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ColeBOzbourne

Rule or Exception?

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When reading Thai I know many of the rules and clues for pronunciation, and that some words are just exceptions and must be memorized. But I’ll use the word อุณหภูมิ (temperature) as an example since it has two things that catch me off guard. Apologies if my transliteration makes you cringe: อุณหภูมิ = un-hà-puum

 

First question. I thought that if (ห) was placed in front of a low class consonant, it would be silent, and would change that consonant from low class to high class. But here it is not silent, it forms a separate syllable, and is not a class changer. Is this an exception or have I overlooked a rule?

 

Second question. I don’t understand why the short vowel in (มิ) is silent. I seem to remember other words with the combination (ติ) where the vowel is also silent. Possibly at the end of a word. Why is the vowel silent?

 

Had I not looked up the pronunciation, and screwed up on both accounts, I would have been inclined to pronounce อุณหภูมิ as something like ‘un-puu-mi’, with the middle syllable being rising tone.

 

Thanks for any clarification you might give.

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Flash the cash and they instantly understand.

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in the original Indian Pali-Sanskrit the 'mi' in Bhumi is pronounced

 

Like the airport สุวรรณภูมิ if you pronounced in poom it's just Thai, but if you pronounced it Bhu mi indians understand it as well

 

English is equally rife with odd spellings that reflect the origin of the word

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7 hours ago, ColeBOzbourne said:

First question. I thought that if (ห) was placed in front of a low class consonant, it would be silent, and would change that consonant from low class to high class. But here it is not silent, it forms a separate syllable, and is not a class changer. Is this an exception or have I overlooked a rule?

 

It's more to do with the rule, which only applies to low class consonants that don't have a high class equivalent. If there's a ready-made high class version (like ผ), ห is not used as a class changer.

 

On your second question, it might be worth pointing out that  ์ basically cancels the consonant, so if it was used here you would lose the ม as well. That means there's no way to show that it's silent, but they still keep it in there to reflect the original Indic spelling. As far as I can think this only happens with short i. I believe the original vowel gets dropped because otherwise the word is hard to fit into the Thai stress pattern. It's a while since I've looked at this but IIRC short i is usually (always?) dropped at the end of longer Indic words. In this case (again, IIRC) you can tell the word is Indic from the use of ภ and รร, so it's at least a fair bet that it's going to be silent.

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Thank you for your helpful replies. I am just now beginning to study and appreciate some of the history behind the Thai language so gradually the pieces are coming together.

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Wow this is a great thread. I am just now studying this stuff and sometimes you feel all alone in doing so. It is very difficult to get your head around, Thai language that is. And, I believe, very difficult to teach. My latest idea on this is that there really is no "beginner" Thai. The rules are so complex and multi-level and everywhere that you almost have to know them all right from the start just to understand "See Jane run." But of course it's impossible to know them at the beginning which makes teaching it a conundrum with a lot of back peddling. And throwing out what you have already learned when you subsequently learn that the previous rule is not really the rule at all but just scaffolding to hold you up while you climb higher. ...yeah!

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Many of these idiosynchrasies are due to loanwords from Sanskrit. They aren't true Thai words, that's why the spelling is weird.

 

In real life, the common people don't use it in conversation but most if not all Thai teachers usually don't teach what common people say except for a few words.

 

That's why I have stopped going to Thai classes because I want to learn how to speak and not how to read formal Thai newspapers which use a lot of Sanskrit words.

 

Edited by EricTh

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อุณห- อุณหะ  means hot  + ภูมิ means land /place 

อุณหภูมิ is those two words joined without modification to make one word when spoken สระ อะ is placed between them.  ThIs is Sanskrit/ Pali  grammar called สมาส joining two words to make one. In this case in the written form the ะ has been dropped only to reappear when spoken! 
รัฐศาสตร์ is รัฐ+ศาสตร์ รัดถะสาด 

 

Incidentally ผลไม้ (ผนละไม้) are Thai words but some think are S/P because of the สระ อะ 

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I'd be willing to bet this word is one of those trick words on Thai language tests (for Thais).

According to the website คำไทย   

คำว่า  อุณหภููมิ อ่านว่า  อุน หะ พูม

มักอ่านผิดเป็น อุน นะ พูม / อุน นะ หะ พูม

 

It's one of those Thai words that I leave to the professionals to explain the mechanics......but find them easy to learn once you've made a blunder in pronunciation and have it pointed out  Sort of like spelling ศีรษะ, so often seen misspelled on those pesky escalator signs warning you to watch your head.  Even the Thai dictionary developed by nectec.or.th misspells it in one place in their online dictionary as ตัดศรีษะ

 

Again, once you learn it (especially when learned and used in error......like seperate or hemorroid) you'll remember it.  Why it's spelled that way?...........over to the experts

 

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8 hours ago, tgeezer said:

Incidentally ผลไม้ (ผนละไม้) are Thai words

 

Sorry, but it's patently obvious that that ผล is not a Thai word.  If it were it would be written ผน.  In fact it's derived from either Sanskrit or Pali where the word for fruit in both languages is phala.

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4 hours ago, Oxx said:

 

Sorry, but it's patently obvious that that ผล is not a Thai word.  If it were it would be written ผน.  In fact it's derived from either Sanskrit or Pali where the word for fruit in both languages is phala.

There is no need to apologise for pointing that out.
I am repeating what I learnt years ago and have never looked at closely until now, for which I thank you.  The subject was สมาส.  I should have said that ผลไม้ belies its appearance because ไม้ is a Thai word.  

I suppose that if a word ends with a consonant other than ก ด บ ม น ง it could be inferred that it is not likely to be a pure Thai word, ยล is perhaps the exception that proves the rule.  
แม่กม stands alone in having no "kin" so common things are likely to have a Thai and a  ส.ป. version If the Thai word ends in ม.  นำ้ - ชล. springs to mind.  ชล from which we get ชลประทาน - Give water (irrigation) This appears to be another example of Thai + Sanskrit given the สมาส treatment. 
 

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Edit: whilst doing the dishes I reflected on ชลปรทาน = give water and think that I should have said "given water".  

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Damn, left it too long again, 

edit: ประทาน 

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4 hours ago, tgeezer said:

I suppose that if a word ends with a consonant other than ก ด บ ม น ง it could be inferred that it is not likely to be a pure Thai word, ยล is perhaps the exception that proves the rule.  

According to the Thai wiktionary (link) ยล is from Khmer.

According to the Khmer/English dictionary here, the final is pronounced l in Khmer.

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I answered hastily, when I realized that 'here' was a link, "here" it still is not obviously a different color. 
Being เขมร probably makes it a Thai word but I shall research it. 

Edited by tgeezer

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