Lesson 24

Leading ,


There are two consonants which can be placed before a mid class consonant at the start of a word and can change the mid class consonant's class and so change the syllable's tone. They are and . When used like this they are not pronounced.

Considering first. It changes the class of the following consonant to mid. In fact, there are only four words which are like this, and all are pronounced with a low tone. They are:

อย่า/yàa/don't (plus verb)
อยู่/yùu/to be, remain
อย่าง/yàaŋ/type, sort
อยาก/yàak/to want

Many, many words have leading which changes the class of the following consonant to high. For example, แหวน (/wɛ̌ɛn/, ring), หมวก (/mùak/, hat) and หล่อ (/lɔ̀ɔ/, handsome).

Here are some words to practise reading:

Note that some words can be interpreted in more than one way. For example, whilst แหว (meaning to scold) is pronounced (as one might expect) /wɛ̌ɛ/, the very similar looking เหว (abyss) is pronounced /hěew/. หวง (to cling to) is /hǔaŋ/, not /wǒŋ/.

In some cases it can help to know that leading is only used before the sonorants, namely , , , , , , (plus one other sonorant not yet covered in this course).