Posted on Leave a comment

Residence Certificate in Chiang Mai

Last Updated on

The Residence Certificate aka T.M. 6 is a document that is used to document one's legal address. This is specifically required for things like obtaining or renewing a Drivers License.

In the past, it was possible to use an affidavit certified by one's consulate or embassy. However, that is both more expensive (a fee is charged, it was $50 USD at the US Consulate in 2018), and in the case of Americans, the US Consulate no longer provides this service.

Fees and Requirements for the Residence Certificate

As of 2019, the Residence Certificate is free (previously there was a 500 THB fee). However, there is a wait of 2-3 weeks to receive the certificate once applied for. In order to expedite the certificate and get it within 1-2 working days, a visa company needs to be paid a 1,000 THB fee.

Requirements include:

  • Original Passport
  • Copy of T.M. 30 (Alien Registration)
Posted on 1 Comment

Thai Keyboard Layouts

Last Updated on

Thai Keyboard Layouts are generally something Thai speakers and Thai language learners have little problem with because of a de facto standard, although there are three specific standards, in practice (along with ISO and ANSI layouts). Though simple and straightforward, the English Wikipedia regarding Thai keyboard layouts gets things wrong, as is usually the case. The images are incomplete, or mislabeled, or missing relevant information. Wikipedia has been descending into a pit of ignorance for some time now.

ANSI Kedmanee as Standard and Predominant

When dealing with Thai Keyboard Layouts there are a few considerations. In general, this is mostly a non-issue since there is a predominant layout generally available, including in keyboard sticker format: The Kedmanee which was turned into a Thai Technical Standard (TIS 820-2531). ANSI is also the predominant physical keyboard layout (more on ANSI vs. ISO below).

1995 Update to Thai Keyboard Standard - TIS 820-2538

There is a 1995 update to the Thai standard TIS 820-2538, which adds support for Anghankhu (๚), Fongman (๏), Khomut (๛), and Yamakkan (อ๎), which are otherwise missing. These are Pali and literary characters not well known or in use outside of those niches. Note also that the Baht sign (฿) changes its location in the TIS 820-2538 update, and Anghankhu (๚) requires AltGr to access. As well, the percent (%), underscore (_), and plus (+) signs are removed from the Thai keyboard (though the plus sign is available on the separate number pad on 101/102/104/105 keyboards).

While this may be of interest to those (few) regularly typing Pali and Literary characters, for physical keyboards this layout standard is virtually impossible to find, though the software to support it is available in most operating systems (excluding, currently, ChromeOS).

Apple Keyboards and Missing Thai Characters

The ambiguity of which standard is in use as a keyboard map option was present in Apple keyboards for a number of years, in terms of there being a lack of characters on the keys where there were changes made between the standard versions. That is, instead of printing one or both character that would be represented, Apple decided to leave those keyboard character locations blank.

ISO vs. ANSI Keyboard Layout for Thai

While it is very difficult to find any examples of ISO keyboards with Thai language support, for those used to an ISO keyboard layout, that option should be simple to use/adapt as for Thai the extra ISO key has the extinct ฃ and ฅ keys, and the US English keys are backslash (\) and pipe (|). Unfortunately for programmers, those keys are rather important, and for the average typist, a smaller left shift key, and narrower enter key on the home row does impose some ergonomic penalty.

Note that there are a few examples of ISO layout for Thai when looking for laptop keyboard covers. Note the same missing characters as found on earlier Apple keyboards, in terms of support (through lack of contradiction) for both the TIS 820-2531 and TIS 820-2538 standards.

Pattachote Thai Keyboard Layout

Pattachote or PattaChote is one option for keyboard layout that is generally discussed but essentially irrelevant. While the keyboard layout is available in most operating systems, it is virtually invisible in terms of actual physical keyboard availability. If one would ever be included to try out Pattachote, then it would be necessary to design and print one's own keycaps.

