Ways to learn Thai

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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Alobha
Posts: 566
Joined: Mon Dec 19, 2011 8:27 pm
Location: Germany

Ways to learn Thai

Post by Alobha » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:18 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm looking for ways to learn Thai. I currently don't have Thai people to practice talking, so besides learning material, I'd appreciate ideas on how to get more involved with the language. Thai Movies, thai tv series, literature, dhammatalks (obviously),.. i'm open to suggestions for how I could come in more contact with the language and learn it with joy. How do other westernes (ordained and laypeople) usually learn Thai? Language courses, thai language learning books?

Best wishes,
Alobha

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Kare
Posts: 755
Joined: Sun Feb 01, 2009 10:58 am
Location: Norway
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Re: Ways to learn Thai

Post by Kare » Sun Feb 24, 2013 3:52 pm

I'll recommend some structured course containing both books and CDs. Since Thai is a tonal language, you need to have some sound medium to listen to.

Since you live in Germany, I'll suggest a German course in Thai which seems to be good:

http://www.amazon.de/Selbststudium-Audi ... =8-1-fkmr2" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Mettāya,
Kåre

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Dhammanando
Posts: 3704
Joined: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:44 pm
Location: Ban Sri Pradu Cremation Ground, Phrao District, Chiangmai

Re: Ways to learn Thai

Post by Dhammanando » Mon Feb 25, 2013 3:53 am

When I began learning Thai in 1985 almost all of the available teaching materials were rubbish, written by bumbling linguistic amateurs. Perhaps the sole exception were the textbooks for the AUA course, but taking that course necessitated living in Bangkok. Moreover, monks weren't permitted to attend the AUA public classes and so could only take the course if they had a lay supporter who was willing to pay a fortune for private tuition.

Nowadays that's all changed and there are some great Thai courses for autodidacts. In fact one is almost spoilt for choice. The most impressive that I've seen, in terms of balance, clarity and pedagogical acuity, are those prepared by a Thai woman called Benjawan Poomsan Becker:

http://www.amazon.com/Benjawan-Poomsan- ... r_dp_pel_1

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mikenz66
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Joined: Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:37 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Ways to learn Thai

Post by mikenz66 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:34 am

I found Benjawan Poomsan Becker's books (and recordings) very helpful.
I also found Teach Yourself Thai, by David Smyth to be be very good, and there is a lot of dry humour there --- For example, a conversation between an expat and a taxi driver where the expat has to explain that he doesn't have a Thai girlfriend, but a farang wife... :tongue:
In either case you should have the recordings.

I also like these sites:
http://www.thailandqa.com/forum/forumdi ... rning-Thai" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://www.learningthai.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Once you have a basic grasp of Thai, this site is great for aiding translation of stuff you find on the Internet (e.g. when people post in Thai on Facebook...) just cut and paste the Thai text...
http://www.thai2english.com/online/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

From the learningthai site there is this delightful book from the 70s, "Manee and friends":
http://www.learningthai.com/books/manee/index.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
If you are talking to Thai people around 40 years old they will remember that book from primary school...
I found it a very effective way to approach reading Thai script.

The great thing about Thai and most other East-Asian languages is that for basic usage the grammar is very simple --- once you know some nouns and verbs you can just throw them together, no worries about cases, tenses, etc, as you can see in the first Manee lesson where you learn:
"X has eyes"

Getting your head around the tones can be tricky. However, it might help to understand that tones are not just a matter of "musical pitch". They are also distinguished by emphasis on different parts of the syllable.

Watching Thai movies with English subtitles can also be helpful in developing a feel for how the language is actually used. You can order DVDs and VCDs from some Thai sources, but nowdays you can also go to youtube and search for
"thai english subtitles"

This safe-sex add is a nice example...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz99gWfA0eE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
And here are a bunch of songs with Thai and English subtitles...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIMb1N_ ... sults_main" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

:reading:
Mike

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GraemeR
Posts: 136
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 9:20 am
Location: Thailand

Ways to learn Thai

Post by GraemeR » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:54 am

Alobha wrote:Hello everyone,

I'm looking for ways to learn Thai. I currently don't have Thai people to practice talking, so besides learning material, I'd appreciate ideas on how to get more involved with the language. Thai Movies, thai tv series, literature, dhammatalks (obviously),.. i'm open to suggestions for how I could come in more contact with the language and learn it with joy. How do other westernes (ordained and laypeople) usually learn Thai? Language courses, thai language learning books?

Best wishes,
Alobha
Lingaphone(sp?) do CDs and you can get Pimsleur Thai download too.

If you go to a Thai Temple you may find some Thais to help you too.

Graham

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