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.

     In the chanthalak and the literary anthologies, two statements about the khloong form appear over and over. One states the khloong is the oldest form of poetry, which is true. The other maintains that it is a highly intellectual form poetry used only by the sophisticated and educated classes because of its elaborate tonal and rhyming constrains. Uppakit claims that khloong is and old form that appears only in elevated literature because it is difficult to compose. However, a knowledge of the linguistic history of the Thai language dispels this notion.

     Gedney explains that the khloong form probably developed when the Thai language had a three tone system rather than the present day five tone one. Sometimes during the Ayutthaya period , the three tones split into the present day five with the splits conditioned by the initial consonants of the syllables. Prior to this split, the three contrasting tones appeared on syllables ending in a vowel, a semivowel, and a nasal. Most scholars designate these tones as A, B, and C. Tone A was the most common and is generally thought to represent the unmarked or neutral tone. The first tone mark, may eek , marked the B tone, and the second tone mark, may thoo, marked the C tone. There were also syllables that ended in one of the final consonants, -p, -t and –k; and syllables that ended in a glottal stop after a short vowel. These syllables are designated as D, although they showed no tonal differentiation . The manner in which these tones were produced phonetically remains a matter of speculation.
      For the khloong forms, constraints exist for the number of baat per stanza, the placement of the B and C tones (the D tone was allowed to substitute for the B tone), and the rhyme patterns.
      The stanza consist of five-syllable baat arranged in two-baat stanzas ( khloong s@@ng), three- baat stanza ( khloong saam) and four-baat stanzas ( khloong sii). The number in each of the khloong types refers to the number of full five-syllable baat in the stanza. Depending upon the variety of khloong, additional syllables, usually in two-syllable phrases, maybe optionally added to the baat. These syllables, known as s@@y, make the baat more euphonious or help complete the meaning. Most chanthalaak list examples of s@@y and rules for their use. Each khloong type required the placement of the B and C tone on specific syllables. Thus prior to the tone splits, poets needed to concern themselves with the placement of two tones not five. However, khloong composition today with the five tone system is indeed a highly intellectual activity requiring educated people both to compose and to appreciate the form.
      There are two main types of khloong,

           khloong suphaap and

      The difference between the two rests in the number and arrangement of the syllables in the last baat. With khloong suphaap, the final baat consists of a five-syllable wak and a four-syllable wak respectively:


The final baat of khloongdan, in contrast, consists of a five-syllable wak and a two-syllable wak respectively:


The tonal placement and rhyme schemes in the two forms also vary slightly and help define the type. In order compositions, the rhyming syllables agree in vowel, final consonant, and tone.
      Aside from these forms, there exists another ancient form,   khloong haa, which appears only in Oongkaan chaengnaam (The Water Oath), an ancient and difficult text recited by officials pledging their allegiance to the king. The most complete analyses of these text and khloong form can be found in Chit Phumisak ’s articles, "Oongkaan chaeng naam"(The Water Oath) and "Khloong haa, moradok thaangwannakhadii thay"(Khloong1 haa, a Thai literary legacy).

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

Poetry reading performed by Mr. Thaworn Sikkhakosol
Lecturer of Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University.

1. khloongs@@ng suphaap 
2. khloongsaam suphaap 
3. khloongsii suphaap 
4. khloongsii triiphitthaphan 
5. khloonghaa
6. khloongsii cattawaathanthii
7. khloong krathuu
1. khloongs@@ng dan 
2. khloongsaam dan 
3. khloongdan wiwitthamaalii
4. khloongdan baatkunch@@n 
5. khloongdan triiphitthaphan 
khloongdan cattawaathanthii
(Ancient Khloong)
1. khloong witchumaalii
2. khloong mahaawitchumaalii
3. khloong citladaa 
4. khloong mahaacitladaa 
5. khloong sinthumaalii 
6. khloong mahaasinthumaalii
7. khloong nanthathaayii
8. khloong mahaananthathaayii

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