chapter  1
Pages 6

Thai differs radically from English and other European languages in being a tone language. In tone languages the meaning of a syllable is determined by the pitch at which it is pronounced. The Thai sound system also includes a small number of consonant and vowel sounds which have no close equivalent in English. The lists of consonant and vowel sounds in this section include, where possible, a close equivalent sound in standard British English; speakers of American English need to be aware that the final ‘r’ in words like jer (‘to meet’) is not sounded. An example of each sound in a word is given for confirmation with a Thai native speaker. For a more technical description of the sounds of Thai, see Noss (1964) or Iwasaki and Preeya (2005).