Thai alphabet

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Type Abugida
Spoken languages Thai
Created by King Ramkhamhaeng the Great
Time period 1283–present
Parent systems
→ Pallava
→ Khmer
→ Thai
Child systems Lao
Unicode range U+0E00–U+0E7F
ISO 15924 Thai
Note: This page may contain IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode.

The Thai alphabet (Thai: อักษรไทย, àksŏn thai) is used to write the Thai language and other minority languages in Thailand. It has forty-four consonants (Thai: พยัญชนะ, phayanchaná), fifteen vowel symbols (Thai: สระ, sàrà) that combine into at least twenty-eight vowel forms, and four tone marks (Thai: วรรณยุกต์ or วรรณยุต, wannayúk or wannayút).

The character set is an abugida, a writing system in which consonants include an inherent vowel sound. The inherent vowel is described as an implied 'a' or 'o', below. Consonants are written horizontally from left to right, with vowels symbols arranged above, below, to the left or to the right of the corresponding consonant or in a combination of those positions.

Thai has its own set of Thai numerals which are based on the Hindu Arabic numeral system (Thai: ตัวเลขไทย, tua lek thai), but the standard western Hindu-Arabic numerals (Thai: ตัวเลขฮินดูอารบิก, tua lek hindu arabik) are also commonly used.


[edit] History

Replica of the Ramkhamhaeng inscription, the oldest inscription using Thai script

The Thai alphabet is derived from the Old Khmer script (Thai: อักขระเขมร, akchara khamen), which is a southern Brahmic style of writing called Vatteluttu. Vatteluttu was also commonly known as the Pallava script by scholars of Southeast Asian studies such as George Coedes. According to tradition it was created in 1283 by King Ramkhamhaeng the Great (Thai: พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช).

[edit] Orthography

Thai letters do not have small and capital forms like the Roman alphabet. Texts are usually written with no space between words.

Minor pauses in sentences may be marked by a comma (Thai: จุลภาค or ลูกน้ำ, chun lap hâk or lûk nám), and major pauses by a period (Thai: มหัพภาค or จุด, ma hàp phâk or chùt), but most often are marked by a blank space (Thai: วรรค, wák). A bird's eye ๏ (Thai: ตาไก่, ta kài), officially called (Thai: ฟองมัน, fong man), formerly indicated paragraphs, but is now obsolete.

A khomut ๛ (Thai: โคมูตร) can be used to mark the end of a chapter or document.

Thai writing also uses quotation marks (Thai: อัญประกาศ, an-yá-prà-kàt) and parentheses (round brackets) (Thai: วงเล็บ, wong lép), but not square brackets or braces.

[edit] Alphabet listing

You will need a Unicode-capable browser and font that contains the Thai alphabet to view the Thai letters below.

[edit] Consonants

There are 44 consonants representing 21 distinct consonant sounds. Duplicate consonants represent different Sanskrit and Pali consonants pronounced identically in Thai. The consonants are divided into three classes — low (Thai: เสียงต่ำ, siang tam ), middle (Thai: เสียงกลาง, siang klang) and high (Thai: เสียงสูง, siang sung) — which determine the tone of the following vowel. There are in addition four consonant-vowel combination characters not included in the tally of 44.

To aid learning, each consonant is traditionally associated with a Thai word that either starts with the same sound, or features it prominently. For example, the name of the letter ข is kho khai (ข ไข่), in which kho is the sound it represents, and khai (ไข่) is a word which starts with the same sound and means "egg".

Two of the consonants, ฃ (kho khuat) and ฅ (kho khon), are not used in written Thai anymore, but still appear on many keyboards and in character sets. Some say[1] that when the first Thai typewriter was developed by Edwin Hunter McFarland in 1892, there was simply no space for all characters, thus two had to be left out. Also, neither of these two letters correspond to a Sanskrit or Pali letter, and each of them, being a modified form of the letter that precedes it (compare ข and ค), has the same pronunciation and the same consonant class as the preceding letter. This makes them redundant. Set in 1890's Siam, a 2006 film titled in Thai: ฅนไฟบิน Flying Fire Person (in English: Dynamite Warrior), uses ฅ kho khon to spell ฅน Person. Compare entry for ฅ in table below, where person is spelled คน.

