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RTGS and logic

The art and science of translation to or from Thai, with examples

Moderator: acloudmovingby

Re: RTGS and logic

Postby David and Bui » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:22 am

I think that one more point is in order. I believe that the Royal Institute has a specific objective in mind when issuing its pronouncement. Note the title which states as the paper's objective "to reflect the pronunciation".

Prior to the issuance of the paper, many believed that Thai Romanization should reflect "transliteration", rather than "transcription." Under "transliteration", the objective is to reflect all the vowels and consonants of the source language into the target rendering. Under "transcription" the objective is to reflect the sound of the source language.

An example of transliteration is the airport name "Suvarnabhumi" to reflect "สุวรรณภูมิ". (Not precisely a "transliteration"; a true transliteration, reducio ad absurdum, would be "Suwrrnphuumi").

The Royal Institute took a long stride in moving toward pronunciation as a standard.
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Re: RTGS and logic

Postby bahtman » Sun Jun 05, 2016 7:55 am

This transliteration and transcription is, for me, getting complicated to follow.
Have I understood correctly that "Suvarnabhumi" is more a transcription?

This is something I have trouble understanding. If it was to reflect the pronunciation, then why isn’t the “i” at the end dropped? I know it’s part of the Thai spelling, and it’s one of those grammar rules (what I’d describe it as anyway), when a word ending in มิ doesn’t have that final vowel sounded. ชัยภูมิ is the other one which springs to my mind.
So wouldn’t it be more logical to miss out the “h” as well, and spell it in English as "Suvarnabum"?
Or is that me missing the obvious again, and only seeing it as an English speaker?
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Re: RTGS and logic

Postby David and Bui » Sun Jun 05, 2016 10:07 am

It is more of a "transliteration" because the drafter tried to include all the written consonants and vowels.
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Re: RTGS and logic

Postby Tgeezer » Sun Jun 05, 2016 11:10 am

It looks like the experts are confused, in 'seven' they render the v as and where they have a letter which can be rendered in English สวรรณภูมิ they think that it can't be and put v!
คับที่อยู่ได้คับใจอยู่ยาก
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Re: RTGS and logic

Postby David and Bui » Mon Jun 06, 2016 1:06 am

Bahtman,

You may be interested in the attached article, "Romanization, Transliteration, and Transcription for the Globalization of the Thai" published by The Journal of the Royal Institute of Thailand in 2006.
Attachments
RomanizingThai.pdf
From the Journal of the Royal Institute
(342.11 KiB) Downloaded 61 times
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Re: RTGS and logic

Postby bahtman » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:38 pm

Thanks for posting the article David.
I've started to work my way through it. It's a lot more involved than I ever imagined, especially having started a post about what I imagined were easy to answer questions.
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Re: RTGS and logic

Postby David and Bui » Mon Jun 06, 2016 2:46 pm

Bahtman,

I think we have a tendency to too easily dismiss difficult issues as being the "fault" or "inaction" of some venerable institutions. If we better understood their challenges, objectives, and limitations, we can better appreciate their efforts.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the article.

Thanks.
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Re: RTGS and logic

Postby bahtman » Tue Jun 07, 2016 2:25 am

I’ve read the pdf you uploaded. As I said earlier, for me, it was much more complex than I ever thought. Interesting, but complicated!
I am absolutely no expert and wouldn’t describe myself as fluent in Thai, but I am interested in learning (for a number of years now), albeit at a slow pace.

Quoting from the article, as before I was never quite sure about the differences of the following:
<quote>
Transliteration is representing the characters of one alphabetical or syllabic system to the characters of another alphabet.
Transcription is the process whereby the sounds of a given language are represented by a system of signs contained in a conversion language.
Romanization is the process whereby a non-Latin writing systems is converted to the Latin alphabet. In doing so either transliteration or transcription or a combination of the two systems may be used depending on the nature of the converted system and the desired objectives.
<unquote>

I think that last phrase “depending on the nature of the converted system and the desired objectives” sums it up pretty well.

I struggle with the list of Thai>English consonant pronunciation. It something I’ve come across in other books too.
I’m probably missing the point here, but there are a lot of the consonants that have a listing in English which don’t seem right to me?
I know it’s listed as Thai Consonant>Thai Pronunciation when comparing Thai>English. Or am I supposed to write “Romanisation” there? Perhaps that’s my downfall.

My examples are:
is listed as K, but I’d say it’s G (as in good).
is listed as Ch, but I’d say it’s J (as in joker).
is listed as Ph, I’d say it’s P (as in pasta) This is the consonant in my OP.

I don’t think it’s worthwhile to mention the vowel list, as a lot have no English sound equivalents.

As I’m English and therefore a native English speaker, it makes it difficult for me to appreciate another Latin-based language using different pronunciation.
I used to work with some Swedes, and I know most Scandinavians speak English very well. I do remember sometimes if I was spelling a word for the group, there would be a query on my pronunciation of the letter “a” as they perceived it as an “e” (or was it the other way round, I can’t be sure).

I understand your comment regarding trying to understand the objectives of these systems. As you said, the Royal Institute developed the system with “several audiences in mind”.
Yet again, as an English speaker, it seems to me it would be better if there was a system that offered a way to translate Thai into a few groups of Latin-based languages, rather than use a one-size-fits-all approach.
But, as they say, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
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Re: RTGS and logic

Postby David and Bui » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:12 am

Thank you, Bahtman, for those comments. You mentioned:

" is listed as K, but I’d say it’s G (as in good).
is listed as Ch, but I’d say it’s J (as in joker).
is listed as Ph, I’d say it’s P (as in pasta)"

As for "", the Thai letter is a voiceless, glottal stop, whereas the English hard "g" is voiced. So, "กัน" and "gun" are pronounced differently.

As for "", the Thai letter is an unaspirated voiceless palatal plosive; "j", on the other hand, is a voiced sound in my dialect of English. Thus "จิน" and "gin" (jin) are not pronounced alike.

As for "", "", and "", there are different issues. '

The initial "" is equivalent to "p" in my dialect of English (voiceless, unaspirated bilabial plosive). On the other hand, the initial consonant "" does not have an equivalent in my dialect of English. There is an "" equivalent in English with initial consonant clusters. Thus the "p" in the word "spot" in my dialect is an unaspirated, voiceless bilabial plosive, although for some speakers of English, the "p" is aspirated, and perhaps voiced. (I may be contradicted on this issue.) Finally, it is likely that the initial "" in Thai is directly equivalent to the initial "b" in English. Thus, "บอง" is the equivalent to "bong".

However, these equivalencies and differences are largely irrelevant because you are talking about what an idealized transcription should look like. And with respect to this issue, I have no opinion.

Thanks for your discussion.
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