Speak Thai

Speak Thai | Tones and Meanings

By September 10, 2009March 16th, 2019No Comments

Thai Tones | Different Tone Different Meaning

If you are a foreigner learning Thai then learning with the right tone will be something interesting for you.

Thai language tones different meanings

When you think you hear “maa”, it might be the real “maa” which means “come” or it might be “máa” or “horse” or it could be “măa” or “dog”. Most of Thai words have meanings and some of them are pronounced in five different tones but might be heard the same by farang. 

Thai Tones Example

Thai Tone examples:

A: wan-nee-jeuh-tàeh-phôo-yĭng-suay-suay/วันนี้เจอแต่ผู้หญิงซวย ซวย (Today I met only damned women.)
B: wan-nee-jeuh-tàeh-phôo-yĭng-sŭay-sŭay/
วันนี้เจอแต่ผู้หญิงสวย สวย (Today I met only beautiful women.)
A: wan-nee-suay-jing-jing/
วันนี้ซวยจริง จริง (Today I really got bad luck.)
B: wan-nee-thóng-fáa-sŭay/
วันนี้ท้องฟ้าสวย (Today the sky is beautiful.)
***suay (ซวย) means bad luck and suay is pronounced with the first tone
***sŭay (
สวย ) means beautiful and sŭay is pronounced with the fifth tone

suay/ซวย/Bad luck                                                    

sŭay/สวย/Beautiful

A: chăn-chôb-doo-khàw/ฉันชอบดูข่าว (I like to watch news.)
B: chăn-yàag-gin-khâw-râad-gaehng/
ฉันอยากกินข้าวราดแกง (I want to eat rice and curry.)
C: chăn-chôb-chúd-sĕe-khăw/
ฉันชอบชุดสีขาว (I like white dresses.)
*** khàw (ข่าว ) , pronounced with the second tone, means news.
*** khâw (ข้าว ) , pronounced with the third tone, means rice.
*** khăw (ขาว ) , pronounced with the fifth tone, means white.

Thai Tones Newspaper

khàw/ข่าว/news

Thai Tones White A: chăn-chôb-sa-làd-khài/ฉันชอบสลัดไข่ (I like egg salad.)
B: chăn-kíd-wâa-chăn-bpen-khâi/
ฉันคิดว่าฉันเป็นไข้ (I think I have a fever.)
C: chăn-jam-dâi-wâa-chăn-khăi-gun-jaeh-pra-dtoo-láew/ ฉันจำได้ว่าฉันไขกุญแจประตูแล้ว (I remembered that I unlocked the door already.)
*** khài (ไข่ ) means eggs, we pronounce it with the second tone
*** khâi (ไข้ ) means fever, we pronounce it with the third tone
*** khăi (ไข ) means unlock, we pronounce it with the fifth tone                                                                                           

khăw/ขาว/white

A: chăn-súh-dtúg-ga-dta-khŏn-sàt-tua-mài-maa/ฉันซื้อตุ๊กตาขนสัตว์ตัวใหม่มา (I bought new stuffed animal.)
B: chăn-mâi-chôb-bpai-hăa-mŏh/
ฉันไม่ชอบไปหาหมอ (I don’t like to see the doctor.)
C: chăn-dâi-glìn-a-rai-mâi-ná/ ฉันได้กลิ่นอะไรไหม้นะ (I smelt something burning.)
D: Phâa-măi-thai-dâi-ráb-gaan-yóg-yông-nai-thăa-na-phâa-thoh-thêe-dee-thêe-sùd-nai-lôhg/ผ้าไหมไทยได้รับการยกย่องในฐานะผ้าทอที่ดีที่สุดในโลก (Thai silk is acclaimed as the finest fabric in the world.)
E: khun-chôb-aa-hăan-thai-măi/
คุณชอบอาหารไทยไหม (Do you like Thai food?)
*** mài (
ใหม่ ) means newand is pronounced with the second tone.
*** mâi (
ไม่ ) means no and is pronounced with the third tone.
*** mâi (ไหม้ ) means burn and is also pronounced with the third tone.
*** măi(ไหม) means silk and is pronounced with the fifth tone.
*** măi(ไหม) , also pronounced with the fifth tone, put at the end of the Yes/No question.

Thai Tones Silk

Thai Tones Burnt Toast

măi/ไหม/silk

mâi/ไหม้/burn

A: chăn-yàag-jà-bòhg-laa/ ฉันอยากจะบอกลา (I want to say goodbye.)
B: chăn-kíd-wâa-laa-nâa-rág/
ฉันคิดว่าลาน่ารัก (I think donkeys are lovely.)
C: khun-chôb-lâa-sàt-măi/
คุณชอบล่าสัตว์ไหม (Do you like to hunt?)
D: chăn-rúh-sèug-láa/ ฉันรู้สึกล้า (I feel tired.)
E: rao-khăay-phâa-măi-bpen-lăa/เราขายผ้าไหมเป็นหลา (We sell silk by the yard.)
*** laa (ลา) means goodbye, this word is pronounced with the first tone.
*** laa (ลา) this word is pronounced with the first tone also but means donkeys.
*** lâa (ล่า) means to hunt, we pronounced it with the third tone.
*** láa (ล้า) , pronounced with the fourth tone, means tired.
*** lăa (หลา) means yard and is pronounced with the fifth tone.

As above, I hope this will improve your Thai.

 

Khru May
Thai Teacher