Equivalents for romanisation are shown in the table below. Many consonants are pronounced differently at the beginning and at the end of a syllable. The entries in columns initial and final indicate the pronunciation for that consonant in the corresponding positions in a syllable. Where the entry is '-', the consonant may not be used to close a syllable. Where a combination of consonants ends a written syllable, only the first is pronounced; possible closing consonant sounds are limited to 'k', 'm', 'n', 'ng', 'p' and 't'.

Although an official standard for romanisation is the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS) defined by the Royal Thai Institute, many publications use different Romanisation systems. In daily practice, a bewildering variety of Romanisations are used, making it difficult to know how to pronounce a word, or to judge if two words (e.g. on a map and a street sign) are actually the same. For more precise information, an equivalent from the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is given as well.

Each consonant is assigned to a "class" (low, middle, or high), which plays a role in determining the tone with which the syllable is pronounced.

Symbol Name Royal Thai IPA Class
Thai RTGS (meaning) Initial Final Initial Final
ก ไก่ ko kai (chicken) k k k k mid
ข ไข่ kho khai (egg) kh k k high
ฃ ขวด kho khuat (bottle) [obsolete] kh k k high
ค ควาย kho khwai (water buffalo) kh k k low
ฅ คน kho khon (person) [obsolete] kh k k low
ฆ ระฆัง kho ra-khang (bell) kh k k low
ง งู ngo ngu (snake) ng ng ŋ ŋ low
จ จาน cho chan (plate) ch t t mid
ฉ ฉิ่ง cho ching (cymbals) ch - tɕʰ - high
ช ช้าง cho chang (elephant) ch t tɕʰ t low
ซ โซ่ so so (chain) s t s t low
ฌ เฌอ cho choe (bush) ch - tɕʰ - low
ญ หญิง yo ying (woman) y n j n low
ฎ ชฎา do cha-da (headdress) d t d t mid
ฏ ปฏัก to pa-tak (goad, cattleprod spear) t t t t mid
ฐ ฐาน tho san-than (base) th t t high
ฑ มณโฑ tho nangmon-tho (character from Ramayana) th t t low
ฒ ผู้เฒ่า tho phu-thao (elder) th t t low
ณ เณร no nen (novice monk) n n n n low
ด เด็ก do dek (child) d t d t mid
ต เต่า to tao (turtle) t t t t mid
ถ ถุง tho thung (sack) th t t high
ท ทหาร tho thahan (soldier) th t t low
ธ ธง tho thong (flag) th t t low
น หนู no nu (mouse) n n n n low
บ ใบไม้ bo baimai (leaf) b p b p mid
ป ปลา po plaa (fish) p p p p mid
ผ ผึ้ง pho phueng (bee) ph - - high
ฝ ฝา fo fa (lid) f - f - high
พ พาน pho phan (tray) ph p p low
ฟ ฟัน fo fan (teeth) f p f p low
ภ สำเภา pho sam-phao (sailboat) ph p p low
ม ม้า mo ma (horse) m m m m low
ย ยักษ์ yo yak (giant) y y j j low
ร เรือ ro ruea (boat) r n r n low
ล ลิง lo ling (monkey) l n l n low
ว แหวน wo waen (ring) w w w w low
ศ ศาลา so sala (pavilion) s t s t high
ษ ฤๅษี so rue-si (hermit) s t s t high
ส เสือ so suea (tiger) s t s t high
ห หีบ ho hip (chest) h - h - high
ฬ จุฬา lo chu-la (kite) l n l n low
อ อ่าง o ang (basin) * - ʔ - mid
ฮ นกฮูก ho nok-huk (owl) h - h - low

* อ is a special case in that at the beginning of a word it is used as a silent initial for syllables that start with a vowel (all vowels are written relative to a consonant — see below). The same symbol is used as a vowel in non-initial position.

