How Can I Learn Thai Language

How can I  learn Thai language and get started straight away. Well to be perfectly honest  never has there been a better time to get stuck in to your Thai language studies than now. The internet is now full of sites and various resources to make your learning Thai life, so much more easier. However you won’t have to search for them as someone has already done that and I will give that magnificent link shortly.

Take an on location Thai Course And After You Can…

So What Is The Best Way To Learn Thai And How Can I Stay Motivated To Learn

  • As with most things in life the ”why” has to be big enough, so if its only a wish you will have a far less chance of success. So the first thing to do is have enough reasons why you want to learn the language.
  • Don’t overwhelm yourself with it and experiment to find your ideal learning time. What I mean here is don’t try to over do things and burn yourself out. I started on one hour lessons, then went up to an hour and a half and finally two hours. Everyone is different, but I found the hour and a half level the most productive for me. One hour was not quite enough and at two hours my concentration drifted slightly for the final half an hour. Small steps are great. Short well focused, organised periods do it for me
 Talk In Thai With The Taxi Driver

For Speaking  and listening to basic Thai

There are now many Thai learning websites and other resources that cater for the beginner, intermediate and the advanced learner, so the only problem now is which one to choose from and that usually comes from having too much choice.

When  I started there was not a massive amount to choose from so I purchased the Thai linguaphone course. The book really got going in the latter chapters and contains classic role play between Tom the westerner and Ooy (อ้อย) a Thai lady. Tom spent most of his time flattering Ooy with lines like….

  • Tom แหม  วันนี้คุณอ้อยแต่งตัวสวย  (wan nii khun Ooy tang tua suay) My goodness your dressed up very nicely today Khun Ooy
  • Ooy: ก็สวยทุกวันนี่คะ (Ko suay thuk wan nii kha) Arent I every day
  • Ooy: ทำไมวันนี้คุณทอมปากหวาน จะเอาอะไรคะ (thamay wan nii khun thoom paak waan? ca aw aray kha) What’s all the flattery for today? What are you after?
  • Tom: พูดจริงฯครับ (phuut cing cing khrap) I mean it

Included with the linguaphone course was a small Thai script booklet to get you started on learning to read and write Thai.It advised to start learning the script as soon as you reached lesson 10 and there were 40 lessons’, but I took one look at it and removed it from the box set for a rainy day, basically known as procrastination.

Eventually I started looking at the script booklet and began over time formulating 2 letter words and then 3 letter words from the ”how to” information given. I must admit it was a fantastic feeling and a real motivation shot when I realised I had started reading Thai.

Learn to speak, understand, read and write Thai with linguaphone language programs by Sonthida Keyuravong

Anyway I will now give you that fabulous link all about various resources for learning Thai. This is great work and one of the most comprehensive list of Thai learning resources you are likely to come across. This is a post from and a great site to keep in touch with in any event.

Offer To Buy The Lady Lunch In Thai

The Best Mistake I Ever Made

Starting to read Thai really fuelled my interest and I sent off to a specialist Asian book shop in London for a massive dictionary. Now then this would really get me motoring I thought, the world will be my oyster. I could look up the English word and then in time read the Thai script word, exciting times or as they say now happy days.

The excitement soon diminished when I realised they had sent me or I had ordered wrongly a dictionary that starts with the Thai script word and gives the English translation…. oh no..I did not know where to start. What could I do with this.

I could have sent it back, but I thankfully I turned the mistake in to a positive and said I now had to learn Thai or I would never be able to read this book. I can definitely say I still have not read all of this book, but have felt far wiser with it.

I still have the dictionary today, it sits on my desk tired and shabby looking. The hard back front cover has fallen off, a couple of the inner pages hang by a thread, but it is still a faithful old friend. It was the best mistake I made to enhance my Thai studies.

Thai – English Student’s Dictionary compiled by Mary R. Haas

Ask For What You Want In Thai

 Start with a private tutor if possible

It was not until I hired a Thai/English (translator) native Thai teacher in the UK some years later that I began to make real progress. I remember bouncing in for my first lesson and giving  my  อาจารย์ ( aacaan)teacher my very best Thai and her looking at me wondering if I had been perhaps learning a local hilltribe dialect or something.

I had gone from a bounce to being on suicide watch within moments. My pronounciation was bad, my use of tones was bad and the sentences I had managed to put together had words missing. Other than that I was close to native speech.

My อาจารย์ (aacaan) decided it was back to the start for me and lets face it when you start anything it is not a bad place to begin.

So I would sit in a classroom shouting back the alphabet and verbs one time after another and when I thought we had finished with that and were about to begin some real Thai speaking, we would do the alphabet and verbs again. I have since learnt that repetition is the mother of all skills. I had read this in a Jim Rohn business philosophy book, but my teacher got me to really focus on the point.

