It’s Pronounced ‘Poo-ket’

A lesson on aspirated consonants in Thailand.

Ever heard of an aspirated ‘T’?

Probably not if you’re not a linguist. I’m not a linguist and, before coming to Thailand I had never heard of an aspirated ‘T’ either.

What is it? It’s the reason that the name “Thailand” is not pronounced “Thighland”.

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“Wait…what?”

Right. Just as you don’t combine the ‘t’ and ‘h’ sounds in the traditional English way in the name Thailand, nor do you with most consonants in a Thai word that is followed by an ‘h’ when spelled in English.

Examples:

  • Phuket – Your filthy English mind wants you to read that phonetically  with a certain accent on a certain syllable right? Degenerate. But it’s pronounced ‘poo-ket’. Just ignore the ‘h’ and breathe out a little bit more on the ‘p’ sound, as in the word ‘puff’.
  • Phi-Phi Islands = Pee Pee Islands and stop laughing. What are you a four year old?
  • Phang Nga = Pang Nga (I’m only doing the lesson on aspirated consonants today. You’ll have to come back later for the lesson on the ‘ng’ sound).
  • Koh Pha Ngan = Ko Pa Ngan (and not Ko Pangan).
  • Khlong Khong = Klong Kong but again, exhale to soften the ‘k’ a bit. Same goes for the word “khun” (you) which you’ll hear and use a lot.

Exceptions:

  • ‘ch’ is still pretty much the same but is probably better pronounced with a ‘j’ sound. 

So yeah, you get the idea. Pooket, Pee Pee, Pang Nga and not *expletive deleted*, Fee Fee and Fang Nga.
Aspirated consonants. Just ignore the ‘h’ and breathe a bit more when you say the consonant.

Now go practice.

3 thoughts on “It’s Pronounced ‘Poo-ket’

  1. I’m glad nobody is around me, because they’d think I was weird testing out Khlong Khong with and without the exhale hahaha. These are good to know though. I learned Phi Phi and Phuket already, but I didn’t know the others. I’m seeing a pattern though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sure most people will understand you with Khlong Khong but asking someone to get you to Fangan will get you a big blank stare. This post, by the way, was inspired by an Italian lady who I didn’t correct when she said Fee Fee Islands. She was so excited to go that I just couldn’t burst her bubble. I hope she gets there.

      Liked by 1 person

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