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OOLEEBER

Help With Some Terms

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In trying to figure out how to pronunce letters I'm at the stumbling block of not knowing most of the tems used to describe speech.

Below is a quote from Richard W from another thread wich left me baffled. Could someone please offer descriptions of these terms and any others that come to mind.

Also I'm clueless about the different classes of consonants.

Thanks folks

Ollie

Voiceless stop from voiced stop:

ต from ด

ฏ from ฎ

ป from บ

(In Indian languages, the original consonant represented a voiceless stop.)

High class fricative from high class aspirate:

ฃ from ข

ฝ from ผ

Low class fricative from low class aspirate:

ฅ from ค

ซ from ช

ฟ from พ

(The low class fricative used to be voiced, and the low class aspirate used to be a voiced stop.)

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Hi Oleeber,

If you are seriously interested in basic linguistics, try this book, which is very easy to read, entertaining, and provides you with the required terminology to understand what we are on about (even Richard;)):

An Introduction to Language, Sixth Edition, Harcourt Brace. Authors: Victoria Fromkin and Robert Rodman. ISBN: 0-03-018682

Website: http://www.hbcollege.com

It starts from English, but contains examples from a multitude of the world's languages. One great feature is that it uses contemporary comics to illustrate each point (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, The Far Side and so on).

Cheers,

Meadish

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Nice one Meadish.

Thanks for that. I'll try to find it when I'm in Sydney next week.

Good Onya Maaytey

:o

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The distinction High, Middle and Low consonants are a very Thai (or at least Tai) phenomenon. Tai is the language family of which Central Thai is a member. This distinction is not something you will learn about in basic books on linguistics, so learn about it here:

http://www.thailandcentral.com/Elangcon.html

The following info can be found, and perhaps be explained better elsewhere, but I'll volunteer anyway. These features Richard mention are normally called attributes

Voiced as opposed to voiceless: The difference between the initial sound in the words

zeal - voiced

and

seal - voiceless

THE ADDED BUZZ is the voice feature.

and between

pear - voiceless

and

bear - voiced

You can test if a consonant sound is voiced by uttering it in isolation with your fingers pressed against your larynx (Adam's apple). If your larynx vibrates when you utter the sound, it is voiced. Do not say 'bee' for B, say only the consonant sound [ 'b' ]. We are not dealing with the letters themselves here, but with the sounds in a word which they normally represent.

Aspirated as opposed to unaspirated

This difference is not phonematic in English, but it is in Thai. Do you know how to distinguish

ปลา plaa (sometimes transcribed as 'pblaa' to indicate that there is no puff of air after the consonant sound.

from

พลา phlaa (the 'h' in the transcription means to represent the puff of air which follows before the 'aa' sound.)

When there IS a puff of air after the consonant sound, the sound is called aspirated. When there is NO puff, it is called unaspirated.

A 'stop' is a sound which is stopped completely in the oral cavity for a brief period

the final sounds in the words top, dude, dune, root, rack, rag, rang are stops.

Cheers,

Meadish

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Voiced as opposed to voiceless: The difference between the initial sound in the words

zeal - voiced

and

seal - voiceless

THE ADDED BUZZ is the voice feature.

and between

pear - voiceless

and

bear - voiced

You can test if a consonant sound is voiced by uttering it in isolation with your fingers pressed against your larynx (Adam's apple). If your larynx vibrates when you utter the sound, it is voiced. Do not say 'bee' for B, say only the consonant sound [ 'b' ]. We are not dealing with the letters themselves here, but with the sounds in a word which they normally represent.

Don't worry if you find the buzzing hard to detect in 'bear'. It's very brief in English compared to other languages (e.g. Polish, to quote one Polish university teacher of English), and actually reported to be absent in the speech of a significant number of Californians! (That study was done in California, so there needn't be anything special about California.) There've been flame wars over whether English /d/ is voiced at the start of a word. The difference between 'pear' and 'bear' largely rests in the aspiration, which is why to English ears ไป /pai/ 'go' sounds much more like 'buy' than 'pie'.

A 'stop' is a sound which is stopped completely in the oral cavity for a brief period

the final sounds in the words top, dude, dune, root, rack, rag, rang are stops.

I trust Meadish meant the initial sounds. The composite 'j' sound in June and the 'ch' sound in 'chap' are also 'stops'. ('Ch' is composed of 't' plus a short 'sh', and 'j' decomposes similarly.)

