- If you are at all serious about learning more than a few
phrases then you must learn the Thai letter system (alphabet) NOW.
Don't put it off until later. This and the tone rules will make it much easier
to learn new words and their tone. Furthermore you will be able to read books,
signs and maps and continue learning much faster. Don't waste any time with
books that use novel transliteration schemes when you could be reading the original
text without any unambiguous pronunciation.
- Using a Thai dictionary is a skill. Practice and develop that skill.
Even if you have an electronic dictionary still use a paper dictionary.
- Most public libraries have introductory books and courses with cassettes
regarding the Thai language. Borrow them all. Listen to the different
accents and ways of saying things. They're usually free.
- Try to study every day. It's better to do six 15 minute
sessions instead of a one and a half hour session once a week.
- Put labels for the things around your house so you learn their names.
- Talk to yourself in Thai
- When you read Thai, read out aloud if only to yourself. This is the only way to practice
speaking properly without someone to listen.
- You can practice conversations you are about to have, in Thai, when you are driving.
- Write things down in Thai, e.g. notes, shopping lists, etc. just for practice.
- Watch Thai TV or listen to Thai radio
- Listening to Thai even without understanding can help you get used to the flow
of a conversation and separate the words.
- The Thai television system is PAL, the same as used in Australia, UK and
many parts of Europe. The American system is called NTSC and is also used in some
places like Japan. Most modern VCRs can play tapes recorded in both systems.
- You can access various stations online.
- Try translating parts of conversations you have just had.
Think to yourself "How would I say that in Thai ?"
- Make flash cards and keep them in pockets to read while waiting for things,
e.g. a bus, the photocopier, your wife to get ready to go out etc.
write down useful phrases and difficult words with examples. Always carry some around with you.
- Make some achievable goals, for example learn 2 new words each week.
- Translate short articles from Thai to English, find something on the web.
First read through and highlight the words you are not familiar with.
Choose some sentences and look up the words you highlighted.
Finally write out the sentences : this may take a few attempts to turn it into
- Visit Thailand! Try out your language skills.
- If you see Thai people in your country then go and say Sawasdee!
Just think how you would feel in a strange country and someone came up to you
and said hello or offered some help. Remember Thai is not a widely spoken
language. Just make sure that you introduce yourself politely rather than
being confused with some kind of stalker!
- Remember if you can find a good Thai restaurant then you may be able
to find someone who you can at least practice ordering food from.
- Every time you learn a new word, write it down and work out the tone.
- When you read, try to read aloud even if only to yourself so you can practice
getting your tongue around the tones. Preferably find someone to read to.
If you can only find someone who doesn't understand Thai then at least you
can get self confidence.
- Most importantly - have fun!