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5 tips to start with learning Thai scripts

Many people started learning Thai scripts but gave up because of a few painful challenges.  BUT, no worries. I will help you go through all of them and give you useful tips and techniques in this blog pos, justt step-by-step.

I will introduce you 5 main challenges to learn Thai scrip and how to overcome all of them to make it easier for you to start with your first reading Thai lesson.

Overview

  • Challenges to learn consonants
  • Challenges to learn vowels
  • Challenges to learn syllable
  • Challenges to learn Thai tones

5 main challenges 

1. A big number of Thai consonants

In English, there are only 21 consonants while in Thai there are 44 consonants.

Fact: The number of Thai consonants might seem a lot but there are a few consonants that are more commonly used. 

For example ด (door-dek) is one of the most commonly used consonants, while ฬ (loor chu-laa) is hardly seen. 

Tip: Highlight or group the consonants that are more commonly used is the way to save time and energy to memories them. 

Thai consonant sounds

From the picture, the consonants that are highlighted in orange are more commonly used.

2. Big number of vowels as well

Fact: There are in total 32 vowel sounds in Thai but 4 of them are hardly seen which are ฤ ฤา ฦ and ฦา.

Tip: There are only one or a few letters used to form a vowel. So it’s less work to learn too many letters.

And if you observe from the picture below, you will see that many of vowel sounds are consists of the same letters, in this cast they are เ- (sara-ee) in blue and -ะ (sara-a) in red.

Thai vowels

3. Short / Long vowel sounds

Fact: Some of vowels have a short or long sound. Thai learners think it takes time to memorise that. 

Tip: to differentiate vowels with a short sound is quite easy. Either it look more simple or has letter -ะ at the end. 

4. There is no space between words nor syllables

Fact: That’s right. If you try to read a Thai sentence you will notice that, there is no space between words that make it looks like figuring out where a syllable or word ends can be complicated. 

Tip: You will see space only between sentences. To figure our where a syllable ends, you need to learn vowels and their positions. 

A vowel letter or letters “always” sticks to an initial consonant.  A vowel(s) can be in front of, on top, below,  behind or around. 

Knowing vowels and where they are positioned helps you define where a syllable ends. 

5.  The most scary – Thai tones

Fact: There are 5 tones in Thai language. To figure out the tone of a syllable, there are a few things you should know. 

  • Classes of consonants
  • Vowel/Long vowel sounds
  • Ending consonant sounds.
  • Tone marks

If you know all of the 4 elements I just mentioned then you can use Tone Rule Techniques to figure out tones easily. 

Here is an example of the tools I use to teach my students and help them to figure out tones easily. 

For example, the words ม้า = horse

  • ม (moor-maa) is a low class consonant 
  • ้ (mai-too) is a tone mark

Therefore, the tone of the word ม้า is high tone. Easy! 

I will  explain you more in the course how to use this Tone Map with plenty of examples in the Ultimate Guide to Thai Reading Course.

Conclusion

Thai script takes effort and time to learn but it can be simple and fun when you’re well prepared with my tips to overcome the five painful challenge.

Please share with me what is the most challenging thing to learn Thai scrip from your experience in the comment below.

or drop your email at Krusmuk@bananathaischool.com if you’d like to share ideas or request any topic you’d like me to teach you!

Ultimate Guide to Thai Reading course

Master Thai script from beginning til the end with all essential knowledge breakdown in pieces and grouped into 25 contents. Simple, friendly and quick to master.

● Learn Thai consonants and vowels
● Master Thai tone rules
● Read anything in Thai
● Practice reading with Thai audios
● Mp3. Thai audios
● Practice writing with exercises
● Improve your Thai pronunciation
● Get in touch with Kru Smuk

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