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FREE DOWNLOADS: Updated Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary and Phrases

Updated Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary and Phrases

Quick & Dirty Thai…

Nine years ago (July 2008 to be exact), WLT’s first book review covered The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast by actor Myke Hawke.

After chatting with Myke and getting permission to use the material in his book, it turned into a series: Quick & Dirty Thai Language Learning with Myke Hawke, Interviewing Myke Hawke: Quick & Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast, and then finally, the FREE: Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary Download.

As the materials in the Quick & Dirty resource are English-Thai, it was always my aim to add Thai specific vocabulary and phrases. But I didn’t realise it’d take nine years to make it so – apologies for that.

Quick & Dirty Thai tips and bits and pieces…

The phrase (Quick & Dirty) is frequently used in describing any document or tutorial that gives a brief overview about how to do something, without going into too much detail about why or how it works.

These words and phrases are not meant as a ‘be all and end all’, they are merely a Quick & Dirty intro. One of the best pieces of advice I know for acquiring real Thai comes from a dear Thai friend:

“Just keep watching how Thais do it and after a while, you’ll start getting the hang of it“.

Different cultures / beliefs / mindsets = different languages and usage of words. The English and Thai languages do not have a shared linguistic heritage, so while the words and phrases in this file are not grammatically wrong, some might sound a bit off to Thais (especially when used out of context).

Given the different nuances in the cultures, a phrase will work in one situation but won’t be sound ‘quite right’ in another. Just one reason is because English is often direct while Thais make an effort to be less abrupt (beating around the bush to get the same results).

Suggestion: If the word or phrase doesn’t quite fit in context, get feedback on when, where and how to use them from Thai teachers, Thai friends, or when running around Thailand (if you are lucky enough to be here).

But you do not have to be in Thailand to converse with Thais – Skype is an amazing resource. Thai Skype teachers such as Narisa will have you conversing in real Thai in no time. And if your budget won’t stretch that far a language exchange partner might work for you.

Grammar: When in doubt, download David Smyth’s FREE Essential Thai Grammar (legal download). Otherwise, purchase one of the Thai grammar books mentioned here: Review: A Guide to Thai Grammar Books.

Transliteration: The transliteration comes ‘as is’ from thai2english.com. I have not changed anything so please do not use it as a 100% crutch.

Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary…

Vocabulary Key: Throughout the vocabulary lists you’ll come across words in brackets such as [polite] and [casual] and [written] even. This is to alert common usage but isn’t always set in stone (rules are always being broken and sometimes I’m just plain wrong).

Spoken: Unless noted, vocabulary is presented in spoken language.
Written: Used in written language (but sometimes on TV).
Polite: Spoken to someone of respect.
Formal: On TV, making a speech.
Casual: Close relationships.

A wee tip: When using Thai vocabulary you can’t just slot words in any ‘ole way. For instance, the English ‘yes’ is often translated as ใช่ /châi/ but in real life it that’s not always the case. Instead, repeating a keyword or the injection of polite particles (ครับ and ค่ะ) is sometimes required.

Particles: These are used at the end of sentences and in response to questions. I have not included a complete list but there’s enough to get you started. Just know that it can take practice to get your head around using particles. When/where/how you use polite particles is determined by who you are (your status), who you are talking to (their status), your intentions and often the length of the conversation.

Many Thais (teachers and friends) will advise students of Thai to stick to polite over casual. I lean towards polite (just not overly). It doesn’t suit certain personalities so you’ll have to sort that particular quagmire out when you come to it.

A tip for those who prefer polite Thai (especially when first meeting someone): Unless you are talking to someone of a much higher status (your boss, your boss’s boss, etc) you don’t need to put ค่ะ/ครับ/จ้า at the end of every phrase. Start off by attaching one to the opening phrase. Then, after that, sprinkle them around when there’s a change of subject or when you are thanking someone.

But how to talk to close friends will sometimes change the whole ballgame.

Pronouns: Pronouns in Thai are rich and varied. To simplify, in the phrase file I’ve used ฉัน, ผม, and คุณ as placeholders for pronouns. To get more insight on the subject please see Arthit Juyaso’s excellent posts:

Thai Time: Using Pronouns Like a Pro (Part 1: How to Say ‘I’ in Thai)
Thai Time: Using Pronouns Like a Pro (Part 2: What Should I Call ‘You’)

Quick & Dirty Thai Downloads…

Spreadsheets: There are two spreadsheets: 1) the Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary spreadsheet that has Thai script and transliteration (inside the sheet you’ll find script only and transliteration only), and 2) the Quick & Dirty Thai Phrases spreadsheet (ditto the insides). In the phrase spreadsheet I’ve included both female and male sentences so feel free to pick and choose your poison.

