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Tone Rules Reference

In Thai, the 42 consonants can be subdivided into 3 groups: high, medium and low class. This determines the tone of a word.

Without Tone Marker

Without a tone marker it is the type of syllable that defines the tone. A dead syllable has an ending and after that ending it is not possible to extend the sound. Dead syllables have either a short or long vowel.

ClassAliveDead
  shortlong
LowMidHighFalling
MiddleMidLowLow
HighRisingLowLow

Live syllables end with a long vowel, , , or similar sounds. Dead syllables end with a short vowel, , , , , or similar sounds.

Remember that in Thai consonants can change their sound depending if they are at the start or end of the word.

With Tone Marker

Class
LowFallingHighHighRising
MiddleLowFallingHighRising
HighLowFallingHighRising

Shown using the "dead" consonant . Strictly speaking, the last two markers mai dtree and mai jutawah are only used with middle class consonants.


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