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Making Words

Thai is a relatively phonetic language and I’ve found that having a good hold on the sounds can make a huge difference in progress.

Consider ก + า = กา This is a long open vowel. This is pronounced a little bit like some people from Northern NJ as well as parts of New York pronounce the first syllable of garden. Gaah-den. Another comparison would be how some UK peoples say ‘car’ with no sign of an ‘r’ sound and um..well we’d have to change the c (k) sound of car into something a lot more like a ‘g.’ Confused? Well than stop being lazy and learn the alphabet already!

Simple eh? Now what do we do if there happens to be another consonant on the end of this bird trying to swallow a candy cane? Let’s throw in a น [นอ หนู] at the end. น is the closest thing Thai has to the letter “N.” In fact, the difference is so insignificant for us right now that I will allow you for just this once..to refer to as an ‘n,’ but never again. Its not a friggin ‘n’ after all so stop making this harder than it needs to be.

So if we take the bird and throw on this ‘n-ish’ letter, we get กาน. Wow, we made a word. What does it mean? Who cares! We can spell and read and stuff. Be happy with what you have. No need to get greedy yet.

Let us throw some more ‘น’ s into this learning bonanza…

บ้าน เดน

ด้าน เบน

Wow..what are those funny symbols on top of บาน and ดาน? Dem be tone marks. No time for that now, but scratch a mental note somewhere that this makes these middle class consonants take on the falling tone.

Remember that the บ is like a ‘B’ and ด is like a ‘ด’ .. ok ok a ‘D’.

What if we wanted to attempt to phonetically write that ‘gaah-den’ in Thai? Pretty easy actually. ก+า for the กา (Gaaah) เ+ด for เด (like day but hold the vowel sound a bit longer) and เด + น for เดน (like ‘den’ but longer vowel sound). So we put all that together for กาเดน (gaah-den). 2 syllables of Thai fun-ness. Are you feeling fluent yet? I hope not, we got loads more to go over and I’m a busy guy.

  1. ChrisV
    May 22, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    gaaahh denn!! Great! Thanks for doing these!

  2. June 8, 2010 at 7:36 am

    Great blog, I wanted to add that i can not connect to your rss stream, you defintely should install certain wordpress plugin for that to workthat.

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