- Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The Royal Thai General System of Transcription (RTGS) is the official system for rendering
Thai languagewords in the Latin alphabet. It is used in road signs and government publications, and is the closest thing to a standard of transcription for Thai, though its use by even the government is inconsistent.
Prominent features of the Royal Thai General System include:
* uses only unmodified letters from the
Latin alphabet; no diacritics
* spells all
vowels and diphthongs using only vowel letters: a, e, i, o, u
** simple letters "a", "e", "i", "o", "u" are simple vowels, having the same value as in the
International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA
** combinations with "e" second as "ae", "oe", "ue", are simple vowels, similar to respective ligatures IPA| [æ, œ, ɯ] in IPA
** combinations with trailing "a", "i", "o" (or several) are diphthongs, indicated by [a, j, w] respectively in IPA
consonants as in IPA, except:
** combinations with "h" as "ph", "th", "kh" are used for aspirated p, t, k, similar to IPA IPA| [pʰ, tʰ, kʰ] , to distinguish them from the separate
unaspirated"p", "t", "k"
** uses "ng" for engma as in English, IPA IPA| [ŋ]
** uses "ch" for IPA IPA| [tɕʰ] and IPA| [tɕ]
** uses "y" for IPA IPA| [j]
** note that transcription of consonants in final position is according to pronunciation, not spelling
The Royal Thai General System has been criticized as inadequate for learners of Thai, particularly because of the following shortcomings:
* it does not record tones
* it does not differentiate between short and long vowels
* notation "ch" does not differentiate between IPA IPA|/tɕ/ and IPA IPA|/tɕʰ/ (see table below)
* notation "o" does not differentiate between IPA IPA|/ɔ/ and IPA IPA|/o/ (see table below)
Letter 1 Letter 2 RTGS Thai IPA Description English Thai IPA Description English ch จ IPA|tɕ alveo-palatal
as "ty" in "let you" ฉ, ช, ฌ IPA|tɕʰ aspirated alveo-
as "ch" in "check" o โ–ะ, – IPA|o close-mid back
like "oa" in "boat" เ–าะ IPA|ɔ open-mid back
like "aw" in "raw", but shorter โ– IPA|oː close-mid back
like "oa" in "moan" –อ IPA|ɔː open-mid back
like "aw" in "raw"
For consonants, the transcription is different depending on the location in the syllable. In the section on vowels a dash ("–") indicates the relative position of the initial consonant belonging to the vowel.
* [http://www.royin.go.th/upload/246/FileUpload/416_2157.pdf PDF file setting out the system (Thai language)]
* [http://www.eki.ee/wgrs/rom1_th.pdf Report on the Current Status of United Nations Romanization Systems for Geographical Names: Thai]
* [http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~ananlada/ThaiRomanizeCOCOSDA99.doc Discussion of romanisation] (Microsoft Word document)
* [http://www.arts.chula.ac.th/%7Eling/tts/ Downloadable Windows-based transcription tool]
ALA-LC: [http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/romanization/thai.pdf PDF guide to romanization]
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