Lesson 2: Vowels: Your first Long and Short Vowels
This lesson will introduce 8 common vowels. Every vowel has a length of either long or short. This is referring to the duration of time that the vowel is spoken, not the sound of the vowel as in English.
For example, in English you have a "short a" in "mat" but a "long a" in "mate".
In Thai, however, a "long a" would be something like maaaaaaat, where the "a" sound is drawn out to a long duration.
In this lesson, we have two sets of short and long letters that you can compare. They are:-ั : mái hǎn ah-gàht has a short duration with phonetic sound aDo not worry too much about the phonetic spellings of the vowels above (a, ah, i, and ee). Vowels in English are very irregular, so it is difficult to transliterate Thai vowels into English vowels. But as you do the exercises for the lessons, listen to the vowel sounds and see if you can tell a difference in the Thai words between the long vowels and the short ones.
-า : sà-rà ah has a long duration with phonetic sound ah
-ิ : sà-rà i has a short duration with phonetic sound i
-ี : sà-rà ee has a long duration with phonetic sound ee
Another thing to note in this lesson, is that the letter อ : aw àhng is a member of this consonant group and is silent when it is the first letter of a word. However, it is more commonly seen in Thai as a vowel making a long "aw" sound. When this letter is a vowel, we call it -อ : sà-rà aw . Keep this in mind and we will see some examples in the Word lessons later.
However, please know that Thai people will never say -อ : sà-rà aw but will always say อ : aw àhng . We differentiate the name in these introductory lessons to try to lessen the confusion between when the letter is a vowel and when it is a consonant.
And finally, note that Thai vowels can go before, above, below, after, and around consonants. In this lesson, we have เ- which goes before the initial consonant, -ู which is below, -ำ and -า come after, and -ิ -ี and -ั go above the consonant. The "-" is not a part of the letter, it merely shows you where the consonant will go.
Here is a list of the vowel letters that are covered in this lesson. Most (but not all) Thai vowels names start with the word sà-rà which means vowel. The word after sà-rà is the sound that the vowel makes