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Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Thai Bites

Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Thai Bites

Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Thai Bites…

In January Stu Jay Raj launched Jcademy’s CTF Challenge. Shortly after his wonderful Thai Bites started rolling out.

Thai Bites are small ‘bite sized’ lessons in Thai that are based on Stuart Jay Raj’s Cracking Thai Fundamentals programme.

Thai Bites are available as a monthly subscription package where subscribers will be sent regular ‘Thai Bites’ to their email each day.

Once a week a free bite will be released to the public at Stu’s Thai Bites playlist at YouTube.

But to get the full program, subscribe to Thai Bites at Jcademy.

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Free Podcasts in the Thai Language

Free Podcasts in the Thai Language

Free Thai podcasts to peruse…

For language learners who learn from abroad, podcasts can be a convenient way to access native media in the language they’re learning, directed at native speakers. If you’re learning French or a language of similar status, you’re spoilt for choice; there are scores of podcasts on offer, catering to every taste and interest. Unfortunately, the situation is very different for us Thai learners. This post summarizes the few podcasts I know that publish episodes on a regular basis (as of January 2013). If you know any other podcasts directed at native Thai speakers, please add them in the comments!

Voice of America’s daily news round-up: Monday to Friday, VoA publishes a 30 minute program with global, US and Asian news, and reports on health, science, entertainment, technology as well as the occasional interview. It has quite a good mix of topics, and Thai news are covered to some extent. It’s clearly the number one news podcast in Thai.

VoA has also a good website, and there are transcripts (or close transcripts) for many of the reports they broadcast. VoA also has a weekend program on iTunes, as well as an alternative version of its weekday program. Mike from Self Study Thai offers VoA audio and transcripts in a convenient format with English translations.

NHK Japan’s daily news program: NHK publishes a daily 14 minute (Monday to Friday) or 9 minute (Saturday, Sunday) news podcast in Thai. They bring almost exclusively news related to Japan, with very little coverage of world news and almost no coverage of Thai news. It’s very Japanese, formal and boring. The Thai they use is beautiful, though.

SBS Australia: SBS publishes short news clips on a regular basis, about 2-5 per week. The clips are directed at Thais living in Australia. A few of this year’s topics were: bush fires, rip current safety tips, natural gas development divides Queensland, Assad’s speech, coal industry. I spent some time working in Australia and enjoy listening to news from down under, but if you have no connection to Australia, their selection of topics might not mean much to you.

There are some more podcasts on iTunes to be found but they don’t add episodes anymore. There’s nothing from Thai broadcasters as far as I’m aware of.

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FLTR: The Foreign Language Text Reader

Foreign Language Text Reade

Intensive Reading vs. Extensive Reading…

Extensive reading is a language learning technique characterized by reading a lot, at or slightly below your current level of proficiency, without looking up unknown words. If the level of books or texts chosen is appropriate, unknown words or grammatical structures can be inferred from context. Extensive reading is basically reading for pleasure, but it is very beneficial in terms of solidifying existing knowledge, acquiring new vocabulary, increasing reading speed, and (depending on what you read) expanding cultural understanding. The nice thing about extensive reading is that it is fun (if you like reading, of course), with language learning being just a by-product. Focus is on meaning, not on language. Extensive reading is often neglected in language schools because it has to be done alone and can’t be assessed or tested.

Intensive reading, on the other hand, is slow, careful reading of a short text. Here, the focus is on understanding (almost) every word, every sentence. Often the text is beyond your current reading ability, but because you go slowly, you can tackle it. Intensive reading can be used to familiarize yourself with new vocabulary, to study vocabulary related to a specific topic, or to find information. It is certainly less fun than extensive reading, but it can have an important role in language learning. As a matter of fact, intensive reading is often the only reading activity used in classroom settings, and it is heavily used by self-learners as well.

I have seen recommendations to balance the amount of time spent on extensive reading vs. intensive reading at a ratio of about 4:1, which seems quite reasonable to me. In this blog post, however, instead of championing the extensive reading cause, I want to talk about intensive reading assisted by a freely available open-source software.

Intensive reading is quite time-consuming, most of which is spent looking up vocabulary, taking notes, searching for notes, and looking up the same words again. Unless you’re extremely well organized, you will find that you look up many words more than once when you encounter them again in a new text. Some time is also often spent on highlighting new words and expressions, or otherwise visually structuring the text. This has inspired some people to write software dealing with those more tedious tasks in order to make intensive reading easier. One of those software projects is the Foreign Language Text Reader (FLTR) which is open-source and can be installed and configured quite easily.

Foreign Language Text Reader…

FLTR basically works as follows: You load a text. The text is then displayed for reading, but words come color-coded. Words never seen before are blue, unknown words take shades between red and yellow/green, and known words are a pale green. While going through the text, you will mark new words as either known or unknown. If they are unknown, you can look them up in up to three online dictionaries with a single mouse click. Then you annotate the words (translations, explanations, pronunciation etc.), and this information is stored. When you encounter the word again, it will show up in its color code (there are five or six of them, from unknown to well known), and hovering over the word will reveal the notes you typed (or rather copied) in earlier. As time progresses, FLTR will learn which words you know and which you don’t, and will help you to focus on new and unknown words.