Just as with Dvorak vs. QWERTY, it is impossible to find actual empirical studies which show evidence of the superiority of typing speed and error rate improvements when comparing Kedmanee and Pattachote. Theoretically there is more equal use of fingers and less heavy reliance on the right pinky finger than with Kedmanee. Of course those who find Kedmanee tiring or painful might indeed benefit from a change of layout.

Predominance of ANSI and Kedmanee

For simplicity's sake and for maximum compatibility in Thailand (compatible with the vast majority of keyboards available and in use, as well as keyboard sticker sets), the choice should be a 101/104 key ANSI keyboard using the US English and Thai (aka TIS 820-2531) layouts. The 101/104 keyboard has a separate keypad which makes accessing the Roman numbers directly (much easier than switching languages).

Support for European Languages and Thai

If one is designing a dual-keyboard layout, for support of most European languages (using non-ASCII characters), it is possible to use the English (US, international AltGr Unicode combining) keyboard option. This enables the AltGr (right alt key) to act as an option to access more characters. The disadvantage is that it does not map naturally to any european keyboard layout, so for touch-typing it needs to be learned just as any keyboard layout. For those who must regularly type in two or more European languages which a single keyboard layout cannot support, this is a compromise layout option.

Note: it could be worse:

Problem with Dual Language Mechanical Keyboards with Thai

There is a significant problem if someone wants Thai + English mechanical keyboards in Thailand (those with Cherry MX keys or similar). These keyboards are either designed with a backlight, and the dual language keycaps are either side printed with Thai (where light does not shine), or the light shines only through the English script on the keys, or both English and Thai do not allow illumination. For those non-illuminated keyboards, the same problem is present: the Thai script is too small and faint to read in all but the brightest lights. The author has ordered and returned three different keyboards (including two Ducky keyboards) and toured the keyboard offerings at several malls in Chiang Mai looking for something that would be acceptable, without any luck.

The only option is to design and print ones' own custom keycaps. Given the discussion above in terms of seeking an ANSI 104-key custom mechanical keyboard, WASD keyboards seems an obvious choice.

Additional Resources

Posted on Leave a comment

Thai Vowel Card Description Key

Last Updated on

Here we can show what is on each card specifically for the 43 Thai vowels, tone marks and punctuation cards, now available for sale online and at over 60 locations in Thailand.

Purpose of the Thai Alphabet Cards

Most of the elements can be learned individually using the cards. For example, covering up a part of one side of the card and prompting for covered elements (e.g., show the picture and prompt for the written form, show the English meaning and prompt for the Thai word pronunciation, etc.)

Design Goals

The cards have been devise for maximum information density while balancing composition with a focus on the learner who wants to learn how to write and read Thai characters as well as how to pronounce the characters correctly.

In particular, we have innovated in the creation of symbols to indicate various tone, sound, and syllable class rules, as well as the innovation of showing frequency as well as duration of tone in the form of a graph.

Thai Side of Card - ด้านภาษาไทย

  1. Thai character sound – เสียงของตัวสระภาษาไทย
  2. Thai name of character – ชื่อของตัวสระเป็นภาษาไทย
  3. Thai character with drawing indicators – แบบแสดงเส้นนำทางในการเขียนตัวสระ
  4. Common handwritten form – รูปแบบของสระที่นิยมเขียนเป็นลายมือเขียน
  5. Color coding of the vowel class – ใช้สีกำกับบอกประเภทของสระ
  6. Vowel pair, if present - คู่เสียงสระสั้นยาว
  7. Vowel categories indicating short or long, diphtongs, and combined (vowel+consonant) - ประเภทของสระ สระเสียงสั้น สระเสียงยาว สระประสม สระพิเศษ
  8. Drawing illustrating the character name – ภาพวาดที่แสดงชื่อของสระ
  9. Tone rules for long and short vowels when applied to high, mid and low consonants – กฏการออกเสียงสูงต่ำสำหรับพยางค์สระเสียงสั้นและพยางค์สระเสียงยาวเมื่อใช้กับพยัญชนะสูง กลาง และ ต่ำ
  10. Vowel order number (in Thai numerals) – เลขลำดับของสระในภาษาไทยเป็นตัวเลขไทย