[edit] Vowels

Thai vowel sounds and diphthongs are written using a mixture of vowel symbols on a consonant base. Each vowel is shown in its correct position relative to a base consonant (indicated by a dash '–') and sometimes a final consonant as well (second dash). Note that vowels can go above, below, left of or right of the consonant, or combinations of these places. If a vowel has parts before and after the initial consonant, and the syllable starts with a consonant cluster, the split will go around the whole cluster.

The inherent vowels are /a/ in open syllables (CV) and /o/ in closed syllables (CVC). For example, ถนน transcribes /ànǒn/ "road". There are a few exceptions in Pali loanwords, where the inherent vowel of an open syllable is /o/. The circumfix vowels, such as เ–าะ /ɔʔ/, encompass a preceding consonant with an inherent vowel. For example, /ɔʔ/ is written าะ, and /tɕʰaɔʔ/ "only" is written ฉพาะ.

Characters ฤ ฤๅ (plus ฦ ฦๅ, which are obsolete and no longer used) are usually considered as vowels, the first being a short vowel sound, and the latter, long. As alphabetical entries, ฤ ฤๅ follow , and themselves can be read as a combination of consonant and vowel, equivalent to รึ (short), and รือ, (long) (and the obsolete pair as ลึ, ลือ) respectively. Moreover, can act as ริ as an integral part in many words mostly borrowed from Sanskrit such as กษณะ (kritna, not kruesana) ทธิ์ (rit, not ruet) กษดา (krisada, not kruetsada), for example. It is also used to spell อังกangrit English and ประเทศอังกPrathet angrit England.

The pronunciation below is indicated by the International Phonetic Alphabet and the Romanisation according to the Royal Thai Institute as well as several variant Romanisations often encountered. A very approximate equivalent is given for various regions of English speakers and surrounding areas. A dash represents the position of a consonant cluster. Vowels that only exist in closed syllables either have one dash and an explicit consonant or they have two dashes, the first one representing the initial consonant and the latter representing the final.

Symbol Name IPA Royal Variants Sound
implied a a u u in "nut"
– – implied o o o   oa in "boat"
–รร ro han * ɑn an un un in tun; same as -ัน
–รร– ro han * ɑ a u u in "nut"; same as -ั-
–รรม ro han with mo ma as closing consonant * ɑm am um um in "hum"; same as -ำ
–ว– sara ua * ua ua uar ewe in "newer"
–วย sara ua with wo waen as closing consonant uɛj uai uay uoy in "buoy"
–อ sara o ɔː o or, aw aw in "saw"
–อย sara o with yo yak as closing consonant ɔːj oi oy oy in "boy"
–ะ sara a a u u in "nut"
–ั – sara a in mai han-akat form a a u u in "nut"
–ัย sara a with yo yak as closing consonant ɑj ai   i in "hi"
–ัว sara ua ua ua   ewe in "newer"
–ัวะ sara ua uaʔ ua   ewe in "sewer"
–า sara a a ah, ar, aa a in "father"
–าย sara a with yo yak as closing consonant aːj ai aai, aay, ay ye in "bye"
–าว sara a with wo waen as closing consonant aːw ao au ow in "now"
–ำ sara am ɑm am um um in "sum"
–ิ sara i i i   y in "greedy"
–ิว sara i with wo waen as closing consonant iw io ew ew in "new"
–ี sara i i ee, ii, y ee in "see"
–ึ sara ue ɯ ue eu, u, uh u in French "du" (short)
–ื sara ue ɯː ue eu, u u in French "dur" (long)
–ุ sara u u u oo oo in "look"
–ู sara u u oo, uu oo in "too"
เ– sara e e ay, a, ae, ai, ei a in "lame"
เ–็ – sara e with mai taikhu e e   e in "neck"
เ–ะ sara e e eh e in "neck"
เ–ย sara oe with yo yak as closing consonant ɤːj oei oey u in "burn" + y in "boy"
เ–อ sara oe ɤː oe er, eu, ur u in "burn"
เ–อะ sara oe ɤʔ oe eu e in "the"
เ–ิ – sara oe ɤ oe eu, u e in "the"
เ–ว sara e with wo waen as closing consonant eːw eo eu, ew ai + ow in "rainbow"
เ–า sara ao aw ao aw, au, ow ow in "cow"
เ–าะ sara o ɔʔ o orh, oh, or o in "not"
เ–ีย sara ia iːa ia ear, ere, ie ea in "ear"
เ–ียะ sara ia iaʔ ia iah, ear, ie ea in "ear" with
glottal stop
เ–ียว sara ia with wo waen as closing consonant io iao eaw, iew, iow io in "trio"
เ–ือ sara uea ɯːa uea eua, ua, ue ure in "pure"
เ–ือะ sara uea ɯaʔ uea eua, ua ure in "pure"
แ– sara ae ɛː ae a a in "ham"
แ–ะ sara ae ɛʔ ae aeh, a a in "at"
แ–็ – sara ae with mai taikhu ɛ ae aeh, a a in "at"
แ–ว sara ae with wo weaen as closing consonant ɛːw aeo aew, eo a in "ham" + ow in "low"
โ– sara o o or, oh, ô o in "go"
โ–ะ sara o o oh o in "poke"
ใ– sara ai mai muan ** ɑj ai ay, y i in "I"
ไ– sara ai mai malai ɑj ai ay, y i in "I"
ro rue (short) * rue ru, ri ri in "Krishna"
ฤๅ ro rue (long) * rɯː rue ruu
lo lue (short) * lue lu, li li in "Lima"
ฦๅ lo lue (long) * lɯː lue lu

