Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Hi everybody! Jay here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Thai questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: How do I read falling (เสียงโท sǐiang thoo) tone of Thai?
Explanation
The third tone of Thai language is called เสียงโท sǐiang thoo. In English, we describe it as a falling tone. Falling tone is one of the trickiest tones in Thai as the sound contains both high and low pitches. Let’s see how to say this tone correctly.
The falling tone, or เสียงโท sǐiang thoo, is usually shown by the Thai remark ้. Its transliteration is ̂ . Just like the transliteration remark, this tone first goes up and then down (↗↘). After all, it is the falling tone. We need to go up first in order to be able to fall.
To say this tone, focus on pitching your voice to go slightly up first, and then to fall down at the end of the syllable. Here’s an example: ป้า bpâa (“aunt”). You can hear from my voice that my pitch went up and then down very slightly. Let’s hear it once more: ป้า bpâa.
Now, to show you the difference of this tone compared to other tones, I’ll use a phrase similar to one from a previous lesson. It’s “ป้ากินไข่ต้ม (“My aunt eats boiled eggs”) bpâa gin khài dtôm. The first and the last word of this sentence are in falling tone. Notice the difference of pitches when I say ต้ม dtôm, compared to กินไข่ gin khài. My pitch goes up and slightly down by the time I finish saying the word. Let’s look at some more examples: ข้าจัดเสื้อผ้าในตู้ khâa jàt sûuea phâa nai dtû. (“I organize some clothes in the closet.”) Every word on this sentence is in falling tone, except จัด, which is in low tone, and ใน, which is in middle tone.

Outro

Here’s a tip: This tone is similar to when you’re emphasising something in English. For example, you want to tell someone you’d love to go somewhere with them, so you say “I would LOVED (↗↘) to go with you.”
Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! สวัสดีค่ะ (sà-wàt-dii khâ)

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