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Lesson Transcript

Ryan: Pronunciation, Lesson 4 - Double the fun with Thai consonants. Hello everyone, welcome back to the Pronunciation Series.
Rawinporn: How’s it going? Are you getting the hang of Thai pronunciation? Are you starting to feel more confident?
Ryan: This time we’re going to go over consonant clusters.

Lesson focus

Rawinporn: Up until now, you have learned that a Thai syllable Is made up of a consonant…
Ryan: …and a vowel, right?
Rawinporn: Well, in some cases two consonants team up.
Ryan: These should pose no trouble at all to native English speakers. English is full of consonant combos, as in “free”, “tree”, ”ski” or “spree”.
Rawinporn: That’s right. But in Thai the possible combinations are much more limited. Clusters can only be made by adding the letter [raaw ruuea] [laaw ling] and [waaw waăen].
Ryan: Let’s hear some examples so that we can compare single consonants with combined ones.
Rawinporn: Ok. The first word has a single consonant - [gaawng].
Ryan: This means “to pile together” or “to heap up”.
Rawinporn: And the second word has a combo - [glaawng].
Ryan: This means “drum”. Could you hear the difference? That was [กอ ไก่] plus [laaw ling]. Again…
Rawinporn: [gaawng]
Ryan: Pile together.
Rawinporn: [glaawng]
Ryan: “Drum”. For the latter, your tongue lightly taps the roof of your mouth. Let’s move to the next pair. Consonant plus [raaw ruuea].
Rawinporn: For example, [khráp].
Ryan: The polite sentence ending for a male speaker.
Rawinporn: Then the single consonant is [kháp].
Ryan: This means “tight”.
Rawinporn: Can you differentiate between [kháp] and [kháp]? Try again. [khráp]
Ryan: A polite sentence ending. But without the [raaw ruuea]…
Rawinporn: [kháp]
Ryan: Which means “tight”. And then the last letter to form combinations with is…
Rawinporn: [waaw waăen]
Ryan: For example…
Rawinporn: [gwaang]
Ryan: This means “deer” and “animal”, but without the [เวอะ] sound we get…
Rawinporn: [gaang]
Ryan: This means “to stretch out”. For example, “stretch out your arm”.
Rawinporn: [gaang khăaen]
Ryan: Stretch out your leg.
Rawinporn: [gaang khăa]
Ryan: Ok. We’ve covered all three sounds of consonant combinations. What do we have next?
Rawinporn: The ending sounds.
Ryan: Yes. In our last lesson, we learned about the short and long vowels. Syllables in Thai can end with just a vowel or another consonant can be stuck on the end.
Rawinporn: But just like with the consonant clusters, the numbers of sounds allowed is much more limited than in English.
Ryan: If we don’t include [woe] and [yoe], there are only six real consonants that end Thai consonants.
Rawinporn: Hey, be nice to Y and W. Aren’t they real consonants?
Ryan: Well, they can be considered semi-vowels. When they attach to the end of vowels, they produce diphthongs or complex vowels. Some examples in Thai are [sŭuai], which means “beautiful”, and [láaeo], which means “already”.
Rawinporn: Ok, so then for real consonants we have the M sound, N sound, NG sound, T sound, P sound and K sound.
Ryan: Well, yes but…
Rawinporn: Oh no, you’re not going to demote more consonants, are you?
Ryan: Sort of. The last three sounds, T, P and K aren’t even really sounds, they’re stops. In the Thai language they sound very different than in English, and this is something you need to look out for. They are called stops because you’re just stopping the sound by cutting off the flow of air at either your lips, teeth or throat.
Rawinporn: Ok, I see what you mean. It does sound kind of funny to ask Thais when we hear foreigners over pronouncing these sounds.
Ryan: And this is also one of the features of Thai that gives Thai speakers such a distinctive accent when they speak English or use English loan words. For example, Khun Rawinporn. Can you say “cake” in a Thai accent for us?
Rawinporn: [khéek].
Ryan: Did you catch it? Listen for the ending again. I’ll say it in English and Khun Rawinporn will say it in Thai. Cake.
Rawinporn: [khéek].
Ryan: The [khe] sound in the Thai pronunciation is almost imperceptible. All you’re doing is closing up the air passage in your throat to cut off the sound. Let’s listen to some examples in Thai words.
Rawinporn: [nók]
Ryan: That means “bird”.
Rawinporn: [rák]
Ryan: That means “love”.
Rawinporn: [mâak]
Ryan: This means “very”. Khun Rawinporn, how would you say “I love birds very much”?
Rawinporn: [chăn rák nók mâak]
