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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!

39 Comments

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ThaiPod101.comVerified
Friday at 6:30 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.comVerified
Tuesday at 7:33 pm
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Hello Karen,


Thank you. I think hints would be For Middle class and high class are same "Low/ falling/ high and rising" only the first two are used with high class. Tone marks with low class is a little different, only used the first 2 of them and there are making " Falling and high tone", instead of "Low and Falling" with Mid and high class consonants. 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

Karen
Tuesday at 8:02 am
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Most difficult for me is that the tone marker changes based on the class of consonant.

Any hints to learning those rules or just practice - I think it is good to have one example of each word and tone and rule?

ThaiPod101.comVerified
Thursday at 11:09 pm
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Hello Luke,


Than you for question. Tones could be pick up on when communicate and also,can tell the tones by word spelling. Hope that's help. Feel free let me know if you have any questions. I will be glad to help you.


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Luke
Wednesday at 12:33 am
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You may have already answered this question, but just to clarify 😄

I'm having trouble knowing what tone to use just by reading the word in thai. Are the tones expressed in the writing of the word somehow, or is it just something we will slowly pick up on? Thanks!

ThaiPod101.com
Tuesday at 12:34 pm
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Hello Rayyan,


Thank you for comment. Share audio of your sound with mid tone to my teacher, so I can help recommend more. Hope that's help. Feel free let me know if you have any questions. I will be glad to help you.


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Rayyan
Friday at 9:45 pm
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The mid tone is difficult for me

ThaiPod101.com
Monday at 7:57 pm
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Hello Cyril,


Thank you very much. There is no right or wrong order for Thai tones. The tones may be given a certain order to facilitate teaching and learning, but the order is not relevant to actual spoken or written Thai language. For example, Thai students will learn the sounds of Thai using Mid tone as the first sound, followed by Low, Falling, High and Rising, but that is only a teaching convention, not a rule of Thai language. Hope that helps.


Have a nice day.


Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Cyril
Saturday at 7:13 am
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Isn't the first tone the middle tone?

So the order would be wrong in this case.


ThaiPod101.com
Sunday at 11:13 pm
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Hello Tine,


Thank you very much. I'm sorry we didn't have it. We will provided it in the future. You can asking on my teacher message. I can provided you all detail. Please let me know if you have any question. I will be glad to help.


Have a nice day.

Parisa

Team ThaiPod101.com

Tine
Tuesday at 4:55 pm
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Is there a way of expressing these tones in the thai writing?