Category: thai writing

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

Do you know what พอ /por/ means?

Do you know what พอ /por/ means?

First of all, please don’t mix between พอ /por/, middle tone and พ่อ /pôr/, falling tone. When we talk about dad, we say ‘พ่อ’ /pôr/. It’s falling tone!

  1. พอ /por/ = enough
  • เขามีเงินไม่พอซื้อบ้าน /káo mee ngern mâi por séu bâan/
  • He doesn’t have enough money to buy a house.
  • “เอาข้าวอีกไหมคะ” “พอแล้วครับ” /ao kâaw èeg mái ká/ /por láew kráb/
  • “Some more rice?” “(I’m) enough.”
  1. พอ /por/ = As soon as; when
  • พอเขามาถึง ฝนก็ตก /por káo maa teŭng fŏn gôr dtòg/
  • As soon as she/he arrived, it rained.
  • พอเขาเรียนจบ เขาก็ไปทำงานที่ต่างประเทศ / por káo rian jòb káo gôr bpai tam-ngaan têe dtàang-bprà-têd/
  • When she/he graduated, she/he went to work abroad.

There are some other compound words and expressions with ‘พอ’ /por/, such as

  1. พอใจ /por-jai/ = satisfy
  • เขาพอใจกับบริการของเรา /káo por-jai gàb bor-ri-gaan kŏrng rao/
  • She/he is satisfied with our service.
  1. พอดี /por-dee/ = fit, just right
  • รองเท้าคู่นี้ใส่พอดี /rorng-táo kôo née sâi por-dee/
  • This pair of shoes is fit.
  1. พอใช้(ได้) /por-chái(dâi)/ = fairly (well)
  • พนักงานคนใหม่ทำงานพอใช้ได้ /pa-nág-ngaan kon mâi tam-ngaan por-chái-dâi/
  • The new employee work fairly well.
  1. พอ(ๆ)กัน /por(por)-gan/ = equal
  • ฉันกับน้องสาวสูงพอ ๆ กัน /chán gàb nŏrng-săaw sŏong por-por-gan/
  • My sister and I have equal height.
  1. พอกันที /por-gan-tee/ = I’ve had enough!, I’ve had it (up to here)!
  • เขาไม่เคยมีเวลาให้ฉันเลย  พอกันที /káo mâi kery mee we-laa hâi chán lery   por-gan-tee/
  • He never has time for me. I’ve had it!

I hope that you enjoy reading my articles and learning Thai. Don’t have had it up to here with Thai lessons! LOL

Do you know why we have ฃ and ฅ?

Do you know why we have ฃ and ฅ?

If you’d like to learn how to read and write Thai, normally you will start with alphabets, right?

In Thai language, there are 44 consonant letters. It’s funny because there are 2 characters which we don’t use anymore, but we still count them as part of our alphabets. Any ideas?

Right, I’m talking about ฃ and ฅ.

So, when did ฃ and ฅ be created and for what reason?

For the first question, we have got evidence from the King Ramkhamhaeng Insription, aka Ram Khamhaeng Stele (composed in 1292), that we did have these two letters starting from the beginning.

Referring to the inscription, you could find some examples of ฃ and ฅ, such as ฃึ้น, ฃุน, ฃาม, ฅำ, ฅู้ม, ฅวาม etc. and these two still be used until Rattanakosin Era (1782 – present).

ฃ and ฅ were left from the writing system firstly when the first Thai typewriter was developed by Edwin Hunter McFarland in 1892. Why? No space for all letters!

Although these two were still be used popularly in King Vajiravudh’s reign (1910 – 1925), their usage became less and less after that until there were only one word of each left: เฃตร and ฅอ.

When Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram, locally known as Chomphon Por; contemporarily known as Phibun in the West, served as the Prime Minister of Thailand (1948 – 1957), many consonant letters and vowels were eliminated from the writing system. Of course, ฃ and ฅ were included.

The others consonants have resumed their usage after Chomphon Por’s period of time but not these two consonants.

So, we are back to the second question. If they were not that important why did we have them?

From many of Thai specialists’ assumptions, they do believe that at the beginning, ฃ and ฅ must represent different sounds from ข and ค respectively but nobody really knows which sounds exactly.

Do you know all the Thai consonants which represent /k/ sound?