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Hi guys

 

I live in the uk and usually get over to Thailand for a couple of times a year, its the best I can do right now!

 

So I’ve been teaching myself Thai. I started with a teacher on preply a year ago but he wasnt very good so I stopped and have just recently started again with a lady who you can tell has much more teaching experience.

 

However, Ive come across an issue with tones.

 

The book we are using shows the english and the thai next to it (see attached clip). I am really confused because if you look at the words nôon, châi and mâi, they are all falling tone but on the thai script, it uses the low tone symbol ่ i.e. โน่น ใช่ ไม่ . Yet whenever they are voiced, they are always voiced falling tone. I have tried to explain my confusion to my teacher but she doesn’t understand.

 

To make things even worse, she is pronouncing nôon as noon with rising tone whilst I have always so far heard it pronounced on youtube as nôon.

 

And then to take things further, there are words such as à-rai (what?) which have a low tone according to the english spelling and how I have heard people say them but in the thai script, the word is mid tone.

 

What is going on? Im starting to get confused, I thought I had this down pat until I started thai lessons again!

 

Can anyone help me?

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Personally, I just make sure I use tones, and if corrected adjust the next time.

 

Over time it becomes automatic and you start getting it right.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, BeccsLovesThailand said:

The book we are using shows the english and the thai next to it (see attached clip). I am really confused because if you look at the words nôon, châi and mâi, they are all falling tone but on the thai script, it uses the low tone symbol ่ i.e. โน่น ใช่ ไม่ . Yet whenever they are voiced, they are always voiced falling tone. I have tried to explain my confusion to my teacher but she doesn’t understand.

The "low tone symbol", as you refer to it, is not absolutely used for the purpose of setting a low tone. The purpose of the symbol also depends on the level of the consonants involved in the word. In other words, in the case of โน่น, since the น is already a low tone, it would not make sense to add ่ to make it a low tone. So in that case the ่ is used to change the tone to falling.

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I can understand why your teacher is confused, I am also confused what you are trying to ask.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

I have no idea what tones are. Serious. Hear/read about it but don't hear them. So forget about learning Thai. Could someone tell me where to look for a start? You can PM if you want to help.

Edited by Boomer6969
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Beccs, having been there/done that, I'd suggest investing in a book like the Benjawan Poomsan-Becker series....and try to concentrate on a single tone class at a time.  For whatever reason, I started with the high class consonants.  When I broke the code on those consonants, I found it easier to go to the other classes.  When you find a teacher insist on pounding the table when you make mistakes on tones.  They usually don't like doing that, but it worked for me.

Don't let anyone tell you that tones are too difficult to learn.   Young, old, hearing aids, don't matter.  If you work on it, you'll finally break the code.....and be very happy to have done so.

Good luck.

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Try to ask your teacher to teach you the Low, Middle and High classes and open and closes Syllables. 
After that it’s became clear. 

456CDA11-E5B8-49C0-AEEA-53DE194C9F2D.gif

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, kokesaat said:

Beccs, having been there/done that, I'd suggest investing in a book like the Benjawan Poomsan-Becker series....and try to concentrate on a single tone class at a time.  For whatever reason, I started with the high class consonants.  When I broke the code on those consonants, I found it easier to go to the other classes.  When you find a teacher insist on pounding the table when you make mistakes on tones.  They usually don't like doing that, but it worked for me.

Don't let anyone tell you that tones are too difficult to learn.   Young, old, hearing aids, don't matter.  If you work on it, you'll finally break the code.....and be very happy to have done so.

Good luck.

 

You're blessed to have a good teacher. I've seen many students still making wrong tones and pronunciation after 1 year of studying Thai.

 

Most teachers don't correct the wrong tones or else they won't have time to learn the vocab and grammar.

 

 

 

Edited by EricTh

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15 hours ago, BeccsLovesThailand said:

I am really confused because if you look at the words nôon, châi and mâi, they are all falling tone but on the thai script, it uses the low tone symbol ่ i.e. โน่น ใช่ ไม่ . Yet whenever they are voiced, they are always voiced falling tone.

That symbol is low tone for middle and high consonants only. However, for low consonants that symbol does mean falling tone. The words in your three examples all start with low consonants, so falling tone would be correct.

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I am surely not a linguist and though I am pretty conversational, I have no idea which tone any words are... they just sound different to me... but I am trying to communicate and speak the language, not study it... that said, I have been told often that my tones are quite good.. 

 

but, whatever works for you... we all learn differently. I am not as studious as you are, but maybe more practical... 

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15 hours ago, BeccsLovesThailand said:

And then to take things further, there are words such as à-rai (what?) which have a low tone according to the english spelling and how I have heard people say them but in the thai script, the word is mid tone.

à-rai has two syllables. The first syllable is low tone, the second is middle tone, just as you have written it. Listening to Thais speak in order to identify tone is not always easy. They speak quickly and sometimes they change the tone in such a subtle way that the farang ear cannot pick up on it accurately, but the Thai ear can.

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Posted (edited)

As already stated, the Mai Ek symbol, ', is not a low tone symbol, but only makes the syllable low tone when used with a middle or high class consonant. With the low class consonant น which you use, it will give a falling tone under the tone rules.

Edited by katana

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I hope that you know the Thai characters ตัวหนังสือ because it enables you to forget English phonetics which I think are useful only as an aid to memory when learning ก ไก่ ข ไข่ 

Buy some primary school books and use them with your teacher,  you will both enjoy it.  You will still have questions like why อะไร when it seems that อไร would do?  I would like to know the answer to that too. 
. The base-tones of กอ and ขอ are dictated by their class. ก is mid class so common tone, ข is high class so tone four. (Rising) When a tone mark (ไม้วรรณยุต) is used it overrides the base-tone.  So ไก่ is tone one as is ไข่ 
Low class consonants have common base-tone but the tone marks when used with low class consonants indicate the next tone up so, ไม้เอก อ่ indicates tone two(falling) ไม้โท อ้ ค่อ indicates tone three (high) . 

I hope that this conforms to what you already know and provides background for the answers already given. โน่น ไม่ ใช่ etc. Low class consonants where ไม้เอก indicates tone two. 
The answer to why อะ is tone one involves what Thai calls live and dead words. They are explained in the Royal Institute Dictionary under the entry คำ -คำตาย คำเป็น 

Briefly อะ is a dead word คำตาย because it has a short vowel without a closing consonant, a dead word beginning with a high or mid consonant is tone one.  
There is more.... 

 

 

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OP, you need to start learning the language more systematically, learning consonant classes, tone rules, and common irregularities.  You might consider having a look at this online reading course to get you started.  (It's free.)

 

http://thai-notes.com/reading/index.shtml

 

And I think every learner should have a copy of this book:

 

https://thailand.kinokuniya.com/bw/9780415510349

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Please dont bother. ferangs speaking Thai is like Chalk on a Black Board to the ear. Plus they are mainly creepy bores at best.

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