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สวัสดีค่ะ, ดิฉันปรารถนาค่ะ! Welcome to Thaipod101.com’s ตัวอักษรไทย Made Easy!
The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn the Thai alphabet: ตัวอักษรไทย!
In the last lesson you learned the letters ธ ณ ญ and ภ, and the vowel สระ อำ. Do you remember how to write them all?
In this lesson, you’re going to learn about the first 2 tone marks…
Ready to start? Then let's go!
So far we've learned about tone rules based on how words are spelled. But we also have 4 tone marks which can be used to change the tone of a word.
Tone marks are written above the initial consonant. If there is a vowel above the consonant, then the tone mark is placed above the vowel.
If 2 letters are forming an initial consonant cluster, then the tone mark goes over the second consonant in the cluster.
The tone that a tone mark produces depends on the class of the initial consonant. Or if there is an initial consonant cluster, it is the class of the first consonant which counts.
The good news is that tone marks override all of the tone rules based on spelling. So for any syllable that has a tone mark, the only thing you need to know is which tone mark it is and the consonant class of the initial consonant. The length of the vowel and whether or not the syllable has a live or dead ending does not matter.
The four tone marks are called ไม้เอก (mái-èek), ไม้โท (mái-thoo), ไม้ตรี (mái-dtrii), and ไม้จัตวา (mái-jàt-dtà-waa).
The words เอก , โท, ตรี , and จัตวา originally came from an Indian language, and they simply mean "1" "2" "3" and "4".
The first tone mark is ไม้เอก. It looks just like a short vertical line placed over the initial consonant.
We are going to cover each tone rule for using tone marks one by one starting with how they affect middle class consonants. So the rule for using ไม้เอก with middle class consonants is:
Middle class consonants with ไม้เอก make low tone.
Here is one example. This is a very common word that you hear all the time, especially in restaurants. Do you think you can read it?
We have the initial consonant ก, which makes the sound "g". The vowel สระ ไอ ไม้มลาย is written to its left. Then the tone mark ไม้เอก is written above.
This is a middle class consonant, so according to the rule we just learned, ไม้เอก gives it a low tone. So we pronounce this word as ไก่ (gài). Maybe you already knew that ไก่ means "chicken".
Let's write ไก่ again. In order:
สระ ไอ ไม้มลาย, ก, ไม้เอก. ไก่ (gài) with a low tone.
Here's another word written using ไม้เอก .
It reads เบื่อ (bùuea), which means "to be bored". The initial consonant is บ . the vowel is สระ เอือ, which is written using สระ เอ to the left, สระ อื above, and อ to the right of the consonant. And the tone mark ไม้เอก is written above the vowel.
This is how you write เบื่อ in order:
สระ เอ, บ, สระ อื, ไม้เอก, อ. เบื่อ
เบื่อ also has a low tone because of ไม้เอก paired with a middle class consonant.
Now it's time to introduce the second tone symbol. It's called ไม้โท (mái-thoo).
Like all the tone symbols, ไม้โท is written above the initial consonant and any vowels that sit on top of the consonant.
We write ไม้โท starting with a small clockwise head. And then we make a little hook pointing to the left.
The rule for using ไม้โท with middle class consonants is:
Middle class consonants with ไม้โท make a falling tone.
Let's use the word แก้ว (gâaeo) as an example. แก้ว means "glass". The initial middle class consonant is ก.
The vowel สระ แอ is written on its left side. And the final consonant is ว. Without any tone mark this would be said as แกว (gaaeo) with a mid tone. But แกว is a totally different word, which means "hint" or "clue".
Adding the tone mark ไม้โท above the consonant makes แก้ว with a falling tone.
Do you remember the rule about using ไม้เอก with middle class consonants? Here is a word that uses both ไม้เอก and ไม้โท.
The word is ต่างด้าว (dtàang-dâao), which means "alien" or "foreigner".
The first syllable has the initial consonant ต, and the second syllable has the initial consonant ด. Both are middle class consonants.
The rule for using ไม้เอก was:
Middle class consonants with ไม้เอก make a low tone.
And the rule for ไม้โท is:
Middle class consonants with ไม้โท make a falling tone.
So we can see that ต่างด้าว should have a low tone for the first syllable and a falling tone for the second syllable.
Let's practice writing ต่างด้าว together. I will say each part in the order they are written so you can remember the correct order for spelling.
ต, ไม้เอก, สระ อา, ง, ด, ไม้โท, สระ อา, ว.
ต่างด้าว (dtàang-dâao)
Now it's time for Pradthana’s Points.
When writing words that have tone marks, always write the vowel symbols that go below or above the letter before writing the tone mark. The same is true when you are typing on a computer. If you type the vowel and tone symbol in the wrong order, you won't be able to find the word that you are looking for in a search or dictionary app.
Do you know the name for Bangkok's famous 3-wheeled motor taxis? In the next ตัวอักษรไทย Made Easy Lesson you'll learn what they're called, and most of all, how to write it! See you there! สวัสดีค่ะ!


