On January 1, 2009 CNN published an article on memory. It’s been a while since then, and so now would be a good time to review and expand on that article, in the hopes of improving our own memory.
Here we can show what is on each card specifically for the 43 Thai vowels, tone marks and punctuation cards, now available for sale online and at over 60 locations in Thailand.
Purpose of the Thai Alphabet Cards
Most of the elements can be learned individually using the cards. For example, covering up a part of one side of the card and prompting for covered elements (e.g., show the picture and prompt for the written form, show the English meaning and prompt for the Thai word pronunciation, etc.) Continue reading
The final set of consonants learned as a group are the High Consonants. These include:
- #02 – ขอ ไข่ – kau kai
- #03 – ขอ ขวด – kau kuad
- #09 – ฉอ ฉิ่ง – shau shing
- #16 – ฐอ ฐาน – tau taan
- #22 – ถอ ถุง – tau tung
- #28 – ผอ ผึ้ง – pau pung
- #29 – ฝอ ฝา – fau faa
- #38 – ศอ ศาลา – sau saa-laa
- #39 – ษอ ฤาษี – sau ruh-sii
- #40 – สอ เสือ – sau su-ah
41 – หอ หีบ – hau heep
Here we review the writing for the final 10 of 24 Low Consonants in the Thai Alphabet, namely พ, ฟ, ภ, ม, ย, ร, ล, ว, ฬ, ฮ
Write the Thai Low Consonants – พ ฟ ภ ม
- #30 – พอ พาน – pau paan
- #31 – ฟอ ฟัน – fau fun
- #32 – ภอ สำเภา – pau sam pao
33 – มอ ท้า – mau maa
Here we review the writing for the first 14 of 24 Low Consonants in the Thai Alphabet, namely ค ฅ ฆ ง ช ซ ฌ ญ ฑ ฒ ณ ท ธ น
Write the Thai Low Consonants – ค ฅ ฆ ง
- #4 – คอ ควาย – kau kwaai
- #5 – ฅอ ฅน – kau cone (change from “kon”)
- #6 – ฆอ ระฆัง – kau ra kang
7 – งอ งู – ngau ngoo
Our design decisions for phonetic transcription (the transcribing of sounds into English-language characters) were based on a few criteria. Not all criteria could be simultaneously satisfied in many cases.
The overall goal is to teach people the Thai sounds and the Thai writing system, and not to teach transcription itself. Therefore, design decisions and criteria were made as follows:
- The sound to be produced should be as intuitive as possible, reducing possible mis-pronunciations
- English letters which correspond to Thai letters should be sparingly used in the cases when the Thai letters are not present (e.g., w/ว, y/ย, h/ห)
- The length of syllables should be indicated when possible, usually with duplication of vowels, but occasionally using the “h” (which contradicts the criteria above, but in order to fulfill the first criteria)
- With words which have very common phonetic transcriptions, and unless there is real point to make, those phonetic transcriptions (in some cases inadequate) should be used.
- For example คุณ could be transcribed as kuhn, where the “h” would make the “u” sound shorter to indicate the vowel อุ. However, it is common to see “khun” as the transcription, and since this is a very common word used in correspondence, we follow the common transcription.
- Another example is กินข้าว – gin khao. A better transcription would be ghin kaow, since “gin” is written the same as the beverage and pronounced “jin”, and there is a ว (wau wayn) “w” letter at the end, which is approximately a “w” and should be included if possible. However, this phrase is very common and mostly rendered as “gin khao” therefore we believe it is wise to use the most common transcription as to not introduce a future transliteration confusion.
- A third example is ไทย, which is best transcribed as Tai or Tie, but is universally transcribed as Thai (indeed, Tai is usually the transcription of a larger or smaller ethnic group of people, not identical to The Thai people (คนไทย) which is more accurately a political or cultural definition.
- A fourth example is กรุงเทพฯ normally transcribed as Krung Thep, it is better represented phonetically as Krung Tape or Krung Tayp. Again, however, it is nearly always found as Krung Thep and introducing a different transcription could easily be more detrimental than helpful.
Here we can show what is on each card specifically.
Purpose of the Thai Alphabet Cards
Most of the elements can be learned individually using the cards. For example, covering up a part of one side of the card and prompting for covered elements (e.g., show the picture and prompt for the written form, show the English meaning and prompt for the Thai word pronunciation, etc.)
One aspect of the Thai Alphabet cards which we chose to display a tone frequency and syllable duration marker as a colored line across a two dimensional grid.
- Purchase the Thai Alphabet Flash Cards
Method of Tone Frequency and Syllable Length Display
First, we used the Tone Shape and Approximate Frequency adapted from Naksakul (1977:106) found on page 7 of Elementary Thai for Foreigners, authors Somsonge Burusphat, Sujaritlak Deepadung, Sukhuma-Vadee khamhiran, Mahidol University, 1991.
There are Twenty-four Low consonants in Thai. Some are less common than others but all are used in some words. In a few cases the letters are common in place names and Thai names and nicknames. It is common to learn Low consonants in sets (we choose to do 3 sets of 8 consonants, in alphabetical order), and to start the Low consonants after the first set of 7 common Mid consonants.