Ways to learn Thai

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.

Ways to learn Thai

Postby 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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Re: Ways to learn Thai

Postby 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
Mettāya,
Kåre
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Re: Ways to learn Thai

Postby 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-Becker/e/B001JP7YSG/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1
    ...and this thought arose in the mind of the Blessed One:
    “Who lives without reverence lives miserably.”
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Re: Ways to learn Thai

Postby 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
http://www.learningthai.com/
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/

From the learningthai site there is this delightful book from the 70s, "Manee and friends":
http://www.learningthai.com/books/manee/index.html
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
And here are a bunch of songs with Thai and English subtitles...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIMb1N_ ... sults_main

:reading:
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Ways to learn Thai

Postby 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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