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BananaBandit

how to know if there's an extra syllable?

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Because ภาษาไทย often omits spelling of its short vowels, i sometimes find it difficult to discern whether or not there should be an extra spoken syllable.


ex:     อักษร

 

I formerly thought this word should be spoken as 3 syllables "ah-ka-sawn" but, i think, it's 2 syllables "ahk-sawn"

 

...Is there a set of rules (and corresponding chart, webpage) that governs the number of syllables?  Does consonant class play a role?

Edited by BananaBandit

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It can't be อะ-กะ-สอน because  ั requires a final. That said, there are a few different situations where you find extra syllables and another one ("double duty") would give you อัก-กะ-สอน. Here ก would be acting both as a final and as an initial. I have a suspicion that this usually happens when you would otherwise have a final stop followed by an initial stop. In อักษร you have a final stop (ก) followed by an intial fricative (ษ), and (so?) there is no extra syllable. I was meaning to look at this in more detail a while back but half dropped it, half got distracted. I think there's probably a rule of thumb, but at the same time there will be exceptions. To get to the bottom of it you'd need a lot of examples, and that means a lot of trawling. Also, it's questionable how useful this kind of rule would be, because it would only really come in when you didn't know the word you were looking at, but did know that it was a single word - and given that we are talking about words of more than one written syllable, you wouldn't be able to tell that from the spelling.

 

I don't believe consonant class is much of a clue in itself, but I do think the phonetic type of the consonant makes a difference in this and other situations where you have implied a. In other situations (not double duty, as far as I can tell) it may also be useful to know which consonants tend to appear in words of Indic origin.

 

Edit: if anyone out there has a list of double duty words, it might be interesting to look at this some more. It might lead nowhere but you never know.

Edited by JHicks
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3 hours ago, JHicks said:

I have a suspicion that this usually happens when you would otherwise have a final stop followed by an initial stop. In อักษร you have a final stop (ก) followed by an intial fricative (ษ), and (so?) there is no extra syllable.

On reflection that is not one of my better hunches. There are too many exceptions. I still think there will be a pattern, but this isn't it.

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As JHicks says, there is no substitute for knowing the word. The "How to use" section of the dictionary has shown me that spelling and pronunciation is something that ordinary people are not going to master.
Under อักษรย่อ there is อักษรย่อหนังสือที่อ้าง which I take to mean the short names for  "The source material used to compile the dictionary" runs into pages. 

Now returning to planet Earth, บาตร I read that as บาตอน for ages and was corrected to say บาด ,, Going into orbit again; I still don't know how to read บาตรแก้ว , บาดแก้ว I suppose.  

 

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8 hours ago, tgeezer said:

Now returning to planet Earth, บาตร I read that as บาตอน for ages and was corrected to say บาด ,, Going into orbit again; I still don't know how to read บาตรแก้ว , บาดแก้ว I suppose.

I won't claim to know but I think it would be บาดแก้ว, as you say. I think the ร tends to come back to life in compounds, but บาตรแก้ว is really just two words together, rather than a single word formed by compounding. I'd contrast it with something like จักรยาน, where the meaning of the compound is more than the sum of its parts, and maybe with other cases where, although the meaning is just the sum of the parts, those parts go together so often that they're thought of as a single word.

 

I think ตร as in ตอน is rare. I had a look on thailanguage.com and only found ยาตร ([royal language] to walk; trek). From what I saw on there, the odds are on your side if, when you come across ตร after a vowel like า that may/may not have a final, you bet on the ต being a final and the ร (therefore) being silent.

 

I don't know whether the ตร was a final cluster in Sanskrit, or whether the ร was an initial that would have had implied a. Thai doesn't like implied a at the end of a word*, but in words like จักรยาน, compounding has put the ร in the middle of the word, so it makes sense for it to come back to life if it was originally an initial. Otherwise I suppose it would have to be filed under double duty.

 

* Does this ever happen? I have a feeling there are a couple of examples.

 

 

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I don't think that any language can be described as complex. Language requires only that the speaker and the listener understand one another.  With unequal knowledge of language the ideal is that the more knowledgable person can understand the less knowledgable but the less knowledgable often can't understand the more knowledgable person. 
This topic gives me the opportunity to post this: 

"I know you believe you understand what you think I said , but I am not sure , you realise, that what you heard,  is not what I meant." 
A long winded way of saying "You have misunderstood." 

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22 hours ago, JHicks said:

I don't know whether the ตร was a final cluster in Sanskrit, or whether the ร was an initial that would have had implied a. Thai doesn't like implied a at the end of a word*, but in words like จักรยาน, compounding has put the ร in the middle of the word, so it makes sense for it to come back to life if it was originally an initial. Otherwise I suppose it would have to be filed under double duty.

It looks as though it was a cluster, so if it comes back to life that is a case of double duty (final>initial) and logically it should be the cluster ตร that takes the a, not just the ร.

 

I have also realised that the จักร in จักรยาน is from the same word that came into English as chakra. Again this is cluster so when it comes back to life by double duty (again final>initial) you get กระ rather than just ระ.

 

It's probably worth pointing out that it's not just that the vowel is unwritten in these cases - the consonant or cluster is also doubled.

 

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