9 Difficult Words To Pronounce In Thai: Easy Guide

Difficult Words to Pronounce In Thai- Featured Ling App

Despite the beauty of the Thai language and its unique tones and scripts, you’d definitely experience some crisis upon attempting to master this language. Trying to write their script is already a grueling challenge, while pronouncing them is also another issue. There are plenty of difficult words to pronounce in Thai. are you ready to meet some of them?

Imagine a world where every word is a unique color, and saying that word in a slightly different way paints a whole new picture. That’s the Thai language for you! Unlike English, which primarily relies on stress and intonation, Thai is a tonal language with five distinct tones that can completely change the meaning of a word. It’s like trying to color inside the lines with a wobbly crayon!

But hey! That doesn’t mean it’s totally impossible not to learn this! Our advice? Start by memorizing these 9 words we rounded up below!

Difficult Words to Pronounce in Thai - Ling App

9 Difficult Words To Pronounce In Thai

Before you start thinking it’s all as confusing as trying to assemble a puzzle in the dark, let’s introduce some of the Thai words that learners often find tricky.

1. Ngu (งู) – Snake

As a native English speaker, you may have a hard time pronouncing this word because of its uncommon “ng” sound. If you use a translator, you’ll notice that the tone they used is quite deep compared to the light “ng” utilized in English words. But check out the script used for the word “Snake,” doesn’t it resemble the word itself?

Difficult Words to Pronounce in Thai (rice)- Ling App

2. Khao (ข้าว) – Rice

Saying this word can be tricky since if you mistakenly use the wrong tone, you may end up saying “White” or “News” instead of rice. The way how it’s pronounced is pretty simple, “k” is delivered as a guttural sound, similar to the “ch” in “Bach” but not as harsh. While “a” sound is more drawn out, like the “a” in “father”, it’s verbalized in a higher tone. So, raising your intonation a bit can help you. Lastly, the “o” sound is silent, and you’ll likely hear a “w” at the end.

3. Khrut (ครุฑ) – Garuda

This third word can really test your patience. Before we jump into learning its pronunciation, know that ครุฑ is a mythical bird in Thai mythology. When saying this word, you have to pronounce “kh” like a breathy ‘k.’ It’s not as hard as the ‘k’ in “kite” and not as soft as the ‘h’ in “hat.” It’s kind of a mix between the two. While the ‘r’ and ‘u’ make a sound that’s quite similar to ‘oo’ in “book.” The final “t” is not heavily pronounced. So, you say it like “khr-oot” but say the ‘t’ very lightly.

4. Phom (ผม)- I For Male Speakers

Males use this pronoun as a first-person pronoun. Its aspirated ‘p’ sound, though, is distinct from the English equivalent. Many foreigners may have a difficult time mastering words like this, but once you learn how to differentiate their tone and pronunciation, you’ll get the hang of it.

When saying “Phom,” the first letter is said in a breathy manner, just like how you pronounce “Spot” in English. You’d also want to keep the “o” short, like the “o” in “Song”, and say the last letter like you’re verbalizing the word “Mom.”

5. Chan (ฉัน)- I For Female speakers

You may have noticed in Thai dramas that female characters refer to themselves as “Chan” when saying I.” In saying this word, you’ll need to take the “Ch” pronunciation in “Chair” a little more lightly. While the “A” in this word is pronounced like “U” in cup. The last letter is pretty straightforward since you only need to hear yourself saying “Nose” and copy how you said “N.”

Difficult Words to Pronounce in Thai (Door)- Ling App

6. Pratu (ประตู)- Door

This is a very basic word in English, but its pronunciation can be quite tricky. Here’s an easy way to get it. first, you have to take the ‘pr’ sound in “Pray” and take the short ‘a’ sound in “About.” Finally, to complete this word, you then need to copy the ‘oo’ from “Spoon.” It’s quite complex, but you’re supposed to end up with “Pr-a-too.” Got it?

Difficult Words to Pronounce in Thai (Buddhist Stupa)- Ling App

7. Chedi (เจดีย์)- Buddhist Stupa

Have you ever seen a Buddhist Stupa? This dome-like infrastructure holds relics. In Thai, it’s called “Chedi” which is pronounced quite differently from what you expect it to be. The “ch” sounds more like “j” in “Jam”, while the following vowel is said like the ‘e’ in “Bed.” Lastly, the ‘i’ in this word sounds more like the ‘ee’ in “See.” Overall, this word is verbalized as “Je-Dee.”

8. Tham (ทำ)- To Do

Unlike the first words we’ve introduced, this one is a little simpler, and you won’t have a difficult time saying it. Firstly, this word is a verb that has the translation “To do.” In terms of its pronunciation, the correct way to say it is by taking the ‘t’ sound from “Top” and the ‘am’ sound from “Bam.”

Difficult Words to Pronounce in Thai (Station)- Ling App

9. Sathaanii (สถานี) – Station

If you ever find yourself getting lost in the busy streets of Bangkok while trying to find the nearest bus or train station, you can always ask Thai people where to find it. Just remember that the word can be a little difficult to pronounce. Sathaanii (สถานี) is pronounced in a slightly rougher way compared to the first words.

In saying this word, you have to take the ‘Sa’ sound from the word “Sack”, while the second syllable can be based on how you pronounce “Tar” in English but without the ‘R’ at the end. Its last part, though is simply pronounced like “Knee.”

Difficult Words to Pronounce in Thai- Ling App (Studying Tips)

Tips For Pronouncing Difficult Thai Words

Practice might not make perfect immediately, but it sure does help! Much like learning to ride a bike, the more you practice Thai pronunciation, the easier it will become.

1. Learn The Importance Of Tones

Remember the different colors we talked about? The tone of a word in Thai is essential, just like the right color in a painting. Listen carefully to native speakers and mimic their tones. You may also observe how their mouths and lips move whenever they say high-tone or low-tone words.

2. Getting Help From Native Speakers

One of the best ways to master the correct way to say Thai words is with the help of Thai speakers. You may often make a mistake when learning your first words, but with their aid, you can easily master them.

3. Use Flashcards

You can also learn how to say these words by using different learning methods like flashcards. Adding notes which explain their meaning easily allows you to remember them too. This also lets you master the spelling of these words.

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Thai pronunciation can be a tongue-twisting challenge, but with patience, practice, and a good dose of humor, it’s certainly not an insurmountable task. If you want to discover more about the Thai language, then Ling can be your starter kit for speaking Thai.

With the app, you can start learning the Thai script to the most intricate words’ sounds in a heartbeat. But, of course, it’s not limited to this language alone since it offers 60+ interesting lexicons. You may even take quizzes and practice exercises! Download Ling today on Play Store and App Store for FREE!

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