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  1. #1
    fanz Guest
    I know your overall goal is to teach all learners to read and write with thai alphabet characters. However, during the learning process it is helpful to supplement the language learning with transliterations which give a close similarity to actual sounds. Whatever transliteration system you use copmpletely confounds me! I feel quite comfortable with the system used by AUA and by Paiboon Publishing.

    My question is: does anyone know how to create or download the additional english language symbols or alphabet characters to be able to type the transliterations on a computer keyboard?

  2. #2
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    Thanks for your comments. Although the systems used by AUA and Paiboon may be good they have two major problems for us.

    (1) It uses special characters which we don't have on our keyboard. I guess we would also need a special font to do this too. If we are able to set up our computers to do this then every single visitor to the site, (several thousand every every day) would have to download the special font to be able to read it.

    (2) Although their system is probably better than our own, it is basically a foreign language. If you are not already familiar with it, you would have to learn how to read it first. So, if you are coming here to learn Thai, you would also need to learn this other language as well. Very daunting. Don't forget we would also have to teach our students how to use it too. Some of them are only 11!

    OK, we admit that our system is not that perfect, but are there any perfect ones out there? There are quite a few Thai sounds that cannot be reproduced in Roman letters. We have seen some language books/phrasebooks books that in our opinion produce wrong sounds. We tested this out with visitors to our scool before we produced our own transliteration system. Most people agreed that ours was the nearest to the actual sounds produced.

    Our main problem of course is that the language pages are constructed by several hundred students. We are now producing a guide for our students to use when they make up web pages for the language web sites. At the moment some of the older pages are not consistant with the newer ones. These will all have to be updated. And of course people make mistakes when they type this "strange" language.

    Visitors to the site who post on these boards will of course be using their own system.

    Like we say on the site, and as you mentioned yourself, we prefer people not to waste their time by learning these "dead" languages but learn how to read and write Thai right from the start. You will save a lot of time in the long run. We only give transliteration as a guide. You will see on some pages for more advanced learners that we don't give the guide at all.

    I know this didn't really answer your question, but I thought we should explain ourselves. I too would be interested to learn more about typing using these codes.

  3. #3
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    I think these characters are done with the international Phonetic alphabet

    Fonts
    http://www.sil.org/computing/fonts/encore-ipa.html

    Webpages
    http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/ipa-unicode.htm

    Symobls list
    http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/IPA/fullchart.html

    This system is probably ideal for getting the correct sounds if you have an academic background in phonetics and linguistics, but I don't think it's all that accessible to everyone else. There doesn't seem much point to me in forcing people to learn an intermediary language to get closer to the sounds instead of just going straight to learning to read Thai. I think without learning to read Thai it is difficult to progress much beyond basic phrases whatever transliteration system is used, so it is right to put the emphasis on doing this rather than the transliteration.

    It seems is pretty much a thankless task, as whichever system is used some people are going to find unsatisfactory. Personally I find their system pretty good, except I never think that อั- sounds anything like 'u', but I guess elsewhere in the world for people with different accents it probably does.

    BTW as well as the Paiboon books you might also like David Smyth's book "Thai: An Essential Grammar" as it also uses these symbols.

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