A few months ago I reviewed a set of Thai consonant flash cards sent to me by Chiang Mai-based Lanna Innovation. The folks at LI were kind enough to send me their next set of flash cards, dealing with the Thai vowels.

As I recently mentioned in another post on vowel hacking, many students find vowels to be extremely hard to learn. What could be better than having a small set of flash cards to help you drill while you have an extra ten minutes?

I admit to having some reservations and slight objections to the consonant cards Lanna had produced, so when they sent me the vowel cards I was a little hesitant to look at them. Jeff from Lanna did an excellent job, however, of walking me through some of my concerns, so the question is whether or not the vowel cards can stand up to my concerns and be something I would recommend to my readers.

Front of the Cards

(taken from Lanna Innovation’s “How to Learn Thai” website – howtolearnthai.com)

  1. Thai character sound – เสียงของตัวสระภาษาไทย
  2. Thai name of character – ชื่อของตัวสระเป็นภาษาไทย
  3. Thai character with drawing indicators – แบบแสดงเส้นนำทางในการเขียนตัวสระ
  4. Common handwritten form – รูปแบบของสระที่นิยมเขียนเป็นลายมือเขียน
  5. Color coding of the vowel class – ใช้สีกำกับบอกประเภทของสระ
  6. Vowel pair, if present – คู่เสียงสระสั้นยาว
  7. Vowel categories indicating short or long, diphtongs, and combined (vowel+consonant) – ประเภทของสระ สระเสียงสั้น สระเสียงยาว สระประสม สระพิเศษ
  8. Drawing illustrating the character name – ภาพวาดที่แสดงชื่อของสระ
  9. Tone rules for long and short vowels when applied to high, mid and low consonants – กฏการออกเสียงสูงต่ำสำหรับพยางค์สระเสียงสั้นและพยางค์สระเสียงยาวเมื่อใช้ กับพยัญชนะสูง กลาง และ ต่ำ
  10. Vowel order number (in Thai numerals) – เลขลำดับของสระในภาษาไทยเป็นตัวเลขไทย

One confusing point here about the front of the cards is #2: “Thai name of character.” In Thai, vowels do not have words associated with them the same way consonants do. This was a bit confusing to me at first, but in speaking with Jeff at LI I was told that these words are examples of the sound the vowels make. This makes perfect sense to me; I just wish they had named this feature a little differently.

Back of the Cards

(taken from Lanna Innovation’s “How to Learn Thai” website – howtolearnthai.com)

  1. Phonetic transcription of Thai sound in English –การออกเสียงสระภาษาไทยเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
  2. Tone frequency and duration graph -กราฟแสดงเสียงสูงต่ำของเสียงสระ
  3. Mouth position diagram -แผนภาพรูปปากขณะออกเสียงสระ
  4. English translation for character name -คำแปลชื่อของสระเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
  5. Vowel class -ประเภทของสระเป็นภาษาอังกฤษ
  6. Vowel order number (in Arabic numerals) -เลขลำดับของสระในภาษาไทยเป็นตัวเลขอราบิค

The back of the cards give nice representations of the tones associated with each syllable of the example word, as well as the vowel length and mouth position associated with speaking the vowel. As with the consonant cards, this is perhaps the biggest sticking point for me with the cards. I just don’t see the inherent value in showing mouth position. I think this is important for advanced students but could add to unnecessary confusion for beginners. This certainly isn’t a deal-breaking feature, however, so it’s probably best to think of it as something extra that beginners probably will have no need for.

Bonus!

One thing that I absolutely love about the vowel card set is that they added extra cards for tone marks and other grammatical features of Thai such as ์, ๆ, รร, ฯ. In a word, this was a stroke of genius on their part to include these features in the card set. They are quite often overlooked, but shouldn’t be.

Worth the Price?

At the time of this review, the price for the vowel card set is $8.99 USD. You honestly can’t beat that price, so yes, I think these vowel cards are definitely worth the price. You can order them through Lanna Innovation’s website. If you live in Thailand, you can also find them in over 120 locations.