Thai Language Blog

The Invisible Vowel Rule, part 3 Posted by on Sep 25, 2012 in Beginner, Intermediate

In the first part of this series, I talked about how to determine the vowel when it wasn’t visible. In the second part, I talked about how vowels can change its appearance. In this third part, I will show several more vowels that change it’s appearance.

1) เออ

This is pronounced as a long ‘er’ sound. For example:

เธอ ter

เบอ ber

เกอ ger


So what if you wanted two consonants as one syllable using the long vowel เออ? If you put both inside the vowel, you’d get this (not real words):

เธดอ teh-daw

เบพอ beh-paw

เกรอ geh-raw


As you can see, that isn’t working. It created a long ‘ehh’ sound and added another long ‘aw’ sound at the end.

Instead, you must remove the อ and add an อิ. For example:

เธิด terd = ธ + เออ + ด

เบิพ berp = บ + เออ + พ

เกิร gern = ก + เออ + ร

(not real words)


2) เออิอ

In #1 above, there were two consonants and one เออ vowel. What if there were three consonants using the เออ vowel?

For example, เจริญ.

Is it pronounced เจ + ริญ (jeh rin)? No!


The rule is that the เ always comes at the front of any word, even if it’s only used for the second syllable. It would actually be pronounced as:

เจริญ ja-rern = จะ + ร + เออ + ญ

using rule #2 from part 1 for the จ.


เฉลิม cha-lerm = ฉะ + ล + เออ + ม


But don’t get too carried away with it. This next example is tricky:

เสริม = ส + เออ + ม

Unlike the previous above to examples, เสริม is using a consonant cluster, สร. สร is pronounced as a single ส.


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