Sunday, February 3, 2013

Tai Sound Review: Colloquial Thai (Central Thai/Siamese)

In Tai Sound Review, I will mainly discuss sound merges across Tai languages.
Siamese aka Spoken Thai is mainly spoken in the central region of Thailand. Such area includes Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand. The standard form of Siamese is called Standard Thai which is an official language of Thailand.

Common Features (after Tone Split)

  • No distinction between r (ร) and l (ล). The former is pronounced like the latter; both are pronounced as /l/. 
  • No distinction among ʔj, j, and ɲ (อย, ย, ญ respectively). All are pronounced as /j/ (ย).
  • Older generation may pronounce tr (ตร) as k (ก). Thus for these people, there is no distinction between tr and k.
  • No distinction between kʰ (ข) and x (ฃ). Both are pronounced as kʰ (ข).
  • A few may pronounce kw and kʰw (กว,ขว,คว) as f (ฝ, ฟ). Thus, no distinction among kw, kʰw, and f.
  • All consonant clusters are simplified, e.g. kl (กล) becomes k (ก), except stop+w clusters, e.g. kw (กว).
  • Some may pronounce s (ซ, ส, ศ, ษ) as /ɬ/.
  • No distinction between -aj (ไ) and -aɯ (ใ). Both are pronounced as /aj/.
  • Historic voiced stops became aspirated voiceless stops. E.g. *d > tʰ (ท).
  • There is no distinction between tone 3 and 5, e.g. ข้า and ค่า are pronounced the same way, i.e. kʰâa. Both have falling tone.


Alex Wei said...

Interesting read.
Is there a reference to your tone numbers?

Alif Silpachai said...

Tones 1 2 3 are used to represent
middle and high class consonants (historic aspirated voiceless and glottalized consonants) without a tone marker (tone 1), with mai ek (tone 2), and mai tho (tone 3) respectively. e.g. ขา (tone 1) ข่า (tone 2), and ข้า (tone 3).

Tones 4 5 6 are used to represent
low class consonants (historic voiced consonants -glottalized) without a tone marker (tone 4), with mai ek (tone 5), and mai tho (tone 6) respectively. e.g. คา (tone 4) ค่า (tone 5), and ค้า (tone 6).

Alex Wei said...

So the low class consonants were historically glottalized as well? In that case what would the difference between ด and ท, บ and พ then?

Alif Silpachai said...

"-glottalized" means "minus glottalized", or "without glottalized". So,sounds like บ ด อย are not included here.

Brian Guo (Guō Xuǎn-Tóng) GXT said...

I hear most people pronounce ข ฃ ค ฅ ฆ as [x] rather than [kh]. But you say that these sounds have merged into [kh].

Alif Silpachai said...

Brian Guo (Guō Xuǎn-Tóng) GXT
I think the kh is changing to x now especially with younger people