English Side of Card - ด้านภาษาอังกฤษ

  1. Phonetic transcription of Thai sound in English –การออกเสียงสระภาษาไทยเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
  2. Tone frequency and duration graph -กราฟแสดงเสียงสูงต่ำของเสียงสระ
  3. Mouth position diagram -แผนภาพรูปปากขณะออกเสียงสระ
  4. English translation for character name -คำแปลชื่อของสระเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
  5. Vowel class -ประเภทของสระเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
  6. Vowel order number (in Arabic numerals) -เลขลำดับของสระในภาษาไทยเป็นตัวเลขอราบิค
Posted on Leave a comment

Gau Gai กอ ไก่ – Second Edition

Last Updated on

There are both substantive and subtle changes to the Thai Alphabet Cards. For the Thai Consonants, we add the ten numbers (0-9) as ten additional cards, and then on the consonant cards themselves, the significant changes are:

  • Multiple English Transliteration / Transcription (Haas/AUA, IPA, Paiboon)
  • Multiple font (typeface) variations (JS Thanaporn, JS Sirium, Purisa, JS Chanok, JS Chawlewhieng)
  • Improvements to the tone graph, and
  • Indicating the tone rule for the class inside the image for the consonant (an attempt at a visual mnemonic for tone class rules/tone class membership)

What has not changed (and remain from the original edition) includes:

  • The Sammy Diagram for the manner and place of articulation of the consonant sound;
  • The Thai consonant name;
  • The writing order and direction;
  • An indicator of a dead or live consonant (triangle or circle);
  • Inside the dead/live indicator, the sound for the consonant when it is in final consonant position;
  • An indicator of the tone rules for the class (mid-tone for long vowels, low-tone for short vowels);
  • The name of the class to which it belongs; and
  • The number of the card (in the deck order)

Posted on Leave a comment

Thai Alphabet Tone Graphs

Last Updated on

The second edition of the Thai Alphabet Cards is underway, and we've revamped the Tone Graphs, among other elements.

Changes in Central Thai Tones over Time

There is significant evidence for changes in the standard tones in Central Thai over time. While this is an important aspect of tone, and intermediate learners should become sensitive to this (as well as other important aspects of tone, which is quite complicated in running speech), still we have made the decision to use a common and conservative model for displaying tones on the Thai Alphabet cards.

For a model, we've revisited the original tone graphs of Arthur S. Abramson from his work The Vowels and Tones of Standard Thai: Acoustical Measurements and Experiments, International Journal of American Linguistics, Vol. 28, No. 2, April, 1962. This work is, after 44 years, still seen as the standard.

We've spent considerable time reviewing the literature since (and before) 1962, and especially the evidence presented for historical changes to the tones which have occurred since Abramson's published early work. While there are many publications, most have severe problems with them which prevent using any as a reference for the tone changes. In many cases, single case examples or synthetic averages are presented, but without the primary goal of a new standard, and therefore without the methodological rigor needed for adopting changes in the contours.

Again, there is evidence for changes to the tones of Central Thai over time, specifically by reviewing differences between a younger cohort and an older cohort, as presented in Inter- and intraspeaker variability inf undamental frequency of Thai tones, by Gandour, Potisuk, Ponglorpisit, and Dechongkit, Speech Communication 10 (1991), pp.355-372.

There is an intriguing article proposing a mechanism for tone change using Gedney's tonebox by Pittayawat Pittayaporn entitled Directionality of Tone Change, 2007. However, the so-called Thai tonal space in 4 stages suffers dramatically from a very poor choice of tonal examples in stages 3 and 4 (a single sample, and a synthetic result from a study contrasting tones in isolated exemplars vs. connected speech, respectively). While the data is insufficient in evidence, the underlying mechanisms still appear plausible, though would not operate in isolation from the population of speakers and vast variety and import of second languages on Central Thai (Siamese).

