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Olly’s Thai For Beginners: How to Learn to Speak Thai from Scratch

Thai For Beginners

Back in August Olly Richards (I Will Teach You A Language) and Jan Van Der Aa (Language Boost) made an appearance with The Challenge: Two Weeks to Learn Thai in Bangkok!

During those two weeks they tweeted, Facebooked, and created YouTube videos about their experience.

Once back home, Olly wrote a lengthly post detailing just how he accomplished this feat: Thai For Beginners: How to Learn to Speak Thai From Scratch.

In this post, I’m going to take a step back and reveal everything I discovered about how to study Thai as a beginner, so you can benefit from my experiments and start your journey to learn Thai on the right foot.

I’ll start by describing in detail how I learnt Thai during my mission to Bangkok. Next, I’ll answer common questions about learning Thai. Then, I’ll finish with my recommended action steps for those who want to learn to speak Thai, followed by some great resources.

And to top it off, Olly is giving away a pdf with audio files created from his copious class notes. You can download them for FREE here: 150+ Essential Beginner Thai Words & Phrases for Effective Conversations.

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Cat Cartoons Episode Twenty One: Learn and Love the Thai Language

รู้รักภาษาไทย: Cat Cartoons: Episode Twenty One…

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language.

ผู้บรรยาย: ตอน ลักษณนามช้าง
Narrator: Episode – Classifier for ‘chaang’.

สีสวาด: วิเชียรมาศ มานี่แน่ะ จะได้ออกกำลังกายกันที่กลางสนาม
Si Sawat: Wi-chian maat, come over here and we can exercise out here in the playground.

วิเชียรมาศ: ดีเหมือนกันนะ เราจะได้แข็งแรง
Wi-chian maat: That does sound good. We can keep ourselves strong.

สีสวาด: เธอทำท่าตามที่ชั้น(ฉัน)ร้องก็แล้วกัน
“ช้าง ช้าง ช้าง ช้างป่า ๑ ตัว ส่ายหัวไปมา”
“ช้าง ช้าง ช้าง ช้างป่า ๒ ตัว โยกตัวไปมา”
Si Sawat: Move your body to follow what I sing, OK?!
“‘Chaang’, ‘chaang’, ‘chaang’, one ‘chaang bpaa’ shakes its head side to side.”
“‘Chaang’, ‘chaang’, ‘chaang’, two ‘chaang bpaa’-s shake their bodies side to side.”

วิเชียรมาศ: แล้วทำไมต้องเป็นช้างป่าด้วย
Wi-chian maat: Why must it be ‘chaang bpaa’?

สีสวาด: ถ้าเป็นช้างบ้านต้องเปลี่ยนคำว่า ตัว เป็น เชือก นะ
“ช้าง ช้าง ช้าง ช้างบ้าน ๑ เชือก เกลือกหัวไปมา”
“ช้าง ช้าง ช้าง ช้างบ้าน ๒ เชือก เลือกอ้อยไว้กิน”
Si Sawat: If it’s ‘chaang baan’, then the word ‘dtua’ must be replaced with ‘cheuak’.
“‘Chaang’, ‘chaang’, ‘chaang’, one ‘chaang baan’ rolls its head side to side.”
“‘Chaang’, ‘chaang’, ‘chaang’, two ‘chaang baan’-s pick sugarcane to eat them.”

เก้าแต้ม: นั่นแน่ เลยได้ความรู้ ช้างป่าเป็นตัว ช้างบ้านเป็นเชือก
Kao Taem: There you are! We get to learn something too. A ‘chaang bpaa’ is a ‘dtua’, a ‘chaang baan’ is a ‘cheuak’.

ผู้บรรยาย: ช้างบ้านใช้ลักษณนามว่า เชือก ช้างป่าใช้ลักษณนามว่า ตัว
Narrator: The classifier ‘cheuak’ is used for ‘chaang baan’, the classifier ‘dtua’ is used for ‘chaang bpaa’.

แมวทั้งสามตัว: แล้วพบกันใหม่นะครับบบ (ครับ)
All Three Cats: See you again next time!

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language.

Comments…

‘Chaang’ (ช้าง) is ‘elephant’, ‘chaang bpaa’ (ช้างป่า) (literally ‘jungle elephant’) is ‘wild elephant’ and ‘chaang baan’ (ช้างบ้าน) is ‘domestic elephant’.