* These are semi-vowels or diphthongs written with consonant symbols.

** Only 20 Thai words use sara ai mai muan (ใ). Other words use one of the /ɑj/ variants.

[edit] Diacritics

Diacritics are used with the Thai alphabet to indicate modifications of the values of the letters.

Thai is a tonal language, and the script gives full information on the tones. Tones are realised in the vowels, but indicated in the script by a combination of the class of the initial consonant (high, mid or low), vowel length (long or short), closing consonant (unvoiced-plosive or voiced-sonorant) and sometimes one of four tone marks. The names and signs of the tone marks are derived from the numbers one, two, three and four in an Indic language. The rules for denoting tones are shown in the following chart:

Symbol Name Syllable composition and initial consonant class
Thai RTGS Vowel and final High Mid Low
(เปล่า) (none) long vowel or vowel plus sonorant rising mid mid
(เปล่า) (none) long vowel plus plosive low low falling
(เปล่า) (none) short vowel at end or plus plosive low low high
 –่ ไม้เอก mai ek any low low falling
 –้ ไม้โท mai tho any falling falling high
 –๊ ไม้ตรี mai tri any - high -
 –๋ ไม้จัตวา mai chattawa any - rising -

"None", that is, no tone marker, is used with the base accent (พื้นเสียง, pheun siang). Mai tri and mai chattawa are only used with mid-class consonants.

Two consonant characters (not diacritics) are used to modify the tone:

  • ห นำ ho nam, leading ho. A silent, high-class ห "leads" low-class nasal consonants (ง, ญ, น and ม) and non-plosives (ว, ย, ร and ล), which have no corresponding high-class phonetic match, into the tone properties of a high-class consonant. In polysyllabic words, an initial mid- or high-class consonant with an implicit vowel similarly "leads" these same low-class consonants into the higher class tone rules, with the tone marker borne by the low-class consonant.
  • อ นำ o nam, leading o. In four words only, a silent, mid-class อ "leads" low-class ย into mid-class tone rules: อย่า (ya, don't) อยาก (yak, desire) อย่าง (yang, yet) อยู่ (yu, stay). Note all four have long-vowel, low-tone siang ek, but อยาก, a dead syllable, needs no tone marker, but the three live syllables all take mai ek.

