The leading consonant is different from the clusters in a way that it does not merge with its preceding letter. There is a hidden ‘-ะ (a)’ when you pronounce it. The tone’s rule is based on the leading consonant’s class.
See the comparison between the leading consonant and the clusters.
ตลาด (talàat) – leading consonant
กลาด (klàat) – cluster
Reading direction is to read each column from left to right.
Leading consonant’s exceptions
You will see mainly 4 exceptions for the leading consonants.
1. The silent อ leading consonant
There are only 4 words that have อ as a leading consonant of ย where อ is silent. The tone’s rule will be based on the อ rule, which is the rule of middle class consonants.
2. The silent ห leading consonant
This ห is silent when it precedes the low class consonants. The tone’s rule will be based on the ห rule, which is the rule of high class consonants.
3. The exception for the tone’s rule
Normally the tone of a leading consonant word will be based on the class of the leading consonant. However, some words do not follow this rule. You just need to memorize them.
Let me show you what I mean.
สนาม (sanǎam) has a rising tone because ส is a high class consonant and it has ‘m’ ending. This is a normal rule of the leading consonant word.
สบาย (sabaay) the first syllable of this word should have a rising tone if it follows the rule. But this word is one of the exceptions.
Here are some more words with the same exception.
In theory, there are reasons why all of them don’t share the same tone rule. But I will not go into those details because it will just unnecessarily add up too much information for you.
And eventually, you will not remember most of the rules anyway. Your reading experience will help you to be able to read words without thinking much of the rules.
4. Not the hidden ‘a’ but the hidden ‘ɔɔ’
As you know, the leading consonant usually has a hidden -ะ (-a) after the leading letter. But some words have hidden –อ (ɔɔ) instead. You just have to memorize them.
These are some of those words.
If you notice, most of the words under this exception are the words with บ leading consonant.
To wrap up
In this lesson, we have covered everything about the leading consonants and their exceptions. Sometimes, it can be tricky to know whether the word is with a leading consonant or with a cluster. But that’s not what you need to worry about.
Keep practicing reading and you will be fluent naturally. Now, let’s move on to the next lesson. You are so close to complete everything.