There are 44 Thai consonants in the Thai Alphabet, each grouped into low, middle or high. Each consonant is named after a Thai word, like ‘Gor Gai’; “Gor” being the sound the consonant makes, and “Gai” the word for chicken, which is the symbol.
Many letters have the same sound, which means you only really have to learn 21 sounds, although be aware that some letters change their sound when placed at the end of the word – but that’s something you’ll learn much later down the line.
For now, it’s important you start getting to grips with the letters (characters). At least then you’ll know which toilet to walk into in a Thai restaurant – believe me, that mistake has caused many a foreigner embarrassment after a few alcoholic drinks.
So, it’s time to get started with my comprehensive Thai alphabet chart. I have written the transliteration for you, and the meaning in English below that too.
I have tried to write the transliteration as close to the way you would pronounce it in English, though please be aware that you may come across different interpretations.
For example, I see Thais write “Go Gai”, but personally I put write “Gor”, because having studied in the UK I know that when Thai people say this word it sounds to English people like it has an ‘r’ on the end. Otherwise they’d say “Go”, which isn’t the correct sound.
Please also be aware of the low, mid, and high words written under each consonant. This indicates the tone, something you’ll learn about on my tones page. This determines whether the consonant is pronounced with a low, mid, or high sound.
Try learning two Thai consonants a day for now, by drawing them a few times over and memorizing how they look. Please also refer to my learning tips for extra pointers.
I hope you enjoy my Thai alphabet chart. It took me ages to create. Go for it!