A ‘classifier’ refers to a word associated with a particular noun to indicate the class / group of that noun. Classifiers occur with numbers / quantity words (such as in counting items or referring to numbers of items) (cardinal numbers, ordinal numbers, indefinite quantifiers and ‘how many?’), demonstratives (‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’, ‘those’ and ‘which?’) and adjectives. It is sometimes called a ‘unit noun’, ‘unit counter’ or ‘measure word’. (Adapted from page 41 of Thai Language and Culture for Beginners 1 by Yuphaphann Hoonchamlong and page 33 of Thai: An Essential Grammar by David Smyth)

‘… it is impossible to devise rules which will serve as an infallible guide in choosing the proper classifier to be employed with any given noun. For this reason it is desirable to memorize the classifier to be used with a noun at the same time that one learns the noun, just as in French or German one must memorize the gender of each noun.’
Mary R. Haas, The Use of Numeral Classifiers in Thai

PDF Downloads…

Below is a pdf download (created by Catherine) to help with your studies. It has Thai script, transliteration, and English.

Download: Cat Cartoons Episode Twenty One: Conversation

Disclaimer: The study pdfs are Catherine’s baby. If you notice any mistakes she’d love for you to drop her a line via the contact form.

The Cat Cartoon Series…

Original transcript and translation provided by Sean Harley. Transliterations via T2E (thai2english.com).

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Cat Cartoons Episode Twenty: Learn and Love the Thai Language

รู้รักภาษาไทย: Cat Cartoons: Episode Twenty…

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language.

ผู้บรรยาย: ตอน การเขียนคำว่า เรือ
Narrator: Episode Writing the word ‘reua’

น้องก้อย: เรือน้อย ๆ เรือน้อย ๆ ลอยตุ๊บป่องตุ๊บป่อง พี่เก่ง คำว่า เรือ เขียนยังไง (อย่างไร) คะ
Nong Goy: Little boat, little boat, goes ‘dtup bpong’ ‘dtup bpong’. Pee Geng, how do I write the word ‘reua’.

เก่ง: ก็ รอ เอือ เรือ น่ะซี่ (สิ)
Geng: Hmm, it’s ‘ror’ ‘eua’ ‘reua’.

น้องก้อย: เขียนเสร็จแล้วค่ะ เก่งมั้ย (ไหม) ๆ
Nong Goy: Done! Aren’t I smart? Aren’t I smart?

เก่ง: ไม่ใช่ เขียนสระ เ ก่อน แล้วก็ ร เรือ, สระ ื, อ อ่าง
Geng: Oh no! You should write the vowel เ first, then the ร in ‘reua’, followed by the vowel ื and finally the อ in ‘aang’.

น้องก้อย: ก็เมื่อกี๊ (เมื่อกี้) พี่เก่งบอกว่า รอ เอือ เรือ
Nong Goy: Well, just now you said ‘ror’ ‘eua’ ‘reua’.

เก่ง: นั่นน่ะ พี่สะกดให้ฟังต่างหาก เวลาเขียนต้องวางสระพยัญชนะให้ถูกที่
Geng: That there…I was just ‘spelling for “listening” (reading)’. When you actually write out the word, you must ensure that the vowels and consonants are written in the correct places.

น้องก้อย: ค่ะ ขอบคุณพี่เก่งมากค่ะ ก้อยจะได้จำไว้ไปบอกเพื่อน ๆ ด้วย
Nong Goy: OK. Thanks a lot, Pee Geng. I’ll remember it and I’ll tell my friends too.

ผู้บรรยาย: รอ เอือ เรือ สอ เอือ เสือ เวลาเขียนต้องวางสระพยัญชนะให้ถูกที่
Narrator: ‘Ror’ ‘eua’ ‘reua’, ‘sor’ ‘eua’ ‘seua’. When you actually write out the word, you must ensure that the vowels and consonants are written in the correct places.

แมวทั้งสามตัว: แล้วพบกันใหม่นะครับบบ (ครับ)
All Three Cats: See you again next time!

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language.

Comments…

It is interesting to note that there is no entry for ตุ๊บป่อง (‘dtup bpong’) in the Royal Society Dictionary. ตุ๊บป่อง (‘dtup bpong’) is an onomatopoeic word basically meaning ‘(to) (bob) up and down in the water’.

There appears to be two ‘ways’ of spelling out Thai words in Thai: (1) ‘spelling for reading’ (อ่านสะกดคำ); and (2) ‘spelling for writing’ (เขียนสะกดคำ).

‘Spelling for reading’ (อ่านสะกดคำ) means to sound out words in this order: starting with the sound of the initial consonant, followed by the sound of the vowel (as a whole), the final (‘spelling’) consonant and the tone. This method of ‘spelling’ teaches how a word is supposed to be read out. Geng’s initial spelling of the word ‘reua’ (เรือ) above (‘ror’ ‘eua’ ‘reua’) is an example of ‘spelling for reading’.

‘Spelling for writing’ (เขียนสะกดคำ) on the other hand, emphasizes the form of consonants and each constituent part of vowels to teach how a word is supposed to be written out. Geng’s subsequent spelling of the word ‘reua’ (เรือ) above [write the vowel เ first, then the ร in ‘reua’ (เรือ), followed by the vowel ื and finally the อ in ‘aang’ (อ่าง)] is an example of ‘spelling for writing’.