FLTR: The Foreign Language Text Reader

In this picture, the mouse is hovering over เครื่องกล.

What’s cool about this? Firstly, you look up words only once, and then you can review them by just hovering over those words. Secondly, instead of leafing through paper dictionaries, or typing words into an online search mask, a single mouse click will look them up. Thirdly, the color coding helps you to identify what’s new, what you’ve seen before but is still unfamiliar etc. Instead of reading over those words, they stand out a bit and remind you of their existence. The color coding is also a good visualization of how difficult the text is going to be. Lots of blue and red words means work ahead.

There are also testing options as well as the possibility to export terms to Anki, but I haven’t used those features and can’t comment on them.

xxxSetting up FLTR is pretty straight-forward, with simple and clear instructions. Language configuration is also simple, options include setting font and font size and specifying up to three dictionaries for automated look-up (if the website allows that). Below you’ll find a screen-shot of my settings. I link to the monolingual Royal Institute Dictionary (doesn’t support automated look-up), Google image search and a longdo dictionary containing many Thai-Thai definitions. (I don’t use translations, but if you do, you’ve got many more choices).

The only problem with Thai is the following: Thai doesn’t uses spaces to separate words. FLTR, however, relies on spaces to identify words. So, unlike with languages like French or Indonesian that use spaces to indicate word boundaries, we need to prepare (‘parse’) the text before uploading it to FLTR.

A Thai Parser…

I haven’t been able to find a Thai parser on the web. It wouldn’t even have occurred to me to write my own parser, but a visitor to my website Thai Recordings told me that he wrote one, and that gave me the idea (thanks! :)). Coming up with a basic parser is actually quite simple – if you have some programming skills, you can do it yourself within a few hours. The parser requires a list of words (I use the FLTR vocabulary file for that), and inserts zero-width spaces into the Thai text. Zero-width spaces are invisible, but are recognized by FLTR. It was very important to me to find a space character that is invisible, because I’m so used to reading Thai without spaces that I get confused when I have to read spaced out Thai.

I use Python, which comes with my Mac, and have a terminal open to process texts:


Here’s what the parser does:

  1. Read in dictionary D (uses the FLTR vocabulary file, which is a tab separated text file)
  2. Read in the text
  3. For every ‘sentence’ S (set of Thai characters between two spaces) of the text, set i = j = 1 and do until i reaches the end of S:
  4. Define the snippet X = S(i, j), i.e., the characters in S between positions i and j
  5. If X is a word in D, note down this particular snippet
  6. If j has reached the end of S, go to 7, otherwise set j = j+1 and go to 4
  7. If snippets have been identified as words: choose the longest of those, insert zero-width spaces accordingly, set i to the index of the character right after that word, and start over at 4
  8. If no snippets have been identified as words, set i = j = i+1 and start over at 4

The parser finds the longest word, and then restarts on the remainder. If no words have been found, it starts with the second, then third, etc., character, and finds the first word in the middle of the ‘sentence’. The more words the parser has in its dictionary, the more likely it is that new words are isolated between known words. Those words then will show up in blue in FLTR and can be marked according to whether they are already known or still unknown. Once they have been marked, they’re in the database and increase parsing accuracy.

This parser is not perfect. It doesn’t work very well in the beginning: If new words come in chunks, a manual update of the database might be required to resolve that. It also can’t distinguish between มา-กลับ and มาก-ลับ. The first issue disappears over time, but the second stays (and would require semantic parsing to be resolved). If you have ideas on how to deal with those issues, please let me know in the comments!

Wrap up…

FLTR is a great little piece of software. It supports intensive reading and facilitates vocabulary work (whether monolingual or using translation). Look-ups are one click away, notes (or translations) are stored and show up when hovering over the word, and the color coding can be a useful visual aid. The only inconvenience is the necessity to have a parser, but a basic parser is not too difficult to write yourself.

Thai Recordings

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Learn Thai at the Bangkok Post

Learn Thai from the Bangkok Post

The Bangkok Post teaches Thai…

Exciting for intermediate Thai language learners is a new section at the Bangkok Post: Learning From News > Learning Thai from Post Today.

Bangkok Post: We now have thousands of readers using stories from the Bangkok Post each day to learn English, but our sister newspaper Post Today can be just as useful for those of you who are learning Thai.

Each post has a short article in Thai and English, with audio for both. You can read along with the audio online, or copy everything onto your computer to study later.

Here are the available subjects so far:

Call for world to brace for expensive food
Donkey wifi
Under control
Practice bullets
Big-name signing for BEC Tero Sasana
Phuut Thai, laew laeng Tai
Abbreviation headaches: น.1, สวป., ผบช.น., พล.ต.ท., กก…
Actress death mystery
The flood season
Don Mueang ready for business
YouTube clip makes news again
Another video clip makes news
Tennis in the news
Politics in the news
Senate debate
Chalerm has his say
Sandbag meeting, a Thai version
Sihanouk dies
Sihanouk’s return
3G auction criticised

Edit: If you want to find the rest of the Thai posts google “Learning Thai from Post Today”.
Edit: Learning Thai with Post Today (Archive)

To get updates on new articles follow Terry Fredrickson on twitter: @terryfrd. If you have suggestions or questions or just want to say “hey”, join their Facebook page: Bangkok Post Learning.

