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Hot What's the tone?
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  1. #1
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    What's the tone?

    In light of all the other threads that are helping immensely with my comprehension (the essay challenge and the what would you say in this situation thread), I thought I would add another to help other beginners like me who have to think a little too hard to decide the tone of the word.

    I'd like it to become an automatic response, and for that to happen, I think a little drill-and-kill is in order (just like how I learned my multiplication tables ).

    The idea is that one person will post a word, say:

    ชื่อ

    And the next person will have to not only say what tone it is, but why it is that tone.

    Here, the answer would be falling because ช is a low class consonant and low class consonants + siang to (่) = a falling tone.

    Then I would post a new word for the next person to analyze. Say, หนังสือ

    Any takers?

  2. #2
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    That's a great idea!

    I'd like to try the first one...
    หนังสือ - both syllables are rising.
    reasons:
    - น is a low class consonant, and together with ห in front of a live syllable it will become rising
    - ส is a high class consonant which will give a rising tone with live syllables when no tone marks are used.
    is that correct?

    haha... it took me about ten minutes to figure this out, plus I had to use the dictionary to check... Will I ever be able to read any sentence out load without practising a hundred times before?

    I'm not sure if the terms 'live' and 'dead' syllables are commonly used... I learned them from Benjawan Poomsan's dictionary. Any comments?

    Here's the next challenge:
    ดอกไม้

    Oh and I have an idea: How about adding the length of the syllables (short/long)? At least for me, this is always a problem if it's not clearly visible from the vowels used...
    life is wonderful!

  3. #3
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    One quick thing: Make sure you distinguish between เสียงเอก,โท,ตรี,จัตวา and ไม้เอก,โท,ตรี,จัตวา

    (Side note: เอก, โท, ตรี, จัตวา are borrowed Indic words which mean 1,2,3,4)

    เสียง + number = The name of the tone, regardless of the tone mark
    ไม้ + number = The name of the tone mark, which can produce different tones with different consonant classes

    ไม้เอก = The symbol ่
    ไม้โท = The symbol ้
    ไม้ตรี = The symbol ๊
    ไม้จัตวา = The symbol ๋

    เสียงสามัญ = middle/level tone (literally means "common tone")
    เสียงเอก = low tone
    เสียงโท = falling tone
    เสียงตรี = high tone
    เสียงจัตวา = rising tone

    So:
    ชื่อ is low class + ไม้เอก = เสียงโท

    If you says low class + เสียงโท = falling tone, that's redundant.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Rikker for giving a nice reference for the thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by maipenrai99
    haha... it took me about ten minutes to figure this out, plus I had to use the dictionary to check... Will I ever be able to read any sentence out load without practising a hundred times before?
    I've almost got it sorted out. In fact, I don't have that much trouble with tones because I learned the consonants in tone groups and the cheat sheet I used for a long time is grouped like that. I'm now trying to learn alphabetical order and to remember the names of all the consonants.
    [/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by maipenrai99
    I'm not sure if the terms 'live' and 'dead' syllables are commonly used... I learned them from Benjawan Poomsan's dictionary. Any comments?
    I thought that was the usual term, though this site uses the terms "open" and "closed": http://www.thai-language.com/default.aspx?ref=vowels
    Can someone tell us the Thai terms? If you're trying to discuss this stuff with Thais, even Thais who speak English, it's probably better to use the Thai term, which I can do for tones, as per Rikker's post.

    Quote Originally Posted by maipenrai99
    Oh and I have an idea: How about adding the length of the syllables (short/long)? At least for me, this is always a problem if it's not clearly visible from the vowels used...
    I think that pages 243,244,250 of Thai for Beginners (p74-75 is also useful) or 30-33 of the Dictionary is all you need under normal circumstances. The link I gave above has various exceptions, but there will always be exceptions to rules.

    [Like ไหม ]
    ไมค์

  5. #5
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    ดอกไม้
    ดอก middle class + dead = low
    ไม้ low class + mai too = high

    (Sorry, it takes me too long to type all the technicalities in Thai).

    How about these two?
    สวัส and สบาย
    ไมค์

  6. #6
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    with love

    If those are too tricky, the vowel length, liveness, etc are important in this sentence:
    ผม รัก คุณ มาก
    ไมค์

  7. #7
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    Live = คำเป็น
    Dead = คำตาย

    I'm not sure if the concept originated in Thai and was translated as live and dead in English, or vice versa. But it's familiar (at least vaguely) to any literate Thai.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikenz66
    I thought that was the usual term, though this site uses the terms "open" and "closed": http://www.thai-language.com/default.aspx?ref=vowels
    No, 'open' and 'closed' just refer to the absence or presence of a final consonant. The treatment of final /w/, /j/ ('j' as in IPA and German) and /?/ varies enormously from author to author. The difference between open and closed affects how the vowel is written.

    'Live' and 'dead' are normally described as being the terms of native grammarians, and I can't conceive of any likely English origin. As the collocations are คำเป็น and คำตาย, it seems highly unlikely to be a term of foreign origin.

  9. #9
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    สวัส and สบาย
    ผม รัก คุณ มาก

    Alrighty...
    สวัส = The first syllable is a low tone because the first syllable is a high class consonant with a short vowel, which equals low, and the second syllable is a low class consonant with a short vowel and a dead syllable (because of the ending consonant) and should be a high tone. I'm pretty sure, though, that in สวัสดี the first two syllables are low... so am I totally off here?

    สบาย = The first syllable is low for the same reason given above. The second syllable is mid because it is a middle class consonant and a long vowel/live syllable

    ผม = rising because of the high class consonant and the sonorant final/live syllable

    รัก = high tone because of the low class consonant, short vowel & dead syllable

    คุณ = mid tone because of the low class consonant and live syllable

    มาก = falling tone because of the low class consonant and the long vowel + dead syllable. And I'll add that I only knew the tone for this one because of memorization, and know that I know *why* it has the tone it does, I should be able to make use of that rule.

    Next word:
    ได้ยิน

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mskedi
    สวัส = The first syllable is a low tone because the first syllable is a high class consonant with a short vowel, which equals low, and the second syllable is a low class consonant with a short vowel and a dead syllable (because of the ending consonant) and should be a high tone. I'm pretty sure, though, that in สวัสดี the first two syllables are low... so am I totally off here?
    Spot on.
    What you have encountered here is best called the 'transferred tone rule' (though 'irregular tone rule' is the only name I'm sure I've encountered). If a syllable does not begin with an oral stop or fricative, and in the spelling there is an oral stop consonant in the same word immediately before it or separated from it only by, that stop may determine the tone. The rule mostly applies to words of two syllables and their compounds, and has a corresponding rule in Khmer and Cham.
    ผม = rising because of the high class consonant and the sonorant final/live syllable
    But it is a generally unstressed 'grammatical' word, and therefore it is usually pronounced in the high tone rather than the rising tone.
    ได้ยิน
    Falling (mid class + mai tho), mid (low class + live).

    That's a good example for *drill*. Next drill example: วันเกิด. Hard word: กำเนิด

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