Do you know why we have ศ ษ ส in Thai?

Do you know why we have ศ ษ ส in Thai?

In Thai language, there are 3 /s/ sounds in high class consonant. Students might wonder how to use them and why we have 3 different symbols just to represent only one sound.

Actually, we follow the origin of words in writing system although we might not pronounce them as the native speakers do. In Sanskrit language, there are ศ ษ and ส because they pronounce them differently.

If you know how to read and write Thai, you will notice that Pali language and Sanskrit language influence Thai language deeply. In Pali and Thai, there are only ส while the 3 consonants are used in Sanskrit. That means all words with ศ or ษ are originally from Sanskrit.

During 1940 – 1944, the government of Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram specified to use only ส; however, ศ and ษ resumed again after that. Nowadays we write ศ ษ or ส following the writing rules of Pali-Sanskrit.

If you don’t have any clues about Pali-Sanskrit, I’d like to suggest you to remember words by heart. If not, feel free to learn both before coming back to learn Thai. LOL  Have fun!!!

Some example words of ศ

ประกาศ              (n/v)         announce; announcement

พฤศจิกายน         (n)            November

พิศ                    (v)            look, watch

เลิศ                   (adj/adv)   excellent

ศรัทธา               (v)            believe in

ศัตรู                   (n)            enemy

ศาล                   (n)            court; shrine

ศาสนา               (n)            religion

 

Some example words of ษ

กษัตริย์               (n)            king

พฤษภาคม          (n)            May

พิษ                    (n)            poison

ภาษา                 (n)            language

ภาษี                  (n)            tax

รักษา                 (v)            medical treat, cure

 

Some example words of ส

ทาส                  (n)            slave

พฤหัสบดี           (n)            Thursday

วาสนา               (n)            fortune, destiny

สงฆ์                  (n)            monk

สวรรค์                (n)            heaven

สัตย์                   (n/adj)      honest

สัตว์                   (n)            animal

สาร                    (n)            text, message

สูตร                   (n)            formula

หงส์                   (n)            swan

โอกาส               (n)            opportunity

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