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SKORPiO

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I'm in the early stages if learning Thai and on numerous occasions I have stumbled on similarly spelled Thai word and the pronunciation doesn't make any sense to me. Those are words with two "ro" "ร" consonants next to each other.

The word is:

น่าอัศจรรย์ - naaF atL saL jan[y]M - wonderful

and I cant figure out where does "sa" and "jan" sound come from. Its specific to that double "ro" consonant.

Is there a rule for this?

Please help, regards, Bartek.

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I'm in the early stages if learning Thai and on numerous occasions I have stumbled on similarly spelled Thai word and the pronunciation doesn't make any sense to me. Those are words with two "ro" "ร" consonants next to each other.

The word is:

น่าอัศจรรย์ - naaF atL saL jan[y]M - wonderful

and I cant figure out where does "sa" and "jan" sound come from. Its specific to that double "ro" consonant.

Is there a rule for this?

Please help, regards, Bartek.

You hit it right on the head: there are two specific rules which cover "รร". Kumchai Thonglaw in his "Principles of the Thai Language" demonstrates the two uses of the "รร":

  • เป็นตัวสกดด้วยกัน where รร acts as a vowel /-a/) located before a sounded-out consonant, as in the words "ตรรค", "ธรรม", "อรรถ", etc.
  • การันต์ตัวหลัง where the "รร" is not followed by a sounded-out consonant; in this case the "รร" is found at the end of the syllable and the sound comes out as /-an/. This is called, by the way, a "ร หัน".As

As for "น่าอัศจรรย์ - naaF atL saL jan[y]M - wonderful" you will find in a number of Thai words a dual use of a consonant located at the end of a syllable within a longer word. The consonant is pronounced as a final sound of the first syllable, then as an initial sound of the subsequent syllable, most often coupled with an /a/ sound, just like in your example, "atL saL".

Here are just a few examples:

มัคนายก /mákˑkʰáˑnāːˑjók/ [N] liaison, temple official

ทัศนคติ /tʰátˑsàˑnáˑkʰàˑtì/ [N] attitude

รัฐธรรมนูญ /rátˑtʰáˑtʰāmˑmáˑnūːn/ [N] constitution

Edited by DavidHouston
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As for "น่าอัศจรรย์ - naaF atL saL jan[y]M - wonderful" you will find in a number of Thai words a dual use of a consonant located at the end of a syllable within a longer word. The consonant is pronounced as a final sound of the first syllable, then as an initial sound of the subsequent syllable, most often coupled with an /a/ sound, just like in your example, "atL saL".

Here are just a few examples:

มัคนายก /mákˑkʰáˑnāːˑjók/ [N] liaison, temple official

ทัศนคติ /tʰátˑsàˑnáˑkʰàˑtì/ [N] attitude

รัฐธรรมนูญ /rátˑtʰáˑtʰāmˑmáˑnūːn/ [N] constitution

I have a cynical explanation for much of this dual action. If Thais don't insert that second syllable (-kha-, -na-) above, how will other Thais know that they know which letter it is spelt with?

You might object that that argument doesn't work with -ma- above. However, double plus consonant in a word of Sanskrit origin often corresponds to -a- plus double consonant in Pali, as in Sankrit dharma and Pali dhamma (> Thai ธรรม).

อัศจรรย์ itself is a mix of Sanskrit āścarya and Pali acchariya. The -sa- shows that one knows the Sanskrit consonant, but the initial vowel has survived from Pali. Or does someone have a better explanation?

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As for "น่าอัศจรรย์ - naaF atL saL jan[y]M - wonderful" you will find in a number of Thai words a dual use of a consonant located at the end of a syllable within a longer word. The consonant is pronounced as a final sound of the first syllable, then as an initial sound of the subsequent syllable, most often coupled with an /a/ sound, just like in your example, "atL saL".

David, thank you for explanation. Yes, it is indeed rather confusing issue for me especially since there is no rule. Do I understand correctly, that even if you are a Thai and don't know how to read this word, you will not read it correctly? so he/she would read it as "naL atL jan[y]M" ?

regards, Bartek.

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As for "น่าอัศจรรย์ - naaF atL saL jan[y]M - wonderful" you will find in a number of Thai words a dual use of a consonant located at the end of a syllable within a longer word. The consonant is pronounced as a final sound of the first syllable, then as an initial sound of the subsequent syllable, most often coupled with an /a/ sound, just like in your example, "atL saL".

David, thank you for explanation. Yes, it is indeed rather confusing issue for me especially since there is no rule. Do I understand correctly, that even if you are a Thai and don't know how to read this word, you will not read it correctly? so he/she would read it as "naL atL jan[y]M" ?

regards, Bartek.

Khun Bartek,

This phenomenon is not surprising for me as a native English speaker (although American). My passive vocabulary is larger than my active vocabulary, that is, the words I can read and recognize are greater in number than those that I use in speech or writing. Within the subset of words I recognize beyond those that I use in conversation are words of which I do not know how to pronounce. If I do wish to use these words, I have to look up the correct pronunciation in the dictionary. Words for diseases, medications, chemical compounds, and names of biological species are especially difficult for me to pronounce. Perhaps it is just me who is dyslexic in this regard.

Since Thai has a written and literary language separate from its spoken version, I suspect that there are many words which Thais can read and understand in newspapers and books but would have difficulty in getting the pronunciation correct as indicated in the RID. This set might include royal words and special technical terms. This is why the Royal Institute Dictionary provides pronunciation clues where the authors believe that pronunciation difficulty might arise.