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Thairecordings.com: Audio Clips for Intermediate Learners


A New Audio Resource…

I’ve been learning Thai for a bit more than three years now, some of you might remember my guest post here on WLT. I’ve been trying to learn Thai without using translation, text-book study or explicit vocabulary work, and I’m quite happy with the results so far. The resource I want to present in this post, however, is compatible with any learning style.

Thairecordings.com is a new project of mine, one that I hope to grow and maintain for some time into the future. Similar recordings to the ones I publish were quite useful in my own learning of Thai, and I thought, why not set up a website and see whether others like the idea. The website went live in July 2012, and as of now (Aug 2012) the content is still limited, but I hope to add to it on a regular basis.

Thairecordings.com is a free website for intermediate learners who already understand spoken Thai and are able to read. It is basically an archive of audio clips and corresponding transcripts. The audio clips are around 5 minutes each and contain unscripted, natural speech, 100% in Thai. Each recording has a topic, and there are usually 2-3 recordings per topic. Each recording comes with a short synopsis in English. The topics are intended to be accessible and useful, or at least interesting, for intermediate learners, and cover a wide range of issues, for example:

  • going to the dentist
  • ghosts
  • having diarrhea, or
  • beach vacation.

The recordings are not designed to teach anything in particular, and they don’t systematically cover vocabulary related to the respective topic. The intention is rather to provide examples of story telling and talking about experiences. Nonetheless, the vocabulary and structures covered are quite varied and should be useful to intermediate learners. New recordings are added on a regular basis.

The transcripts are done after recording the audio and are (so far) pretty accurate. They contain all spoken function words, which are rarely found in written texts.

How to use the recordings…

The recordings can be used in various ways: you can just listen to the recordings, maybe repeatedly, trying to understand what’s going on. You can practice guessing at unknown words. You can listen with the goal to pick up specific vocabulary or ways to say things, or you can use the recordings to supplement other Thai learning activities on those same topics. If it helps, you can read the transcripts before, during or after listening to the recordings, either assisting or verifying your comprehension. You can also use the audio and the transcripts for shadowing, or for dictation practice. Finally, you can upload the material to LWT (a reading-listening software).

All material is free and subject to a Creative Commons license. I hope the material proves useful to some learners, and I would be happy to get feedback on whether and how it’s used, or what I could do to make it more useful.


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Win the TOP Reading Thai Alphabet iPhone App

Win the Top Reading Thai iPhone App

Here we go… the third Thai language draw…

Apologies for this post going late. Yesterday I showed interest when asked if I wanted to take photos of the flooding in Thailand (where else?) Well, seems the main flooding was not in Bangkok. Surprised? Me too. So even though we departed at 9am sharp, after scrambling around all day and more (coming later) I did not make it home until late late late. Hence, this late post.

WLT’s first draw was a beautiful boxed set from David Smyth: Complete Thai: Teach Yourself Thai. Kaewmala (Thai Women Talks) drew a number out of a beautiful bowl, and Ajarn Pasa (Tweet Yourself Thai) matched the drawn number to a name and announced the winner.

The second draw included two copies of the fabulous Thai-English English-Thai Software Dictionary from Chris Pirazzi and Benjawan Poomsan Becker. Amy Praphantanathorn (Expat Women in Thailand – no longer online) took photos of her son drawing two numbers, and Talen (Thailand Land of Smiles – no longer online) announced the winners. For a smile, read Todd’s THANXS!!

And for the third free giveaway? It just so happens to be the best ever reading Thai iPhone app. Two, actually.

Reviewing the Reading Thai iPhone app…

For a bit of a background… Just this week I interviewed Successful Thai Language Learner, Ryan Zander. If you are studying with ThaiPod101.com, then you’ll be familiar with his voice. I first heard about Ryan when purchasing his excellent iPhone app, Reading Thai.

And as you know, I usually write bulk reviews – iPhone apps: Thai Alphabet and Vocabulary – but I’m making an exception as this app covers most everything on my wish list for learning the Thai alphabet, with loads of extras folded in.

In my mini-review of the original version of the Reading Thai app, I covered the basics:

Reading ThaiReadingReading ThaiReading Thai
Price: US$4.99 | £2.99
Author: Nagaraja Rivers
Date: 27 Sept 2010
Version: 1.1
Internet connection required: No
Word count: Alphabet + 350 words
Thai script: Yes
Tone tips: Yes
Zoom: Not needed
Sound: Yes
Quiz: No

The other alphabet apps are lacking in some way but this one has most everything needed: Consonants, vowels, numbers, tone marks and punctuation, tone rules, letter combination rules, and multi-syllable rules. It has a clean design with easy to use nav, and the sound is clear and loud (the sound in some apps cannot be heard over background noise).

