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Thai Language - thaiview.com
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Thai Language

Thai language is based on tones. The same tone can have different meanings. Depending on the pronunciation, the meaning can change up to five times. Ways of pronunciation are: the high, low or mid level of the tone, or is depending on a rising or falling level.  The word “ma” could be translated into: Horse, dog, come. Such difficulties have brought many foreigners trying to learn the language in humorous as well as embarrassing situations. If the word “snow” is pronounce in the wrong way, you may not talk about the winter situation in your country, but about a body part of dogs you usually do not talk about in public. The Thai alphabet knows three letters for s-tones, four for k, eight for t. A word, that looks as it is pronounced mai according to our Latin way of understanding, can be pronounced for a Thai absolutely different, so that the meaning changes from “new, burn, silk, or a certain question word”, depending if you lower, rise or keep your tone on the same level.
Depending if you speak soft, fast, do it by way of questioning, singing or commanding voice or keeping the “ao” tone longer or shorter, the word “khao” could have nine meanings: rice, mountain, nine, old, knee, step, glue, white, message or fish smell. Pronunciation of consonants takes care of further irritation, as the letters k, p, s and t are swallowed if placed at the end of a word. The city of Phitsanoluk is pronounced “Piss-anu-loh”.
The letter “u” and “e” can not be pronounced as you are used to, the island of Phuket should not be said as in Bucket. The Thai language can otherwise be mastered easily, as the grammar is very easy. You can learn the essentials in an hour, however it will get more difficult with the writing, with an alphabet of 70 letters.