Thai Language Pronunciation
The Thai language is a tonal language each syllable within the Language has a choice between five distinct Thai Tones. This means that when speaking Thai one word can have several meanings and if mispronounced can lead to confusion and misunderstanding.
Why master the Tones?
To be understood in Thai, it is essential that you master the five tones and pronounce them correctly. If you use the wrong tone, you might be saying a completely different word! This can happen many times for beginners of Thai language and can be most frustrating as you are met by a blank stare by the Thai national you are attempting to communicate with. This can be exacerbated by the person you are communicating with not correcting you. This again is often the case as Thai’s can be rather shy and do not wish to embarrass you by correcting your pronunciation, word choice or grammar. Unfortunately, this is all the reason for mastering the tones with your teacher and being aware that mistakes will be made.
Try the sound files below and practise the tones with a Thai speaker. For those that have not had experience with a Tonal language, this does not come easily. In many cases, it takes some time just to be able to hear the different tones let alone make the Thai tones accurately within each word. Do not be despondent keep trying it can take some time.
Five Thai Tones