English representation of Thai language sounds

Image
Image Thai language section, ask your language questions here.
Homer
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2588
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:11 pm

English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Homer » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:20 am

This may make more sense if I start with an example. One language source translates 'hello' in Thai into phonetic English: sa-wàt-dii But they don't provide an English pronunciation guide, so an absolute beginner wouldn't know is that 'sa' as in 'say' or as in 'saw' or is it 'ssssAhh'.

I'm looking for phonetic transcription system, also called a phonetic alphabet. (The latter term can be confusing because hear 'phonetic alphabet' and think of Able, Baker, Charlie or it's many equivalents.) My goal is when a Thai speaker with the patience of a saint breaks down what's she's trying to teach me into the smallest components of sound I can write that sound using an English representation in a way that will allow me to later reproduce that sound. Yeah, I could make up my own transcription system. I don't want to because I can clearly imagine the frustration and wasted effort of the error portion of trial and error.

I'm aware of the International Phonetic Alphabet which is great for academics but requires mere mortals to essentially learn a new symbolic language before learning a new spoken language.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internatio ... c_Alphabet

User avatar
dtaai-maai
Addict
Addict
Posts: 9304
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 10:00 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by dtaai-maai » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:35 am

I have a little paperback dictionary by Benjawan Poomsan Becker (Paiboon Publishing) that has an extensive phonetic transliteration system and a detailed explanation with symbols for the different sounds.
It's not simple, but let's be honest, it's never going to be easy!

It has 2 Thai-Eng sections, one in Thai script and one phonetic.
Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and St George!’

Pleng
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2658
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:04 am
Location: Hua Hin

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Pleng » Sun Feb 03, 2013 1:09 pm

The one taught at The Learning Centre worked well for me so, if you have the time, why not sign up for a beginner course? (make sure you make them aware that you want to learn phonetics, as I believe they also run courses where only Thai alphabet is used)

Or you could just buy the book that they use - a lot cheaper at just a couple of hundred baht, but it really helps having a teacher going through the sounds with you to really get a grasp of the ones that we don't have in the English language.

Bernard
Specialist
Specialist
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun May 06, 2012 3:46 pm
Location: Hua Hin

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Bernard » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:48 pm

Use this link...............and I would suggest you learn Thai and forget the Phonetics.

http://www.thai-language.com

Homer
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2588
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Homer » Sun Feb 03, 2013 2:53 pm

Pleng wrote:, but it really helps having a teacher going through the sounds with you to really get a grasp of the ones that we don't have in the English language.
Briefly, how do they teach making a sound one has never made before? Is it listen and repeat?

User avatar
johnnyk
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2861
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2005 1:23 pm

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by johnnyk » Sun Feb 03, 2013 4:03 pm

A standard transliteration would be a great benefit as well.
Homer, yes basically listen and repeat until your teacher indicates you've got it. Then repeat a bunch more times to imprint it.
Happiness can't buy money

User avatar
Bristolian
Rock Star
Rock Star
Posts: 3132
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:38 pm
Location: Hua Hin & Bangkok

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Bristolian » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:05 pm

Homer wrote:
Pleng wrote:, but it really helps having a teacher going through the sounds with you to really get a grasp of the ones that we don't have in the English language.
Briefly, how do they teach making a sound one has never made before? Is it listen and repeat?
:agree: take Thai lessons initially and repeat, repeat, repeat the phrases and words. Followed by a lot of practice in Thai conversations.....there is no shortcut and Thai - English translation aids really only help a little unless you have the standard Thai long haired variety close to hand :D
"'The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain

Homer
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2588
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Homer » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:12 pm

johnnyk wrote: Homer, yes basically listen and repeat until your teacher indicates you've got it.
I figured that would be the case. Unless one is good at generating novel random sounds by manipulating body and breath in ways that go against both all muscle memory and everything they know about speech, It's a good way to learn slowly or to never learn how to pronounce a sound.

Computers allow language teachers to show how the sound is created. Check out http://www.uiowa.edu/~acadtech/phonetics/# Click on the American flag. In the new window click on the blue square labeled 'place', then on the blue square in the row below labeled 'glottal', then on /h/. You'll both see and hear how a sound is produced. Not using such tools to teach non-native sounds is like a skilled harmonica player blowing a single note, then telling the student to play the same note, without benefit of mentioning which hole he blew or drew through or that his tongue covered the holes he wasn't using. A student could learn to play the right note eventually, but why put him through that?

A text based version describing how to manipulate the body and breath to produce each of the sounds of language while simultaneously being a phonetic representation of the sounds was created in 1888. This isn't rocket science.

Just to be clear hear, I think either of the techniques which show or describe how sounds are produced are best used in conjunction with hearing the sounds pronounced correctly. I know it dramatically shortens the 'listen and repeat until you get it right' phase.

Pleng
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2658
Joined: Fri Apr 08, 2011 2:04 am
Location: Hua Hin

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Pleng » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:26 pm

Bernard wrote:Use this link...............and I would suggest you learn Thai and forget the Phonetics.

http://www.thai-language.com
Learning the Thai alphabet system is way overkill for somebody who just wants to be able to jot down a word he hears so he can reproduce that sound later. Learning a phonetic system can be done in a matter of hours. Learning the alphabet, plus all the frustrating complex rules takes far longer and is not really useful for what the OP has said.

Having said that, being able to read Thai is definitely an advantage.

