Khorb khun ครับ Kru่ Joanne! Learnt more in the 1 hour than anywhere else beforeP’Darlie
Contact me for the full set of Thai Alphabet Cheatsheet! 🥰
Sample Thai Reading & Writing Text Messages 🤓
How to start learning the Thai Alphabet 💪
As mentioned on my homepage FAQs for Advanced Thai Learners, there are 44 Thai consonants and 32 Thai vowels. This is a whooping 3 times more alphabet than the English alphabet! 🤯🤯 The Thai Alphabets can be broken down into:
- High Consonants (11 Consonants)
- Mid Consonants (9 Consonants)
- Low Consonants (24 Consonants)
- Long Vowels (12 Vowels)
- Short Vowels (12 Vowels)
- Special Vowels (8 Vowels)
If you are not confused enough 🤪, do bear in mind that this is apart from all the crazy exceptions in Thai writing such as:
- Adding a silencer ( -์ ) on top of a consonant negates it. I.e. That consonant is not part of the pronunciation of the word 😒
- There are two ways to write the “ay” vowel – ไ and ใ (NOTE: it is not written as
ัย) 😣. ใ is used only for 20 words, albeit very common words, and you have no choice but to memorize the exceptions 😖😖
- Adding high consonant “hor hiip / ห” in front of any low consonant turns the low consonant into a “pseudo high consonant” that follows the tone rules for high consonants 🥵 Hence for example, หนู (=mouse) is a rising tone instead of a mid tone 🥶
Please see my blog post on the five Thai tones
- Thai words are most-of-the-time not pronounced the way it is spelled 😱
For example, แสดง (=acting) is pronounced as “sa-daeng” instead of “sae-dong” 😨
สามารถ (= ability) is pronounced as “samaat” and not “samarot” or “samarata”. The “r”/ร sound is not pronounced even though there is no silencer above the consonant 😰
ชาติ (= nation) is pronounced as “chat” and not “chati”. The “i”/ ิvowel is not pronounced 😭
And to make life even harder, there are no spaces nor punctuations between Thai words. 🤪🤪🤪
Clearly, learning the Thai alphabet will be a lot harder than learning to speak Thai.
This writing system needs a serious revamp. But for now, written Thai is what it is. 🥺🥺
You don’t have to know everything, you just need to know enough to survive.Joanne Tan
Get help with learning to read, write and text in Thai today! 🥰
Is learning the Thai Alphabet important?
Well, you can definitely survive a shopping trip in Thailand without knowing how to read and write the Thai language. However, if you intend to stay in Thailand for an extended period, it always help to learn Thai reading and writing. For example, you can then understand your Thai friends’ text messages and facebook posts in Thai.
Also, the way Thai words are written affect the pronunciation of the Thai word (apart from all the exceptions). The Thai tone rules are as such:
|Thai Consonant||Live Ending||Dead Ending (Thai word ends with a short vowel)||Dead Ending (Thai word ends with a long vowel followed by a P/T/K consonant)|
|Mid Consonant||No tone||Low tone||Low tone|
|High Consonant||Rising tone||Low tone||Low tone|
|Low Consonant||No tone||High tone||Falling tone|
How did you learn the Thai Alphabet?
I learnt half the Thai Alphabet (All Thai Mid Consonants, half the Thai Low Consonants, half the Thai vowels) in a classroom setting at the National University of Singapore. This lasted approximately 4 months. I then learnt the remainder Thai alphabets during my Student Exchange Program in Thailand through:
I’m not going to lie here. There are plenty of online resources you can use to learn the Thai alphabet by yourself. But self learning to read and write the Thai language will be a completely different ball game from self-learning Thai speaking. As seen above, there are a lot of crazy exceptions in the Thai script and it takes someone who has been there, done that to help you navigate through the treacherous waters.
It is not impossible, you can definitely master Thai reading and writing one day! / ไม่ใช่เป็นไปไม่ได้ วันหนึ่ง คุณจะอ่าน เขียน และพิมพ์ภาษาไทยได้แน่นอน 🥳🥳🥳
About the author – see the About page for more informationJoanne Tan is an aspiring polyglot and has so far mastered English, Chinese and Thai languages. She first started learning Thai in 2015 before staying in Bangkok for 5 months, and then continued studying Thai up to Advanced Levels at the National University of Singapore. In 2017, Joanne was awarded ‘Advanced Thai Proficiency’ by the Sirindhorn Thai Language Institute of Chulalongkorn University. Today, Joanne continues to teach her friends basic Thai speaking and helps her Thai friends actively promote Thai culture.