And now on to the extended review…

Navigation throughout the site is logical. The left and right arrows take you backwards and forwards. The speech bubbles are… sound. Easy.

Reading ThaiReading Thai consonants

The Thai consonants come in three classes: middle, high, and low. On the consonant home page Ryan denotes the classes by colour: blue (middle), purple (high), and green (low). The colour scheme helps to remind you of the class (important).

As you see in the graphic to the right, you are given the consonant in large letters, directly below is the Thai name, directly under that is the transliteration, under the photo is the English translation, and under that (if you have not been paying attention) is the class (middle, high, low). At the very bottom in white text is the syllable start and ending sounds (if any).

Reading ThaiReading Thai vowels

Being placed in front, behind, over and below consonants, learning Thai vowels can really frazzle your brain. Totally. And what about all those rules?

In the app, the vowels are pared with their long and short versions (when applicable), and when not you get single vowels. If needed, special rules are noted for each vowel.

If you are just learning to read Thai this section is a powerful cheat sheet. Ok, depending on what level you are at, they all are. But I wanted to mention it here as vowels won first prize as my personal bugbear. Lucky you, this app is coming to your rescue.

Reading ThaiReading Thai vowels

Thai numbers are simple. So much so that if you click into the secret, you can memorise the symbols in about ten minutes. For learning the pronunciation and how each number is spelt there are no secrets so unless you are a genius, so you’ll need to listen over and over like the rest of us. And that’s where this app comes in handy.

As I have more space here (it’s a coding with graphics thing), I’m going to point you to 60 Minutes Thai Alphabet for the secret to learning to read Thai numbers in ten minutes. A method for learning the Thai alphabet is included too. And no, this is not and ad nor I do not get anything back by the mention. Same as the Reading Thai app, I seriously like 60 Minutes Alphabet.

Reading ThaiReading Thai vowels

Tone marks and pronunciation:

In Thai there are four tone marks and four pronunciation symbols, so this is one intensive section.

The dotted circle denote where the tone marks are found above the offending letter. At the bottom of each screen are further instructions, colour coded.

For instance, with ไม้โท you are told which combinations gives you what class: high = falling tone (purple), middle = falling tone (blue), low = high tone (green). See?

Reading ThaiReading Thai vowels

Tone rules:

Tones. Yeah. Suckie stuff. So you might as well jump off that bridge. Like, right now.

But in reality, what you really need is a cheat sheet iPhone app like this. Why? Because no one expects you to be able to suck this kind of stuff into your head asap. It’s a gradual thing.

On this app, when you choose a selection from the list, you are given the rules. The rule pages are colour coded as above: blue (middle class), purple (high class), and green (low class). Because with Thai, it’s all about class. When you make your way through the rules, more colours come into it. Vowels are red, tone markers are white, and and and as it’s getting late on a Friday evening, I’ll have to ask Ryan for the rest.

If you’ve made it this far, letter combination rules and multi-syllable rules will just have to be a best kept secret for those aiming to buy the app. Heh.

And now for the serious draw stuff…

Same as the two draws before, the comments you leave below matter. You can comment as many times as you like, but only comments that add to the conversation get counted.

Snap (Learning Thai In Chiang Mai) and Scott (Scott Earle) are doing the honours. Snap will do the bowl, and Scott will come in with the winners. Thanks you two!

Draw basics: The draw will be open from now until Tuesday 3pm Bangkok time. As soon as the clock stops I will throw the comments into a spread sheet, twiddle them a bit to add random numbers, and then send the count to Snap and the spread sheet with names to Scott. Snap (not having any names) will write the numbers on papers, fold the papers, and throw all into a bowl. After picking two papers, Snap will announce the two numbers. Scott, after reading the numbers, will then match the numbers to the names on his spread sheet. Simple. Yeah. Whew.

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FREE Resource: Thai Reader Project

Thai Reader Project

Free Download: Thai Reader Project…

If your Thai learning adventure has come to a halt due to the lack of intermediate to advanced materials, the University of Wisconsin’s Thai Reader Project could be a fine fit:

The authors have attempted to create effective lessons in the reading of Thai that will help learners progress from the level of basic literacy to reading at the advanced level.

The lessons are based on authentic readings of the sort that learners of Thai will encounter in daily life in Thailand, ranging from basic informational texts to such as menus, timetables, newspaper advertisements and the like, to more complex texts such as news articles, editorials and short narratives.

Thai Readers There are two readers with 76 lessons. Volume I is for beginners up to high readers, Volume II is for intermediate to advanced readers. I am sooooo chuffed that the lesson materials are not tourist Thai, but actual Thai one would find living in or visiting the Kingdom.

As mentioned, this is a free resource, no purchase required. Just download the many PDF files here:

Lesson Volume I: Download page
Lesson Volume II: Download page

Note: I have added this resource to WLT’s growing Learn Thai for FREE section. There you will find other intermediate resources such as Hugh Leong’s Advanced Thai Reading and Vocabulary Building downloads.

