ThaiARC Thai Verse Index

| Transcription Guide |

Text from: Thomas J. Hudak (1990)
The Indigenization of Pali Meters in Thai Poetry.
Monographs in International Studies.
Southeast Asia Series No. 87. Athens: Ohio University.
(with author's permission)

Note: transcriptions of Thai words provided here do not include tone marks.

        The chan forms have their origin in the Pali treatise on metrics, the Vuttodaya, although some of the Thai names for the meters are form Sanskrit, not Pali. During the Ayutthaya period (1351-1767) with its flourishing Indic culture, the chan meters assumed a prominent position in Thai poetry. Borrowing seventeen or eighteen of the original 109 meters, the Thai poets added rhyme schemes and changed the concept of the heavy and light syllable, transforming the Pali stanzas into Thai stanzas.
      The chan meters consist of syllables defined as light (lahu) and heavy (kharu) and arranged in invariable number and sequences. For the Thai chan meters, a light syllable consists of a short vowel followed by no final consonants, The glottal stop that follows a short vowel in spoken Thai but has no consonant symbol in this position in written Thai is ignored. A heavy syllable ends in a long vowel or any vowel plus a final consonant.
      After the addition of rhyme schemes, approximately six different meters appeared regularly in the chan compositions. The six meters found in the pre-1913 chan compositions include
  • intharawichianchan 11
  • wasantadilokchan 14,
  • toodokkachan 12,
  • maaliniichan 15,
  • satthraachan 21, and
  • satthunlawikkiilittachan 19.

      Following the Ayutthaya period, other more popular verse forms gradually replaced the chan meters. With the composition of (Inlaraat kham chan) in 1913, however, a chan revival occurred, Because of the great concern for proper literary types and forms at this time, this revival emphasized the fulfillment of the light and heavy syllable sequences. Authors of the new compositions adhered rigidly to the descriptions of each chan meter outlined in the chanthalak, the Thai versification textbooks. Approximately twelve new meters outlined in the chanthalak, the Thai versification textbooks. Approximately twelve new meters began to appear in the new compositions, and these meters also became a part of the Thai literary corpus.
      The twelve new meters that began to appear regularly in the post-1913 compositions include
  • inthawongchan 12,
  • wangsatthachan 12,
  • kammalachan 12,
  • phuchongkhapayaatchan 12,
  • upeenthrawichianchan 11,
  • upatthitaachan 11,
  • saaliniichan 11,
  • upachaatchan 11,
  • cittapathaachan 8,
  • maanawaka1chan 8,
  • witchumaalaachan 8, and
  • iithisachan 20.

The following is a list of chan with versification pattern and audio samples.

Poetry reading performed by Mr. Thaworn Sikkhakosol,
Lecturer of Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University.
1. cittapathaachan 8
2 . witchumaalaachan 8
3.. maanawakkachan 8
4.. pamanikkachan
5.. upatthitaachan 11
6. intharawichian chan 11
7. upeenthrawichianchan 11
8. upachaatchan 11
9. saaliniichan 11
10. akhayaattachan
11. wangsatthachan 12
12. inthawongchan 12
13. toodokkachan 12
14. phuchongkhapayaatchan 12
15. kammalachan 12
16. wasantadilokchan 14
17. maaliniichan 15
18. prapatthakachan 15
19. waniniichan 16
20. kusumittaladawellitachan 18
21. mekkhawipaphutchitachan 19
22. satthunlawikkiilitachan 19
23. iithisachan 20
24. satthraachan 21

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