Abramson (1962) as the Signal Reference Work

Besides the fact that there is no real reference work that we might use with full plausibility, there are other reasons why the traditional tone graphs are best suited for the Thai Alphabet Cards:

  • These tone graphs are seen as standard and conventional, unremarkable in a positive way.
  • For beginning Thai speakers, these tone contours will most likely match what native Thai teachers have been taught, and emulate in the classroom.
  • As these traditional graphs represent an older, as opposed to a younger set of speakers, it will be more common in traditional media and among (older) spoken adults.
  • The traditional tone graphs are still accurate (enough) and appropriate even with the supplemental research which has occured since then (see Abramson Thai Tonal Space 1997, where he writes The "ideal" contours found in earlier work ... are still quite acceptable for isolated Thai words).
  • Nearly all research has focused on the long vowel tones only, and do not include short vowel tones, as does the original Abramson (1962) work.
  • The only change of tone of significance is the shape of the high tone, which appears concave rather than convex (sometimes labeled a high-rising tone in contrast to the standard rising tone being labeled a low-rising tone.
  • Whether the high / high-rising tone ends with a downturn is generally better supported (and is at worst seen as one of two standard contours), and aligns with the Abramson (1962) contour.

Use of the Abramson (1962) Tone Contour Figures

To align the Tone Graphs in the Thai Alphabet Cards, we acquired an original copy of Abramson (1962) and scanned the two tone graphs (figures 3.5, 3.6 on pp. 126-127). We then scanned the figures into PDF format and and imported them into the Inkscape vector graphics program. We then traced the contours and separated them into individual graphs.

Changes to the Thai Alphabet Cards Tone Graphs

The main changes are a return to the original tone countours, as well as aspect ratio and shape. This also reduces the space used by the graphs without reducing information.

Below is the example for ฒอ ผู้เฒ่า (thɔɔ phûuthâw / tʰɔː pʰûː tʰâw / tɔɔ pŭu-tâo), which has one long mid tone, one long falling tone, and one short falling tone.

Comparison of Short and Long Vowel Tones

Note that there is a bit less distortion in the short vowel tone (which was only a compressed long vowel tone, which was based on Naksakul (1977) Thai Phonology as adapted in the Elementary Thai for Foreigners text as published and taught by the Linguistics program at Mahidol University (1991).

Posted on Leave a comment

Fonts with Thai & Roman (Latin)

Last Updated on

One challenge for using Thai script on a computer is that Thai characters are more vertical than roman alphabet characters. If one is mixing roman and Thai characters in a document, the Thai characters tend to be much smaller (and therefore illegible if the roman characters are optimized for space and legibility). The reason for this is that Thai characters, along with vowel markers, tone marks, and the silent marker can stack above and below a character, which means they are generally much taller than Roman (Latin) and other alphabet systems.

A good (bad) example is the very legible source code editing font Hack which does not have Thai character support. This means the operating system substitutes the Thai system font, which makes reading difficult. The best that can be done is increasing the font size and decreasing the line height and the line length. This can make the latin characters less legible.

Fonts with Good Thai and Roman Character Support

When this post was first created in Nov. 2013 there were three fonts that I focused on. Those fonts listed were:

  • Linux Libertine
  • TH Charmonman
  • TH Fah kwang

Since then we've gone on to create a large collection of open source and free Thai fonts, so there are more to choose from, as well as a few more added from additional sources (all open source or at least free to use).

Good support for English and Thai

  • Arundina Sans an original SIPA project which has been extended by TLWG
  • Garuda part of the NECTEC/TLWG release
  • Linux Libertine from the Libertine Open Fonts Project
  • Noto Sans Thai a Google Font
  • Mitr by Cadson Demak (Available on Google Fonts)
  • Prompt by Cadson Demak (Available on Google Fonts)
  • Waree, aka Thai Waree, another TLWG font
  • Itim a Cadson Demak font
  • Sawasdee a Cadson Demak font
  • Sriracha a Cadson Demak font
  • TH Charmonman a DIP/SIPA Govt font
  • TH Fah kwang a DIP/SIPA Govt font

Note that all the fonts listed above with the exceptions of Linux Libertine, Arundina Sans, and Waree are available in the Free Thai font collection. We will be adding Arundina and Waree to the Thai Font Collection in the next month or two.