PS: My thanks goes to Bankei for this great find.

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Google Books: Thai Learning Resources

Google Books

Thai resources on Google Books…

As what usually happens when blogging, one subject leads to another. For instance, this week I posted about Mary Haas Thai-English Student’s Dictionary in Bangkok. And then, after a suggestion made in the comments (thanks Aksara Anwa Akson Thai – no longer live), I was led to create a post on Thai learning resources found at Google Books.

Google Books opens up Thai reading resources for those who prefer to dig into the contents before purchasing. And if you do a little research, it’ll open up even more.

Please take note of the dates listed, as some books, while still relevant, are grandparents already.

Learning Thai on Google Books…

An Elementary Hand-book of the Siamese Language
Author: Basil Osborn Cartwright
Date: 1906 (out of copyright)

Contents: The Low Class Consonants, The Middle Class Consonants, The Tones, Deep and Dropped Tones, Haw Num Recapitulation, Double Initial Consonants,The Simple Sentence, The Noun, Some Miscellaneous Siamese, Letter Writing, Some Points of Siamese, Miscellaneous Exercises, Easy Passages for Translation into, Newspaper Cuttings, Siamese Letters, Harder Passages Siamese.

AUA Language Center Thai Course: Book One
Author: J. Marvin Brown, A.U.A. Language Center
Date: 1991

Includes extensive grammar, dialogue, and conversations, as well as tone distinction, manipulation, and identification.

A.U.A. Language Center Thai Course: Book Two
Author: J. Marvin Brown, A.U.A. Language Center
Date: 1992

Includes extensive grammar, dialogue, and conversations, as well as tone distinction, manipulation, and identification.

A.U.A. Language Center Thai Course: Book Three
Author: J. Marvin Brown, A.U.A. Language Center
Date: 1992

Includes extensive grammar, dialogue, and conversations, as well as tone distinction, manipulation, and identification.

AUA Language Center Thai Course Reading and Writing: Mostly Reading
Author: J. Marvin Brown, A.U.A. Language Center
Date: 1979

The reading section contains appendices on the history of the language while the writing section contains many practice problems and exercises. The books are comprehensive both in form and method–a necessity for any beginning student.

AUA Language Center Thai Course Reading and Writing: Mostly Writing
Date: 1979
Author: J. Marvin Brown, A.U.A. Language Center

The reading section contains appendices on the history of the language while the writing section contains many practice problems and exercises. The books are comprehensive both in form and method–a necessity for any beginning student.

Colloquial Thai
Authors: John Moore, Saowalak Rodchue
Date: 2005

Specially developed by experienced teachers for self-study or class use, this course offers a step-by-step approach to written and spoken Thai. No prior knowledge of the language is required.

Easy Thai
Author: Gordon H. Allison
Date: 1989

Easy Thai is the perfect introduction to learning the spoken language of Thailand. This basic and simple approach uses lessons which incorporate review lists and exercises with answer keys.

Instant Thai: How to express 1,000 different ideas with just 100 key words and phrases
Authors: Stuart Robson, Prateep Changchit
Date: 2007

Instant Thai contains 100 key words and over 500 basic sentences necessary for getting around in Thailand. It also has an English-Thai wordlist, arranged alphabetically. At the end of the book are useful appendices for telling the time, kinship terms, some Thai proverbs, and emergency expressions.

Sanuk Sanuk
By: National Thai Curriculum Project (Australia), Curriculum Corporation (Australia), National Thai Curriculum Project
Date: 1995

Ideal for: Grades 7-12. Introducing authentic Thai language in interesting situations, these extensively illustrated materials convey cultural information and encourage the acquisition of practical language for beginners at the secondary school level. Sanuk Sanuk (“Have Fun”) provides teachers with a complete framework and supporting resources for organizing and implementing an accelerated Thai language program.

Thai at Your Fingertips
Authors: Allison Weir, Manat Chitakasem, David Smyth, Lexus (Firm)
Date: 1988

Key words and phrases: pom chun, baht, glai, bpai, norn, krup, choo-ay, bpen, tahng, lair-o, gahn, dtorng, kreu-ung, mahk, gorn, Thai, nung, sorm, noun, choot.

Thai Cultural Reader
Authors: Robert B. Jones, Craig J. Reynolds, Ruchira C. Mendiones
Date: 1994

This reader has been designed to provide intermediate level students with readings on a wide range of topics concerning Thai culture and history written in various styles.

The Thai Writing System
Author: Nanthanā Dānwiwat
Date: 1987

Key words and phrases: Thai language, Khmer script, Khmer alphabet, Thailand, vocalic symbol, Bangkok, Thai alphabet, Sukhothai city, Thai numerals, King Rama VI, George Coedes, triphthongs, stop consonant, glottal stop, syllabic consonant, sound symbols, diphthongs, tonal marker, loanwords, Sukhothai script.

