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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!

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ThaiPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Were the diphthongs difficult to learn?

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 08:32 PM
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Hi again เดวิด


This are words that show you เอา can be around more than one letter in the middle such as เหล้า เหงา เศร้า and much more, that why it is possible with เสลา even though my examples are not pronounce with 2 syllables like this one but hope it show you something.


Have a good day.

ปริษา Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 08:25 PM
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Hi เดวิด,


The answer is เอา can be either เอา / เ--า depend on consonant in the middle. You can just study the words, the way it is writen and pronounce then memorise them. I would say: If there is a word spell that way it mean it is possible to write the word that way.


Have a good day.

ปริษา Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

เดวิด
Saturday at 02:26 PM
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No, that's just confusing to me, and doesn't address the concern I expressed.

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 03:35 AM
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Hi เดวิด,


Here you are เสนาะ เฉพาะ สลบไสล สติ 😄 pronunciation can be find on dictionary. 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

เดวิด
Thursday at 02:31 PM
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Hi Parisa,


You explained a rule ("When more than one consonant are rounded by vowel, ..."), but I am confused by your examples. That is because the words used in your examples do not end with vowel characters (although they do begin with vowel characters).


เสดง begins with a vowel character (เ), but does not end with one (ง). There is no vowel that has a เ◌ง structure.


เฉลย begins with a vowel character (เ), but does not end with one (ย). There is no vowel that has a เ◌ย structure.


The word I asked you about (เสลา) does conform to your rule since that word begins with เ and ends with า, matching the structure of the 'ao' / เ◌า vowel.


For that reason, your rule was useful to explain how เสลา should be pronounced, but I don't understand why it is applicable for words like แสลง or เฉลย.

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:54 PM
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Hello David,


Thank you. เสลา read as "สะ เหลา" sà-lǎo. "ao" is long vowel, which can be short and long depending on the word, but the form does not change เ-า. When more than one consonant are rounded by vowel, most of the time they got two syllable which first syllable have "ะ a" vowel hidden and second syllable spell with vowel that around them แสดง "สะ แดง" / เฉลย "ฉะ -เหลย", unless the two consonant are clusters. 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

David
Wednesday at 02:01 AM
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Thanks very much, Parisa.


Today I visited the park and saw a sign that says เสลา.


I thought this would be pronounced "se-laa," but my phone tells me shpuld actually be pronounced "se-lao."


It seems this is the proper way to read the syllables (and comprehend the vowels):


Syllable 1:

ส + เ vowel


Syllable 2:

ล + เ◌◌า vowel


I thought the "ao" vowel could only be เ◌า, not เ◌◌า.


By the way, since Thaipod now has another user called "David," I will write my name in Thai script (เดวิด) from now on.

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Monday at 09:01 PM
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Hi David,


ขอบคุณค่ะ all great. ???? = don't have.

Short [uaʔ] ◌ัวะ or ◌ัว(not right)

Long [u:a] ◌ัว or ◌ว◌

Long [ɯ:a] เ◌ือ or เ◌ือ_

ai ไ◌ or ใ◌

am ำ

ao เ - า

ฦ ฦๅ lue - luue * not used anymore

ฤ ฤๅ rue - ruue * still used but rare.

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

David
Saturday at 05:15 PM
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Hi again, Parisa.


For everyone's benefit, I want to ensure that there is a definite list of all Thai vowels and dipthongs.


Please identify and correct any mistakes:


Short [a] ◌ะ or ◌ั◌

Long [a:] ◌า or ◌า◌


Short [i] ◌ิ or ◌ิ◌

Long [i:] ◌ี or ◌ี◌


Short [ɯ]: ◌ึ or ◌ึ◌

Long [ɯ:] ◌ื◌ or ◌ือ


Short [u] ◌ุ or ◌ุ◌

Long [u:] ◌ู or ◌ู◌


Short [e] เ◌ะ or เ◌็◌

Long [e:] เ◌ or เ◌◌


Short [ɛ] แ◌ะ or แ◌็◌

Long [ɛ:] แ◌ or แ◌◌


Short [o] โ◌ะ or ◌◌

Long [o:] โ◌ or โ◌◌


Short [ɔ] เ◌าะ or ◌็อ◌

Long [ɔ:] ◌อ◌ or ◌อ


Short [ɤ] เ◌อะ or ????

Long [ɤ:] เ◌อ or เ◌ิ◌


Short [iaʔ] เ◌ียะ or ????

Long [i:a] เ◌ีย◌ or ????


Short [ɯaʔ] เ◌ือะ or ????

Long [ɯ:a] เ◌ือ or ????


Short [uaʔ] ◌ัวะ or ◌ัว

Long [u:a] ◌ว◌ only


"Aye" ไ◌ or ใ◌


"Ahm" ◌ํา


"Ow" เ◌า


"LLL'uh" ฦ


"LLL'uuuh" ฦา


"RRR'uh'" ฤ


"RRR'uuuh" ฤา

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Friday at 12:39 AM
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Hello David,


Thank you. Yes, that is correct. 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