A small but highly skilled UK company specialising in Thai translation and interpreting.

Read Thai Writing

Learn The Basics

Learning the basics was the real key to a greater understanding and  really helped me.

  • It was from learning the alphabet that I was then able to pronounce words properly.
  • My teacher also made me audio tapes to play when driving. Whenever I was driving to visit clients or driving anywhere, the time was never wasted.
Driving along by yourself having full on conversations can actually draw some strange looks, but what the heck its worth it if you are getting the job done.
  • So another piece of advice is maximise your time, why not combine two things at once. Things like drive and learn or hit the treadmill,cross trainer or take the daily walk with your language learning headphones on.
  • Not only will the language be progressing, but you be super fit as well and won’t have to push other things out of your daily schedule. Its what’s known as a win- win situation.
  • The link immediately below is a fantastic book, it covers phrases on just about everything and I highly recommend this one. It sits right next to my dictionary.
Thai Reference Grammar; The structure of spoken Thai by James Higbie & Snea Thinsan

When you can read words in Thai script it just all becomes so much  easier to pronounce and I know that’s a bit of a statement from the book ”The bleeding obvious”, but have you tried reading some of those English translations of Thai script, painful.

There is nothing like the look on a Thai taxi driver, policeman or security guards face as you tell him from your phrase book in the  English translations of Thai  exactly where you want to go. After delivering your very best Thai and looking up from your page you have found you have been greeted by a rather blank stare. You see they might even understand English and will certainly understand Thai, but you will have just delivered neither.

I swear that learning the Thai words straight off in Thai script will save you all sorts of headaches and exhilarate your learning.

Have A Chat In Thai Whilst Waiting For The Bus

How I learnt To Read Thai And How I Continue To Learn

My learning is still constant and it always will be. I buy Thai script books at different age levels and have done this for a few years now to work my way up, just like you do at school really.I mean we are not natives we cannot just start belting out Thai the same.

I now read novels albeit slowly I might add, but never the less still novels.  I have found that choosing a subject you enjoy reading  about is beneficial you then  learn quicker as you want to get the information.

I read a chapter through and then work on it. I highlight the words I don’t know and then go to my dictionary and find them in Thai of course. I then start translating the chapter, which can take a large chunk of time depending on the time available on this project each day.

Whilst translating I highlight sentences that I have really got a grasp of and use them during the day to myself.I find reading actually improves my conversation ability.

Barter At The Market In Thai

Can’t I Just Learn With My Thai Wife Or Girlfriend

Learning with your Thai wife, husband, girlfriend or boyfriend is often quite difficult and not really worked in our household.

One of the reasons is my wife has no interest at all in language learning and it bores her to death. We tried it a few times and divorce would have come sooner than my language progress. It is probably similar to teaching your other half to drive or being taught.The sad part is my wife’s Thai friends won’t speak Thai around me any more apparently I am far too dangerous.

It really is about continued learning and I am still very much a student . For me now I don’t set massive targets with the language, but just consistently work (very focused) in shorter, pre determined periods.

Try Your Hand At Shopping

A Former Guest On The Blog And Brit Expat Living In Thailand Mark Stephens Gave This Advice

As the Aussies say, ”do the hard yards” There is no substitute for hard work with the Thai language….. no short cuts, no miracle prescriptions. It takes a long time, but the rewards are great. Few foreigners ever get beyond a few mispronounced phrases, even after years and years here, so you will be placing yourself in a select few if you take the trouble to learn Thai well.

Move on to learning written Thai as early as possible and that will help you with your conversational Thai. If you learn written Thai you can pronounce any Thai word correctly which, with Thai being a tonal language, is a major step forward. More to come from Mark Stephens very soon on the blog. Mark is based in Hua Hin and keeps us up to date on the fantastic beach resort.

Brilliant Thai Forum

Entertaining, friendly and very informative on subjects Thai. Come along and meet a welcoming crowd of Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Americans, Brits, Thais and others and be in the know and inform.


For more articles like this one, information and tips about Thailand. Keep an eye on the website as am constantly updating tips from guest interviews on food, travel places on Thailand etc.

Further Books

Heart Talk by Christopher G. Moore

Heart Talk is the clever navigation to say I love you in so many ways using  the word ”jai” or heart (ใจ). These words are essential and every day Thai words and all nicely organised and ready to read in Heart Talk. To know the people know the language and culture. This book will get you that few steps closer.

The Cultural Detective by Christopher G. Moore

If it’s Thai culture that you are seeking to learn about, then look no further than the foreign master on Thai culture. This book is packed with essays on perspectives on crime fiction writing to of course a mass of clues and insights to solving those cultural Thai mysteries. Another great read.


One thought on “How Can I Learn Thai Language

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s