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Thank you Meadish and thank you Richard

I'm learning a little every day and really do find this fascinating.

Thanks for the link meadish. I used http://www.omniglot.com/writing/thai.htm

which I now note has been updated but did and still does lack the detail pertinent to my specific stage of learning.

Or maybe I'm just too stupid to understand. I'll get there though. There's no stopping enthusiasm.

Thanks again guys. I really appreciate your help and insights.

O

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The distinction High, Middle and Low consonants are a very Thai (or at least Tai) phenomenon. Tai is the language family of which Central Thai is a member. This distinction is not something you will learn about in basic books on linguistics, so learn about it here:

http://www.thailandcentral.com/Elangcon.html

You may find it revealing to write the first part of the alphabet, ก to ม, like an incomplete periodic table (even the rule of 8 applies!). You will have to leave gaps. Leave the gaps so that high consonants are above one another, and middle consonants likewise. After a little tinkering, you will find that you have a nice arrangement revealing several patterns.

I have drawn the alphabet up thus in my presentation of the Thai consonants.

The Indians started this, with a nice 5 by 5 grid. The Thais then inserted 8 consonants, leaving 7 gaps. To be fair, the 3 gaps between ฃ /kh/ and ฝ /f/ could be filled by the 3 high class /s/ letters. I wonder if the Indians didn't do this because it would have left two gaps in a 5 by 6 grid.

Yo ying (ญ) spoils the pattern; it used to be pronounced like Spanish ñ. So so (ซ) also seems to be slightly anomalous, like Devanagari <z>.

Edited by Richard W

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A 'stop' is a sound which is stopped completely in the oral cavity for a brief period

the final sounds in the words top, dude, dune, root, rack, rag, rang are stops.

I'm having problems with this Meadish.

I understand "top, root, rack and rag" because the mouth must change before the next word can be formed (I think) but with "dune and rang" there is a rolling feel to the end of these words and it doesn't feel like a "stop" to me.

For example, the area Rang Sit, rolls of my tougue in one.

Where am I going wrong in my understanding here?

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are u a native english (american) speaker?

americans from my area, maryland, say: dune with a quick stop at the end, where as deep southerners probably would say: duuuuunnne.

and we say rang almost as if the 'g' gets stuck in your throat, not ranggggggg.

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Native English (Scottish) speaker but with very little accent now (I'm told).

Would that make much difference?

I have drawn the alphabet up thus in my presentation of the Thai consonants.

Very useful Richard and much simpler to understand than any I've seen before.

Thanks

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I took those examples of stops from the book I recommended, which is based on standard American pronunciation. I was a bit surprised myself to see 'n' and 'ng' as stops. (I was originally taught to speak RP (the Queen's English, BBC English) but have been in contact with so many separate groups of English speakers that my accent is now a mid-Atlantic mish-mash with a few antipodean attributes. Unless I make an effort to speak RP that is, but it feels unnatural and fake to me)

So I think Bina is right, in standard American English, they are stops, whereas in the UK variations of English, they are not (you could probably write a thesis on this...).

But let's not get stuck on that definition, because it is actually not important for the description of Thai, which is what we are learning.

In Thai, you will probably be relieved to hear, the sounds 'ng', 'm', 'n', 'y' and 'w' in final positions are referred to as 'sonorants' and not 'stops'.

Their main distinctive feature is that unlike the other consonant sounds, they can carry the tone (and by tone in this case, I mean either of the five phonematic tones of Thai - mid, low, falling, high, rising).

The Thai consonants and their sound values

ง is represented by a "ng" when it comes at the end.

น, ณ, ร, ล, ฬ, ญ are represented by a "n" when they come at the end.

ม is represented by a "m" when it comes at the end.

ย, ว are represented by a "y" when they come at the end.

Sometimes, อ aw aang is also included here, because its function shifts between consonant and vowel depending on the environment in which it occurs.

My 2 cents again, I am sure Richard will have something to add to this.

Cheers,

Meadish

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The Thai consonants and their sound values

ง is represented by a "ng" when it comes at the end.

น, ณ, ร, ล, ฬ, ญ are represented by a "n" when they come at the end.

ม is represented by a "m" when it comes at the end.