Audio files: There are three audio downloads: 1) vocabulary by subject, 2) vocabulary by total list, and 3) the phrases. In the spreadsheets you’ll see the audio file name alongside each phrase or word. This is to make it easier for those who want to create flashcards with Flashcards Deluxe or Anki or whatever you choose.

Excel downloads:
REVISED: Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary [597kb]
REVISED: Quick & Dirty Thai Phrases [571kb]

Audio downloads:
Audio: Quick & Dirty Thai Vocab (by subject) [11.08mg]
Audio: Quick & Dirty Thai Vocab (total list) [11.09mg]
Audio: Quick & Dirty Thai Phrases [12.8mg]

Quick and Dirty Thai Phrases on Memrise…

David Smith has kindly put most of the Quick and Dirty Thai Phrases on Memrise (thanks David!)

Quick and Dirty Thai Phrases 1
Quick and Dirty Thai Phrases 2
Quick and Dirty Thai Phrases 3
Quick and Dirty Thai Phrases 4
Quick and Dirty Thai Phrases 5

A Quick and Dirty Thai thanks…

Over the years there have been many who’ve contributed to this resource: Narisa Naropakorn (Thai Skype Teacher: who offered suggestions on the different versions of the file), Sean Harley (Speak Read Write Thai: a stickler for Thai-Thai and Thai-English – note: Sean gave advice but lays no claim to the files), Rikker Dockum (Thai 101: who assisted on the first run), Khun Pairoa (my longsuffering Thai friend who records for WLT and responds to all my crazy questions about the Thai language), and now David Smith who has created lessons on Memrise. Thanks all!

REMINDER: These materials are for personal use only (do not upload them on websites, etc, without permission).

Ah. Before I go. A few things were added at the last minute so there’s a possibility of mistakes. If you do spot something please drop me a line via WLT’s contact form.

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FREE Audio and Vocabulary Downloads: Thai for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced

Language Habit Toolkit

Benjawan Poomsan Becker and Paiboon Publishing…

When it comes to all things Thai language, Benjawan Poomsan Becker (Paiboon Publishing) is an amazing powerhorse. I do not know where she gets all her energy.

Benjawan is also as generous as all get-out to the Thai language learning community. Her most recent contribution came about during WLT’s ninth year celebration where she gave permission for me to record and release the vocabulary for her three classic Thai courses: Thai for Beginners, Thai for Intermediate and Thai for Advanced Readers.

Below you’ll find the downloads for audio files and spreadsheets. I’ve created spreadsheets for Flashcards Deluxe but they can also be used for Anki. If you are interested in creating Anki files please let me know via WLT’s contact form.

Using the materials, a manageable 100 words at a time, John Smith is contributing to the collection by creating Memrise courses. Thanks John!

Spreadsheet Downloads: Thai for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced…

The spreadsheets are in Excel and Numbers (Mac) formats. The Beginners sheet gives a choice of Thai script and transliteration. The Intermediate and Advanced spreadsheets are without transliteration.

Thai for Beginners: Download audio and spreadsheets (11.7mg)
Thai for Intermediate: Download audio and spreadsheets (10.8mg)
Thai for Advanced: Download audio and spreadsheets (9.4mg)

I use Flashcards Deluxe but the spreadsheets and audio files can be sucked into most flashcard software/apps. They’ll come in handy when studying with Benjwan’s books, or on their own. Please note that I have not checked the spreadsheets against the books so if you do find snafus just let me know via WLT’s contact form.

If you can’t find the books in your local bookstore, in the US you can order online from Paiboon Publishing. If you are elsewhere, DCO Books delivers.

Memrise:Thai for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced…

Taking up the gauntlet, John Smith is using the materials to create Thai courses on Memrise. Memrise is a popular language learning platform with a website, iOS and Android apps.

John Smith: I’ve always found Memrise to be, hands down, the best way of learning vocabulary. It’s free, it’s engaging, and the high score aspect can even make it somewhat competitive.

Each course I’ve uploaded has 100 words. After I finish each course, I print out a list of all the words in English. I review the vocabulary until I can give the Thai translation for every single word from memory. Then it’s time to move on to the next course.

I’ve made some really amazing progress with this method so far and I would love to see some other people using my courses!

I’m at the “advanced beginner” to “intermediate” stage of learning, so this is what these courses are geared towards. It’s not every vocabulary word from every book, just the ones I didn’t already know. I’ll continue making courses and posting the links to them as I progress. Enjoy!

Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 1
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 2
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 3
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 4
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 5
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 6
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 7
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 8
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 9
Thai for Beginners: Thai Vocab Builder 10

Leave a comment below if you’d like a spreadsheet listing the words John has not included.

Here’s a detailed tutorial showing you how to create a course on Memrise.

