Former Mui-Thai student shares his insight
Ben Schuster writes: This is a picture of a McDonald’s in Thailand. I’ve enlarged the Thai type, then explain the order in which it is read under that, accompanied by the phonetic English equivalent to each Thai character.
Thai is very unique, almost like a combination of Eastern and Western languages. Read left to right, but no spaces between words, just between sentences. Some characters express multiple sounds and some characters indicate voice levels.
There are 44 consonants and 32 vowels. Vowels are placed before, above,
below and after consonants. But wait, it gets better. There are 21 sounds for the beginning of words, 8 sounds for the ends of words, as well as 5 tones during the word! These sounds are pitches in voice level.
Think of it like this: we raise our voice at the end of a sentence to convey a question, we raise the level of our voice at the beginning of a word to convey surprise or enthusiasm. When speaking Thai, the voice fluctuates three or four times during a short sentence. This was very difficult for me to learn.
When I got animated, people didn’t understand me because my voice was going all over the place. Very frustrating, especially because the voice fluctuation effects the meaning of the word. Example: “Ma” means dog, come, a slang word kind of like “Right?” (and two other words that I’m not sure about).
The twenty-one beginning sounds and eight ending sounds are created by combining letters. For example N and A equals Ngor, G and A equals Gor, W and A equals War. The five tones are rising, falling, high, low, and monotone.
So reading McDonald’s in Thai with tones sounds like mc-don-ALD.
Any questions please feel free to post. I studied for a full year so I am pretty fluent,
bad speller though (Thai and English).
Geotypografika says DANKE SCHÖN Benjamin!
When can we learn more?