Ryan: Ok, let’s move on to the next ending sound, the T stop. You stop the air with your tongue touching the back of your front upper teeth. For example…
Rawinporn: [gròot]
Ryan: That means “angry”. How about another?
Rawinporn: [phèt]
Ryan: That means “spicy”. You’ll notice that all the letters that make T, D, J, CH and S sounds turn into this sound at the end of words or syllables. For example, how do you say “sandwich” in Thai?
Rawinporn: [saaen-wít]
Ryan: Did you hear how the ending changed? Now we have one more consonant stopping sound to cover.
Rawinporn: That must be the P stop.
Ryan: That’s right. For this one the sound is cut off by closing your lips. For example…
Rawinporn: [khréep]
Ryan: “Crape”. Crapes are a very popular snack.
Rawinporn: Yes, you often find them being sold from carts on the street and at festivals. Another word with the same ending is [gop].
Ryan: That means “frog”. How about another?
Rawinporn: [jop]
Ryan: It means “to finish”. And the next word is one that you’ve got to remember.
Rawinporn: Yes, it is [grung-thêep]. This is what we call Bangkok in Thai.
Ryan: [grung] means “city” and [thêep] is from the Sanskrit word [deva], which is like a god or angel. So [grung-thêep] actually means “the city of angels”, just like L.A. Khun Rawinporn, I heard that [grung-thêep] is actually the shortened form of the name of the city. Can you say the full name?
Rawinporn: Yeah, no problem. It’s [grung-thêep má-hăa ná-khaawn a-maawn-rát-dtà-ná-goo-sĭn má-hĭn-tha-raa-yút-thá-yaa má-hăa dì-lòk phóp nóp-pha-rát râat-chá-thaa-nii bù-rii-rom · u-dom râat-cha-ní-wêet má-hăa sà-thăan a-maawn phí-maan a-wá-dtaan sà-thìt sàk-gà-thát-dti-ya wít-sà-nú-gam bprà-sìt
Ryan: Yikes! I think I’ll just stick with [grung-thêep]. Now, this P stop sound is used for any letters that carry a B, P or F sound.
Rawinporn: It’s also used to pronounce foreign words that have a V sound at the end.
Ryan: Yes, that’s why my friend Steve is known in Thailand as [khun sa-dtîip].
Rawinporn: Can we finally get to the real consonants?
Ryan: Sure. M, N and NG sounds can come at the end of syllables too. And because the sound vibration is kept going, they make live syllables as opposed to the three stops that make dead syllables.
Rawinporn: These sounds should be very easy because they aren’t different from English.
Ryan: Right. How about an example with an NG sound?
Rawinporn: [sĭiang]
Ryan: This can mean “sound” or “voice”. Now one with an N sound.
Rawinporn: [ráan]
Ryan: That means a “shop” or a “store”. What’s the word for “food”?
Rawinporn: [aa-hăan]. It has the same ending sound.
Ryan: Now put them both together and you get…
Rawinporn: [ráa naa-hăan]
Ryan: “Restaurant”. Also, we should note that letters making an R or L sound become this N sound at the end of words or syllables.
Rawinporn: That’s right. One example of a loan word is [bin], from the English word “bill”, like the bill at a restaurant.
Ryan: And now finally the M sound.
Rawinporn: [rôm]
Ryan: That means “umbrella”.
Rawinporn: Alright, so we covered the three live consonant endings and the three dead stops.
Ryan: Maybe we should give a few more examples of the complex vowels that are made by adding W and Y sounds.
Rawinporn: Great idea.
Ryan: What’s the word for “waist”?
Rawinporn: [eeo]
Ryan: Now, what’s the word for “cat”?
Rawinporn: [maaeo]
Ryan: No, no, no. Not the sound a cat makes, what is a cat called in Thai?
Rawinporn: That is what it’s called. [maaeo] means “cat”.
Ryan: Ah, well that should be a really easy one to remember then. Ok, now how do you say “hungry”?
Rawinporn: [hĭu]
Ryan: And what’s the word for “sour”?
Rawinporn: [bprîiao]
Ryan: So all of those words were formed by just adding a [waaw waăen] to the end of the vowel. Now let’s look at a few made with [yaaw yák].
Rawinporn: [saauy]
Ryan: A [saauy] is a alley or side street that runs off of a larger street.
Rawinporn: You will see this very often, every time you’re trying to get somewhere. The [saauy] are numbered. With all the even and odd numbered [saauy], branching up of opposite sides of the main road.
Ryan: Khun Rawinporn, what’s the Thai word for lady-boy?
Rawinporn: [gà-thooei]
Ryan: And what was the word for “beautiful” again?
Rawinporn: [sŭuai]
Ryan: So how would you say “beautiful lady-boy”?
Rawinporn: [gà-thooeisŭuai]
Ryan: Are you all getting tired? Let’s wrap this up with just one more word.
Rawinporn: [nùueai]
Ryan: It means “tired”.
Rawinporn: Well, I know I'm tired.