In the lower levels (Primary 1 – 2) of Thai schools, teachers tend to emphasize more on ‘spelling for reading’ (อ่านสะกดคำ) so that pupils are taught how to read correctly while in the higher levels (Primary 3 and above), the emphasis is more on ‘spelling for writing’ so that pupils are taught how to write correctly. The recent problem of Thai school children not being able to read properly has been blamed on teachers not following the abovementioned traditional approach and using ‘hybrid’ methods that do not teach children how to read words correctly.

PDF Downloads…

Below are two pdf downloads (created by Catherine) to help with your studies. Both have Thai script, transliteration, and English. Suggestion: Print out the conversation file to read along with the videos – use the vocabulary file to locate any words you don’t know.

Download: Cat Cartoons Episode Twenty: Conversation
Download: Cat Cartoons Episode Twenty: Vocabulary

Disclaimer: The study pdfs are Catherine’s baby. If you notice any mistakes she’d love for you to drop her a line via the contact form.

The Cat Cartoon Series…

Original transcript and translation provided by Sean Harley. Transliterations via T2E (thai2english.com).

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Thai Style: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy

Thai Style

Feeling Like a Thai…

A month ago, Catherine asked how would I feel writing a post about a list of emotion/feeling words. She got the idea from a post at Mental Floss, Improve Your Vocabulary With the “Wheel of Feelings”.

I said to her ‘Great! I am willing to do it and I feel excited and enthusiastic to complete it.’

When I learnt English I used a similar system to help me understand English emotion/feeling words so I can see how it would benefit Thai learners as well. I was confident and determined to finish the post within a week or two, however, when I started the work I realised this is going to be a long project.

Not only do we, Thais, have our own perceptions about emotion and feeling, but the language we use to indicate emotions/feelings is also so different to English both grammatically and in meaning. Therefore I decided to create a series of posts called ‘Feeling like a Thai’. There are going to be six posts in total; ‘Be happy’, ‘Don’t be Sad’, ‘Oh no! A Thai is angry!’, ‘So scary!’, ‘I’m confused. What have I done wrong?’ and lastly, ‘Wheel of Feelings’.

These posts will help you to use correct words to indicate your feeling in Thai language as well as explanations on how and when to use them.

Today, I proudly present to you the first post ‘Be Happy’. I would love to hear how this post helps you. Please provide some feedback describing how you feel about the post. Are you happy with it? Do you feel encouraged to try it out with your Thai friends? Are you more confident to how to express feelings in Thai? I would be grateful if you could take a moment to write a comment below.

Now, I feel relieved and relaxed that my first post of this series is done as well as feeling gratified that this post is going to help Thai learners. I am so happy! :)

Note to beginners: Transliteration along with Thai script is in the explanation of the pdf download at the end of the post (tables are Thai only).

Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy…

Before learning the emotion/feeling words, let’s learn about the grammar as it is very important for you to construct a sentence correctly in order to indicate your emotion/feeling in Thai language.

First of all, I would like us to understand the definitions of ‘emotion’ and ‘feeling’.

emotion
[definition] a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one’s circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.

feeling
[definition]
1. an emotional state or reaction.
2. senses detecting what you feel through your 11 inputs; Hearing, Taste, Sight, Smell, Heat, Cool, Pain, Pleasure, Sense of balance (vestibular), Pressure, Motion (kinaesthetic).

As you can see, emotion and feeling, although different, have a very similar definition and are often interchangeable. In my series, I am writing about feelings as ‘an emotional state or reaction’ and I would like to explain in detail how to construct a sentence to indicate our feelings.

When indicating emotion or feeling in Thai the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel (mentally and physically)’, is used as a verb, yet the word ‘รู้สึก to feel’, is commonly omitted from a sentence if the explanation word that comes after is an emotion/feeling word.

In Thai, we view emotions as they happen in our heart, so the word ‘ใจ [Noun] heart [Noun] mind ; disposition ; spirit’ is used to make up many compound words to denote different types of emotions/feelings. For example, ดีใจ [feeling verb] feel delight / be delighted / be happy, is a compound word combined from the word ‘ดี means [quality modifier] be good, be nice’ and the word ‘ใจ’.

Some modifier (adjective/adverb) words can also be used after the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel’ to describe someone’s emotion or feeling. For example, กระชุ่มกระชวย is [modifier] be hale and hearty, be full of vitality, be energetic, and รู้สึกกระชุ่มกระชวย is feel energised.

Sentence structure:

Subject + (รู้สึก, to feel) + feeling word/explanation.

