Clusters and their exceptions

Lesson 10

Make it more fun with the Thai clusters!

We will cover all types of clusters including a common cluster, a fake cluster, and a special ทร- cluster.

Common Thai clusters

When ร ล or ว comes after the initial consonant, most of the time it makes clustered sounds. The tone rule of such words follows the initial consonant class. Put a tone mark above the clustered letter when writing.

Let’s practice


One thing you should be aware of is people usually drop the clustered ร and ล when speaking.

For example, instead of saying กลับบ้าน (klàp bâan) which means to go back home, we say kàp bâan.

Fake clusters

It is a clustered word in which you do not pronounce the clustered letter, and even if you try, it’s hard to do so!

Practice reading


ทร- cluster

There are about 19 words that have ทร- (thr) together but are pronounced as ซ (s). You don’t need to memorize these 19 words. You will come across just some of them in real life.

Let’s practice reading some of them

Here is more information about the ทร-
  • There are ทร- words that are not pronounced as ซ (s) including นิทรา (ní-thraa), อินทรา (ʔin-thraa), จันทรา (can-thraa). It is believed that these 3 words used to be pronounced as ซ (s) until the year 1895 but there was no record of when exactly it was changed.
  • The word โทร (thoo) means to call. This word is the first part of the word โทรศัพท์ (thoo-ra-sàp) which means a telephone and to talk on the phone. Therefore, don’t pronounce it as ซ (soo).

That’s all about the clusters. Move to the next lesson if you feel like it!