A Note on Linux Libertine

Linux Libertine continues to amaze as a one of the most successful open source truetype font projects has excellent Thai character support. Actually, Linux Libertine has zero Thai character support, but the default Thai font substitution works well with Linux Libertine.

Posted on Leave a comment

Understanding Thai Transcription

Last Updated on

INCOMPLETE - WORK IN PROGRESS It is common for those learning Thai to run across transcription of spoken Thai into systems other than the Thai script. At first, one would think that there would be a single correct transcription, for example based on the International Phonetical Association (IPA) that would accurately capture all the sounds in Thai. One would be wrong. There are a large number of transcription/transliteration systems, each with their own history and rationale. Understanding more about them is useful to Intermediate Thai language learners. Normally a beginning learner is simply at the mercy of whatever Thai language books/material and/or Thai teacher/tutor is most convenient or chosen for the learner. As for the author of this essay, I held a bias against the IPA system as I wondered why I had to learn a third system in order to learn the second system (Thai). It turns out I was incorrect and it would have been better to learn not only the phonemes and phonology of Thai, but also that of English. A better understanding of both is the key to cutting through the confusion of Thai transcription systems that proliferate. Topics to follow: - Transcription system goals - Script-to-script - Sound-to-script - Reversibility - Sound-to-sound - ASCII/En keyboard transcription - Transcription systems - True (full) IPA - Hybrid systems - AUA -

Posted on Leave a comment

Horse Riding in Chiang Mai

Last Updated on

There are quite a few venues for riding horses in Chiang Mai, including horse riding courses and trail rides. Laddaland is the main riding club with dozens of horses, but there are many other smaller outfits as well.

Chiang Mai

Posted on Leave a comment

Speech Perception Research

Last Updated on

While Speech Perception Research is a large and dynamic area of study, some recent findings can be summarized in a way that helps us better approach second language learning and teaching.

Accent-Independent Ataptation to Foreign Accented Speech

Accent-independent adaptation to foreign accented speech indicates that training on a set of foreign accents produces significant gains in comprehension with those accents as well as other non-training-set foreign accents. The idea is that foreign accents are systematic (in relation to the native foreign language), and learning a set of accents is generalizable across other accents.

Possible Ramifications

For second language learners who second langauge has a set of accents in general, training on these accents, in addition to a primary general standard speakers, could be of assistance. For example, in Thailand a majority of the population does not have Standard Thai as a mother tongue and to some degree have accents that are shaped by their native language (with the largest number of speakers represented by: Isan, Northern Thai, and Southern Thai). Practice with representative speakers of these mother tongues will increase overall understanding of the variety of accents of speakers of Standard Thai.

Perceptual Learning of Time-Compressed Speech

Perceptual Learning of Time-Compressed Speech indicates that specific training on Time-Compressed Speech, and subsequent follow-up training and exposure induces better understanding to a greater degree than expected.

Possible Ramifications

Time-Compressed, or fast speaking language should be introduced and integrated into second language learning, as a special aspect, with follow up training.

Reverse Hierarchies and Sensory Learning

Reverse Hierarchies and Sensory Learning discusses a useful theory to how second language learners make phonetic discrimination that relies on already built-up higher-level constructs rather than lower-level data that is available.

Our typical perceptual experiences (i.e. our conscious perception) reflect only the information stored at higher levels.

Possible Ramifications

RHT is a powerful approach to understanding learning and perception in general. It can provide a clear explanation for second language learners why they don't hear a sound properly. It also provides a clear way to devise training on things such as novel sounds and lexical characteristics in a second language.

