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Lesson Transcript


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 low tone (เสียงเอก sǐiang èek) of Thai?
The low tone of Thai is the second out of the 5 tones of Thai. For ease of learning, we usually learn this after we know a bit about middle tone. Unlike middle tone, low tone has some changes in the pitch when spoken. In this lesson, I’ll give you some tricks on how to tackle this tone and say it correctly.
In low tone, the Thai tone remark is usually ่ . In transliteration, ̀ is used. This tone is a bit more complex than the middle tone. In order to say this tone correctly, you need to lower the normal pitch of your voice. One similarity of this tone to the middle tone is the voice is constant, but for low tone, you add a slight, falling, low pitch. I’ll give you an example, so you can practice. ใหม่ mài (“New”). You can hear that my voice goes in a lower pitch when pronouncing the word.
Now, let’s hear a example sentence: กินไข่ (“(I) eat eggs”) gin khài. The first word of this sentence, กิน gin (“eat”), is in middle tone. But the last word, ไข่ khài (“eggs”), is in low tone. You can hear that my pitch went slightly lower at the end of this sentence.
Here’s another example, so you can get a clearer picture of this tone: ไก่และเต่าอยู่ในป่า gài láe dtào yùu nai bpàa. (“Chickens and turtles are in the forest.”) Now in this sentence, the word และ láe, is spoken in a high tone and ใน nai has a middle tone. The rest of the words in the sentence are spoken in a low tone.
To perfect this tone, make sure you keep your pitch as low as possible.


Tones are pretty interesting, right?
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
Bye! สวัสดีค่ะ (sà-wàt-dii khâ)