Tai-Kadai on Google Books…

The Tai-Kadai Languages
Authors: Anthony Diller, Jerold A. Edmondson, Yongxian Luo
Date: 2008

The Tai-Kadai Languages provides the clear, grammatical descriptions needed in the area. A one-of-a-kind resource, it presents a particularly important overview of Thai that includes extensive cross-referencing to other sections of the volume, sign-posting to sources in the bibliography, and can be seen as an abridged reference grammar in itself. A parallel grammatical study of Lao is also included, as are discussions of the ‘nationality languages’, surveys of further languages in the family with smaller numbers of speakers, and sections dealing with topics of comparative interest.

Thai dictionaries on Google Books…

Mary Haas Thai-English Student’s Dictionary
Compiled by: Mary R. Haas
Date: 1964

Both English-speaking students of Thai and Thai students of all disciplines will be hard put to find a more comprehensive and satisfying answer to their general vocabulary needs. Professional translators, researchers, and even specialists whose only concern is problems of transliteration, will all benefit from this remarkable publication.

Pocket Thai Dictionary
Authors: Benjawan Golding, Michael Golding, Benjawan Jai-Ua, Mike Golding
Date: 2004

Designed by academics, translators, and native speakers with today’s globetrotter in mind, the Periplus Pocket Dictionary Series is ideal for beginning students and travelers. Each volume contains 3,000 commonly used words, presented in an accessible format of both romanized and authentic script.

Robertson’s Practical English-Thai Dictionary
Authors: Richard G. Robertson, Michael Golding, Mike Golding, Benjawan Jai-Ua
Date: 2004

A new edition of this popular dictionary. The content has been thoroughly updated and expanded, and is now presented in a clear double-column layout. The rendering of each word and phrase in the familiar roman alphabet has been completely revised, and tones are clearly indicated throughout. Thai script is also shown in a font that can be read without difficulty both by learners and by Thai natives.

Thai-English Dictionary
Author: George Bradley McFarland
Date: 1944

This book contains a large number of words not found in the present Government dictionary and therefore will lead to a better knowledge and use of the Thai language.

Thai grammar on Google Books…

A Reference Grammar of Thai
Authors: Shōichi Iwasaki, Preeya Ingkaphirom, Inkapiromu Puriyā Horie
Date: 2005

Unlike any other book on Thai grammar, it draws on data from everyday spoken discourses such as informal conversation, group discussions, interviews and narratives, as well as non-technical written texts such as folk tales, short stories and newspaper articles, to discuss grammatical phenomena at both sentence and discourse level. An extensive index is provided and examples are given in both Thai orthography and IPA symbols, making this an invaluable resource for linguists as well as students and teachers of Thai.

Thai: An Essential Grammar
Author: David Smyth
Date: 2002

…the ideal guide to the basic structures of the language for both students on taught courses and independent learners. Grammatical forms are explained in clear, jargon-free style and illustrated by examples, given in both Thai script and romanization. As well as grammar, it includes guidance on pronunciation, speech conventions and the beautiful Thai writing system.

Thai phrase books on Google Books…

Essential Thai phrase book
Authors: Benjawan Golding, Michael Golding, Benjawan Jai-Ua, Mike Golding
Date: 2004

Periplus Essential Phrase Books take you beyond the traditional “Hello. How are you? My name is …”

Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook
Authors: Lonely Planet Publications Staff, Bruce Evans
Date: 2004

Thailand is the Land of Smiles. A grin shows companionship. A laugh shows forgiveness. But what if you need a second-class train ticket from Bangkok to Chiang Mai? Keep smiling – this phrasebook will show you the way.

Rough Guide Thai
Authors: Rough Guides Staff, David Smyth, Rough Guides, Somsong Smyth, Lexus Firm Staff, Lexus, Lexus (Firm)
Date: 1999

Includes clear grammar and phonetic pronunciation guidelines, etiquette and cultural tips and a menu reader. The most user-friendly phrasebooks on the market.

Msc Thai learning on Google Books…

Webster’s Thai to English Crossword Puzzles: Level 2
Author: Icon Group International, Inc.
Date: 2007

This edition is for Level 2 vocabulary, where the higher the level number, the more complicated the vocabulary. Though highly entertaining, if not addictive, this crossword puzzle book covers some 3000 translations. In this book, hints are in Thai, answers are in English. This format is especially fun (or easiest) for people learning Thai; the format is most instructive, however, for people learning English (i.e. the puzzles are a good challenge). Within each level, the puzzles are organized to expose players to shorter and more common words first.

Webster’s Thai to English Crossword Puzzles Level 4
Author: Icon Group International, Inc.
Date: 2007

Webster’s Crossword Puzzles are edited for three audiences. The first audience consists of students who are actively building their vocabularies in either Thai or English in order to take foreign service, translation certification, Advanced Placement® (AP®) or similar examinations. By enjoying crossword puzzles, the reader can enrich their vocabulary in anticipation of an examination in either Thai or English. The second includes Thai-speaking students enrolled in an English Language Program (ELP), an English as a Foreign Language (EFL) program, an English as a Second Language Program (ESL), or in a TOEFL® or TOEIC® preparation program. The third audience includes English-speaking students enrolled in bilingual education programs or Thai speakers enrolled in English speaking schools.

