#1-01 first consonants and vowels ก ม อะ อา
Each lesson will introduce 1 or 2 new Thai consonants. The presentation will be as you see below.
The new letters are first shown in a large font, with an audio file underneath. The audio is the initial sound with the ‘aw’ vowel attached.
After the large letters there is a table providing more detailed information; the initial and ending sound, the letter’s class, which ending group it belongs to, and finally it’s full name.
For now just concentrate on learning the initial and final sounds, and the class of the letter. The other information will become useful as we progress.
Note: you’ll often see marks above the phonetic text. These are tone marks we use in our standardised Thai phonetic alphabet. If you’re familiar with them from the Foundation Course, great; otherwise just ignore them.
|ก||g||k||middle||mâae gòk||gaw gài (chicken)|
|ม||m||m||low||mâae gom||maw máa (horse)|
The next thing you’ll see is the new vowels. Again there will be a large font version with audio file. Initially there will be a ‘dash’ placeholder to show where the consonant should be, as vowels cannot be written alone. In a couple of lessons time we’ll change it to a silent consonant.
A very small number of vowels will have an alternate version, like the first one below. The alternate way of writing the vowel is because some vowels are written differently if there is an ending consonant, but the sound remains the same.
The only thing we’re interested in here is the sound each vowel makes.
-ะ (- ั-)
In this first lesson we’ll see how words are put together using consonants and vowels.
Future lessons will introduce new vocabulary and short stories.
putting them together
Let’s take the first consonant above, ก, and add the first vowel, -ะ, after it. (The dash tells us that the consonant comes before the vowel – it won’t always!)
ก + ะ = กะ
It’s just the same as g + a reading ga. Thai words are made up of either a consonant and a vowel, or a consonant, vowel, consonant.
Let’s do the same thing with the other vowel. Again there’s no ending consonant.
ก + า = กา
If you’ve understood so far, then adding an ending consonant should make sense too …
ก + ะ + ม = กัม
and using the second vowel, again with an ending consonant …
ก + า + ม = กาม
Here’s two more words using the same consonants and vowels in a different order. Can you read them before listening to the audio files?
If you could read those two words yourself, then you’ve understood how the consonants and vowels come together. Well done!
If you didn’t get them right, go back to the top and work through this lesson again until you understand how Thai words are constructed.
Below are all the possible combinations we can make using the 2 letters and 2 vowels we have introduced so far. Try reading them and checking yourself against the audio.
Where relevant, there will be a downloadable PDF file for you to print. With this you can have a go at writing the letters you have learned in each lesson.
Even if you never plan to write Thai in the future, writing practice is a good aid to memory.
Finally, each lesson will have a section of new vocabulary for reading practice, and summary tables of all the consonants and vowels covered so far.