The name of the Royal Institute "ราชบัณฑิตยสถาน" is a case in point. I would bet that not many Thais would get the "ราด-ชะ-บัน-ทิด-ตะ-ยะ-สะ-ถาน" pronunciation correctly. Does anyone else have examples?

Edited by DavidHouston
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Here is another word from current events with an ambiguous pronunciation: สุริยุปราคา or "solar eclipse". The RID shows two alternative pronunciations for the word:

[สุ-ริ-ยุ-ปะ-รา-คา; สุ-ริ-ยุบ-ปะ-รา-คา]

Admittedly, this is a very subtle distinction as the difference between "ยุ-ปะ" and "ยุบ-ปะ" is very difficult to discern in common speech.

Of course, one could say, apparently erroneously, สุ-ริ-ยุ-ปรา-คา.

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As for "น่าอัศจรรย์ - naaF atL saL jan[y]M - wonderful" you will find in a number of Thai words a dual use of a consonant located at the end of a syllable within a longer word. The consonant is pronounced as a final sound of the first syllable, then as an initial sound of the subsequent syllable, most often coupled with an /a/ sound, just like in your example, "atL saL".

Here are just a few examples:

มัคนายก /mákˑkʰáˑnāːˑjók/ [N] liaison, temple official

ทัศนคติ /tʰátˑsàˑnáˑkʰàˑtì/ [N] attitude

รัฐธรรมนูญ /rátˑtʰáˑtʰāmˑmáˑnūːn/ [N] constitution

I have a cynical explanation for much of this dual action. If Thais don't insert that second syllable (-kha-, -na-) above, how will other Thais know that they know which letter it is spelt with?

You might object that that argument doesn't work with -ma- above. However, double plus consonant in a word of Sanskrit origin often corresponds to -a- plus double consonant in Pali, as in Sankrit dharma and Pali dhamma (> Thai ธรรม).

อัศจรรย์ itself is a mix of Sanskrit āścarya and Pali acchariya. The -sa- shows that one knows the Sanskrit consonant, but the initial vowel has survived from Pali. Or does someone have a better explanation?

Some of the words in David's initial reply are คำสมาส and have rules which คำประสม don't which includes taking out a tantakat อ์ at the junction and putting in อะ เกษตร + ศาสตร์ กะเสดตระสาด for instance, (I know that hasn't got อ์) There are only about four rules as I remember.

คำประสม sometimes do the same ผลไม้ คุณค่า for instance. I don't know if these follow any rule but many don't, words which don't follow the rules but have an accepted pronunciation. ยุโรบ ยุ-โหรบ ราชบุรี ราด-บุ-รี there are plenty of good arguments to be had if you meet someone who doesn't know. The secret is to never go out-on-a-limb for Thai; the loudest usually wins whatever the case.

In ราชบัณฑิตยสถาน ราท ชะ บัน ดิด ดะ ยะ สะ ถาน The ฑ is pronounced ด in dead words.

If I find the rules for คำสมาส I can put them here for the record.

These are not my thoughts of course, it all comes from school books.

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May I ask why "ราชบุรี" is an exception to pronunciation rules?

Thanks.

I have just consulted the RID and words are ส/ป so they should follow the rules for คำมาส. Incidentally I have just finished with a reply to you containing the four relevent rules, while I was highlighting and making it pretty, I heard a 'ping' and I lost the lot. You will understand I hope, when I say that I will do that another time. Here is the one which applies here:

อ่านออกเสียงสระตอ่เมื่องกันกับคำหน้า เช่น กรรม+กร กรรมกร กำ มะ กอน ราช+บุรี ราชบุรี ราด ชะ บุ รี

Edited by tgeezer
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As for "น่าอัศจรรย์ - naaF atL saL jan[y]M - wonderful" you will find in a number of Thai words a dual use of a consonant located at the end of a syllable within a longer word. The consonant is pronounced as a final sound of the first syllable, then as an initial sound of the subsequent syllable, most often coupled with an /a/ sound, just like in your example, "atL saL".

David, thank you for explanation. Yes, it is indeed rather confusing issue for me especially since there is no rule. Do I understand correctly, that even if you are a Thai and don't know how to read this word, you will not read it correctly? so he/she would read it as "naL atL jan[y]M" ?

regards, Bartek.

Khun Bartek,

This phenomenon is not surprising for me as a native English speaker (although American). My passive vocabulary is larger than my active vocabulary, that is, the words I can read and recognize are greater in number than those that I use in speech or writing. Within the subset of words I recognize beyond those that I use in conversation are words of which I do not know how to pronounce. If I do wish to use these words, I have to look up the correct pronunciation in the dictionary. Words for diseases, medications, chemical compounds, and names of biological species are especially difficult for me to pronounce. Perhaps it is just me who is dyslexic in this regard.

Since Thai has a written and literary language separate from its spoken version, I suspect that there are many words which Thais can read and understand in newspapers and books but would have difficulty in getting the pronunciation correct as indicated in the RID. This set might include royal words and special technical terms. This is why the Royal Institute Dictionary provides pronunciation clues where the authors believe that pronunciation difficulty might arise.

The name of the Royal Institute "ราชบัณฑิตยสถาน" is a case in point. I would bet that not many Thais would get the "ราด-ชะ-บัน-ทิด-ตะ-ยะ-สะ-ถาน" pronunciation correctly. Does anyone else have examples?

I remember as a child my reading was streets ahead of my speaking. If I came across a word I had not heard, I would just make up a pronunciation (to satisfy my mind - I wasn't speaking aloud). I expect this is normal for anyone widely read. With Thai, this has become rather severe, as I have little opportunity for conversation; I practise reading and writing for want of any suitable alternative.

- Roger -

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