More from Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand…

For iOS and Android apps, one of the best Thai-Eng-Thai dictionaries out there comes from Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand. Don’t let the price scare you off – it’s worth every bit of that and more. To see what I mean, just check out the features here: Talking Thai <> English Dictionary+Phrasebook.

iOS: Talking Thai <> English Dictionary+Phrasebook
Android: Thai <> English Dictionary

Paiboon Publishing also has an iOS app for those studying with Thai for Beginners. It’s nicely designed and perfect for those short trips via taxi, standing in line, whatever.

iOS: Thai for Beginners

Quote: For beginning Thai students, or those who want to improve their basic Thai. Clear recordings of native Thais speaking each of the 3,000 words and phrases. Examples of the five tones. Increase size of text. Show or hide English text. No data charges once you download the app. Play a phrase over and over, or autoplay an entire lesson. Test your knowledge with built-in exercises. English voice can be turned on or off. Each item is presented in Thai, transliteration and English. Detailed HELP section.

And Benjawan isn’t done yet! As a professional interpreter Benjawan saw the need for more Thai interpreters in the US and other countries so she launched Paiboon Language Academy, an online interpretation and translation school for Thai speakers. If you are curious here’s the Paiboon Language Academy Press Release.

Website: paiboonlanguageacademy.com
Facebook: Paiboon Language Academy

I just can’t wait to see what Benjawan comes up with next.

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Creating Thai Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Anki Flashcard Decks

Anki Flashcard Decks: The introduction…

Anki is a Flashcard based spaced repetition program. It can help you to study Thai by training new words using flashcards. You can create your own flashcard decks.

In this document I’ll show you how you can make your own flashcard decks that include:

  • Audio (Thai and English)
  • Pictures (from schoolbooks)
  • Transliterations
  • Thai script

I’ll be using the official schoolbooks for P.1 and P.2 but you can use any other Thai course book with pictures. You’ll need an electronic or scanned version of the books. The result will look like this:

So, what do you need to make this?

1. You need pictures. Pictures can come from any source. The official Thai schoolbooks contain hundreds of little drawings so they are a great source of pictures. Below the drawings you’ll find meaning of the picture in Thai. Many schoolbooks are available for download on the net (from legal websites). Here are some links:

The OTPC project:
All current P1 schoolbooks on all subjects.
All current P2 schoolbooks on all subjects.

The SEALANG website:
All older P.1 to P.6 Thai language schoolbooks (click on LAB – Basal readers).

2. You need a program called Anki, which is a space repetition flashcard program. Anki is available for Linux, Android, iOS, OSX and Windows. Oh yes, and it’s free.

3. You need a computer or smartphone.

4. You need any Text-to-Speech (TTS) engine. In this example I use the audio of google Translate (which is quite good and not to be confused with the translations of google translate). Google translate is a free online service. If you have you have an APPLE system you could also use the tools provided by APPLE.

5. You need a plugin for Anki that will convert pictures and their file names into flashcards. This plugin is called “Media Import”.

The Preparation…

These steps have to be done only once (at time of installation).

Step 1: Install Anki:

  1. Go to ankisrs.net
  2. And download and install Anki.

Step 2: Install AwesomeTTS:

  1. Start Anki.
  2. In the Anki menu click on: Tools / Add-ons / Browse & Install.
  3. Enter the following code in the dialog box: 301952613.
  4. And click on OK.

Step 3: Install Media import:

  1. Start Anki.
  2. In the Anki menu click on : Tools / Add-ons / Browse & Install.
  3. Enter the following code in the dialog box : 1531997860.
  4. And click on OK.

Creating a flashcard deck…

This step needs to be done only once. If you start from an existing deck you can skip this step. In the Anki window click on the “Create Deck” button (at the bottom of the window).

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

In the “Create Deck” dialog box fill in ”school book” and click on the “OK” button.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

In the Anki window click on “Add”

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

In the “Add” dialog box click on “Fields…”. The “fields for Basic” dialog box will pop up.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

In the “Field for Basic” dialog box use the “add”, “delete” and “rename” buttons to create 4 fields (remove other fields):

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Field for Basic dialog box:

  • Thai
  • Phonetics Thai
  • English
  • Picture
  1. Click on the “close” button in the “fields or basic” dialog box.
  2. In the “Add” dialog box click on the “Cards…” button.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

The “card types for Basic” dialog box will pop up. First let’s create the layout for a card with English on the frontside and Thai on the backside. In the “Card types for Basic” dialog box fill in the “Front Template” and “Back Template” field as shown in the picture and click on the close button. You can copy/paste the fields from here:

Front Template:

Back Template:
<hr id=answer>
{{Phonetics Thai}}

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Now let’s create the layout for a card with Thai on the frontside and English on the backside. Click the “+” button, in the fields as shown and click on close. You can copy/paste the fields from here:

Front Template:
{{Phonetics Thai}}

Back Template:
<hr id=answer>

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Click on the “close” button in the “add” dialog box.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Adding data to the deck…

First you’ll need to collect pictures from the schoolbooks. You can do this with the help of a PDF viewer and just take screenshots of the selected area. Only select the picture (not the text). Keep the selection as small as possible.

