Lesson 4

High Class Consonants: , , , , ,


Thai consonants are divided into three classes, traditionally known as "high", "middle" and "low". The consonant classes are one factor in determining the spoken tone of a written word. However, there's no connection between the class name and the tone produced.

Here are the regular high class consonants.

/h//hɔ̌ɔ hìip/Box 
/s//sɔ̌ɔ sʉ̌a/Tiger 
/kh//khɔ̌ɔ khày/Egg 
/ph//phɔ̌ɔ phʉ̂ŋ/Bee 
/f//fɔ̌ɔ fǎa/Lid 
/ch//chɔ̌ɔ chìŋ/Small Cymbals 


  1. Note how the first part of the name for each consonant (hɔ̌ɔ, sɔ̌ɔ, &c.) is pronounced with a rising tone. If you memorise all the consonant names this is an easy way of remembering which ones are high class.

Click on "Play" to practise reading words using these high class consonants. All are pronounced with a rising tone.


Here are some slightly longer words to practise reading.



Here are some notes on each of the characters in this lesson. Remember you can click on the large character to animate how it's drawn:

This character is written with one stroke. The first loop is written clockwise, the second, anticlockwise. Pay particular attention to the shape of the arch.

Start bottom left. The diagonal stroke is written separately, top to bottom.

Note that the written form of this character is much narrower than the printed form.

Make sure the central "notch" only comes about half way up the character.

Again, make sure the central "notch" only comes about half way up.

Both loops are written clockwise.

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