For example:

ผมรู้สึกดีใจ
I feel delight/happy.

ผมดีใจ
I am delighted/happy.

ผมรู้สึกดี
I feel good.

‘ดี means [quality modifier] be good, be nice’ which is not a feeling word therefore when you are not using the word ‘รู้สึก, to feel’ before the word ‘ดี’, without context the sentence ‘ผมดี would be interpreted as ‘I am nice.’

When you want to connect the emotion/feeling with the causes, you should use the link word ‘ที่, [relative pronoun] … that …’

Sentence structure:

Subject 1 + (รู้สึก, to feel) + Feeling word/Explanation + ที่ + (Subject 1) or Subject 2 + Explanation.

For example:

ผม(รู้สึก)ดีใจที่(ผม)ได้รับรางวัล
I feel delight/happy that I receive the reward. / I feel delight/happy to have received the reward.

ผม(รู้สึก)ดีใจที่แม่มาหาผม
I feel delight/happy that mum comes to see me.

When someone makes or causes someone to feel something, we use the word ‘ทำให้’.

Sentence structure:

Subject 1 + ทำให้ + Subject 2 + (รู้สึก to feel) + Feeling word/Explanation.

For example:

แม่ทำให้ผม(รู้สึก)ดีใจ
Mum makes me feel happy.

The prefix ‘ความ’ is an element placed at the beginning of a verb or adjective to adjust or qualify the verb’s or adjective’s function and meaning to an abstract noun.

Examples: ดี [quality modifier] be good/nice, ความดี [noun] goodness, รัก [feeling verb] to love, ความรัก [noun] love, จริง [quality modifier] true, real, ความจริง [noun] truth, สบาย [feeling verb/modifier] be comfortable, be relax, be cozy, ความสบาย [noun] comfortableness.

Example sentences:

ฉันรักเขาจริงๆ
I truly love him.

ฉันอยากรู้ความจริง
I would like to know the truth.

เขานั่งสบาย
He is comfortably sitting (the place, space and time is comfortable for him).

เขาชอบความสบาย
He likes comfortableness.

The prefix ‘อย่าง+’ is an element placed in front of a modifier (adverb or adjective) or a noun to adjust or qualify the modifier’s function to an adverb and the meaning to ‘having a particular quality’, ‘… in that type of quality’, ‘… in the way of …’. It is similar to the use of the suffix -ly in English e.g. brotherly, quickly.

Examples: ดี [quality modifier] be good/nice, อย่างดี [adverb] nicely, สบาย [feeling verb/modifier] be comfortable, be relax, be cozy, ความสบาย [adverb] comfortably, เร็ว [speed modifier] be quick, อย่างเร็ว = [adverb] quickly.

Example sentences:

ฉันทำงานอย่างดี
I do the work nicely.

เขานั่งลงอย่างสบาย
He is comfortably sitting down (he bends down and sits in a comfortable way).

เขานั่งลงอย่างเร็ว
He is quickly sitting down (he bends down and sits quickly).

Note:

  1. Words in brackets can be omitted.
  2. The level of intensity of the English feeling words is copied from a research article. I tried my best to explain the intensity of Thai feeling words within the descriptions however I still feel every feeling is unique and words cannot describe our feelings exactly as well as the intensity can be subjective.

Downloads: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy…

As this resource is enormous (20+ pages filled with examples and tables, plus audio files to boot) we’ve created downloads for you. Enjoy!

Pdf: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy: 269kb
Audio: Feeling Like a Thai: Be Happy: 5.2mg

Note: These files are for personal use only (please do not place on other websites).

By ครูเจี๊ยบ: Kru Jiab
Thai Style

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Thai Language Connectors: Filler Connectors

Thai Language Connectors

Filler Connectors for Thai learners…

Welcome to Filler Connectors, the third post in the Thai Language Connectors series. The previous posts in the series were: The Starter Pack (Anthony Lauder’s original 100 connectors that has a sample from each subject), and Opening Connectors (connectors that give you breathing time before answering questions).

Anthony Lauder: Filler Connectors are throw-away phrases you can insert when you need a little more thinking time. They give the illusion of deep pondering, or sharing something personal, which is exactly what you want while you think of what you are going to say next.

Notes: 1) The target audience is educated Thais (for the most part), with the materials being slightly formal in scope. And 2) an * before the phrase means there is no equivalent expression in Thai but it sounds more or less ok anyway. And 3) please don’t freak out, there’s a pdf with transliteration.

