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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 the middle tone of Thai?
Explanation
Thai is a lexical tone language. This means that knowing how to read and say each tones correctly will be useful as different tones can completely change the word’s meaning. For example, ไม่ mâi (“no”) and ไม้ mái (“wood”) sound quite similar but have very different meaning. We’ll explore all of the tones in upcoming lessons, but today we’ll learn the most basic tone. This is the middle tone. The transliteration of the middle tone contain no marks.
The middle tone is the simplest one to read and say. In Thai we call it เสียงสามัญ (sĭiang săa-man). Just like the name, the best way to tackle this tone is to speak in your normal vocal range. You don’t need to put stress on any pitch when saying words in this tone. Basically, words in this tone are said in a constant pitch. For example, let’s consider our example at the very beginning of this lesson. If it’s in middle tone, it’ll be ไมค์ mai (“microphone”) (*insert constant arrow to illustrate the pitch* →). Another example is ไปกินกัน bpai gin gan (“let’s go eat”). You can see that in this sentence, all of the words are in middle tone. There are no tone remarks on any of these words. When you say the phrase, there’s no stress on any pitch. Here are some other examples: ในนามีอีกา nai naa mii ii-gaa. (“The farm has crows.”) มานีไปโรงเรียน maa-nii bpai roong riian. (“Manii goes to school.”) All of these are in constant pitch.

Outro

Pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! สวัสดี ค่ะ (sà-wàt-dii khâ)

7 Comments

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ThaiPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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What Thai learning question do you have?

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 02:48 AM
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Hi Coyote,


Sorry, to hear that. Let me try to help. Mid tone, just relax and let the sound go through the middle. Low tone, speak like your throat is dry. Falling tone, over do the up part of the mountain sound a little more than you usually speak. High tone, go out of your comfort zone and raise up your sound slowly and rapidly high at the end of the syllable. Hope that helps. Please feel free to let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help.


Have a good day.

ปริษา Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Coyote
Monday at 09:55 PM
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I find that my awareness of the tones of the Thai language makes me feel like I can't even get the 'middle tone' right. In my native language of English, words mean the same regardless of tone (though tone is used to add subtleties like a rising tone meaning an inquiry ("You are wearing a kilt?"), or a falling tone expressing disappointment. ("His jacket is paisley." Saying 'paisley' in a falling tone indicates that a fashion mistake has occurred.)


When I say "mai" indicating that I need wood to bind my broken leg, I live in fear that my voice may drife up or down (or ...horrors... up & down, or down & up) & I may never find the solace I seek.


It doesn't help that my boyfriend constantly corrects my attempts at tone by saying something that sounds exactly the same as what I said.

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 11:24 AM
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Hi Matt,


Thank you for posting.

We are glad to hear that you are enjoying our lessons and material 😄

Regarding your questions, please email our customer support staff for more information.

contactus@ThaiPod101.com


Regards,

Laura

Team ThaiPod101.com

Matt
Wednesday at 08:40 PM
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These videos are impressive. Aside from Jay's happy personality and clear communication style, the graphics are concise and fun. What video editing tools are used to make these videos?


Thank you,

Matt

ThaiPod101.com
Saturday at 03:20 AM
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Hi Faith,


Thank you for leaving the comment.


If you have any questions, please let us know.


Sincerely,

Cristiane

Team ThaiPod101.com

Faith
Monday at 06:18 PM
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Gr8 and simple! The easiest tone mark of all!!!!!!