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Thai-Thai and Thai-English Study Resources for English Speakers

Thai-Thai and Thai-English Study Resources

I’ve long craved a list of Thai resources that focus on Thai-Thai and Thai-English. To explain, Thai-Thai is Thai only and Thai-English is Thai translated into English (not English translated to Thai).

Traditionally, most courses for the English market are created from popular lists of words and phrases in English that are then translated into other languages. It saves a lot of time and money for those making the courses, but, there’s a downside. If care isn’t taken, this method can generate awkward sounding phrases and lacks the soul of the language (words and phrases unique to that language). It can also create what is known as ‘Faranged Thai’ (Thai with English sentence structures).

But I’m not saying that Thai-Thai materials always trump Thai-English (or even English-Thai). Paraphrasing Chris Pirazzi:

Books about English grammar written in English for English natives are full of explanations that assume that the reader already has the instincts of a native English speaker built-in. Like the English books for English natives, Thai books would likely be full of facts that are very interesting and surprising to Thais who already have the native instincts of Thai. But they weren’t designed to focus on those aspects of Thai that are difficult for non-Thai-natives to grasp.

Soooo … with the help of advanced Thai learners – thanks guys! – I compiled a list of Thai study materials that are either Thai only (Thai-Thai) or have been translated from Thai to English (Thai-English).

Ta da! Thai-Thai & Thai-English Study Resources.

As you can see, the materials are meant for those who want the complete package for learning Thai: Dictionaries, grammar books, full courses, reading and writing courses, pronunciation, typing resources, and even which Thai fonts to use.

Disclaimer: Due to the huge amount of resources available for learning Thai I didn’t have time to put everything through the vetting process. With the time available, only the resources the team felt they knew enough about were discussed. I assure you that more will be added later. Eventually. And if you have a resource that follows the criteria just contact me and I’ll have it checked out.

Thai-Thai and Thai-English Study Resources

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Top Thai Language Learning Resources

Top Thai Resources

Resources for (mostly) entry-level learners…

In the WLT Resources there’s a section dedicated to Learning Thai. Some resources are quite brilliant. Others are focused on smaller windows into Thai learning. Below are my personal favourites.

Thai Language Learning sites:

Learn the Thai language with the Bangkok based e-learning company, ITS4Knowledge (free and paid).

Mp3 audio and mp4 video files for learners of the Thai language (free).

Learning Thai the Easy Way
Home of Read With Manee, it’s also an extensive resource to learning all things Thai (free).

Learn Thai Podcast
Thai language lessons and online course by your kind hosts, Jo and Jay (free and paid).

Learn to Speak Like a Thai – SpokenThai.com (offline for now)
Video and audio clips of real situations and conversations to help you speak like a Thai (free).

SEAsite Thai Language and Culture Learning Resources
Supported by Northern Illinois University and the Center for Southeast Asian Studies, SEAsite offers a comprehensive resource for learning the Thai language (free).

slice-of-thai.com: Thai Language
slice-of-thai.com has a generous offer of Thai learning aids: Thai consonant / vowel flash cards, consonant shape learning aid, voice viewer, the five tones of Thai, the consonant sounds of Thai, the vowel sounds of Thai, syllable stress, pronunciation guide systems of Thai, free Thai fonts, resources and websites for learning Thai (free).

Thai lessons for beginners to advanced students living, working, or retired in Thailand (free).

Online Course Materials:

FSI Thai Basic Course
Language courses developed by the Foreign Service Institute. Mp3 and ebook downloads (free).

The Fundamentals of the Thai Language
Text book (with sound) for English speakers to learn how to speak, read and write Thai. Fifth Edition version, by Stuart Campbell and Chuan Shaweevongs (free).

Thai Language Textbook for Foreigners
Textbook by the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) in cooperation with Chiang Mai University. Listening and speaking, reading and writing (free).

Spoken Thai
Adapted from the book of the same name, by Mary R. Haas and Heng R. Subhanka.

Thai Language Courses (with Cd’s):

Benjawan Poomsan Becker Series from Paiboon Publishing: Book, CD’s (American / Thai speakers) and online resources. Speak, listen, read and write the Thai language – Thai For Beginners, Thai for Intermediate Learners, Thai for Advanced Readers, Improving Your Thai Pronunciation, Speak Like a Thai – vol 1 and 2, Practical Thai Conversation 1 and 2 and all be purchased online at Paiboon Publishing.