Filler Connectors for Thai learners…

It is good to know that…
ดีใจที่ได้รู้ว่า…


Well, to put it briefly…
อืม จะให้พูดสั้นๆก็คือ…


It is worth mentioning that…
อีกเรื่องหนึ่งที่บอกไว้ไม่เสียหายก็คือ…


*I think that I should point out that…
ผม/ฉันว่าผม/ฉันควรจะชี้ให้คุณเห็นว่า…


I should mention that…
แล้วผม/ฉันก็อยากบอกด้วยว่า…


Now that you mention it, I really do think that…
พอตอนนี้คุณพูดมา ผม/ฉันก็คิดจริงๆว่า…


It is remarkable that…
น่าไม่เชื่อเลยว่า…


I am amazed that…
ผม/ฉันรู้สึกทึ่งที่…


I must admit that…
ผม/ฉันต้องยอมรับว่า…


I grant that…
ผม/ฉันยอมรับว่า…


I must grant that…
ผม/ฉันต้องยอมรับว่า…


On the one hand… on the other…
แง่นึง… แต่อีกแง่นึง…


After all…
สุดท้ายแล้ว…


I should say that…
ผม/ฉันจะบอกคุณว่า…


Oddly enough…
แปลกแต่จริง…


I would like to tell you that…
ผม/ฉันอยากจะบอกคุณว่า…


I would like to know whether…
ผม/ฉันอยากรู้ว่า…


It is unbelievable how…
ไม่น่าเชื่อว่า…


*I think that I should point out to you that…
ผม/ฉันว่าผม/ฉันควรจะชี้ให้คุณเห็นว่า…


If you ask me…
ถ้าคุณถามผม/ฉัน…


I’d like to say something about…
ผม/ฉันอยากจะพูดอะไรบางอย่างเกี่ยวกับเรื่องนี้…


I’d like to say a couple of words about this…
ผม/ฉันอยากจะพูดอะไรเล็กน้อยเกี่ยวกับเรื่องนี้…


Downloads: Thai Language Filler Connectors…

Thai Language Filler Connectors (with transliteration): Pdf 328kb
Thai Language Filler Connectors (without transliteration): Pdf 328kb
Thai Language Filler Connectors: Audio (Male) 1.3mg
Thai Language Filler Connectors: Audio (Female) 1.2mg
Thai Language Filler Connectors: Audio (Female-singles) 1mg

Note: These files are for personal use only (please do not place them on other websites).

More Thai Language Connectors…

Following will be: Apologising Connectors, Qualifying Connectors, Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors, Elaborating Connectors, Quoting Connectors, Switching Connectors, Closing Connectors and Passing Connectors (in that order).

Cheers! Catherine & Yuki

Yuki Tachaya, Web: PickupThai | YouTube: PickupThai | twitter: @PickupThai

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Thai Language Connectors: Opening Connectors

Thai Language Connectors

Opening Connectors for Thai learners…

As mentioned in the first post of the series, Thai Language Connectors: Starter Pack, Opening Connectors are responses to questions – they give you breathing time to mentally form answers.

Anthony Lauder: When you are asked a question, it can put you on the spot. Your mind can go blank, and soon you don’t know how to even start answering. Opening connectors are really useful for getting the first few words out of your mouth (“breaking the silence”) while you settle down to give the real answer to the question

Included in Anthony’s 100 Language Connectors mentioned in his Starter Pack there were four Opening Connectors: “Thank you heartily”, “That is such a good question”, “That is a difficult question”, and “Once upon a time, long ago…”. In this post we’ll complete the set from his spreadsheet.

Notes: 1) The target audience is educated Thais (for the most part), with the materials being slightly formal in scope. And 2) an * before the phrase means there is no equivalent expression in Thai but it sounds more or less ok anyway. And 3) please don’t freak out, there’s a pdf with transliteration.

Opening Connectors for Thai learners…

I must first say that…
ก่อนอื่น ผม/ฉันต้องบอกก่อนว่า…


I will be talking for about ten minutes.
ผม/ฉันจะใช้เวลาพูดประมาณสิบนาที


I’ll start with… and afterwards move on to…
ผม/ฉันจะเริ่มจาก… จากนั้นก็จะพูดถึง…


The reason why I am here is…
เหตุผลที่ผม/ฉันมาพูดให้คุณฟังวันนี้ก็คือ…

Note: Literal meaning: “The reason why I came to speak to you today is…”


Today we shall look at…
วันนี้ เราจะมาดูเรื่อง…


Today’s topic is…
หัวข้อที่เราจะคุยกันวันนี้คือ…


Today I will be talking about…
วันนี้ ผม/ฉันจะมาพูดเกี่ยวกับ…


I know that there isn’t time to spare, so I’d better make a start.
ผม/ฉันรู้ว่าเรามีเวลาไม่มาก เพราะฉะนั้นผม/ฉันขอเริ่มเลยก็แล้วกัน


I’d like to start with a general overview and after focus on…
ขอเริ่มพูดถึงภาพรวมคร่าวๆก่อนแล้วค่อยเจาะลึกรายละเอียด…

Note: Literal meaning: “Let me start with an rough overview and then, go into the details later.”


