Self-Learn the Thai Alphabet (Consonants)
Even Thais will say that the Thai language is very difficult to learn. But if you are not a local and manage to do so, you will be a pleasant surprise to many and begin to be able to appreciate Thainess further.
Here are some tools that may help you grasp the basics of the Thai alphabet:
Screencaps from the iPhone app I Know My Thai Alphabet
“Let’s come and learn the Thai consonants together with the Apple’s application ‘I know: My gor khor khor’! Children will enjoy and have fun with memorizing all the 44 Thai consonants through cute cartoon flashcards. This app is suitable for children between the ages of 1 and 6.” (translated from the official Thai description of the app)
Now we know that the Thai version of the description is different from the English version. And yet, we are all babies and kindergarten children when we start learning a language.
Strictly speaking, calling the letters “the Thai alphabet” is a bit of a misnomer since they are actually a part of an abugida. Still, the letters from ก to ฮ are commonly referred to as “the Thai alphabet” or “the consonants of the Thai alphabet” that invoke inherent vowel sounds.
Back on the menu, we have the choice of switching the transliteration from Thai to English, which will turn our “ก ไก่” into “gor gai” meaning gor for chicken (gai).
Easy to use. Simple. Cute. Relaxing (yes).
It comes in handy if you are using an iPhone and are on the go.
This song is the Thai alphabet Poem that many Thai kids recite by heart. Translated into English, they mean:
ก for the chicken, dear. (กอ เอ๋ย กอ ไก่ gaaw eeuy gaaw gai)
ข for the eggs in the coop. (ขอ ไข่ในเล้า khaaw khai nai laao)
ฃ for the bottle that is ours. (ฃอ ขวดของเรา khaaw khuaat khaawng rao)
ค for the water buffalo that enters the rice paddy. (คอ ควายเข้านา khaaw khwaai khao naa)
ฅ for the person who is serious. (ฅอ คนขึงขัง khaaw khohn kheung khang)
ฆ for the bell beside the wall. (ฆอ ระฆังข้างฝา khaaw ra khang khaang faa)
ง for the snake that is fearless. (งอ งูใจกล้า ngaaw nguu jai glaa)
จ for the plate that is useful. (จอ จานใช้ดี jaaw jaan chai dee)
ฉ for the finger cymbals struck loudly. (ฉอ ฉิ่งตีดัง chaaw ching dtee dang)
ช for the elephant that runs away. (ชอ ช้างวิ่งหนี chaaw chaang wing nee)
ซ for the chains that tie it up. (ซอ โซ่ล่ามที saaw so:h laam thee)
ฌ for the bushes in pair. (ฌอ กะเฌอคู่กัน chaaw ga chuuhr khuu gan)
ญ for the woman who is beautiful. (ญอ หญิงโสภา yaaw ying so:h phaa)
ฎ for the dance hat that she hastily dons. (ฎอ ชฎาสวมพลัน daaw cha daa suaam phlan)
ฏ for the harpoon that is impetuous. (ฏอ ปฏักหุนหัน dtaaw bpa dtak hoon han)
ฐ for the pedestal that is giving support. (ฐอ ฐานเข้ามารอง thaaw thaan khao maa raawng)
ฑ for the giant’s wife whose face is ashen. (ฑอ มณโฑหน้าขาว thaaw mohn tho:h naa khaao)
ฒ for the old man who walks feebly. (ฒอ ผู้เฒ่าเดินย่อง thaaw phuu thao deern yawng)
ณ for the young monk who does not stare. (ณอ เณรไม่มอง naaw naehn mai maawng)
ด for the child who shall welcome him in. (ดอ เด็กต้องนิมนต์ daaw dek dtawng ni mohn)
ต for the turtle with his bulging back. (ตอ เต่าหลังตุง dtaaw dtao lang dtoong)
ถ for the bag that carrys things. (ถอ ถุงแบกขน thaaw thoong baaek khohn)
ท for the soldier who is enduring. (ทอ ทหารอดทน thaaw tha haan oht thohn)
ธ for the flag that is our favorite. (ธอ ธงคนนิยม thaaw thohng khohn ni yohm)
น for the mouse that runs about helter-skelter. (นอ หนูขวักไขว่ naaw nuu khwak khwai)
บ for the leaves piling up. (บอ ใบไม้ทับถม baaw bai maai thap thohm)
ป for the fish with round eyes. (ปอ ปลาตากลม bpaaw bplaa dtaa glohm)
ผ for the bee that is building a hive. (ผอ ผึ้งทำรัง phaaw pheung tham rang)
ฝ for the lid that is durable. (ฝอ ฝาทนทาน faaw faa thohn thaan)
พ for the tray that is all laid out. (พอ พานวางตั้ง phaaw phaan waang dtang)
ฟ for the teeth that are really clean. (ฟอ ฟันสะอาดจัง faaw fan sa aat jang)
ภ for the Chinese junk unfurling its sails. (ภอ สำเภากางใบ phaaw sam phao gaang bai)
ม for the horse that is unruly. (มอ ม้าคึกคัก maaw maa kheuk khak)
ย for the giant with big fangs. (ยอ ยักษ์เขี้ยวใหญ่ yaaw yak khiaao yai)
ร for the boat that paddles by. (รอ เรือพายไป raaw reuua phaai bpai)
ล for the monkey climbing on the handrail. (ลอ ลิงไต่ราว laaw ling dtai raao)
ว for the ring made of enamel. (วอ แหวนลงยา waaw waaen lohng yaa)
ศ for the pavilion that is quiet and lonely. (ศอ ศาลาเงียบเหงา saaw saa laa ngiiap ngao)
ษ for the hermit with long beard. (ษอ ฤๅษีหนวดยาว saaw reuu see nuaat yaao)
ส for the spotted tiger / leopard that is ferocious. (สอ เสือดาวคะนอง saaw seuua daao kha naawng)
ห for the box for storing clothes. (หอ หีบใส่ผ้า haaw heep sai phaa)
ฬ for the boy kite in swaggering manner. (ฬอ จุฬาท่าผยอง laaw joo laa thaa pha yaawng)
อ for the bowl that is overflowing. (ออ อ่างเนืองนอง aaw aang neuuang naawng)
ฮ for the owl with huge eyes. (ฮอ นกฮูกตาโต haaw nohk huuk dtaa dto:h)
The English translation is for our better understanding of the poem. Learners may try listening to the song or audios like this Learn Thai Podcast one to encode the sequence in your mind:
Learn Thai the Easy Way also presents us with the Thai Alphabet Song and many other audio clips (voices of young Thai students). Some of the “Thai conversations” are purposedly made slower for the audience to follow (real-life conversations are normally much faster and … more “colloquial”).
Resourceful and illustrative with multimedia and a number of special features e.g. Talking Books.
After you have familiarized yourself with the Thai consonants, you may move on to explore other major themes inside Learn Thai Alphabet.
On any page of thai-language.com, you will see the table of Thai letters on the left-hand side, which leads you to tons of vocabulary, phrases and sentences with English explanations. (the featured image of this entry and its meaning: here)
If you are sharp enough, you will also spot a “hidden character” – ฤ – that makes the complete list of 45 letters instead of 44.
Professional. Comprehensive. Academic. Suitable for all levels of learners.
While many Thai words are equipped with audio clips at thai-language.com, it is missing for most sentences. The crew is working to improve this and keep updating the database. It is still one of the best dictionary sites out there with various features for learning Thai.
Like what thai-language.com said, ขอให้โชคดี (Wish you good luck!)
Screencap from the iPad app Tiny Thai