Please to leave a comment.
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ThaiPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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What Thai words can you write using ไม้เอก and ไม้โท?

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 07:27 AM
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สวัสดี Blsereiesfangirl,

Unfortunately, as of now it is only possible to communicate with your teacher via the message box.

But rest assured, our teachers will always do their best to answer all your questions as quickly and as fully as possible. 😇

Kind regards,

เลเว็นเต้ (Levente)

Team ThaiPod101.com

Tim Nyap Ming
Sunday at 12:15 AM
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Hi there Team ThaiPod101. I was wondering if the Thai teacher can be contacted via another way like phone or video conference call for quick responses? Messages may be slightly slow?

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 01:51 AM
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Hello Colin,

Thank you. There are some word that "final consonant" of a syllable will be used again as an initial consonant for the next syllable. So, this is how we read จัตวา (จัต ตะ วา). The more you read the more you will be familiar with special way some words are read. Used dictionary to help when you come across new word you not sure, because us native are doing it in school as well. This may help https://www.thai2english.com/dictionary/1304431.html

Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help.

Have a good day.

ปริษา Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Tuesday at 06:24 PM
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The word จัตวา jat-dta-waa, where does the t sound come from for jat?

จั - ja, ต - dta (silent a) วา - waa. This is how I see the syllables when translating and wondering if there is something I might have missed in previous lessons


ThaiPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 11:49 PM
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สวัสดี Jesse,

Sure! It is included in our site. Check it out under Vocabulary -> Dictionary. 😇


เลเว็นเต้ (Levente)

Team ThaiPod101.com

Sunday at 01:55 AM
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Hello, would you be able to recommend a dictionary app eng>thai and vice versa?

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 09:49 PM
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สวัสดี David,

Thank you for taking the time to leave us your kind feedback. 😇

If you have any questions, let us know. 😉


เลเว็นเต้ (Levente)

Team ThaiPod101.com

Monday at 01:59 AM
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Thanks for those very clear explanations, Parisa!

This lesson wasn't nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Trying to understand what a sonorant is (and is not) was much more difficult than learning from the tutorial video itself.

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 11:52 PM
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Hello David,

Thank you. dead ending is when syllable end with "k, t and p stop final sound." sonorant , you can keep making sound as long as you like "mmmmmm / nnnnnnnnnnnnn/ aiiiiiiiiiii" and long vowels, non-sonorant "k, t, p stop" and short vowel at the end of a syllable". Hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help.

Have a good day.

ปริษา Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Sunday at 11:05 PM
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I'm going to quote คิม-อันดเระ in this comment section:

"If a syllable isn't modified by either (1) a dead ending..."

What's a "dead ending?"

"Plains are unaspirated and non-sonorant consonants."

I'm plain English, what's the difference between something that is sonorant vs. non-sonorant?