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Read Thai 101: Thai Ending Consonants

By August 26, 2020Read and Write Thai

In the last blog post, I introduced you to 44 Thai consonants in which there are 21 initial consonant sounds (as some of them share the same initial consonant sound), today we will still be around the topic of Thai consonant as I will be talking about ending consonant sounds. 

A syllable consists of at least an initial consonant and a vowel, but there are many syllables that have an ending consonant. Let’s see how the ending consonants work.

 

Overview

  • In Thai, there are only 8 ending consonant sounds. 
  • It means there are many consonants that share the same ending consonant sounds.
  • Only ห, อ and ฮ that cannot be an ending consonant.

8 ending consonant sounds

Even though there are 44 Thai consonants in Thai alphabet, there are only 8 ending consonant sounds. It means there are many consonants that share the same ending consonant sounds which are

  1. -ก (-k sound)
  2. -ด (-d sound)
  3. -บ (-b sound)
  4. -น (-n sound)
  5. -ม (-m sound)
  6. -ง (-ng sound)
  7. -ว (-w sound)
  8. -ย (-y sound)

You might now have a question

So there are only 8 consonants representing each consonant sound, what about the other consonants?

The 8 consonants representing 8 different ending consonant sounds have direct ending sounds, while the other consonants have non direct ending consonant sounds. Let’s take a look at the pictures below:

Thai ending consonant sound summary

Ending consonants with indirect ending sound

This picture below shows that น (main consonant) represents the -n ending consonant sound, beside the other consonants such as ณ ญ ร ล and ฬ also have -n ending consonant sound (even though their initial consonant sounds are different). 

For example, the words กัน and กัล are pronounced the same. 

กัน is pronounced ‘gan’ as the word consists of:

  • ก = initial consonant with -g sound
  • ะ = vowel with -a sound
  • น = ending consonant with -n sound 

However กัล is also pronounced ‘gan’ same as กัน as the word consists of:

  • ก = initial consonant with -g sound
  • ะ = vowel with -a sound
  • ล = ending consonant with -n sound 

Please note that the main consonant with direct ending sound is more commonly used than the one with non-direct sound.

Let’s see an example!

Please take a look at the photo showing examples of words with -N ending consonant sound.

Play the audio below to listen to the pronunciation of each word.

Summary

To conclude, even though there are 44 Thai consonants in Thai alphabet, there are only 8 ending consonant sounds which are -ก (-k sound), -ด (-d sound), -บ (-b sound), -น (-n sound), -ม (-m sound), -ง (-ng sound), -ว (-w sound) and -ย (-y sound). These consonants’s initial sounds matched with their ending sounds.

Of course the other consonants can be used as an ending consonant as well. But their ending consonant sounds might not be the same as their initial consonant sounds. 

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