Southeast Asia forum

Linguistic question

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Hi everyone

    Can anyone advise when are "h's" pronounced in Thai, Lao and Khmer? What are the guidelines? Is Luang Nam Tha, - Ta, or Tha. Trying not to be total farang (as if appearance won't give the game away). Prefer not to buy 3 phrasebooks. The tonal differences are scarey.

    I love the phrase "mai mai mai mai mai" which means in Thai "new wood doesn't burn, does it?".

    Kind regards


    #1 Posted: 3/9/2006 - 16:15

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  • somtam2000

    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7371
    Total reviews: 24
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    At least 113

    Hi Marian,

    Luang Nam Tha is "ta" as in the "tal" is "total"...

    As for three phrasebooks, Thai and Lao are very similar, but Khmer (which is not tonal) is in a class all of its own -- in fact, of the three, the Khmer language is the oldest, but Thais will roll their eyes and say what a load of rubbish when you even suggest their language is based on Khmer... Another point is all three scripts are different...

    If you want to take just one phrasebook, I'd lean towards a Lao one mainly because in Thailand you can almost always find someone who speaks English and Khmer pronounciation can be rather challenging to say the least. With Lao you'll have the best chance of picking up a bit of the lingo, and if you do ok, Thais in much of the northeast will understand what you're saying anyway.

    #2 Posted: 3/9/2006 - 17:06

  • wolfman

    Joined Travelfish
    31st May, 2006
    Posts: 80
    Total reviews: 4

    in thai and lao the"h" strenghtens the letter before! like: kho phangan- a sharp "k" and "p", ko pangan-without the "h" would sound go bangan. in the beginning of a word, h is pronounced like h. like: hok- hog :meaning 6in thai,or hua hin

    hope i helped a bit


    #3 Posted: 13/9/2006 - 17:24

  • marianwarren

    Joined Travelfish
    12th March, 2006
    Posts: 270
    Total reviews: 13

    Thanks guys

    I bought the Lao phrase book. If I get stuck I can always point to the word/ phrase in the book. Lao seems to have so many vowels. I'm sure I'll be fine, I have a good ear for language.

    Ciao for now


    #4 Posted: 14/9/2006 - 04:01

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