  • On ubuntu you just press shift-printscreen.
  • On MAC you just press Command-Shift-4.
  • On windows 7 and up you can use the snipping tool to do so.

Save the file and give it the name of the Thai word (later on you’ll also need the transliteration).

You can use thai-language.com or thai2english.com for this or any other site or you can use your own system or even better don’t fill in the transliteration field.

Step 1: create new cards based on file names.

  1. Select “Tools- Media Import …” from the Anki menu.
  2. Browse to the directory where you’ve stored your pictures and select the other field as shown in the picture.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Step 2: adding other data to the cards.

Click on “Browse” in the main Anki window.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Select “school book” by clicking on it.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Click on the card you want to add data to in the list and fill in the remaining fields (English and Phonetics Thai).

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Adding audio…

  1. Go back to the browse window and make sure your deck is selected.
  2. Select “edit/select all” in the anki menu.
  3. Select “AwesomeTTS/Add audio to selected” in the anki menu.
  4. Fill in the dialog box as follows and click on generate.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Do the same thing one more time for English.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures


Replacing incorrect audio:

If AwesomeTTS would generate incorrect audio you can replace the generated audio with your own file.

  1. Click on “browse” in the main Anki window.
  2. Select your deck (school book) on the left side.
  3. Select the faulty card.
  4. Delete the “[sound:xxxx]” part from the “Thai” or “English” field (depending on if the mistake is in English or Thai) and upload your own audio by clicking on the paper-clip).

Create a filtered deck with only English-Thai cards:

The deck you’ve made contains both Thai-English and English-Thai cards. To study for instance only English-Thai you can create a filtered deck. Select “Tools/Create filtered deck…” from the main menu and choose only card1, which is the English-Thai cards like this: (change the maximum number of cards you want to have in your new deck if necessary).

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

If you want to make a deck with only Thai-English cards, replace card:1 by card:2.

Rescheduling a deck for new study:

Anki limits how many times you can review a certain card on one day. But you can manually reschedule your deck for new study.

You can reschedule your deck for new study via the browse window:

  1. Go to the main Anki window.
  2. Click on Browse (on the top of the window).
  3. Select your decks (schoolbook) on the left side.
  4. Choose edit/select all in the menu…
  5. …and then choose Edit/reschedule in the menu.

Exporting a deck: Sharing it with others:

To export a deck (to share it with others):

  1. Go to the main Anki window.
  2. Click on “Decks” (on the top of the window).
  3. Choose File/Export… from the menu.

You’ll now see the Export dialogue box:

  1. Un-ckeck “Include scheduling information”.
  2. Check “Include media”.
  3. Choose your deck “school book” in the include field.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

Creating filtered decks with cards of only 1 lesson:

You can also create filtered decks that contain only the vocabulary of 1 lesson. For that you just fill in the “Tags” field when you add or browse the cards.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

When creating all filtered deck you could select for instance all…

  • English-Thai cards
  • of lesson 1

…by filling in the following the “Tools/Create filtered deck …” dialog box.

Creating Anki Flashcard Decks with Audio and Pictures

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Learn to Read the Thai Alphabet in 2 Weeks, 10 Days, 60 Minutes?

Read the Thai Alphabet in Two Weeks, Ten Days, 60 Minutes

Just how fast can you learn how to read the Thai Alphabet?…

Seriously, can you learn how to read the Thai alphabet in ten days? Two weeks? Sixty minutes? Sure. Well, all except for the 60 minutes promise (but it sounds good).

And before you get all fluffed up about what seems like a load of hype, with the right materials you can indeed learn how to read the Thai alphabet in record time. I did. You can hear all about it in The Easy Way for Beginners to Read and Write Thai.

Actually, with the right teacher and materials, you can start reading the Thai alphabet in a matter of minutes. But when you finish learning the entire 44 consonants, 21 vowels, and all the extra fiddly bits is totally up to you.

Anyway, for this review I’m looking at the top standalone courses for learning how to read Thai: Read Thai in Two Weeks (by Brett Whiteside of Learn Thai From a White Guy), Read Thai in Ten Days (by Bingo-Lingo), and 60 Minutes Thai Alphabet (the method that saved my sanity).

Read Thai in Two Weeks…

Brett: Have you struggled with boring Thai books and lessons and still can’t talk to anybody or understand anything? Have you been frustrated by the fact that no one can just explain stuff simply? Are you still waiting for it to ‘click’ so you can start having real conversations in Thai? I’ve been there. I’m a foreigner who went all the way from zero to fluent and I want to show you how I did it. I’ll also steer you away from the loads of time-wasting, frustrating mistakes that almost everybody makes. I’ve already struggled through them and I want to make sure my students don’t have to.

