Thai 101

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Thai has a complicated set of vowels and diphthongs that distinguishes between vowel length (short and long) and vowel position (front and back). In Thai script, vowel signs are always written around consonants and the letter ก (k) is used here to demonstrate. This list follows the Royal Thai General System of Transcription (except that some long vowels are doubled).

ka กะ 
like 'a' in "car" (short vowel)
kaa กา 
like 'a' in "father" (longer than "a")
kae แก 
like 'a' in "man" (short vowel: "แกะ")
ke เก 
like 'e' in "bed" (short vowel: "เกะ")
ki กิ 
like 'y' in "greedy"
kii กี 
like 'ee' in "see" (longer than "i")
ko กอ 
like 'o' in "torn" (short vowel: "เกาะ")
ko โก 
like 'oa' in "moan" (short vowel: "โกะ")
koe เกอ 
like 'i' in "sir" (short vowel: "เกอะ")
ku กุ 
like 'oo' in "hoop"
kuu กู 
like 'ue' in "blue" (longer than "u")
kue กือ 
frontal version of "u" (akin to German "ü", French "du", not found in English) (short vowel: "กึ")
kam กำ 
like 'um' in "dummy"
kai ใก/ไก 
like 'i' in "kind"
kia เกีย 
like 'eer' in "beer" (but don't pronounce "r")
kua กัว 
similar to 'ou' in "tour" (but don't pronounce "r")
kuea เกือ 
like "ue" followed by a short "a"
kao เกา 
like 'ow' in "cow"

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