Downloads: Thai Language Opening Connectors…

Thai Language Opening Connectors (with transliteration): Pdf 395kb
Thai Language Opening Connectors (without transliteration): Pdf 395kb
Thai Language Opening Connectors: Audio (Male) 848kb
Thai Language Opening Connectors: Audio (Female) 686kb
Thai Language Opening Connectors: Audio (Female-singles) 603kb

Note: These files are for personal use only (please do not place them on other websites).

More Thai Language Connectors…

Following will be: Filler Connectors, Apologising Connectors, Qualifying Connectors, Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors, Elaborating Connectors, Quoting Connectors, Switching Connectors, Closing Connectors and Passing Connectors (in that order).

Cheers! Catherine & Yuki

Yuki Tachaya, Web: PickupThai | YouTube: PickupThai | twitter: @PickupThai

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FREE Thai Fonts: Comparisons & Downloads

FREE Thai Fonts

Thai designers do use Arial…

Thai fonts sizes are all over the place. And if you don’t choose a well-designed font, to get the Thai and English to balance you’ll be forced to adjust sizes by hand. Tedious. Throw in transliteration – not all fonts design for it – and if you are not careful you’ll end up with a mess.

I went the difficult route until I discovered Arial Unicode MS, but these days I stick mostly to Thonburi. Both Arial Unicode and Thonburi (sans serifs) allow me to use the same font size for English and Thai, and the transliteration scales wonderfully as well.

My design friends freaked when I mentioned that the font I used most was Arial. But hey, we live in different worlds now (and it’s not like I’m committing sin with Comic Sans). Of course I want pleasing to the eye pages but spending all my time editing individual words is just not logical. There’s Thai to be learned folks!

I use Arial Unicode MS font for most unicode stuff… both diacritics on latin letters and complex scripts. If you need diacritics on latin letters use the Mac OSX US Extended keyboard. They have all the tonemarkers built into short cuts using shift + alt + key combinations.

Fredrik Almstedt recently introduced me to Adobe Thai, a serif font with a wonderful balance. It’s not free but I’ve included it due to its clean attributes. So, apart from Adobe Thai, the list below is free for personal use. Note: If you want to include any fonts in a software package, you just might have to buy a licence (so please do check first).

Thai National fonts (Thai: ฟอนต์แห่งชาติ; rtgs: [font] haeng chat), or colloquially SIPA fonts (Thai: ฟอนต์ซิป้า, are a group of thirteen Thai-Roman fonts distributed and used by the Government of Thailand as public and official fonts after they won a national competition.

The Council of Ministers officially announced the thirteen fonts as the public fonts, naming them the “national fonts”. The public agencies were ordered to use these fonts, especially “TH Sarabun PSK”, in their state papers.

The Thai fonts listed come from all over the place but in no way could I include everything I found. If your favourite Thai font (preferably free) isn’t represented just drop me a line and I’ll make it so.

When you download the pdf you’ll see that it’s in six sections, showing as many comparisons as there was time for. Again, if you can suggest more (time allowing), I’m game.

  • Thai Font List: List of Thai fonts in English, Thai, and transliteration.
  • Thai Font Samples: Thai fonts in 12, 14, 16 and 18 points.
  • Thai Font Samples: Thai fonts in alphabetical order.
  • Thai Font Samples: Thailand’s version of “The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog”.
  • Thai Font Downloads: Links to download free the Thai fonts mentioned in this pdf.
  • Thai Font Resources: Various font sites and information.

Here’s the FREE Thai Font Comparisons & Downloads download: 4.9mg pdf

Research posts are almost never done on my lonesome so before I continue I’d like to thank those who helped: Fredrik Almstedt, Stu Jay Raj, and Jan Nadertscher. Again, I owe … I owe …

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Thai Language Connectors: Starter Pack

Thai Language Connectors

Language Connectors for Thai learners…

Anthony Lauder (Fluent Czech on YouTube) is the Mr Rogers of language learning. In part due to his dry wit, his knowledgeable videos are a doddle to watch.

Also a fan of How to Improve Your Foreign Language Immediately, Anthony put together an invaluable list of intermediate level phrases described on his site: Conversational Intimacy Connectors and the Connectors Starter Pack.

Conversational Intimacy Connectors: Conversations need to flow. Conversational intimacy connectors help establish and maintains that relationship (so the listener feels better connected to you) as well as getting over the “urm” moments that make people uncomfortable.

When I came across Anthony’s list of connectors I just KNEW I had to have it for Thai. Problem is, not many would be capable of successfully translating the connectors from English into Thai. I’m certainly not! Actually, out of my circle of Thai speakers (native and not), only a few would feel comfortable translating at that level.