Read Thai in Two WeeksAuthor: Brett Whiteside of Learn Thai From A White Guy is a Western expat who’s resided in Thailand for over ten years. In addition to being fluent in Thai, he’s conversant in four other languages. Brett presently works as a consultant, translator and language tutor.

When struggling to learn tones and pronunciation, Brett created his own materials to teach himself Thai. After many adjustments to get it just right, and having great personal success himself, he designed a course to teach Thai to hundreds of expat students: Read Thai in Two Weeks.

Review: To give you a quick whip round this course, the introduction covers the intent of the course and instructions to setup Anki. The lessons are given in small, manageable chunks, each with audio files and mnemonics. Some have drills and/or exercises at the end of each lesson (these have audio as well). To test if you are ready to carry on with the next round of lessons, after the first 15 lessons there’s a quiz on hearing, writing, and the tones and vowels previously covered. A second quiz tackles the rest of the already covered tones and low class consonants. After eight more lessons (drills and exercises included – so no, you don’t get let off lightly) there’s a quiz on numbers. Thirteen more lessons are followed by a “What Now” exam, but no sweat as you’re already a superstar with the constant drilling, exercises, and questions asked throughout the course. To absolutely make sure you’ve learned what you should, a further six drills follow. A final lesson covers simple sentence structure.

The strength of this course is that being online it can offer clickable audio files, as well as quizzes, drills and exercises to test what you’ve learned (or not). Another plus are the mnemonics (memory hooks) to help get the materials down solid. Anki files with audio, as well as the free (to the public) iOS and Android apps tailored to the course, make sure you can continue your studies wherever you are. Note: the Android app has quizzes while the iOS doesn’t (hint, hint).

When it comes to getting getting Thai lessons into your head mnemonics are a powerful tool. There are several ways to use mnemonics – graphics pre-drawn and ones you create yourself. In my experience they both work. In this course, except for the Middle Class Story, detailed descriptions lead you to create personalised visuals using your own vivid imagination. The more vivid, the more personal, the better.

The clearly recorded sound files (female, with a voice that isn’t high or whiny) for each lesson show what the lessons are supposed to sound like. A heads up. For the majority of the course there’s only audio so forget about using the crutch of transliteration.

Brett’s experience as a student as well as a teacher of Thai shines through with the many insightful tips to help with concepts and remembering strange character shapes. The constant reminders to re-study what you don’t know are needed. And just incase you’ve forgotten, every so often he reminds you to go off and practice using the custom-made Anki cards that come with the course, or to play around with the free Alphabet apps.

While Brett is obviously not physically present, the way the course is written it’s as if he’s looking over your shoulder, advising you every step of the way. And his liberal use of humour, often with an “ah hah!!”, keeps the mood light throughout the course.

Price: $97 (orig $147) with 30 day money-back guarantee.
Product: 40 online lessons plus three quizzes and six drills all with audio recorded by native Thais (not T2S), 600+ Anki flashcards with audio (ditto), iOS and Android apps.

Website: Learn Thai From A White Guy
Facebook: Learn Thai From A White Guy
YouTube: Learn Thai From A White Guy
Twitter: @LTfaWG
Blog: Learn Thai

Interview: Bangkok Podcast: Learn Thai From A White Guy

Android App – FREE (includes quizzes): Learn Thai From A White Guy

Read Thai in 10 Days…

Bingo: The selling points of this course are simplification, understanding, and organisation.

Simplification: Many Thai script teaching courses don’t handle rules well. For example, the tone rules. Instead of using bloated tables or cumbersome-looking tone flow charts, RTITD organises tone rules into one principle (plus the default tone for each tone mark) and three exceptions. The course also has a different take on Thai vowels. RTITD simplifies the ‘traditional’ number of vowels from 32 vowels (plus 10 vowel changes) to 22 vowels (4 of which have two forms), and treats vowel shortening and vowel-less words as separate.

Understanding: People may forget what they remember, but they will never forget what they understand! RTITD doesn’t rely on sheer effort to purely memorise individual character’s sounds when at initial and final position, it tells you WHY they are the way they are. The course also explains the nature of the Thai phonological system, that there are no unreleased finals, and which initial sound will become which final sounds, and much more.

Organisation: By prioritising what’s essential, the entire course is carefully structured in such a way that makes sense. Lesson by lesson, what learners have previously studied is repeated and combined with the new materials being introduced.

For reading skill reinforcement, the approach draws from the principles of spaced repetition. Words chosen for the reading practice exercises are not random, but appropriately distributed throughout the course. Using this method, students quickly gain confidence in their ability to read Thai.

