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”.
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.
- 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.
- ‘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.