Auditory-Perceptual Learning Improves Speech Motor Adaptation in Children

Auditory-Perceptual Learning Improves Speech Motor Adaptation in Children underscores the importance of hearing to speech production. Focused training on speech perception provides a stronge catalyst for speec production.

Possible Ramifications

Auditory feedback as a mechanism for auditory training and perceptual learning has an impact in performance of speech production. Training the ear is essential.

An interactive model of auditory-motor speech perception

An interactive model of auditory-motor speech perception, as above, provides strong evidence for an interactive model of auditory, somatosensory, and motor regions in effective speech. While highly interactive, the ear is still considered primary and the voice a secondary, modulatory role.

Possible Ramifications

Speech production and listening training should be taught as a joint exercise rather than as separate and distinct.

Plasticity in the human speech motor system drives changes in speech perception

Plasticity in the human speech motor system drives changes in speech perception points to a dramatic plasticity in the human speech motor system, but even moreso that the motor system is a driver in perception.

Possible Ramifications

A strong argument for conjoining listening and speech production together, as is noted in other studies above.

#

Posted on Leave a comment

Thai Languages

Last Updated on

Thai languages, or languages in Thailand, are many and diverse. Scholars generally use the term Tai to refer to a larger language family which ranges across much of Mainland Southeast Asia and what is now Southern China. The main point is that there is ongoing research, different ideas, and not full agreement, on how to distinguish which languages are related to each other and which are siblings and which are parent languages.

Languages vs. Dialects

There is not a clear distinction where a dialect ends and a language begins. Presumably dialects are regional pronunciations and special local terms, whereas languages have much more of a difference which can result in mutual unintelligibility (the speaker of one language cannot understand the speaker of another language). Speakers of a language can grow apart, and their language then grows apart, resulting in two or more languages. Languages can also come together over time, such that a separate language starts to become mutually intelligible, where before it was not. And finally, many societies have multiple languages in use, and so intelligibility comes from close physical proximity of the languages and the speakers in the local area. What usually happens in this case is that one language which is not a local language, and not the mother tongue of a majority of the inhabitants, is priviledged as a language of education or the economy.

Thai Language, Tai Languges, &c.

In Thailand as functional mother tongues there are dozens and possibly hundreds of linguistic communities. Setting aside the many minority languages for example of immigrants and hill tribes, there are five predominant languages which number in the million or more speakers, those are: - Kham Muang / Lanna / Northern Thai - spoken in parts of Northern Thailand, Western Laos and Northeastern Myanmar - Isan / Lao / Northeastern Thai - there are six (or more) dialects of Lao and each of them is spoken in Isan, hence the Isan language is simply the Lao language, spoken in Northeastern Thailand - Standard Thai / Central Thai / Siamese / Thai - Southern / Dambro / Southern Thai - Phasa Dai ภาษาใต้ - Yawi / Pattani Malay - Phasa Yawi ภาษายาวี - Northern Khmer / Surin Khmer - Phasa Khmer ภาษาเขมร This rough diagram of the various spheres of influence of various kingdoms from ~1400 CE indicates how the linguistic cultures were set by then. The borders of those kingdoms are still very much present in the mother tongue of the populations in different parts of Thailand.

How to Understand the Relations between Thai Languages

There are different ways of relating these languages to each other, but present scholarship is best understood as making the modern languages siblings at most, and unrelated languages most likely. It is common to hear each of these languages (with the exception of Malay) as being Thai, Thai Languages or Dialects of the Thai Language. Certainly they are languages spoken in Thailand, and have been for generations. However, it is not accurate or useful to refer to these languages a part of a single language. Beyond the fact that these are generally mutually unintelligible, they also have very different histories and play a different function in the societies in which they live. Each is a mother tongue for a significant population, whereas Central Thai / Siamese is the national/government language. All languages except for Central Thai have been largely supressed as part of a nationalist Thaification policy which began in the 1940s and is operating up through the present.