Learn to Read Thai in Ten DaysAuthor: Bingo (Arthit Juyaso) is a linguist and Thai national who developed a love for languages at an early age. The first foreign language he tackled was English (brave lad). Still in school, he then moved on to majoring in Japanese, attending a one year scholarship programme at Chiba University in Japan. After graduating Bingo did a stint as a Japanese translator. During that time he started dabbling in yet another language, Spanish. Realising his continuing love for languages, he then went for a Master’s Degree in Linguistics. After, he started teaching English, Thai and Japanese at various schools in Thailand. Dissatisfied with how the Thai alphabet is being taught to expats, and influenced by his studies in linguistics, he came up with the method taught in Read Thai in Ten Days.

Review: This course gets into a large amount of detail (more than most), which clearly demonstrates Bingo’s experience with teaching Thai to expats.

The materials come in two downloads: a pdf and a folder with audio files. Due to the pdf format Bingo uses transliteration with a pronunciation guide to approximate the Thai sounds, but advises students to depend upon the accompanying audio files instead.

The course starts out with a bit about Bingo, followed by a brief overview of the history of the Thai script, and then a pronunciation guide to help you through the unfamiliar Thai alphabet. Immediately after are first five lessons followed by an overview. Four more lessons follow, and after that, another overview. On lesson ten, the last day of the course, you get tips and tricks to help recognise the Thai alphabet. Before starting the course my advice is to go straight to the last lesson, especially “Same Same But Different”, where you learn how to recognise different attributes of the Thai alphabet. Finally, the Appendices sums up the rules, presents the Thai dictionary order, shares more samples of Thai fonts, and finishes with a Thai-English glossary.

Each lesson begins with an outline of what you can expect to learn in that lesson (topics that logically go together are grouped together). The sub-topics have an explanation, what to memorise (with audio), writing lessons with practice sheets, in-depth explanations and tips, and self-driven quizzes with answers partially hidden from view by being upside down. At the end of each lesson is an overview of everything covered in that lesson. The in-depth tips help immensely with ‘seeing’ as well as understanding what’s going on. If students cannot easily get through the overviews at the end of each lesson Bingo often reminds them to go back and study.

In the lessons teaching consonant and vowels there are samples of typical fonts, stylized fonts, and cursive fonts. Memory aids have been created for the mid-low-high classes (as groups) and the principle of tones (but not the tone marks). The recordings use the male voice (Bingo’s).

Price: $17.99 (orig $49.99)
Product: 170 page ebook + audio files

Website: Read Thai in 10 Days
YouTube: Read Thai in 10 Days
Twitter: @readthai

60 Minutes Thai Alphabet…

60 Minutes: Stop struggling with the Thai alphabet right now. Use this system, and you will be able to read within minutes! This is the original memory system for the Thai alphabet, and has sold thousands of copies since 2005. We have been featured in the Bangkok Post, The Nation newspaper and major blogs like WomenLearnThai.com and ThaiVisa.com

Seven years of development have been invested in this ground-breaking system, which will allow you to relate almost immediately, to one of the most difficult alphabet systems. We have devised a visual memory system that relies on simple images, to enable you to immediately learn the sounds and shapes of the Thai letters.

60 Minutes Thai AlphabetAuthors: This ebook was created by a team of expats at 1steasythaialphabet. As professional expats do not stick around one place for long, they found plenty of opportunity to learn new languages. With Thai, they pooled their knowledge to create and refine the 60 Minute Thai Alphabet course.

Review: This exact ebook is sold all around the internet at different websites under different names, some going so far as to list themselves as authors (cheeky buggers).

There’s a valid reason why this small course is so popular – the visual mnemonics work quickly to teach the shapes of the Thai consonants, vowels and Thai numbers, the tones, as well as the different initials and finals.

While I applaud 60 Minutes Thai Alphabet strongly (it rescued me from head-banging frustration) the lack of audio is indeed a weak point. But as there are many free apps and websites with audio files, not all is lost. You just have to work a little harder.

With only a small pdf sans audio, another downside is the present price ($19.99), compared to what Read Thai in Ten Days offers ($17.99). But if you wait it out, the price often drops.

Price: $19.99 (orig $49.99)
Product: 39 page ebook
Website: 60 Minutes Thai Alphabet

The wrap: The Thai alphabet in 2 weeks, 10 days, 60 minutes?…

The reason I chose to review these three courses in particular is because each have individual strengths that makes them the best of the standalone courses on the market. And after going back and forth between Read Thai in Two Weeks and Read Thai in Ten Days to double-check, I believe that more than ever. So, here you go, my thoughts… peppered with many “If’s”.

