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  1. #1
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    Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    HI,

    I am brand new at learning Thai. English is my native language but I am fluent in Vietnamese, reading, writing, listening (well almost fluent) and speaking (they can't shut me up).

    So, I was on my way back from Thailand on my last trip to Vietnam and found that I was very frustrated not being able to read the signs and communicate in Thai, so I decided to learn Thai.

    I have been learning the consonants first and I have a simple question, well, I think it is simple. I realize that the vowels can be written over, under before or after? the consonant. So here are my questions:

    1) When we write or type Thai, do the characters get written/typed in order of pronunciation or in order from left to right? Meaning, if the vowel comes before the consonant, but the consonant gets annunciated (spoken) first then do we write it as said or as seen on paper/screen?

    2) Do the accent marks get written after all the letters are written?

    3) The number one, "1" is written with the ho heeb/ho hip (not sure how to romanize) as the first letter, but it does not begin with an "H" sound. Why? Maybe that letter is silent or performs some other function?

    Thanks for your help!

    John

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    Welcome to the forums, John! This is the place to bring your questions... I'll do my best to take a stab at the questions, and I'm sure others will chime in, too.

    1) When we write or type Thai, do the characters get written/typed in order of pronunciation or in order from left to right? Meaning, if the vowel comes before the consonant, but the consonant gets annunciated (spoken) first then do we write it as said or as seen on paper/screen?
    Vowell placement does not change the pronunciation. Every word will start with a consonant sound (even a silent อ that allows the vowell to be heard first). The word for mother has two sounds. A consonant sound of 'M' -- ม and the vowell sound of 'ae' (romanization is always tricky) -- แ
    This word is spelled with the vowell first แม่ but that is just because that is the proper placement for a แ vowell. You still pronounce the consonant first.

    2) Do the accent marks get written after all the letters are written?
    That's a good question... I am not sure if it is a style issue or not. I personally write the tone marks after each word, but I'm not sure how Thais are taught.

    3) The number one, "1" is written with the ho heeb/ho hip (not sure how to romanize) as the first letter, but it does not begin with an "H" sound. Why? Maybe that letter is silent or performs some other function?
    Yes, in this situation ... and quite often in Thai language, ห is used to help change the tone of the word, but the actual pronunciation is silent.

    Hope this helped!

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    Pailin,

    Thanks for the quick reply, I have a follow up.

    On question # 1, what I was trying to get at is, Do you write the characters in the order they come in from left to right, or do you write the first sound first, then write the vowel (which comes before the consonant) so, I am thinking you write the consonant then you go back to the left and write the vowel before the consonant. So, my tendency would be to write the characters in the order they are said which means you/I will be going back and forth as we write the words. Does my question make sense?

    So I guess ห changes the word into whatever the rules are for a High Class consonant since ห is a High consonant, right?

    Thanks,

    John

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    Oh, I see... when you're writing out sentences....how do you write them? I start at the beginning of the word and write the vowells first. You need to know how to space it out...it's hard to go back in and squeeze vowells you forgot.

    So I guess ห changes the word into whatever the rules are for a High Class consonant since ห is a High consonant, right?
    Yes... there are some consonants that can't make all of the tones and ห helps them do that. It's called an อักษรนำ (hahaha -- for those that have seen me recently posting on that -- it's nice to know the official word). You can look Here for more information... ...and if you haven't found it already http://thai2english.com can be your best friend for translating thai text.

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    Pailin,

    Excellent! That helps alot.

    I am going to check out that web site, I did not know about that yet.

    Thanks,

    John

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    I look forward to your future posts! We all learn from each others questions, and answers!

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    Quote Originally Posted by majnam2002 View Post
    On question # 1, what I was trying to get at is, Do you write the characters in the order they come in from left to right, or do you write the first sound first, then write the vowel (which comes before the consonant) so, I am thinking you write the consonant then you go back to the left and write the vowel before the consonant. So, my tendency would be to write the characters in the order they are said which means you/I will be going back and forth as we write the words. Does my question make sense?
    Hi John

    As far as I can tell from watching my wife writing shopping lists she writes everything from left to right and doesn't go back to add anything.

    But that is just my impression, she writes too quickly for me to follow sometimes.

    David

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    Quote Originally Posted by David_Loves_Ubonwan View Post

    As far as I can tell from watching my wife writing shopping lists she writes everything from left to right and doesn't go back to add anything.

    David
    Yes, that's right. By the way, John, are you able to view the Thai characters here? I'll assume you are.

    As an example, take the word บ้าน (house). First is written, then the tone mark above it is written, then the vowel is written, and finally the is written.

    Another example: เป็น (to be, is, are). First the vowel is written, then the is written, then the mark above the (which changes the vowel into a short vowel) is written, then the is written.

    Hope this helps a little. Keep studying, you'll get it before you know it!

    DogoDon

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    As a further question to this, am I also correct in thinking if a consonant has something written both below and above it then it is normal to write below it first?

    David

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    Re: Writing basics in Thai - what order?

    DogoDon,

    Thanks, that is exactly the details I was looking for, thanks. I can view Thai fonts, but I cannot type them, yet.....

    Any suggestions on keyboards or keyboard drivers for US computer keyboards?

    Thanks,

    John

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