Lesson 13

Tone Mark ◌่

Reading

So far we've learned that the tone of a syllable is dependent upon (a) the class of the initial consonant, (b) whether the syllable is "live" or "dead", and (c) the vowel length. One further factor is whether or not the syllable has a tone mark. Tone marks are written above a consonant to change the tone of that syllable. The first tone mark, written ◌่, is known as /máyˑ​èek/. It is primarily used with live syllables so that the tone follows that of the corresponding dead syllable. So, for example, whilst ปี (/pii/, year) is mid tone, ปี่ (/pìi/, flute) is low tone, as is the dead syllable ปีก (/pìik/, wing). Similarly, สวน (/sǔan/, garden) is rising tone, whilst ส่วน (/sùan/, part) is low tone, as is the dead syllable สวด (/sùat/, to pray). And finally, whilst ยาง (/yaaŋ/, rubber) is mid tone, ย่าง (/yâaŋ/, roasted) is falling tone, as is the dead syllable ยาก (/yâak/, difficult).

We can add this to our tone rule table:

ClassLiveDead◌่
  Short VowelLong Vowel 
HighRisingLowLowLow
MiddleMidLowLowLow
LowMidHighFallingFalling

Now try reading these words, paying particular attention to the tone:

And now some slightly longer words, mixing syllables with and without a tone mark.

Writing

CharacterNotes
tm1Draw from top to bottom

For words with an above vowel or a below one, draw the vowel before the tone mark

For example, กิ่ว should be written ก-◌ิ-◌่-ว, and นุ่ม should be written น-◌ุ-◌่-ม.

Note that ◌่ is slightly displaced to the left with consonants with tall ascenders (, , ), e.g. ป่า. When combined with ◌ื is should be written to align between the two vertical lines of the vowel, e.g. ดื่ม.