  • If you’ve tried to learn how to read the Thai alphabet and failed miserably (as I did), then start with 60 Minutes Thai Alphabet – but don’t stop there.
  • If you need readymade mnemonics, again, start with 60 Minutes Thai Alphabet (ditto on the not stopping).
  • But if you’d much rather create mnemonics personalised to your own way of thinking and understanding, then grab Read Thai in Two Weeks.
  • If you learn best by a hands-on approach of working through a multitude of online quizzes and exercises, then Read Thai in Two Weeks would be the top consideration.
  • If money is an issue, then Read Thai in Ten Days will get you there.
  • If a touch of spaced repetition is how you learn best, then go with Read Thai in Ten Days. But remember, with all those drills and exercises, Read Thai in Two Weeks also repeats the lessons learned.
  • If you need an instructor with experience in language learning and teaching Thai, who can clearly and simply explain the intricate details of the Thai language, then both Read Thai in Two Weeks and Read Thai in Ten Days are excellent.

Here’s another ‘IF’. If I had to do it all over again, I’d start right away with 60 Minutes Thai Alphabet with a Thai alphabet app by my side. After I felt comfortable with all those strange squiggles, I’d study using both Read Thai in Two Weeks and Read Thai in Ten Days.

But in saying that … product jumping can be a deterrent when learning a language (owning most everything for studying Thai has been a hindrance for me, not a help). So IF I had to choose between Read Thai in Two Weeks and Read Thai in Ten Days, with my visual-spatial learning style I’d do better with a course heavy in mnemonics, quizzes, drills and exercises, as well as clickable audio. So it’d have to be Brett’s Read Thai in Two Weeks.

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Review: Byki Thai Language Course

Byki Thai

UPDATE: Byki has been discountinued. Pity, as it was the best language learning software of its kind. If you run across similar please let me know

Byki (Before you know it)…

If your language learning style of choice is a SRS (Spaced Repetition System), then Byki might just be the one for you.

And you might also be glad to know that instead of painstakingly filling a SRS with vocabulary and sound, you can start learning right away with Byki’s 2,000 words and 500 phrases.

How Byki works…

Byki Thai Steps


  • Preview: An introduction to each set. I put mine on auto flip to get a speedy glance through sentences and phrases.
  • Recognise: You can choose to self-report what you hear and see, or type in the answers.
  • Produce: Match the English by saying the Thai word out loud, or by typing in Thai script.


  • Multiple Choice: Self explanatory.
  • Fill in the Blanks: Ditto.
  • Pronunciation Practice: Record your voice, then compare sound files.
  • Word Whirl: Thai script and English float around the screen, sound follows.
  • Concentration: Card matching game.
  • Four Square: Card matching game.

Take a Test:Byki Thai Steps

  • Self Reporting: You are on your honour here!
  • Written: Read using Thai script or English, then type the translation.
  • Listening: Listen to Thai sound files, then type using Thai script.
  • Diction: Similar to listening.

Also included:

  • Learned Items: An ongoing record of your status and progress.
  • Look: A review of the present list.
  • FAQ: Everything about Byki.
  • Edit: Edit existing cards, or add new.

Making Byki all yours…

Another strength of Byki is the ability to edit or add new cards. By doing so, Byki makes it easy to change the lessons to suit your personal preferences.

For instance, adding transliteration from thai2english.com is just a matter of tweaking existing flash cards.

And when you are at a beginner’s level of reading Thai, sometimes spaces between words makes it easier. Once again, it’s an easy edit.

If you so choose, on each card you can see the Thai script, then the transliteration, then the English translation. Making this so? Easy. And when your Thai improves, turning the option off is also easy.

When you run out of Byki lessons as well as user generated lessons, creating your own is a cinch.

So looking at it that way, Byki is the software that keeps on giving. And all for US$49.59.

Byki the master importer…

I started out using the SRS method by first inputting my Thai lessons into Anki, then ProVoc and others. With Byki, my efforts are not lost as I can grab what I’ve created, no prob.

Byki also has the ability to pull in spreadsheets or word docs. Another personal plus, as I have a growing must have vocabulary list for the Thai language.

And (for personal use only), I can import sound from other non SRS Thai language courses.

I can also share what I’ve compiled with other Byki users… which is sort of the reason I’m writing this post… hinthint

But, enough of my opinions already. You can see for yourself by downloading the free Byki Thai Quickstart.

SRS resources…

Byki (Before you know it) from Transparent Language:

Byki Thai Quickstart Free download.

Thai Byki Deluxe 4 The complete program.

SRS – Spaced Repetition System:

What is an SRS? 1 Khatzumoto shows the way with SRS.

What is an SRS? 2 Khatzumoto goes into more SRS detail.

SRS Products:

Anki A program designed to help you remember words and phrases (Mac, Windows, Linux and Debian).

ProVoc Easy-to-use vocabulary trainer (Mac).

