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Lesson 1: Consonants: Group 1 (Dead)



We will start learning how to read and write by learning six very common letters. We will call these letters Group 1. Try to remember that these six letters are grouped together, as we will need this information when we start talking about the tones of words later.

There are a few things to keep in mind when learning the Group 1 Consonants:

Some Thai language textbooks or courses call this group of letters the Middle Class. But we think this is confusing because it does not have anything to do with the Middle Tone. So we will call these letters Group 1. (We will learn letters in Group 2 and Group 3 later.)

These letters are all dead consonants. We will learn what that means in later lessons as well.

In Group 1, there are two sets of two letters that look very similar to each other. They also sound very similar when spoken. They are:

  : baw bai mái makes initial sound b

  : þaw þlah makes initial sound þ


  : daw dèk makes initial sound d

  : đaw đòw makes initial sound đ

We use the special characters  þ  and  đ  to represent these letters phonetically because these Thai letters    and    do not really have a corresponding sound in English. Some textbooks use b / p / bp or d / t / dt. But we think that  þ  and  đ  are the best way to show these sounds.

Before you try the exercises, study the letters and their related information in the Character List below. But do not get too worried about the details. Doing the exercises will help you understand the patterns.


Character List:

The consonant letters that are covered in this lesson are in the table below. Thai letters have two words. The first word tells you what sound the letter makes, and the second word is a Thai word that contains that letter. This is similar to saying 'A Apple, B Banana' in English. However, in Thai, this word combination is the full name of the letter. The English column shows the translation of the second word.

Also, Thai consonant letters have a sound that they make when they are at the beginning of the word (Initial) and a sound that they make when they are at the end of the word (Final). Sometimes they are the same, sometimes they are different.

LetterName EnglishInitialFinal
gaw gài chickengk
jaw jahnplatejt
daw dèk childdt
đaw đòwturtleđt
baw bai mái leafbp
þaw þlahfishþp
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