700 Thai Words Taken From English
Author: Ken Albertsen
Date: ?

Key words and phrases: Thai alphabet, MILAREPA, Thailand, PASSAGE Novel, Thai language, glai, farang, sawm, hip slang, squash vegetable, nung, uwan, transliteration, suway, Thai spelling, orange drink, rawang, glua, masticate.

Linguistics on Google Books…

Concise Compendium of the World’s Languages
Author: George L. Campbell
Date: 1995

In this single volume, George Campbell describes over 100 languages. The emphasis is on the world’s major languages–those with over one million speakers. Throughout the book the treatment is simple and factual; technical terminology is used only where necessary, making this the ideal reference for the non-specialist.

Handbook of Scripts and Alphabets
Author: George L. Campbell
Date: 1997

This is a handy reference to the main scripts and alphabets of the world. Forty alphabets are presented and discussed, with entries ranging from the mainstream, such as Amharic, Chinese and Thai; to the more obscure, Buginese and Cree.

Linguistic Diversity and National Unity
Author: William Allen Smalley
Date: 1994

Unlike other multi-ethnic nations, such as Myanmar and India, where official language policy has sparked bloody clashes, Thailand has maintained relative stability despite its eighty languages. In this study of the relations among politics, geography, and language, William A. Smalley shows how Thailand has maintained national unity through an elaborate social and linguistic hierarchy.

Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics
Authors: Hadumod Bussmann, Gregory Trauth, Kerstin Kazzazi
Date: 1998

In over 2,000 entries, the Dictionary provides a comprehensive survey of the subdisciplines of linguistics and covers many of the world’s languages. It is alphabetically organized, with each entry providing clear and concise definitions of key linguistic terminology, concepts, and themes.

The Translator’s Handbook
Author: Morry Sofer
Date: 2006

Since 1997, this translator’s guide has been the worldwide leader in its field and has elicited high praise from some of the world’s best translators. It has been fully updated in the 2006 edition.

Thai culture/language on Google Books…

Culture and Customs of Thailand
Author: Arne Kislenko
Date: 2004

Evocative photos, a country map, a timeline, and a chronology complete the coverage. This reference is the best source for students and general readers to gain substantial, sweeping insight into the Thais and their “land of smiles.”

Language and National Identity in Asia
Author: Andrew Simpson
Date: 2007

Language and National Identity in Asia is a comprehensive introduction to the role of language in the construction and development of nations and national identities in Asia. Illustrated with maps and accessibly written this book will interest all those concerned to understand the dynamics of social change in some of the most important countries in the world. It will appeal to all those studying, researching, or teaching issues in Asian society, language, and politics from a comparative perspective.

Language, Culture, and History
Authors: Mary Rosamond Haas, Anwar S. Dil
Date: 1978

Key words and phrases: Hitchiti, Muskogean languages, Koasati, Algonkian, protolanguage, Hupa, Penutian, Karok, Edward Sapir, Apalachee, Lake Miwok, Choctaw, Ojibwa, Athapaskan languages, Harry Hoijer, Algonquian, Siouan language, Kroeber, Leonard Bloomfield, reduplication.

Thailand: A Global Studies Handbook
Author: Timothy D. Hoare
Date: 2004

The definitive guide to Thailand, providing a comprehensive, beyond-the-basics overview of the country, its history, economy, society, culture, and language.

Learning languages on Google Books…

How People Learn
Authors: John Bransford, Ann L. Brown, National Research Council (U.S.)
Date: 2003

Expanded to show how the theories and insights from the original hardcover edition can be translated into actions and practice, readers can now make valuable connections between classroom activities and learning behavior. This book offers exciting — and useful — information about the mind and the brain that provides some answers on how people actually learn.

How the Brain Learns
Author: David A. Sousa
Date: 2005

This updated edition of the powerful bestseller examines new research on brain functioning and translates this information into effective classroom strategies and activities.

How to Study
Authors: Allan Mundsack, James Deese, Ellin K. Deese, Clifford Thomas Morgan
Date: 2002

A perennial bestseller since its first publication in 1954, How to Study covers the nuts and bolts of successful studying, including the importance of setting priorities. This strategic guide also introduces readers to the art of studying and the indispensability of being a self-starter–and how to become one.

How Google Books works…

There are several offical views on offer when reading books via Google Books: Full view, limited preview, snippet view, no preview available.

Each book includes an ‘About this book’ page with basic bibliographic data like title, author, publication date, length and subject. For some books you may also see additional information like key terms and phrases, references to the book from scholarly publications or other books, chapter titles and a list of related books. For every book, you’ll see links directing you to bookstores where you can buy the book and libraries where you can borrow it.

Each book in limited preview is roughly 60-65% accessible, with Google keeping track of how many pages you’ve read.

Once you log in, however, to enforce limits on user page views, we do connect some information — your Google Account name — with the books and pages that you’ve viewed.

And once you’ve gone over that limit, you’ll get an alert: You have either reached a page that is unavailable for viewing or reached your viewing limit for this book.

Note: There are more than a few ways to download Google Books offered in full.