Exceptions where words are spelled with one tone but pronounced with another often occur in informal conversation (notably the pronouns ฉัน chan and เขา khao, which are both pronounced with a high tone rather than the rising tone indicated by the script). Generally, when such words are recited or read in public, they are pronounced as spelled.

Other diacritics are used to indicate short vowels and silent consonants:

  • Mai taikhu means "stick that climbs and squats". It is a miniature Thai numeral 8 and is informally called mai lek paet "stick #8". Mai taikhu is used only with sara e (เ) and sara ae (แ) in closed syllables.
  • Thanthakhat means "executioner's axe"; karan means "canceled".
Symbol Name Meaning
 –็ ไม้ไต่คู้ mai taikhu shortens vowel
 –์์ ทัณฑฆาต, การันต์้ thanthakhat, karan indicates silent letter

[edit] Other symbols

Symbol Name Meaning
ไปยาลน้อย paiyaan noi preceding word is abbreviated
ฯลฯ ไปยาลใหญ่ paiyaan yai etc.
ไม้ยมก mai yamok preceding word or phrase is repeated

[edit] Sanskrit and Pali

The Thai script (like all Indic scripts) uses a number of modifications to write Sanskrit and related languages (in particular, Pali). Pali is very closely related to Sanskrit and is the liturgical language of Thai Buddhism. In Thailand, Pali is written and studied using a slightly modified Thai script. The main difference is that each consonant is followed by an implied short a (อะ), not the 'o', or 'ə' of Thai: this short a is never omitted in pronunciation, and if the vowel is not to be pronounced, then a specific symbol must be used, the pinthu อฺ (a solid dot under the consonant). This means that sara a (อะ) is never used when writing Pali, because it is always implied. For example, namo is written นะโม in Thai, but in Pali it is written as นโม, because the อะ is redundant. The Sanskrit word 'mantra' is written มนตร์ in Thai (and therefore pronounced mon), but is written มนฺตฺร in Sanskrit (and therefore pronounced mantra). When writing Pali, only 33 consonants and 12 vowels are used.

This is an example of a Pali text written using the Thai Sanskrit orthography: อรหํ สมฺมาสมฺพุทฺโธ ภควา [arahaṃ sammāsambuddho bhagavā]. Written in modern Thai orthography, this becomes อะระหัง สัมมาสัมพุทโธ ภะคะวา arahang sammasamphuttho phakhawa.

In Thailand, Sanskrit is read out using the Thai values for all the consonants (so ค is read as kha and not [ga]), which makes Thai spoken Sanskrit incomprehensible to sanskritists not trained in Thailand. The Sanskrit values are used in transliteration (without the diacritics), but these values are never actually used when Sanskrit is read out loud in Thailand. The vowels used in Thai are identical to Sanskrit, with the exception of ฤ, ฤๅ, ฦ, and ฦๅ, which are read using their Thai values, not their Sanskrit values. Sanskrit and Pali are not tonal languages, but in Thailand, the Thai tones are used when reading these languages out loud.

In the tables in this section, the Thai value (transliterated according to the Royal Thai system) of each letter is listed first, followed by the IAST value of each letter in square brackets. Remember that in Thailand, the IAST values are never used in pronunciation, but only sometimes in transcriptions (with the diacritics omitted). This disjoint between transcription and spoken value explains the romanisation for Sanskrit names in Thailand that many foreigners find confusing. For example, สุวรรณภูมิ is romanised as Suvarnabhumi, but pronounced su-wan-na-pum. ศรีนครินทร์ is romanised as Srinagarindra but pronounced si-nakha-rin.