Carefully looking around (and asking opinions to be doubly sure) I approached Yuki from PickupThai. Yuki has wonderful English skills (she’s more switched on than I am and her grammar rocks). She also teaches real Thai (not Thai teacher Thai).

I can’t tell you how chuffed I was when Yuki agreed to spend the huge chunk of time needed to not only translate the entire list, but to record it as well. I owe… I owe…

Disclaimer: There are almost 500 connectors (448 at last count) that have been translated from English to Thai. And with some being difficult to translate there are sure to be a couple that people won’t 100% agree with. It’s just the way interpretation goes. So if you have differing opinions, do please let us know. We are open for consideration (but no promises).

1) The target audience is educated Thais (for the most part), with the materials being slightly formal in scope. And 2) an * before the phrase means there is no equivalent expression in Thai but it sounds more or less ok anyway. And 3) please don’t freak out, there’s a pdf with transliteration.

And now to the Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack…

Anthony’s Connectors Starter Pack has 100 connectors (a sample from each subject). And being manageable, that’s the one we’ll start with. Later posts in the series will be one subject per post.

A few tips from Anthony: I practiced these phrases dozens (maybe even hundreds) of times until I could say them automatically, without having to put any effort into thinking about them. Then I studied each one in depth, and thought hard about it to think of real-life situations when it would be used. At first, I used imaginary situations, until I felt that I associated a given connector automatically with those situations.

Connectors help smooth the way without resorting to stuttering and stumbling. Some are there to give you thinking space, so’s you can come up with something appropriate (or not) to say. For the descriptions below I’ve pared down Anthony’s, but if you need longer explanations you know where to find them.

NOTE: The audio files below are for females but the downloads are both male and female.

Opening Connectors…

Opening Connectors are responses to questions. They give you needed time to mentally form your actual answers.

Thank you heartily.
ขอบคุณจากใจ

Note: Literal meaning: “I thank you from the heart.”

That is such a good question.
นั่นเป็นคำถามที่ดี

That is a difficult question.
นั่นเป็นคำถามที่ตอบลำบาก

Once upon a time, long ago…
กาลครั้งหนึ่งนานมาแล้ว…

Note: Only used in tales and stories.

Filler Connectors…

Filler Connectors also give you time to come up with something to say (and are far better than stuttering your way to results).

*Understandably…
อย่างที่ทุกคนเข้าใจได้

Frankly speaking…
พูดตามตรงนะ…

Between you and me…
บอกแล้วอย่าไปเล่าต่อให้ใครฟังนะ ฉัน/ผม…

Anyway…
อย่างไรก็ดี…

Well then…
อืม ถ้าอย่างนั้น…

Apologising Connectors…

Mistakes in our target language are a given. I can name more than a few gaffs, and that was before I moved to Thailand! When that happens, just insert an Apologising Connector, then change the subject right quick.

Don’t be upset, but…
อย่าโกรธนะ ผม/ฉัน…

Note: “But” in this sense is not commonly used in the Thai language. You can just start saying what you need to say without saying “but.”

It was a slip of the tongue.
ผม/ฉันเผลอพูดผิดไปเท่านั้น

I said it that way by mistake.
ผม/ฉันไม่ได้ตั้งใจพูดแบบนั้น

ผม/ฉันขอโทษที่
I am sorry that…

Qualifying Connectors…

Some Qualifying Connectors soften statements, and apparently help to avoid coming off as an arrogant know-all.

To tell the truth…
เอาจริงๆแล้ว…

I presume that…
ผม/ฉันเดาว่า…

I hope that…
ผม/ฉันหวังว่า…

In my opinion…
ตามความคิดผม/ฉัน…

If that is true…
ถ้าเป็นเรื่องจริง…

Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors…

The Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors take you beyond the often erroneous ใช่ /châi/ and ไม่ใช่ /mâi châi/ (yes/no) answers beginners respond with.

One hundred percent.
แน่นอน(ร้อยเปอร์เซนต์)

Without question.
แน่นอน

Exactly / Exactly right.
นั่นแหละ / ใช่เลย

Most certainly.
ถูกที่สุด

Without a doubt.
อย่างไม่ต้องสงสัย

Elaborating Connectors…

Elaborating Connectors work similar to the Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors in that they expand short replies.

*To be more precise…
ถ้าจะให้พูดแบบเฉพาะเจาะจงก็คือ…

And what’s more…
แล้วอะไรอีก…

*While I am already talking about it…
ขณะที่ผม/ฉันกำลังพูดเรื่องนี้…

I would like to emphasise that…
ผม/ฉันขอเน้นว่า…

Should I explain in greater detail?
ให้ผม/ฉันอธิบายให้ฟังละเอียดกว่านี้ไหม

Quoting Connectors…

Quoting Connectors are there to feed our gossip gene. I’m kidding. But I’m sure you know what I mean.

