- As you start learning how to speak Lao, keep several things in
(1) The more you sound
like a Lao, the easier it will be for you to communicate.
(2) Although a few sounds are almost
the same in Lao as in English, most of them are different.
(3) Learn the new sound
system. Avoid English intonation. Don't wind up at the end knowing all the Lao
words but "singing them with English music". If need be, go back to the preliminary lessons for extra study of
difficult sounds. Listen to a new word or phrase several times before you try to say
it. In this way, you are more likely to say it right the first time. Insist
that your teacher correct you if your pronunciation is unacceptable.
- Some short syllables do not have a tone mark. They are said
with a neutral tone. "saba4ay" ສະບາຍ) "comfortable".
- If you have difficulty saying the sound written "c" ຈ, practice
by putting the tip of you tongue against the roof of you mouth when you say it.
Remember that it does not sound like English "ch" in "church" nor like the
"j" in "joy".
- Note that the lips must be rounded for the vowels "u" (_ຸ) "uu" (_ູ), "o" (ໂ-ະ) "oo" (ໂ), and "?O" (ເ-າະ) "?OO" ອອ. They must be unrounded for "y"
(-ຶ) "yy" (-ື), "e" (-ິ) "ee" (-ີ), and "a" (ເ-ະ) "aa" (ເ-).
- The sounds written "ph" (ພ), "th" (ທ), and "kh" (ຄ) are aspirated.
That is, there is a noticeable puff of air from the mouth. This feature is
absented from the sounds written "p" (ປ), "t" (ຕ), "c" (ຊ), and "k" (ກ). Note "kaafe2e" (ກາເຟ), not "khaaafe2e"
- Note that words like "cay" (ໃຈ), "pha4y" (ໄຜຶ), and "ma#y" (ໄມ)
have short vowels. Do not hold the "a"
- If the word "su#u" (ຊື່) "name", gives you difficulty, remember that your lips must be
unrounded. Try saying "Sue" smiling. The result should be something
- The rhythm of a Lao sentence depends on short and long
vowels. Try humming a sentence before you say it. This will help you say the
tones correctly and keep the rhythm. In the sentence "ca1w su#u n2a4N" (ເຈົ້າຊື່ຫຍັງ), the rhythm is short, long, and
short. Be sure you say the word with the proper length.