Agosto 4, 2014

Anónimo ha dicho: I wanted to ask you how hard is to learn the writing system of Thai... Like, Korean's Hangul is the 2nd easiest writing system to learn so I wanted to know

hmm. Well it’s a good question, for sure.

Here’s the thing about Hangul: the entire purpose of it was to be easy. Many writing systems come about from initially being about conveying meaning in the characters themselves, then slowly evolve into just being phonetic (our own, for example), and some come about from desire to be easy to write (various shorthands, and I think Ogham), whereas Hangul was invented to be as intuitive as possible. The shapes of the letters literally look like the tongue when it’s forming the consonants. So in that way, yes, it is very easy to learn. Also, it’s only like 14 letters, so after a couple days of practice, you can say you have a good idea of how it is. 

(by the way, if Hangul’s second easiest, what’s first?)

From what I can recall (it has been a while since I learned about it, this video being the most recent contact I’ve had with it; I’ve never actually put in an effort to learn it), there are something like three versions of each letter and are used in the orthography dependent on nearby letters, so it’s like vowel harmony but it has absolutely no reflection of how the consonant is pronounced. Besides that, I know it’s an abugida (tbh I have a special place in my heart for abugidas <3). Some language, not sure if it’s Thai, Khmer, or something else, that uses a sister system to Thai’s actually uses other letters/vowel markers to mark tone, so it look slike a word is pronounced Krorhofn but it’s pronounced Kró3ö if written in a different transcription, basically (completely made up example). There are a lot of letters that look similar but have vastly different pronunciations, but that is a problem that is always going to come up with scripts. Some vowels are formed by combining other, completely unrelated vowels. Unlike Hangul’s 14, there are something like 44 letters in Thai, so that’s just simply more to learn. This all isn’t to say that you can’t learn it all in a couple days (PLEASE PLEASE PRACTICE WHENEVER YOU GET A CHANCE THOUGH DON’T JUST LEARN IT AND THEN STOP BECAUSE THAT’S A BAD IDEA) if you practice. It’s harder than Hangul. It’s probably slightly harder than the Roman alphabet. I would estimate, from what it seems, it would be right in between Gurmukhi and Ethiopian (note: I don’t know either Gurmukhi or Ethiopian)

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