She said something like…
เขาพูดอะไรประมาณว่า…

Recently, I heard that…
เมื่อไม่นานมานี้ ผม/ฉันได้ยินมาว่า…

Switching Connectors…

Switching Connectors are wonderful because you can use them to change subjects to ones you have enough vocabulary for.

*Now it occurs to me that…
ตอนนี้ผม/ฉันนึกได้ว่า…

By the way…
อย่างไรก็ดี…

I have an interesting story about it.
ผม/ฉันมีเรื่องราวที่น่าสนใจ(มาเล่าให้ฟัง)เกี่ยวกับเรื่องนี้

And besides that…
นอกจากนั้น …

Oh, I nearly forgot…
โอ้ ผม/ฉันเกือบลืมไป…

Closing Connectors…

Closing Connectors are just that – phrases to help you close out a conversation.

That is all there is to say (with that, that is everything said).
นอกจากนั้น ผม/ฉันก็ไม่มีอะไรจะพูดแล้ว

That is all for now.
วันนี้เท่านี้ก่อนแล้วกัน

Note: Literal meaning: “That’s all for today.”

To sum up.
ขอสรุปที่พูดมาทั้งหมด

Note: Literal meaning: “Let me summarize everything I’ve said.”

*And there (in that) is the problem.
นั่นไงปัญหามาแล้ว

Note: Literal meaning: “And there comes a problem.” A response used after someone says something that you think is or will be a problem. Note that it’s not very common.

I hope it is only a question of time.
ผม/ฉันหวังว่าจะเป็นเรื่องของเวลา

Passing Connectors…

This is another Connector I’m sure you’ll use often. When your head is threatening to explode from speaking in a foreign language, or you just want to give someone else a chance to share their views, use Passing Connectors.

Can you tell me please…
คุณบอกผม/ฉันได้ไหมว่า…

*Would you be interested in us talking about something else?
คุณอยากให้เราพูดถึงเรื่องอื่นไหม

And what do you think?
แล้วคุณคิดว่ายังไง

Downloads: Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack…

Files updated: 27/3/15

Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack (with transliteration): Pdf 395kb
Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack (without transliteration): Pdf 395kb
Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack: Audio (Male) 4.9mg
Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack: Audio (Female) 4.8mg
Thai Language Connectors Starter Pack: Audio (Female-singles) 4.1mg

Note: These files are for personal use only (please do not place them on other websites).

More Thai Language Connectors…

Coming up in this series will be the rest of: Opening Connectors, Filler Connectors, Apologising Connectors, Qualifying Connectors, Agreeing and Disagreeing Connectors, Elaborating Connectors, Quoting Connectors, Switching Connectors, Closing Connectors and Passing Connectors (in that order).

Cheers! Catherine & Yuki

Yuki Tachaya, Web: PickupThai | YouTube: PickupThai | twitter: @PickupThai

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FREE Downloads: Gla and Geo (there is life after Manee)

Manee

Download FREE Gla and Geo ebooks…

The most famous (and cherished) Ministry of Education coursebooks for kids learning how to read Thai is the Manee series. But that was many updates ago.

Thanks to Sasathorn on the FCLT FB Group, I now know about a later version called Gla and Geo. This series is also out of print but you can get pdfs online for free at e-bookfreeload or DataStudent.net.

Both sites are a pain to access (beware of porn popups) so I’ve uploaded the series to app.box.com. While I was there I also uploaded Manee.

Gla and Geo: Thai Coursebooks Grades 1-6
Manee and Friends: Thai Coursebooks Grades 1-6

Hardcopy of the latest Ministry of Education coursebooks for learning how to read Thai can be purchased online at suksapanpanit.com (ศึกษาภัณฑ์พาณิชย์) or in bookstores around Thailand (thanks Kris).

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FREE Download: Glossika Thai Fluency 1 GMS and GSR

FREE on iTunes: Glossika Thai Fluency 1 GMS and GSR

Glossika Thai Fluency 1 GMS and GSR on iTunes…

EDIT: These links no longer work and it doesn’t look like they are going to fix them anytime soon. When/if they do, I’ll relink.

If you’d like to try Glossika’s new Thai course before you buy, download Glossika Thai Fluency 1 GMS (Glossika Mass Sentences) and GSR (Glossika Spaced Repetition).

iTunes: Glossika Thai Fluency 1: GMS
iTunes: Glossika Thai Fluency 1: GSR

Note: These are only the audio files. Buy the course to get the pdf’s at their still reduced price.

Also available for free download are Italian, Russian, Korean, Taiwanese and Brazilian.

A bit more about Glossika: A Quest to Fluency: Thai and Italian. Italian?

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