using the constants d-ด and n-น, and vowel a-แ, the name Dan, is written as แดน.
\* Yes, the vowel is written before the constant (more about this below).

Other vowel sounds are distinguish as marks above or below a constant.
The e - ี sound in Pete is a mark - ี above the p-พ sound, พีท.
A the slightly different e - ิ sound in Mick is a mark - ิ above the m-ม sound, มิค.
Change the m-ม in Mick to n-น, and get Nick, นิค.
Note, the i sound in Jim, is the same as Mick. Therefore in Thai, Jim จิม, has the same vowel symbol - ิ as Nick, นิค.

Difference between English and Thai

\* There are no upper case or lower case characters in Thai.
\* In some words, the vowel comes before the constant. My name David, is written as เดวิด in Thai. The "a" sound in David in the Thai letter เ, and is written before the d sound. เด is pronounce as "da", as in David. Since all Thai words start with constant followed by vowel, there is really no confusion on the part of a Thai reader.
Look back at the list of names, and notice which names have the vowel written before the constant.
\* In a sentence, there are no spaces between the words. A space indicates a new sentence.
Example: Thank you in Thai is pronounced khop khun khup, and written ขอบคุณครับ.
ขอบคุณครับ separated into words: ขอบ คุณ ครับ

ขอบkhopthank
คุณkhunyou
ครับkhupyes

Use Your Thai

List of Thai constants - To learn to write the Thai alphabet, print the page, and write each letter. Repetition, brings recongnition.

Now that you can recognize some of the letters of Thai, have a look at Wut's blog article that is written Thai. I'm sure you can pick out some of the Thai letters.

Links

\* Thai-English Dictionary
\* Wikipedia: Thai language
\* Wikipedia: Thai alphabet
\* thai-words-alphabet
\* thai-words-soup
\* Learning Thai

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