[edit] Plosives (วรรค vargaḥ)

Plosives (also called stops) are listed in their traditional Sanskrit order, which corresponds to Thai alphabetical order from to with three exceptions: in Thai, high-class is followed by two obsolete characters with no Sanskrit equivalent, high-class ฃ and low-class ฅ; low-class is followed by sibilant ซ (low-class equivalent of high-class sibilant ส that follows ศ and ษ.) The table gives the Thai value first, and then the IAST value in square brackets.

class unaspirated
aspirated voiced aspirated
velar kà [ka] khà [kha] khá [ga] khá [gha] ngá [ṅa]
palatal cà [ca] chà [cha] chá [ja] chá [jha] yá [ña]
retroflex tà [ṭa] thà [ṭha] thá [ḍa] thá [ḍha] ná [ṇa]
dental tà [ta] thà [tha] thá [da] thá [dha] ná [na]
labial pà [pa] phà [pha] phá [ba] phá [bha] má [ma]
tone class M H L L L

While letters are listed here according to their class in Sanskrit, Thai has lost the distinction between many of the consonants. So, while there is a clear distinction between ช and ฌ in Sanskrit, in Thai these two consonants are pronounced identically (including tone). Likewise, the Thai phonemes do not differentiate between the retroflex and dental classes, because Thai has no retroflex consonants. The equivalents of all the retroflex consonants are pronounced identically to their dental counterparts: thus ฏ is pronounced like ต, and ฐ is pronounced like ถ, and so forth.

The Sanskrit unaspirated unvoiced plosives are pronounced as unaspirated unvoiced, while the Sanskrit aspirated, voiced, and aspirated voiced plosives are pronounced as aspirated unvoiced, except in the retroflex class where the Sanskrit voiced and aspirated voiced plosive are pronounced as unaspirated unvoiced. None of the Sanskrit plosives are pronounced as the Thai voiced plosives.

[edit] Non-plosives (อวรรค avargaḥ)

Semivowels and liquids (กี่งสระ king sara branch vowels") come in Thai alphabetical order after , the last of the plosives. The term อวรรค awak means "without a break"; that is, without a plosive.

series symbol value related vowels
palatal yá [ya] อิ and อี
retroflex rá [ra] ฤ and ฤๅ
dental lá [la] ฦ and ฦๅ
labial wá [va] อุ and อู

[edit] Sibilants (เสียดแทรก)

เสียดแทรก, pronounced เสียดแซก (siat saek), meaning inserted sound(s), follow the semi-vowel ว in alphabetical order.

series symbol value
palatal sà [śa]
retroflex sà [a]
dental sà [sa]

Like Sanskrit, Thai has no voiced siblant (so no 'z' or 'zh'). In modern Thai, the distinction between the three high-class consonants has been lost and all three are pronounced 'sà'; however, foreign words with an sh-sound may still be transcribed as if the Sanskrit values still hold (e.g., ang-grit อังกฤษ for English instead of อังกฤส).

ศ ศาลา (so sala) leads words, as in its example word, ศาลา. The digraph ศริ (Indic sri) is regularly pronounced สิ (si), as in Sisaket Province, Thai: ศรีสะเกษ.
ษ ฤๅษี (so rue-si) may only lead syllables within a word, as in its example, ฤๅษี, or to end a syllable as in ศรีสะเกษ Sisaket and อังกฤษ Anggrit English.
ส เสือ (so suea) spells native Thai words that require a high-class /s/, as well as naturalized Pali/Sanskrit words, such as สารท (สาท) in Thetsakan Sat: เทศกาลสารท (เทด-สะ-กาน-สาท), formerly ศารท (สาท).
ซ โซ่ (so so), which follows the similar-appearing ช in Thai alphabetical order, spells words requiring a low-class /s/, as does ทร + vowel.
ทร, as in the heading of this section, เสียดแทรก (pronounced เสียดแซก siat saek), when accompanied by a vowel (implicit in ทรง (ซง song an element in forming words used with royalty; a semivowel in ทรวง (ซวง suang chest, heart); or explicit in ทราย (ซาย sigh sand). Exceptions to ทร + vowel = /s/ are the prefix โทร- (equivalent to tele- far, pronounced โทระ to-ra), and phonetic re-spellings of English tr- (as แตร (trae) meaning trumpet, with the latter respelled phonetically as ทรัมเพ็ท.) ทร is otherwise pronounced as two syllables ทอระ-, as in ทรมาน (ทอระมาน to-ra-man to torment.