Suggestions for learning Thai with Google Books…

One thing I noticed when I was in the UK was the total absence of books for the Thai language learner. And while I’m no expert on which books have the best translation (you’ll need to ask Rikker at Thai101.net), Google Books might help in a pinch.

  1. Go to Google Books.
  2. Type Thai language edition’ in the search box, then select ‘Limited preview and full view’ from the drop down menu.
  3. Scroll through and click on the book of your liking.
  4. Open a new Google Books browser window.
  5. Cut and paste the title into the search box with ‘Limited preview and full view’ selected in the drop down.
  6. Select the English version of the Thai version you’ve chosen.
  7. With browsers side by side, start reading and scrolling.

At the moment the Thai selection is quite limited, but it should grow. And grow.

Shopping via Google Books…

I love a good book. And while pdfs and reading online are fine, there is nothing that beats reading from a real book. A book you can hold in your hands. A book that smells of… book!

Limiting myself, I’ve picked out a few books to add to my constantly growing wish list:

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Learn Thai Online for FREE… the Mother of all Resources

Free Thai Lessons

FREE Thai language learning resources…

For months I’ve been promising to clean Women Learning Thai’s messy Learning Thai resources. After mulling it over, I’ve gone whole hog with FREE. Free downloads, free websites, free software, all free.

Note: This is part announcement, part teaser post. For the full wack, go to: Learn Thai for FREE

Free online Thai courses…

FSI Thai Basic Course
Thai language course developed by the Foreign Service Institute. Pdf and mp3 downloads.

FSI Intermediate Course
FSI workbook (lessons 1-80) with supplementary exercises for the Thai Basic Course. Pdf download.

FSI Thai Basic Reader
FSI supplementary textbook for self-study. Pdf download.

The lessons are written for English-speaking expats living in Thailand, travelers to Thailand, those doing business in Thailand, and those who are simply learning the language. Mp3 audio and mp4 video downloads.

Supported by Northern Illinois University, this site is slightly old-fashioned but well worth the time it takes to dig into all the various nooks and crannies. Includes sound.

Teachthai.com (no longer online but sometimes Thai gov sites come back)
Interactive Thai language e-Learning course covering the basics of Thai. Flash based, includes sound. Hosted by the Department of Non-formal Education, Ministry of Education, Thailand.

The Fundamentals of the Thai Language
Thai course with 26 lessons. By Stuart Campbell and Chuan Shaweevongs (Fifth Edition, not under copyright). No sound.

The Thai System of Writing
This book is designed to be used with the Thai Reader and the Thai Vocabulary.

Free online Thai mini lessons…

DLI FLC: Field Support Modules
For a conflict situation… Pdf and mp3 downloads.

elearning with Sriwittayapaknam School
Thai only. If you can’t read the Thai script, click on the icons.

Learn Thai online with simple games.

Learn Thai Online
101 Languages has an overview of the Thai language.

Learn to read Thai Tutorials (links work)
By Phil at Phil.UK.Net. Also beneficial are the notes detailing his first Thai lessons.

Excellent resource with Thai consonant / vowel flashcards, printable flashcards for the Thai consonants and vowels, consonant shape learning aid, chart of the 44 Thai consonants arranged by similar shape, voice viewer, the five tones of the Thai language, the consonant sounds of Thai, the vowel sounds of Thai, pronunciation guide systems for Thai.

Speak Real Thai
Lessons cover greetings, how to wai, how to make a suggestion politely, giving a snappy retort, how much money to give a beggar, dialects.

Thai For Beginners Study Aids
Matching word quiz, jumbled sentences, exercises and more exercises. You don’t need Becker’s Thai For Beginners course book, but it helps.

Thai Language Games
Interactive game to learn Thai numbers, colours, fruits and vegetables.

World Nomads – Free Travellers Language Guide
Thai iPod language guide. Thai language guide app for iPhone & iPod touch. Pdf and Mp3 downloads.

Free Thai lessons from pay sites…

BYKI: Before You Know It
Software which includes a collection of lists to learn Thai. Download software with sound.

Conversation course (400 Thai words with sentences), 5 lesson vocabulary course (50 Thai words), and the first 3 lessons free for their Thai script course. Online course.

Learn Thai Podcasts
Blog style Thai Language lessons with video and audio. Pdf, mp3 audio and mp4 video downloads.

Top Thai language learning websites…

Learning Thai the Easy Way (offline for now)
Extensive resource for learning the Thai language: Forums, Thai alphabet, Thai script, read Thai, grammar notes, listening resources, reading resources, Thai road signs, short stories, study aids, games and quizzes, exams, your name in Thai, and much much more. Home of Read with Manee.

Learn to Speak Like a Thai (spokenthai.com – offline for now)
Video and audio clips to help you speak like a Thai. Mp3 downloads.

Internet resource for learning the Thai language: Lessons, forums, dictionary with an excellent search criteria, and Thai language reference.

The mother of all FREE Thai resources…

For the full collection of totally FREE online Thai resources, head on over to Learn Thai for FREE.

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