SuperMemo A learning method that makes it possible to learn fast and retain memories for years (Windows).

The Mnemosyne Project A flash-card program to help you memorise question/answer pairs, but with an important twist: it uses a sophisticated algorithm to schedule the best time for a card to come up for review (Mac, Linux and Windows).

10000 Sentences Resources:

10,000 Sentences How.

10,000 Sentences Input Before Output.

10,000 Sentences Learn Any Language.

10,000 Sentences Answers To Questions.

Note: Just so you are aware, at this time there are a few basic mistakes in the vocabulary. Byki says that they are in the process of correcting the snafus (don’t hold your breath).

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Searching for a Thai Language Learning Style: SRS and More

Language Experience

So let the language learning games begin…

I ended My Thai Language Experience with…

I know there has to be an easier way to learn Thai. I just have to find it. Or, design a program to suit how I learn.

No. I’m not ignoring the amount of hard work it will take to learn a language as difficult as Thai. I’m just suggesting that it doesn’t have to be mind-numbingly dull OR painful.

So I guess I need to source out how

Learning a new language is tough. And sourcing a learning method that is not dull or painful? Oh my. But, after digging around the internet, I did manage to discover a genuine possibility.

Lessons that are not mind-numbingly dull…

I started out by researching tips, tricks and methods for learning languages. Specifically, Thai languages. I read language forums, books, and online articles.

Within reason, I purchased the top advised books, Thai language courses (with or without CD’s), and language tools.

The idea? To collect a multitude of Thai language learning resources and see what clicked.

The Michel Thomas Method…

At the inspiring How-to-learn-any-language.com I came across an old favourite, the Michel Thomas Method.

Backing up… When I lived in Pau, France, I went through the Michel Thomas Method for learning French. Except for the end, I found the course effortless and enjoyable.

Problem is, Michel Thomas does not offer a Thai version. And poking around, I discovered that the company has no future Thai plans. An additional problem? Michel Thomas is no longer with us.

Not ready to give up just yet, I took a close look at his method in order to source the next best thing.

In a nutshell, Michel Thomas breaks a language into its component parts to enable learners to reconstruct the language and form their own sentences.

So it was simple really. I now needed to find a method that builds on vocabulary and grammatically correct sentences.

Sounds like all foreign language lessons everywhere, right? Perhaps. But think about it. Are they effortless and enjoyable? Or mind-numbingly dull and painful?

SRS and 10,000 Sentences…

How-to-learn-any-language.com led me to All Japanese All The Time Dot Com which led me to Input and 10,000 Sentences and SRS.

The 10000 Sentences method of language learning is similar to an assimilation-based learning program — armed with enough Comprehensible Input you get the feel for what is “correct.” You assimilate enough sentence patterns and vocabulary to be able to produce new, original content.

SRS is short for “spaced repetition system”. Generally speaking, it’s a piece of electronic flashcard-like software that helps you to long-term-memorize large quantities of information by effectively working on only a small subset of the information each day, using spaced repetitions.

Pimsleur uses spaced repetition, but SRS goes further by handing total control to the learner. And that’s exactly how I prefer to learn a language. In control. With toys. And SRS has toys.

Finally, the Grand Plan minus mind-numbingly dull and painful

  1. Extract sentences from dictionaries, books and Thai course materials.
  2. Record, then input into a SLR of choice.

So for starters, I could theoretically grab sentences from Pimsleurs course to put into an SRS. Sentences that suit me.

And for good measure, I could add the Thai vocabulary and sentences created from The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast.

And to make sure I had the basics covered, I could also add pertinent sentences from the two top Thai grammar books, Thai: An Essential Grammar and Thai Reference Grammar.

Update: The original Thai: An Essential Grammar is now a free (legal) download.

And all in all, I’d have the beginnings of a useful learning tool tailor-made just for me. Not too shabby, right?

I can hear the doubts and questions from here. Like, is that ALL you are going to do to learn the Thai language? Listen to sentences?

Well, not quite. But I’ll reserve that for another post…

SRS Products:

  • Anki: A program designed to help you remember words and phrases (Mac, Windows, Linux and Debian).
  • ProVoc: Easy-to-use vocabulary trainer (Mac).
  • SuperMemo: A learning method that makes it possible to learn fast and retain memories for years (Windows).
  • The Mnemosyne Project: A flash-card program to help you memorise question/answer pairs, but with an important twist: it uses a sophisticated algorithm to schedule the best time for a card to come up for review (Mac, Linux and Windows).
  • Women Learning Thai Resources: A growing list, so check back often.

SRS Resources:

10000 Sentences Resources:

Success Story: Tried Many Methods Before AJATT.

And the Holy Grail of 10,000 Sentences and SRS, (insert Thai for Japanese): How To Learn Japanese, On Your Own, Having Fun and To Fluency.

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