[edit] Voiced h (มีหนักมีลม)

symbol value

, a high-class consonant, comes next in alphabetical order, but its low-class equivalent, , follows similar-appearing อ as the last letter of the Thai alphabet. Like modern Hindi, the voicing has disappeared, and the letter is now pronounced like English 'h'. Like Sanskrit, this letter may only be used to start a syllable, but may not end it. (A popular beer is romanized as Singha, but in Thai is สิงห์, with a mai karan on the ห; correct pronunciation is "sing", but foreigners to Thailand typically say "sing-ha".)

[edit] Vowels (สระ)

Thai Sanskrit has only 12 vowels.

symbol value
a [a]
อา a [ā]
อิ i [i]
อี i [ī]
อุ u [u]
อู u [ū]
เอ e [e]
โอ o [o]
ru []
ฤๅ ru []
lu []
ฦๅ lu []

All consonants have an inherent 'a' sound, and therefore there is no need to use the ะ symbol when writing Sanskrit. The Thai vowels อื, ไอ, ใอ, and so forth, are not used in Sanskrit. The zero consonant, อ, is unique to the Indic alphabets descended from Khmer. When it occurs in Sanskrit, it is always the zero consonant and never the vowel o [ɔː]. Its use in Sanskrit is therefore to write vowels that cannot be otherwise written alone: e.g., อา or อี. When อ is written on its own, then it is a carrier for the implied vowel, a [a] (equivalent to อะ in Thai).

The vowels อำ and อึ occur in Sanskrit, but only as the combination of the pure vowels sara a อา or sara i อิ with nikhahit อํ.

[edit] Other symbols

There are a number of additional symbols only used to write Sanskrit or Pali, and not used in writing Thai.

[edit] Nikhahit นิคหิตฺ (anusvāra)

Symbol IAST

In Sanskrit, the anusvāra indicates that the preceding vowel be nasalised. In Thai this is written as an open circle above the consonant. Nasalisation does not occur in Thai, therefore, a nasal consonant is always substituted: e.g. ตํ taṃ, is pronounced as ตัง tang by Thai sanskritists. If nikhahit occurs before a consonant, then Thai uses a nasal consonant of the same class: e.g. สํสฺกฺฤตา [saṃskṛta] is read as สันสกฤตา san-si-ki-ta (The ส following the nikhahit is a dental class consonant, therefore the dental class nasal consonant น is used). For this reason, it has been suggested that in Thai, nikhahit should be listed as a consonant.[2] Nikhahit นิคหิต occurs as part of the Thai vowels sara am อำ and sara ue อึ.

[edit] Pinthu พินทุ (virāma)


Because the Thai script is an abugida, a symbol (equivalent to virāma in devanagari) needs to be added to indicate that the implied vowel is not to be pronounced. This is the pinthu, which is a solid dot below the consonant.

[edit] Yamakkan ยามักการ


Yamakkan is an obsolete symbol used to mark the beginning of consonant clusters: e.g. พ๎ราห๎มณ phramana [brāhmaṇa]. Without the yamakkan, this word would be pronounced pharahamana [barāhamaṇa] instead. This is a feature unique to the Thai script (other Indic scripts use a combination of ligatures, conjuncts or virāma to convey the same information). The symbol is obsolete because pinthu may be used to achieve the same effect: พฺราหฺมณ.

[edit] Visarga

The means of recording visarga (final voiceless 'h') in Thai has been lost.

[edit] Thai in Unicode

The Unicode range for Thai is U+0E00–U+0E7F. This area is a verbatim copy of the older TIS-620 character set which encodes the vowels เ แ โ ใ ไ before the consonants they follow, and thus is the only Unicode script using visual order instead of logical order. Grey areas indicate non-assigned code points.

Thai chart (PDF)
  0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
U+0E3x         ฿

[edit] See also

[edit] References

[edit] External links

Thai alphabet edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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