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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn the top 5 Thai pronunciation mistakes to avoid.
These are common mistakes that Thai learners tend to make.
So pay close attention and make sure that you don't make these same mistakes too.
Are you ready?
Then let's get started!
Many learners cannot differentiate their Thai Rs and Ls, mainly because they cannot produce the rolled R sound. You cannot use the English R from 'right', to approximate the Thai R either. Instead, the English R will be rendered like an L sound. Essentially making it no different as to whether you're saying 'right' or 'light' to Thai speakers.
If you can't contrast the sounds clearly, you might mistakenly say the word for 'stealing'
ลัก stealing
instead of the word for 'love' in Thai.
รัก love
As you can see, it's crucial that you do not make this mistake.
To correct this problem, you'll have to learn the proper way to pronounce the rolled R sound in Thai.
But don't worry, stick with us, and we'll teach you the trick to pronouncing this sound in lesson 6.
Unlike some languages such as English, all final consonants in Thai are unreleased.
Take the previous example for love.
รัก love
Do you notice how air in the final K sound is not expelled? This is true for *all* final consonants in Thai words.
If an English speaker were to attempt to say this however, they would tend to say something like 'ruck'. It's a natural habit to release the final consonant sound.
In order to pronounce this word properly however, you want to stop just as the back of the tongue contacts the roof of the mouth. *Never* release the air of final consonants in Thai words.
This is a really common sound in Thai, so it's important that you can pronounce it correctly. This sound exists in English too, it's simply the NG sound in words like 'sing' or 'ring'. Unlike English however, this sound can exist at the *start* of a word in Thai.
Practice by first saying 'sing' and then bouncing off of the word. Next, say the word 'sing' internally in your mind. Do not pronounce the SI sound, but *do* pronounce the NG sound. Gradually, try to isolate the NG sound by itself.
We'll cover this sound in more detail in lesson 4.
These are two P like sounds.
The first is like the P in 'pan', while the second, is like the P in 'span'. English does not differentiate between these two P sounds, but Thai does. The first P sounds like a traditional English P that you would recognize. The second P is trickier, sounding like a soft B sound. It is *not* the same as the B sound however, which is much harder.
This P sound is said without aspiration. Meaning, you should not release a burst of air when pronouncing this sound.
Place your hand over your mouth, and compare the words 'pan' and 'span'. Note how there is a burst of air in the first P, but none in the second.
We'll take another look at these sounds in more detail in lesson 5.
Thai is a tonal language. Tone is just as important as spelling in Thai, as it can be used to distinguish the meaning of one word from another.
Thai is comprised of 5 tones in total, i.e. middle, low, falling, high, and rising tones.
Mai ไม(middle) - Mile,
Mai ใหม่ (low) - New,
Mai ไม่/ไหม้ (rising) - Not or Burning ,
Mai ไม้ (high) - Wood or question word when asking,
Mai ไหม - silk.
There are no shortcuts to learning Thai tones. The only way is to practice speaking and listening to Thai regularly. Imitating words in different tones, like the one in this example, is a very useful way to practice. We'll teach you all you need to know about Thai tones in lesson 8.
Now you know the top 5 Thai pronunciation mistakes to avoid.
Try to be careful so that you don't commit these same mistakes.
In the next lesson, we'll start learning Thai vowel sounds.
What's your biggest challenge with Thai pronunciation? Is it one of these top 5 mistakes?
Let us know in the comments.
Stick with us and you'll overcome it quickly!
See you in the next Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide lesson!