Lesson 8

Low Class Consonants: , , , ,


In this lesson we'll look at the final class of consonant, low. We've already encountered , , , , and .

The tone for dead syllables starting with a low class consonant depends upon the length of the vowel. For short vowels, the resultant tone is high, and for long vowels, it's falling. (You can think of this as being: "with a short vowel the tone doesn't have enough time to fall".)

In summary:

  Short VowelLong Vowel

Now try reading these words:

These are the remaining regular ones.

/l//lɔɔ ling/Monkey 
/kh//khɔɔ khwaay/BuffaloNote the loop is to the right and below its stem. Contrast with .
/ph//phɔɔ phaan/TrayNote (a) the position of the loop, and (b) the height of the central notch1. Contrast with .
/f//fɔɔ fan/ToothContrast with .
/h//hɔɔ nókˑ​hûuk/OwlVariant of 2.


  1. In stylised fonts which don't have initial loops, the height of the notch is the only way to distinguish between and , and between and
  2. is only used in words borrowed from another language such as /heeˑ​líˑ​khɔ́pˑ​tə̂ə/ (helicopter) and /hanˑ​lǒo/ (hello).

All the regular high class consonants have a corresponding low class one. Here's a (not yet complete) table of how they relate:

High Class-
Low Class-

Now try reading these words:

Finally, here are some slightly longer words to practise reading.


Be careful with the shape of the arch.
Watch the position of the stem from the loop.
Loop on the left. "Notch" full height.