User avatar
Bristolian
Rock Star
Rock Star
Posts: 3132
Joined: Fri Nov 09, 2012 1:38 pm
Location: Hua Hin & Bangkok

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Bristolian » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:14 pm

:agree:
Sorry, slightly off topic,

One of my very good German friends ( an engineer tending towards the pedantic) decided that he would learn Thai from the alphabet and then grammar rules before embarking on the spoken language. He can now read Thai perfectly well including the silent and assumed characters.....But, he can only speak the real basics of Thai language after 8 years in Thailand. It may seem strange but I have to translate for him what he has read aloud.

My ability, to speak Thai, is severely limited by my tonal range (for me the most difficult aspect of Thai language to master) but having recognised my inability, as long as I structure my phrase correctly, most Thais will accept without question what I have said and understand.

When I first started to learn Thai, my teacher insisted that I learned to read some Thai, so that I had some understanding of sounds and tonal range. It did not work for me! Speaking Thai in my office, whenever possible had a much greater impact. This is exactly how a young child learns. Speak first, practice the pronunciation, the grammar and spelling will follow later.
"'The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." - Mark Twain

Homer
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2588
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Homer » Mon Feb 04, 2013 9:11 am

Pleng wrote:Learning the Thai alphabet system is way overkill for somebody who just wants to be able to jot down a word he hears so he can reproduce that sound later. Learning a phonetic system can be done in a matter of hours.
Exactly. I have difficulty seeing how someone can begin learning a language without phonetics. For example, I know both the Spanish alphabet and it's pronunciation so to learn the word for truck is an electronic flash card with 'truck' (or an image of a truck) on one side and 'camión' on the other. To learn that in Thai without phonetics, I'd replace 'camión' with a squiggly, also known as the Thai word for truck written in Thai. That's a useless flash card for someone who doesn't know Thai. A phonetic spelling allows one to remember the sound of the word and then begin learning the association with 'truck'. One can include the squiggly with the phonetic to begin learning to read by osmosis.

Although I do love the way Thai women mispronounce certain words (cinnamon is one of my favorites), I've heard enough non-native English speakers mangle the language to believe that getting pronunciation right would be the first step in the next language I learned because what's the point of knowing a word if you say it in a way that no one understands? Last year I stumbled across a site by an opera singer who had to learn multiple languages. He started with pronounciation because it's critical for his job. Along the way he realized Learning to pronounce the language correctly from the beginning provides huge benefits: better listening comprehension, better speech, faster vocabulary acquisition, and native speakers who will continue to speak to you in their language instead of switching to English.. More at http://www.towerofbabelfish.com/Tower_o ... ethod.html

Homer
Legend
Legend
Posts: 2588
Joined: Sun Mar 21, 2010 3:11 pm

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Homer » Mon Feb 04, 2013 12:17 pm

Found what I was looking for and much more after getting the search terms right. A phonetic transcription system is also known as a 'pronunciation guide', 'romanization,' 'karaoke language,' 'transliteration,' or 'phonemic transcription' systems. This language learning site allows one to pick between 12 of the better known systems to display while using their site. http://slice-of-thai.com/pronunciation-guides/. The site explains each one thoroughly, discusses in detail the pros and cons of each as well as the pros and cons of using any such system. Way more info than I wanted to wade through, but anything worth doing is worth doing right. That's what my Dad always said, but I still don't believe it. Sometimes 'close enough' is good enough. It would be so much easier if we all spoke Esperanto.

User avatar
Korkenzieher
Ace
Ace
Posts: 1001
Joined: Fri Mar 28, 2008 4:45 am
Location: Hua Hin.

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by Korkenzieher » Tue Feb 12, 2013 9:37 am

The Paiboon 3 way dictionary for the PC has numerous transcription options, as well as search in Thai, 'English' and Roman Script. It also has audio for all word in Thai. Current size is about 150k words. It isn't universal, but it is the best. I find many of my pronunciation needs here.

I have the PC version only (and hardcopy) , but it is available for other platforms. I think the current CD offering is for v1.2, but upgrades immediately to v1.6

http://word-in-the-hand.com/thaidictwin_ov.html

They used to stock it in the bookshop on the left side at the entrance to Market Village.
Had enough of the trolls. Going to sleep. I may be some time....

bapak
Ace
Ace
Posts: 1105
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2003 1:51 pm
Location: Hua Hin and Sydney

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by bapak » Tue Feb 12, 2013 11:48 am

We have this dictionary in stock.. Price Baht 499
There is also a CD available for Baht 1,200

New Thai & English Pocket Dictionary: This practical dictionary is designed to help English speakers like you communicate in Thai, whether or not you can read the Thai alphabet. It's a perfect fit with our other books, such as Thai for Beginners. Unlike traditional dictionaries, there are three sections: you can look up an English word in the English section, look up a Thai word you read using the Thai Script section, or look up a Thai word you hear by its sound in the unique Thai Sound section.

Sirada - The Learning Centre
Ground Floor
83/14 Wongchomsin Building
Phetchkasem Road
(between Soi 63/1 and Soi 65)
Hua Hin 77110
Phone: 032 532 650
www.learningcentre.co.th
info@learningcentre.co.th
http://www.learningcentre.co.th

User avatar
m_right
Professional
Professional
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2008 11:58 am
Location: Hua Hin

Re: English representation of Thai language sounds

Post by m_right » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:07 pm

The dictionary and CD ARE NOT available.
"Religion is What Keeps the Poor from Murdering the Rich" -- Napoleon Bonaparte

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests