Thai Alphabet

The Thai alphabet is not a true alphabet but rather an abugida, which is a type of writing system whose basic characters denote consonants followed by a particular vowel. Diacritics denote other vowels. Consonant-vowel sequences are written as units. The Thai abugida is written from left to right and is used to write Thai and Southern Thai.

The Thai abugida is derived from the Old Khmer script. According to tradition, it was created in 1283 by King Ramkhanhaeng the Great. It modified some of the Old Khmer letters and introduced new ones plus tone marks. Thai is the first script in the world that invented tone markers. Tones are most notably seen in Chinese, where the entire meaning of a word can change.

The Thai script has 44 consonant symbols, 16 vowel symbols combined into at least 32 vowel forms, and four tone diacritics. The absence of a vowel diacritic improves an a or o.

In Thai script, consonants are written horizontally, left to right, and vowels following a consonant are written above, below, to either side of the consonant, or any combination.

Thai Alphabet
English Sound
Pronunciation
kas in ko kai (chicken)
khas in kho khai (egg)
khas in kho khuat (bottle) [obsolete]
khas in kho khwai (water buffalo)
khas in kho khon (person) [obsolete]
khas in kho ra-khang (bell)
ngas in ngo ngu (snake)
chas in cho chan (plate)
chas in cho ching (cymbals)
chas in cho chang (elephant)
sas in so so (chain)
chas in cho choe (tree)
yas in yo ying (woman)
das in do cha-da (headdress)
tas in to pa-tak (goad, javelin)
thas in tho than (base)
thas in tho montho (Mandodari, character from Ramayana)
thas in tho phu-thao (elder)
nas in no nen (samanera)
das in do dek (child)
tas in to tao (turtle)
thas in tho thung (sack)
thas in tho thahan (soldier)
thas in tho thong (flag)
nas in no nu (mouse)
bas in bo baimai (leaf)
pas in po pla (fish)
phas in pho phueng (bee)
fas in fo fa (lid)
phas in pho phan (tray)
fas in fo fan (teeth)
phas in pho sam-phao (sailboat)
mas in mo ma (horse)
yas in yo yak (giant)
ras in ro ruea (boat)
las in lo ling (monkey)
was in wo waen (ring)
sas in so sala (pavilion)
sas in so rue-si (hermit)
sas in so suea (tiger)
has in ho hip (chest)
las in lo chu-la (kite)
*as in o ang (basin)
has in ho nok-huk (owl)

Thai Vowels

Thai Alphabet
English Sound
Pronunciation
au as in nut
– –ooa as in boat
–รรanun as in tun
–รร–au as in nut
–รรมamum as in hum
–ว–uaewe as in newer
–วยuaiuoy as in buoy
–อoaw as in saw
–็อ–oo as in not
–อยoioy as in boy
–ะau as in nut
–ั –au as in nut
–ัยaii as in hi
–ัวuaewe as in newer
–ัวะuaewe as in sewer
–าaa as in father
–ายaiye as in bye
–าวaoow as in now
–ำamum as in sum
–ิiy as in greedy
–ิวioew as in new
–ีiee as in see
–ึueu as in French du (short)
–ืueu as in French dur (long)
–ุuoo as in look
–ูuoo as in too
เ–ea as in lame
เ–็ –ee as in neck
เ–ะee as in neck
เ–ยoeiu as in burn + y as in boy
เ–อoeu as in burn
เ–อะoee as in the
เ–ิ –oee as in the
เ–วeoai + ow as in rainbow
เ–าaoow as in cow
เ–าะoo as in not
เ–ียiaea as in ear
เ–ียะiaea as in ear with glottal stop
เ–ียวiaoio as in trio
เ–ือueaure as in pure
เ–ือะueaure as in pure
แ–aea as in ham
แ–ะaea as in at
แ–็ –aea as in at
แ–วaeoa as in ham + ow as in low
โ–oo as in go
โ–ะoo as in poke
ใ–aii as in I
ไ–aii as in I
rueri as in Krishna
ฤๅrue
lueli as in leak

Thai Alphabet