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Lao Alphabet


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Click on each Lao alphabet to listen to the sound.

   In these lists the consonants are cited by their "full" names.  For example, the letter    is called kOO ka#y, the kOO of   "chicken".   Naming the letters in this way precludes ambiguity when spelling aloud.  Asked to spell ປ້າ  you could do so correctly by saying pOO, salá aa, mày thóo.   It would be better, however, to say pOO paa, salá aa, mày thóo.  Calling the letter  by its full name (pOO paa) makes it impossible to mistake it for  (bOO bét).

    Note how the following words are spelled:

ຈະ cOO cua, salá á
ວັດ vO@O vií, mày kan, dOO dék
ເຂົ້າ khO4O kha#y, salá aw, mày thóo
ແຂວງ khO4O kha#y, vO@O vií, salá EE, NO@O N
ລຳ lO@O liíN, salá am
ໝາ hO4O ha4i, mO@O màa, salá aa
   How would you spell  ປະເພນີ,  ເສື້ອ,  ໜີ, and   ການເມືອງ  using the full names of the consonants?

    The consonants (pha±ánsana#) in alphabetical order:

K-kai kOO ka#y chicken P--paa pOO paa fish
chicken     fish    
Kh-khai khO4O kha#y egg Ph-phueng phO4O phe3N bee
egg     bee    
Kh-khaay khO@O khua@y buffalo F-fon fO4O fa4a wall
buffalo     rain    
Ng-ngua NO@O Nu@u snake Ph-phuu phO@O phu@u mountain
cow     mountain    
C--cok cOO cOk novice F-fai fO@O fa@y fire
cup     fire    
S-sua sO4O sya4 tiger M-maew mO@O mEEw horse
tiger     cat    
Z-zaang sO4O saa1N elephant Y-yaa yOO yaa tobacco
elephant     medicine    
Y-yung ±O@O ±u@N mosquito L-lot rO@O (lO@O) lo#t car
mosquito     car    
D--dek dOO de@k child L-liing lO@O liíN monkey
child     monkey    
T--taa tOO taa eye V-vii vO@O vií fan
eye     fan    
Th--thong thO4O thuN bag H-haan hO4O ha4y jar
bag     goose    
Th--thung thO@O thu@N flag Au--oo ?OO oo bowl
flag     bowl    
N-nok nO@O no#k bird H-huen hO@O hya@ boat
bird     house    


   The consonants grouped according to class:

    kaaN [Middle]:   kOO ka#y cOO cua,     dOO de@k tOO taa,     bOO be@t   pOO paa yOO yaa ?OO oo

   tam [Low]:  khO@O khua@y,  NO@O Nu@u,   sO4O saa1N ±O@O ±u@N thO@O thu@N nO@O no#k,  phO@O phu@u,  fO@O fa@y,  mO@O ma1a,  rO@O (lO@O) lo#t,  lO@O liíN vO@O vií,   hO@O hya@

   su4uN [High]:  khO4O kha#y,  sO4O sya4 thO4O tha4y,  phO4O phe3N fO4O fa4a,  hO4O ha4y

    Combinations with     in which the    is silent:

ຫງ ຫຍ,ຫຽ ຫຣ ຫລ,ຫຼ ຫວ
NO4O ±O4O nO4O mO4O rO4O or lO4O lO4O vO4O
   In spelling, one names the two elements of the combination separately, e.g.,  ຫງ  is  hO4O ha4y, NO@O Nu@u.   The vowels (salá):  (s indicates a short diphthong.)
x -a? x -EE xຶອ -ya
  x -a + -p/t/k/n/N x -o xືອ -yya
x -aa   x -o xວົະ -ua? (s)
    x -i x -oo    xົວ -ua
   x -ii xາະ -O? xx -ua + Final
   x -y xອັx -O + Final x -ay
  x -yy x -OO x -ay
x -u xx -OO + Final xົາ -aw
  x -uu x -e x -am
x -e? x -ee x -Oj
x -e xັຽະ -ia?    
x -ee xັຽ -ia 1*    
x --E? x -ia 2*    
x --E xx -ia + Final    
   Five of the vowel symbols have special names:  xx   ma1y kan;  xx  ma1y koNx   ma1y mua1n;  x   ma1y máay;  x ±O@O fya3N. * Note that  -ia has two written forms, depending on the date of use and the publication of the dictionary.  The Lao writing system has undergone periodic reforms, and these variations are the result.    


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