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Vowels are written as a collection of zero to many symbols around the initial consonant or consonant cluster of each syllable. Some vowels are "long", and others are "short". A vowel that is short ends abruptly, transitioning into the final consonant sound or into a quick glottal stop. A long vowel is one that can be pronounced forever (or until you run out of breath). Great importance is attributed to the length of the vowel, since changing the vowel length can produce a completely different word. The Thai vowels are listed below, in long/short pairs, roughly sorted by the complexity of the symbols involved. The dotted circle, ◌, represents the initial consonant or consonant cluster of the syllable.

Click any vowel to hear it spoken
Long vowel Short Vowel Sounds Like Notes
ee, as in pizza
oo, as in buckaroo
ื or ือ eu, as in you're Rare sound in English
เ◌ เ็ or เ◌ะ eh, as in Bread
แ◌ แ็ or แ◌ะ aa, as in Bat
◌า ั or ◌ะ ah, as in nachos
◌อ ็อ or เ◌าะ au, as in caught
เิ or เ◌อ เ◌อะ er, as in whirl เิ is sometimes short
เีย เียะ iya, as in Maria
เือ เือะ eua, like Kahlua
ัว ัวะ ua, like Joshua
โ◌ โ◌ะ oh, as in burrito
◌าย ไ◌ or ใ◌ or ัย or ไ◌ย ai, as in Thai ไ◌ and ใ◌ are sometimes long
ah, as in nachos
+ 'M' ending
Can be long or short
◌าว เ◌า ah, as in nachos
+ 'W' ending
◌วาย ◌วย oo-ai:
oo, as in buckaroo
+ ai, as in Thai
เือย eu-ai:
eu as in you're
+ ai, as in Thai
เ◌ย eu-y:
eu, as in you're
+ 'Y' ending
◌อย ็อย aw-y:
aw, as in caught
+ 'Y' ending
โ◌ย oh-y:
oh, as in burrito
+ 'Y' ending
ุย oo-y:
oo, as in buckaroo
+ 'Y' ending