This article is about Thai keyboard layouts for desktop and laptop computers, which have a hardware and software component. This does not deal with virtual or soft keyboards or mobile device layouts.
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).
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.)
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
Thai character sound – เสียงของตัวสระภาษาไทย
Thai name of character – ชื่อของตัวสระเป็นภาษาไทย
Thai character with drawing indicators – แบบแสดงเส้นนำทางในการเขียนตัวสระ
Common handwritten form – รูปแบบของสระที่นิยมเขียนเป็นลายมือเขียน
Color coding of the vowel class – ใช้สีกำกับบอกประเภทของสระ
Vowel pair, if present - คู่เสียงสระสั้นยาว
Vowel categories indicating short or long, diphtongs, and combined (vowel+consonant) - ประเภทของสระ สระเสียงสั้น สระเสียงยาว สระประสม สระพิเศษ
Drawing illustrating the character name – ภาพวาดที่แสดงชื่อของสระ
Tone rules for long and short vowels when applied to high, mid and low consonants – กฏการออกเสียงสูงต่ำสำหรับพยางค์สระเสียงสั้นและพยางค์สระเสียงยาวเมื่อใช้กับพยัญชนะสูง กลาง และ ต่ำ
Vowel order number (in Thai numerals) – เลขลำดับของสระในภาษาไทยเป็นตัวเลขไทย
English Side of Card - ด้านภาษาอังกฤษ
Phonetic transcription of Thai sound in English –การออกเสียงสระภาษาไทยเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
Tone frequency and duration graph -กราฟแสดงเสียงสูงต่ำของเสียงสระ
Mouth position diagram -แผนภาพรูปปากขณะออกเสียงสระ
English translation for character name -คำแปลชื่อของสระเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
Vowel class -ประเภทของสระเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
Vowel order number (in Arabic numerals) -เลขลำดับของสระในภาษาไทยเป็นตัวเลขอราบิค
We offer a 30% discount for orders of 10 or more products, including free delivery, to addresses in Thailand, and a 20% discount for orders of 10 or more products, including free delivery, to addresses outside of Thailand.
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:
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.
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
- ASCII/En keyboard transcription
- Transcription systems
- True (full) IPA
- Hybrid systems
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.
Comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between two languages is an effective tactic for second language learners. Direct cognitive awareness of those differences, while engaging in recognition and production of the differences, is more effective than indirect trial and error. Instruction and exercises that highlight these differences are important for mastery.
Shipping is from Thailand, which can take 2-3 weeks for most countries, and 3-4 weeks for Australia. For faster shipping in North America and Europe, please visit Amazon which has all products available, with much faster delivery. Prices are slightly higher there. For shipping to Thailand locations, delvery is between 3-5 days using EMS.