Let's start by explaining a few, perhaps unfamiliar, terms:
|Sonorant||A sound produced with a continuous air stream. In other words, the tongue and throat don't move. In Thai, this includes all the vowels, and the consonants น, ม, ง, ย, ว.|
|Stop||A consonant that is pronounced with blocking the air stream. In Thai this includes the consonants ก, ด, and บ.|
|Live Syllable||A syllable that ends with a sonorant.|
|Dead Syllable||A syllable that ends with a stop.|
All the syllables we've looked at so far have been "live" syllables, meaning that they end either with a long vowel (-า, -อ, &c.) or a sonorant (-น, -ม, -ง, -ย, -ว).
The three possible stop sounds for the end of a syllable in Thai are /k/, /t/ and /p/. However, this introduces one of the idiosyncracies of Thai: some consonants are pronounced differently when they occur at the end of a syllable. So, the regular consonants used to represent the stop sounds are ก (/−k/), ด (/−t/) and บ (/−p/).
Dead syllables are also pronounced with different tones from live ones. Where the initial consonant is middle or high class, the tone is low. So, for example,
|High||ฝา /fǎa/ lid||ฝาก /fàak/ deposit|
|หา /hǎa/ search for||หาด /hàat/ beach|
|หี /hǐi/ vagina||หีบ /hìip/ box|
|Middle||ตา /taa/ eye||ตาก /tàak/ Tak (province)|
|ปา /paa/ throw||ปาด /pàat/ sweep away|
|งอ /ŋɔɔ/ be sulky||งอบ /ŋɔ̂ɔp/ a hat made of bamboo and palm leaves|
Practise reading these words, paying particular attention to the tone.
Previously we learned how the combination ◌ั ว is pronounced /ua/. This form is used when the /ua/ sound occurs at the end of a syllable. When it occurs in the middle of a syllable, just ว is used. So, for example, ปวด is pronounced /pùat/.
Try reading these words, again paying attention to the correct tone.
Here are some slightly longer words for practice.