Ryan: Yeah, we covered a lot of ground in this lesson. Keep practicing and your pronunciation will get better and better.
Rawinporn: See you next time. [sà-wàt-dii khâ]
Ryan: [sà-wàt-dii khráp]


Please to leave a comment.
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ThaiPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 06:30 PM
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ThaiPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 04:07 PM
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Hi again Jim,

I means "checking"


Team ThaiPod101.com

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 04:06 PM
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sa-wat-dii kha Jim,

Thank you very much for your comment and pointed out the mistake. I will let our team cheaking them out. Please let me know if you have any future questions about Thai language. I will be glad to help. We wish you will have a good progress with Thai.

Have a nice day.


Team ThaiPod101.com

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 04:05 PM
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sa-wat-dii kha Terry ,

Thank you very much for your comment and pointed out the mistake. I will let our team cheaking them out. Please let me know if you have any future questions about Thai language. I will be glad to help. We wish you will have a good progress with Thai.

Have a nice day.


Team ThaiPod101.com

Thursday at 01:45 AM
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You have in the Lesson Transcript: Can you differentiate between [kháp] and [kháp]?

But you should have "Can you differentiate between [khráp] and [kháp]?"

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 02:17 PM
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Hi Deborah,

Hello Vince,

Thank you for posting.

We appreciate your suggestions, and they will be considered.

Vince - we will be working on a Video version of this series soon.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.



Team ThaiPod101.com

Wednesday at 03:23 AM
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Lesson notes were disappointing in this lesson. They do not follow the audio which made it difficult to fully grasp much of it given different words and examples were used in the text versus the audio. Another problem was the lack of providing the thai spelling for the examples provided. Without the native spelling it was challenging to see how sounds were affected by the combination of consonants. Some simple corrections would improve this lesson significantly. You do not really define "cluster". For example how does a "cluster" differ from say just several consonants strung together. A video showing the interactions would be great as you have for your alphabet training lessons.

Saturday at 09:09 PM
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The order of the lesson notes and the order of the audio didn't agree, so it was confusing. (For example, examples of consonants + r are given BEFORE consonants + l, but it's the other way around in the audio.) I bring this up because the pace of the audio is normal/fast but I can't listen properly as I'm going back and forth between different points of the lesson so that I can read along, which hinders proper learning.

Also, one consonant + l example was different than the audio ("pile together" vs "canal" in the lesson notes,) but I don't know if that was purposeful or a typo.

Thaipod101.com Verified
Monday at 09:18 AM
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Hi, Victor.

Thank you for the comment.

Usually, we make Lesson notes with audio script in Thai and English, and grammar point. But the pronunciation series doesn't have the script for the audio files, so we only use the grammar points. That's why Lesson notes are shorter than one from other series.

Thanks in advance for your understanding.

If you have any questions about Thai language, while learning ThaiPod101.com, please let us know.

Thank you.

- Jay Lee / ThaiPod101.com

Victor van Dijk
Monday at 05:43 AM
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I find the Lesson notes way too short, as if they weren't completely related to from the audio file! Are there more complete Lesson notes coming up?