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pbrock

Better to learn Thai tone rules or Thai vocabulary?

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14 minutes ago, GinBoy2 said:

This why in Issan they simply transliterate Lao using Thai script into how they hear the words

 

That's really not what's happening.  The Pathet Lao (communists) overthrew the royalist government of Lao in 1975 and implemented language and spelling reform.  For example, they:

 

- minimized the influence of Thai
- simplified spelling so it more accurately reflected pronunciation (particularly for Indic loan words)
- eliminated the distinction between /r/ and /l/
- Virtually eliminate pronouns and particles which expressed relative status.

 

So, in Isaan they are simply using the now official standard way of writing Lao.

 

Field Marshall Plaek Phibunsongkhram attempted similar spelling reform of the Thai language in 1942.  However, it didn't "stick".  There's a brief summary of the reforms at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thai_spelling_reform_of_1942

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2 hours ago, Oxx said:

So, in Isaan they are simply using the now official standard way of writing Lao.

I may not be understanding what you're trying to say but I've yet to see an Isaan person write using Lao script:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lao_script

 

I agree with Ginboy2:
"This why in Issan they simply transliterate Lao using Thai script into how they hear the words"

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On 10/17/2020 at 3:45 PM, pbrock said:

Is it more easy/efficient to learn the tone rules or should I just keep learning vocabulary?

 

Many Thai people don't know the tone rules either. Obviously they still speak perfect. They just know every word with every tone and don't even think about it. Similar for my native language. While I certainly couldn't teach the rules of my native language I am yet perfectly capable of using all of these rules in practice.

 

That would speak for just learn more vocabulary, learn the right tone for each word and then after a while I also would develop an intuitive guessing the right tone by reading words?

Not really - either you read the tones (using the tone rules), or you recognise the word and remember the tone without needing to use the tone rules. More realistically, you do both. If you didn't want to use the tone rules, you'd have to rely completely on recognising the words, but in order to learn them in the first place (complete with tones, obviously) you'd have to have some method of writing the tones down. In the long run I think it's easiest just to use the Thai method, and then you're back to learning the tone rules anyway. It's different for native speakers, because they absorbed most of the vocab effortlessly as kids, and with that foundation, they don't need to write new words down in adulthood either.

 

The tones of spoken Thai do not come from the tone rules in the flowchart, which are just spelling rules - they are part of the writing system and you can't expect to feel them out based on familiarity with spoken Thai. The phonetic system does have some tone rules of its own, and those rules you can feel out, but they don't help you much with reading. For example, you may sense that if a word gets cut off at the end it isn't going to have a mid tone, and you may even be able to narrow it down a bit more, but you won't get it down to a single tone that way, so you'll be left making an educated guess. In other cases you can't even do that, as a general feel for the language will only tell you that all five tones are possible.

 

I would say go on learning vocab but try to practise using the tone rules as you go - so assuming you are working from a transliteration, try to write the word in Thai script and see if you spell the tone correctly (sometimes there is more than one way to do it, but that doesn't need to be a huge problem). Transcribing audio can also be a good way to work on spelling the tones, assuming you have a text version to check against.

Edited by JHicks

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