Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

สวัสดีค่ะ, ดิฉันปรารถนาค่ะ! Welcome to Thaipod101.com’s ตัวอักษรไทย Made Easy!
The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn the Thai alphabet: ตัวอักษรไทย!
Over the next 25 lessons, you'll learn everything there is about the reading and writing of the Thai language. By the end, you’ll be able to read Thai menu items, communicate online, and make your way through Thailand easier. Learning to read and write Thai will also help you to speak Thai better! Are you ready? Then let's go!
The Thai alphabet is made up of 44 consonants. That might seem like a lot to you now. But if you just learn a few at a time you'll see that they're not difficult to master. Thai is read from left to right just like English. The letters of the Thai alphabet are grouped into three consonant classes: low, middle, and high. In this lesson we'll learn 3 low class consonants.
Each Thai consonant has a name made up of two parts.
The first part of the name is the sound that the letter makes as the initial sound of a syllable. The last part of the name is some word that contains that letter. These names make it easier to remember the letters.
In addition to the consonants, the Thai script has 32 vowels. That sounds like a lot, but most of them are pairs of long and short vowels, so it's not as hard as you think. Thai vowels have to be written and attached to a consonant. They can appear above, below, in front, behind, or all around a consonant.
Thai has 5 different tones. Tone means how high or low the pitch of a sound is. The 5 tones are: mid, low, falling, high, and rising. Or if we use the sound กา (gaa) as an example, the 5 tones are กา ก่า ก้า ก๊า ก๋า (gaa gàa gâa gáa gǎa). If you make the wrong tone you won't be easily understood.
Thai script has 4 different tone symbols, which helps to indicate different tones in writing. But they don't automatically tell you which tone a syllable is. The consonant class, length of the vowel, and type of ending sound also factor in. If that sounds like a lot to keep track of, don't worry. We'll tackle each tone rule one by one so you won't feel overwhelmed. OK, are you ready to learn your first Thai consonant? Let's begin!
Let's start with the letter ม (maaw máa). Remember how I said each letter has two parts to its name? The first part of ม (maaw-máa) is มอ (maaw) because it makes the sound "m" just like the letter M. And ม้า (máa) is a word that means "horse".
Most Thai letters start with a small circle which we call the head of the letter. The head of ม is written clockwise, and then the rest of the letter is written with one continuous line. If you want an easy way to remember the shape of this letter think of a coffee mug with a broken handle. The head on the top and the loop on the bottom are where the handle used to be attached. This will help you to remember that ม has the head and loop on the same side. And of course, ม and "mug" both start with the same sound!
Now it’s time to take out your pencils! We’re going to practice writing. Find some paper and follow along.
OK, here we go! Start with the head, go down and make a loop, go to the right, and then back up.
See how easy that was! Now you're going to learn your second consonant.
The next consonant is น (naaw nǔu). It makes the sound "n" just like the letter N. Do you know what animal น (naaw nǔu) is named after? หนู nǔu means "rat" in Thai. I bet you're thinking that น looks very similar to ม. Well, you're right. The only difference between the shape of these two letters is น has the loop on the right side instead of the left side. That's why I said you should remember a mug for ม that has a broken handle on the left side.
น is handwritten like this. The head is drawn clockwise, and the loop is in the lower right corner.
Now you know two Thai consonants, but we need to learn some vowels before we can start making words.
Remember that the Thai alphabet is entirely consonants. Vowels are a separate group of symbols that orbit around the consonants. The Thai word for "vowel" is สระ (sà-rà). Each vowel's name is made up of the word สระ plus the sound that the vowel makes.
The first vowel that we'll learn is สระ อา. It is written to the right of a consonant, but a lot of other vowels will be found in different positions. Vowels can be long or short. In this case, สระ อา is a long vowel that makes the sound อา "aa", like the A in "father".
สระ อา is very easy to write. Just draw a slightly curved line going to the right, and then drop straight down. It looks a little like a cane or walking stick. If you think of the sentence "My f*a*ther walks with a cane.", it will help you remember the shape of สระ อา.
You will never see สระ อา written just by itself like this. It always has to follow a consonant. Let's use the consonants we learned to demonstrate. ม followed by สระ อา is the word มา (maa). This is a verb, meaning "to come".
Let's practice writing it together. ม, สระ อา, มา.
Now let's try a new word. This time we'll start with น.
น followed by สระ อา makes นา (naa). This is the word for "rice field".
Let's write it together. น, สระ อา, นา.
Many Thai consonants have different sounds at the beginning and end of syllables. But these two consonants ม and น don't change their sound. So you can make another word very easily just by adding another น to the end of นา (naa). Now you have the word นาน (naan), which means "a long time".
Let's write it now! น, สระ อา, น, นาน.
Wow! You've already learned how to write 3 words in Thai. See, it's not that hard after all.
Now it's time for Pradthana's Points.
Practice writing these letters and words until it becomes second nature. Keep a notebook and write the letters many times while saying their names out loud. That way the shape of the letter, the sound it makes, and the letter's name will sink deep into your memory.
Did you notice that all the words you learned today are pronounced with a mid tone? It's not just random. There's a rule for it, and in the next ตัวอักษรไทย Made Easy Lesson you'll learn your first rule for reading tones in Thai. See you there! สวัสดีค่ะ!

