The books on Thai and Lao
on this website use a system for tone markers and vowel length that
was written on the computer program Fontographer. Fontographer creates
original tru-type fonts which can be typed into any document.
With the tone marker system here, the tones of Thai words are shown
visually with straight or curving lines above or below the word that
are in the approximate position of the sound. There are five tones in
Thai and also two distinct vowel lengths - long, with the pronunciation
drawn out, and short with a quicker, cut off pronunciation. The short
vowel length is denoted here with an asterisk rather than by vowel letter(s)
as in the academic system..
There are therefore ten
possible pronunciations for any syllable or one-syllable "word",
although no "word" has meanings for all ten (mai and
kao have the most meanings with six each).
Following are the five tones,
each with two vowel lengths:
mid tone - Speak
in your normal voice. The sound doesn't rise or fall..Words with mid
tones have no tone marker, but if there's an asterisk it means that
the vowel length is short.