ย, ว are represented by a "y" when they come at the end.

There's a slight typo there. I'm sure Meadish meant to write:

ย is represented by a "y" when it comes at the end.

ว is represented by a "w" when it comes at the end.

There is one minor exception - words spelt like ตัว /[M]tua/.

I'm tempted to treat sara a (ะ) as a consonant and say that it is represented by a glottal stop. In alphabetic order it comes immediately after the consonants. I think it descends from the Indian visarga, which is a final /h/ normally transcribed as h with a dot under it.

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Richard and meadish thank you again.

I've noticed that snowleopards usual enthusiastic contributions are somewhat absent. I mention this only because I cant stop thinking ( and laughing) about ...cheese..

Cheers guys

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ย is represented by a "y" when it comes at the end.

ว is represented by a "w" when it comes at the end.

There is one minor exception - words spelt like ตัว /[M]tua/.

Firstly I take Tua to mean the classifier i.e. whua tua song - two cows?

But what confused me here ( and if I'm right then I'll have learned something huge today) is this:

Consonant 'T' / vowel above 'A'(short) consonant 'W' ฅัว i would read that as 'taw' not 'tua' so I'm going wrong big time with this.

Just had a long conversation with the wife and her nephew:

เเระ Let (pronounced with a distinct 'stop') 1st vowel ehh (long) / consonant L/ 2nd vowel a (short).

I would have read this as L'eh'a or leeea. My question is what on earth is going on with the rules in the thai language concerning vowels. In english two vowels together give a different variation of a vowel sound but I would appear that in Thai, vowel/consonant/vowel has the same effect. (as if there were not enough vowels already). I guess what I'm asking is.. are there specific rules or guidlines or is it similar to english in that, yuo know you know but youre not sure why you know... it just is... ???? :o

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ย is represented by a "y" when it comes at the end.

ว is represented by a "w" when it comes at the end.

There is one minor exception - words spelt like ตัว /[M]tua/.

Firstly I take Tua to mean the classifier i.e. whua tua song - two cows?

But what confused me here ( and if I'm right then I'll have learned something huge today) is this:

Consonant 'T' / vowel above 'A'(short) consonant 'W' ฅัว i would read that as 'taw' not 'tua' so I'm going wrong big time with this.

[M]wua [RS]sorng [M]tua !

Cardinals are the one type of 'adjective' that precede the noun - except that the RID classifies them as nouns. Perhaps we should analyse the phrase as 'cows, a duo of bodies'.

As you say, one would naturally expect ตัว to be *[M]taw. I suspect it was introduced in some spelling reform, possibly as an alternative to *ตวะ. An interesting word to compare this with ยวน [M]yuan 'Greek', for which the normal precedents would yield *[M/H]ya[M]won, from Sanskrit yavana. Clearly -awa- or -awo- was felt to be close enough to -ua- (which cannot occur in Sanskrit) to use the same spelling, and this seems to have influenced the pronunciation of ยวน. Have we any historians of Thai spelling?

เเระ Let (pronounced with a distinct 'stop') 1st vowel ehh (long) / consonant L/ 2nd vowel a (short).

I would have read this as L'eh'a or leeea. My question is what on earth is going on with the rules in the thai language concerning vowels. In english two vowels together give a different variation of a vowel sound but I would appear that in Thai, vowel/consonant/vowel has the same effect. (as if there were not enough vowels already).
Saying แระ is vowel + consonant + vowel is misleading. If Michael Everson had had his way, I'm sure Unicode would insist that this be stored ร, แ, ะ. I have a text book that says (effectively) that แม่ is spelt out 'mo ma sara ae mai ek' (to use the Unicode spellings). Sara a (ะ) always implies that the preceding vowel is short. Lao goes further: the other /a/ vowel replaces the Thai vowel shortening symbol maitaikhuu.
I guess what I'm asking is.. are there specific rules or guidlines or is it similar to english in that, yuo know you know but youre not sure why you know... it just is...   ???? :o

There are rules - spelling Thai vowels in monosyllables is not difficult if you can hear them properly, but the rules as to whether a consonant is needed seem a bit complicated. The only one with any complexity is /ai/, and part of the complexity there arises from the fact that the sounds represented by mai muan and mai malaai were originally different, and still are in parts of Thailand.

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BANGKOK 20 July 2018 04:16
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