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ThaiPod101.comVerified
Friday at 6:00 pm
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What words can you write using  ม (Maaw máa), น (Naaw nǔu), or า (Long a)?

คิม-อันดเระ
Tuesday at 1:33 pm
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To all fellow students.


For better or for worse, I've made my own spreadsheet writing down all these letters, together with their sounds in roman letters, their Thai names, transliterations and meaning of each corresponding Thai word. A month after starting this journey, I discovered ThaiPod101 already has a list: https://www.thaipod101.com/thai-alphabet/


That's an alphabetical list aswell (these videos don't teach the letters in the "appropriate" order.)


There's also a poem to help memorize the Thai alphabet, you can find it through Google. This requires you to learn a lot of words and their tones too.


One thing ThaiPod101's list is missing are the consonant classes of each consonant.


Happy studying!

ThaiPod101.comVerified
Thursday at 9:51 pm
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Hi Daniel ,


We are extremely sad to hear this and we are very sorry for the inconvenience. 😞 It seems to be some nasty technical issue that no one has reported so far. Furthermore, we haven't encountered such activity on our devices either.


One hint: occasionally browsers might mess things up a bit if their cache memory hasn't been deleted for a long time. Did you try deleting that?


We would like to kindly ask you to send us an email at contactus@ThaiPod101.com with a detailed info on what type of browser you used, what type of computer, what operation system. If you see any error messages pop up, please attach them as screenshots too. We will try to figure out what might cause this issue.


Waiting for your message! Thank you!


Levente

Team ThaiPod101.com

Daniel Daley
Tuesday at 3:14 am
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Hello,

As with other comments, I don’t know if I can continue with your web site because the sound continuously drops out. I can get it back by turning on and off or other ways. But it deters from my learning greatly.

I have tried:

Chrome: sound drops when segments of a video change

Safari: sound drops when segments change

Firefox: wont allow me to log in from the log in radio button. The facebook radio button will redirect me, but I dropped facebook because I’m not Russian, so I wont use it anymore.

I study using my iPad, it is the latest iPad Air with the latest updates.

What are the programmers going to do about this?

Thank you

Daniel

ThaiPod101.com
Monday at 1:53 pm
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Hello Gordon,


Thank you. What browser do you used? Please try chrome and see it it will work. Hope that's help. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help.


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Gordon
Friday at 9:07 pm
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The last three lessons I have attempted have been extremely frustrating as the audio is constantly breaking up and is useless. Please fix it.

ThaiPod101.com
Monday at 2:28 pm
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Hello Roger,


Thank you for your comment. นาน means "a long time". Hope that helps. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions. I will be glad to help.


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

ROGER GINGERICH
Saturday at 2:23 pm
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สวัสดี In the video they said นาน means long time, and in the Vocabulary list they said นาน means long. Which is it? ขอบคุณครับ

ThaiPod101.com
Saturday at 9:10 pm
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Hello Gabriel,


Thank you for comment. We are really appreciated. We provide "Thai alphabet made easy video lessons". "water" is "น้ำ" is correct spelling. Hope that help. Please feel free to let me know if you have any questions. I will be glad to help.


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Gabriel Castiglia
Friday at 7:08 am
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I loved!! ❤️️

You really make it easy... 😄


Do you know any program or way to write in Thai with a western keyboard computer?

Thank you so much for everything! 😉

Adrian
Sunday at 10:53 am
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Hello there! Really great work, khop khun khap!


Now i have one curiosity. You said a few comments below that "water" is "น้ำ" (náam). But why it is not "นาม"?


Maybe not a very smart question, but, yeah, i just started 55 :)