Book and CD’s (British / Thai speakers). Listen, understand and speak the Thai language.

CD’s only (American / Thai speakers). No textbooks. Written exercises and drills to hear, learn, and speak the Thai language. Used by the FBI, CIA, and business professionals.

Shortcut for Speaking Thai
An excellent deal, it comes with a book and three CD’s.

Teach Yourself Complete Thai
Book and CD’s (British / Thai speakers). Listen, read, write, practice, speak. By David Smyth, author of Thai: An Essential Grammar.

Thai Learning Courses (books only):

AUA Language Centre
Books only. The course is dated and dry, but useful if you can slug it out. Learning with a trained AUA teacher is advised. Not minding their transliteration method, a must.

Thai Reference Books:

Thai: An Essential Grammar also on Kindle.
Guide to the basic structures of the Thai language. Useful for both students and independent learners.

Thai-English English-Thai Dictionary for Non-Thai Speakers
Brought to us by the prolific Benjawan Poomsan Becker.

Thai Reference Grammar
Information on the advanced sentence structure of the Thai language. Written for students and teachers. Written by James Higbie, who also wrote my favourite Thai course, Essential Thai.

Online Thai – English Dictionaries:

English – Thai Dictionary OnLine!
An additional plus is their Thai Dictionary forum (no longer active).

English-Thai, Japanese-Thai, German-Thai, French-Thai Dictionary Service. Tip: Be sure to switch to English, as well as check out their downloads page to access their toolbars and more.

SEAlang Library Thai Dictionary
Based on the Mary Haas Thai Dictionary Project.

Thai-language.com Dictionary
Over 36698 Thai words and phrases with English definitions, and 13140 audio clips.

Thai to English dictionary & transliteration
Also known as T2E. This is the online dictionary I use for transliteration on WLT.

Books on Learning Languages:

How to Learn Any Language
Interesting concept (review in the works…)

The Quick and Dirty Guide to Learning Languages Fast
You can read my review on WLT here.

Language Learning Forums:

Serious language forum for polyglots and polyglot hopefuls.

Learning Thai: Paknam Web Thailand Forums
Extensive resources for learning the Thai language.

Thai-language.com forum
Forum discussions include learning Thai, Thai language learning books and courses, Thai culture and travel, and more.

Thai Visa Thai Language Forum
A wide-ranging and helpful forum where members range from beginners to academics.

Thai Language Blogs:

Behind the Curtain – Stuart Jay Raj
Original home of Stuart Jay Raj’s ‘Cracking Thai Fundamentals’. Stu now has stujay.com (check it out).

Learn Thai from a White Guy
Excellent posts to get you galvanized into learning the Thai language. The only thing missing is sound (which reminds me…)

Thai 101
One of the top Thai language blogs, with educational posts on Thai language, history and culture.

Thai Language Tricks
Excellent blog, but stalled in April with All Hell broke loose.

Sanook Lei!
Hilarious TV commercials from Thailand (a great way to listen to Thai).

Language Learning Blogs:

All Japanese All The Time Dot Com
Insert Thai for Japanese and you are home free with 10,000 sentences and SRS (my new toy).

Language Geek
A student studying languages, posting his opinions and experiences as he goes.

Multilingua.info Presents Confessions of a Language Addict
Constant niggles to keep you excited about learning a new language.

Learning the Thai Alphabet:

60 Minutes to Learn the Thai Alphabet
Online flash-style book (PC). A quick jump-start into learning the Thai Alphabet.

Reading Thai is Fun
Soft cover book with an easy to use method for learning to read and write in Thai.

Learning the Thai Language Through Music:

Top 10 Thai Music Charts
Many of the Thai songs have been translated into English.

Thai – English Children’s Books:

Nanmee Books
Books with combo English and Thai.


Getting Started with Shadowing
The basics of shadowing. Includes further links for more.

Foreign Language Study
The site of Alexander Arguelles, polyglot. Excellent tips on how to learning a foreign language by using the shadowing method.

10000 Sentences Resources:

10,000 Sentences

10,000 Sentences
Input Before Output.

10,000 Sentences
Learn Any Language.

10,000 Sentences
Answers To Questions.

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:

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

Easy-to-use vocabulary trainer (Mac).

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).

If you have favourite language learning resources, please feel free to contact me via WLT’s contact form, or leave a note in the comments.

Note: This post will be edited.
Last edit: 10 Sept 2014

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