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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn about Thai diphthongs.
WHAT ARE DIPHTHONGS?
But what exactly *are* diphthongs?
Diphthong' means *two* *sounds*. It's the term used to describe two vowel sounds that are pronounced closely together in the same syllable.
Take the English word 'pain' for example.
It's not pronounced 'pa-in', but 'pain'.
Or the word 'foul'. It's not 'fo-ul', but 'foul'.
Notice the difference? You can think of diphthongs as gliding from one vowel to the next very quickly. Diphthongs therefore, begin one way and end in another.
THAI DIPHTHONGS
Thai has many vowel sounds. So you'll be forgiven if you feel intimidated by the thought of pairing them all into diphthongs. Luckily, many of the vowel combinations form a pattern, which we can use to simplify all Thai diphthongs into 3 simple rules:
1. Thai has three basic diphthongs, each having a short and long version
2. Vowels that do not fit into rule number 1, will end in a Y sound
3. Vowels that do not fit into rule number 1 or 2, will end in a W sound
Rules 2 and 3 all rely on rule number 1. And since they result in consonant sounds that we've already learned how to pronounce, we can essentially ignore them and focus only on rule number 1.
So let's take a look at three basic diphthongs in Thai.
The first one is...
เอียะ
It sounds like the 'ia' in words like 'media' or 'encyclopedia'. Be sure to pronounce it short.
เอียะ
Now *you* try!
เอียะ
รองเท้าเกี๊ยะ Chinese sandal with a thick sole of wood
ปอเปี๊ยะ ""spring roll"""
The second variation of this diphthong is...
เอีย-
It's identical to before, except the first vowel is pronounced longer.
เอีย-
Now *you* try!
เอีย-
เมีย "wife"
เตียง "bed"
เนียน Smooth"
The next diphthong is...
เอือะ
The first vowel sound doesn't exist in English. It's the 'unrounded U' sound that we learned in lesson 3. The second vowel is an A vowel. Be sure to pronounce it short.
เอือะ
Now *you* try!
There are no words in Thai that uses this diphthong. It is for pronuncation practice merely.
Because the second variation of this diphthong is...
เอือ
It's identical to before, except the first vowel is pronounced longer.
เอือ
Now *you* try!
เอือ
เรือ "boat"
เรื่อง "about"
เชื่อ to believe
The last diphthong is...
อัวะ / -ว
It sounds like the 'ua' in words like 'pure' or 'demure'. Be sure to pronounce it short.
อัวะ / -ว
Now *you* try!
อัวะ / -ว
ผลัวะ "onomatopoeic sound for rock thrown into a bush"
อั๊วะ "Chinese loanword for I"
ยั๊วะ Getting angry
The second variation of this diphthong is...
อัว / -ว-
It's identical to before, except the first vowel is pronounced longer.
อัว / -ว-
Now *you* try!
อัว / -ว-
ตัว "self" or body
นวด "to massage"
บัว Lotus

Outro

In this lesson, you learned about Thai diphthongs.
In the next lesson, you'll learn about the tones in Thai.
What was the hardest diphthong for you to learn? Let us know in the comments.
See you in the next Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide lesson!

15 Comments

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ThaiPod101.comVerified
Friday at 6:30 pm
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Were the diphthongs difficult to learn?

ThaiPod101.comVerified
Tuesday at 6:44 pm
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Hello Karen,


Thank you. Do you means "เอือ uuea" with two identicle or "เอีย iia" ? Yes, short vowel often have "ะ" included while long vowel don't have. Hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help.


Have a nice day.

Parisa Koknoi

Team ThaiPod101.com

Karen
Monday at 9:01 am
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f


For me เอีอ is most difficult but helpful to relate it to the unpronounceable ‘uh’ sound.


Also what is meant by the word ‘first’ in this sentence ‘identical to previous, but first vowel is prolonged’? Is it correct the second version of the vowel shown each time ( without the ะ) is the linger vowel?

ThaiPod101.comVerified
Saturday at 2:17 pm
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Hello kun คิมอันดริ


Thank you for comment. The word เมีย contain one initial consonant ม "maaw-maa" and one vowel เ -ี ย "iia" so "เมีย miia". Hope that helps making it eisier for you. 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

คิมอันดริ
Thursday at 9:00 pm
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Wow, the word for wife (เมีย) has quite a crazy spelling.

ThaiPod101.com
Tuesday at 8:13 pm
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Hello Anne,


Thank you for comment. No, it's not really ommit the ย when we used ๆ Hope that helps. Please feel free to let me know if you have questions. I will be glad to helps.


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

anne
Thursday at 9:57 pm
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Hello,

the pronunciation of เรื่อยๆ sounds more like เรื่อ-เรื่อย to my ears. I thought that ๆ indicates that the whole word is repeated but is the ย pronounced at all in the first syllable ?

ThaiPod101.com
Tuesday at 1:13 am
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Hello Warren,


Thank you very much. Yes, you're right ยั๊วะ means the same as โกรธ(more commonly used).


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Warren
Sunday at 7:27 pm
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I can't find this word in ยั๊วะ in Thai dictionary. Is it the same angry as this โกรธ?

ThaiPod101.com
Thursday at 7:13 pm
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Hello Joseph,


Thank you very much for your comment and pointed out the mistake. I'm glad you found what you looking for. I will pass it to our team so they can correct it. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help. We wish you will have a good progress with Thai language.


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Joseph
Saturday at 6:35 pm
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Hi, good lesson. Now, I finally know what a 'diphthong' is!

Just wanted to point out that at 04:13 the slide says next lesson is 8, Thai Tones. Actually it's number 13.