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Lesson Transcript

Hi everyone.
Welcome to The Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide.
In this lesson, you'll learn about the tones in Thai.
Tone is the use of pitch to distinguish meaning.
Just like how mispronouncing a sound or misreading a character can have a huge impact on meaning, using the wrong tone can drastically change the meaning of a word or sentence too.
It's crucial then, that you learn all the tones in Thai.
THAI TONES
There are 5 tones in Thai.
ใหม่ "new"
ไมล์ "mile"
ไม้ "wood" or มั๊ย Question word when asking qns.
ไหม "silk"
ไม่ "not"
1: LOW TONE
The first tone is a low tone.
ไข่, ไข่ (slowly) "egg"
It's pronounced low and steady.
ใส่, ใส่ (slowly) "to add"
Pronounce it lower than you would your regular pitch. The idea is to pronounce it low, and keeping it low throughout the entire syllable. Listen and repeat after Jay.
ข่า galangal
ติ to crticize
เก็บ to keep
2: MID TONE
The second tone is a mid tone.
ไป, ไป (slowly) "to go"
It's pronounced in the neutral, comfortable part of your vocal range and is steady throughout.
มา, มา (slowly) to come
Don't be fooled though. Just because it's in the middle of your range, it doesn't mean that you can pronounce this without practice. The key here is to maintain the same pitch from start to finish. Do not vary the pitch. Keep it even across the entire syllable. Listen and repeat after Jay.
ดี good
ไกล far
ทาง way
3: HIGH TONE
The third tone is a high tone.
ครับ, ครับ (slowly) "yes particle"
It's pronounced high and steady.
รู้, รู้ (slowly) "know"
Pronounce it higher than you would your regular pitch. The idea is to pronounce it high, and keeping it high throughout the entire syllable. Listen and repeat after Jay.
น้อย little
คิด think
รั้ว fence
4: RISING TONE
The fourth tone is a rising tone.
หนัง, หนัง (slowly) "movie"
It starts low, and then rises to a high part of your range.
หมา, หมา (slowly) dog
It has a rising intonation and kind of sounds like your asking a question. "See?" Listen to Jay.
ขา leg
หาว to yawn
ตั๋ว ticket
5: FALLING TONE
The fifth tone is a falling tone.
ใช่, ใช่ (slowly) "yes"
It starts high, and then falls to a low part of your range.
บ้าน, บ้าน (slowly) house
Imagine a heavy weight is gradually pulling you down. Or, think of a pencil falling to the ground. Listen to Jay.
ค่า value
ใกล้ near
พูด speak

Outro

In this lesson, you learned all the tones in Thai.
In the next lesson, you'll learn about Stress and Intonation.
Which tone is the trickiest one for you? Are there any tricks to help you master the tones in Thai? Share them in the comments.
See you in the next Ultimate Thai Pronunciation Guide lesson!

51 Comments

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ThaiPod101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Which tone is the trickiest one for you? Are there any tricks to help you master the tones in Thai? Share them in the comments.

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Tuesday at 04:37 AM
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Hello Cindy,


Thank you. This might help. https://www.thaipod101.com/lesson-library/extensive-reading-in-thai-for-absolute-beginners/ 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

Cindy
Friday at 09:45 AM
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I heard the tones on some of the words the way you described them, but some of them sounded different to me. Do you have a video where I have to identify the tones of words by listening to them? Because I'd like to know whether I could do that.

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:22 PM
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Hello Pascal Hayes,


Thank you for your comment. I would suggested. 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

Pascal Hayes
Wednesday at 02:58 AM
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please increase the pause between pronunciation of words

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 01:25 PM
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Hello Kenneth,


Thank you. Mid tone, should make normal flat sound and let sound gone an the end do not raise them up or put them down. Low tone, speak as low as possible, like your throat is dried. High tone, start the sound high not from the mid, go higher, but relax, may seem like it rising at the end but it should not be too much. Hope that's help. 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

Kenneth
Sunday at 08:33 AM
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Rising amd falling are actually prettu easy the hard part is learning how to do the low, mid, and high so people can actually distinguish what you're saying hahaha... Any additional advice how to do the high, low, and mid tone? And how you can idemtify if you're sayinh it right?

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:51 PM
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Hello Leo,


Thanks for good trick. That may helpful for others. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help.



Have a good day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Leo
Tuesday at 03:13 PM
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Moving my head in a nod up or down seems to help with the tone production.

When my head is up my vocal cords are tight, resulting on a higher tone. When my head is low my throat muscles and vocal chords are relaxed, creating a deeper tone. Movement of my head thus creates the pitch transitions. It may look funny to move my head up and down so much but my pronunciation seems better!

ThaiPod101.com Verified
Monday at 10:24 PM
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Hello Joseph,


Thank you for comment. ไมล์ in this lesson is correct spelling because English loan word often contain with "gaa-ran ์ ". Hope that’s help. Please let me know if you have any future questions. I will be glad to help.


Have a good day.

Parisa Koknoi

Team ThaiPod101.com

Joseph Looper
Sunday at 04:28 PM
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At 00:33 in the video...

-Thai spelling for English word "mile" on the video does not match the spelling in the PDF (ไม) nor does it match up with the same example from a previous lesson (see Lesson 2 - Introduction to Thai Pronunciation, p. 5).