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Review: English Thai iOS App Dictionaries: iPhone and iPad

iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Apps: English-Thai Dictionaries

Reviewing iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Apps: Thai dictionaries…

The Thai Dictionary iOS app series is in four parts: English-Thai dictionaries specifically for the English market, English-Thai Dictionaries using the LEXiTRON dataset and/or databases created for Thais, Thai-English dictionaries, and special dictionaries using photos, sign language, etc.

At the time of this review there are around 70 Thai dictionary apps for iOS devices (iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch). Only a few are for the English speaking market, the majority focus on the Thai market and advanced students of Thai.

Knowing which dictionaries target the English speaking market is important. Beginner to intermediate students do struggle with dictionaries using datasets created for Thais and advanced students still continue to use English-Thai dictionaries. So there is a need to know.

To explain: Thai focused datasets have lists of Thai words without English explanations. And if you can’t find the most common translation or correct nuance of a word, there’s a good chance you’ll choose the wrong one.

For instance, in some Thai-English dictionaries a search for the English translation of ฟอง comes back with spume instead of foam. Who goes around talking about the spume on their beer?

It’s noticeable that many of these dictionaries have not been checked by fluent Thai and English speakers, so please take care when using datasets created for Thais.

To address the English speaking market specifically, for this review I’ve taken out all dictionaries using straight out of the box LEXiTRON datasets and/or datasets created for Thais. I’ve also extracted dictionaries with audio, word of the day, and flashcards for those learning English but not Thai.

After going through all 70 to find dictionaries for English students of Thai, I was left with a mere seven. Out of those only three dictionaries are worth spending serious time with.

And while I’m surprised at the low number, all I can say is “thank goodness”. Less dictionaries to review in one post means that I can go into more detail with each app.

Disclaimer: There is a slim chance that a dictionary for the English market has slipped through. On a last whip-round I discovered two Thai-English dictionaries that barely squeaked in, so it does happen. If I do find more I’ll add them to this review. But it won’t change my mind about my top choice of Thai dictionary iOS apps, because, well, you’ll soon see.

iOS devices used for the review:

iPhone models 4S (GSM model China) and 5 (GSM and CDMA model)
iPad model 2 Wi-Fi +3G (GSM model)

Thai Dictionaries for the English market…

To save you from having to slog through the entire post, my top three choices appear first and the remaining four follow. Please let me know of any experiences you’ve had with these dictionaries – I seriously want to hear your thoughts.

For the visual persons, here’s a Google Docs spreedsheet with the complete list of attributes used to compare the dictionaries: Comparing iOS English-Thai dictionary apps for the English market.

BTW: Some apps have two names. There’s the long one we see in the iTunes store, and a shorter one that appears on your iPhone. For those who have a zillion apps and need to do a search (like I do) I’ve added the iOS name in parenthesis.

#1) Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary (TalkingThai)

Talking Thai–English–Thai DictionaryTalking Thai–English–Thai DictionaryEnglish English Thai Dictionary
Price: $24.99
Seller: Word in the Hand
Updated: Oct 23, 2014
Version: 1.8
Word count: 150,000+ entries
Audio: 100% native speaker
Thai script: Yes
Transliteration: Yes
Zoom/pinch: Yes
Font control: Yes
Help: Yes (extensive)
Requires iOS: 6.0 or later
Optimised for: iPhone 5, iPhone 6, and iPhone 6 Plus
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

RANK: This is my first choice out of all 70 paid/free English-Thai Thai-English iOS dictionary apps.

Target market: Thais and English speakers studying the Thai language.

Overview: This is a highly customised dictionary. Since its inception, Chris and Benjawan have clocked in an insane number of hours with updates and improvements. When I searched for an Italian dictionary for the iOS I was disappointed to find that not even one came close! Designed with the student of Thai in mind, this dictionary is extremely powerful. Version 2.0 (coming soon) is going to be crazy fantastic.

Top navigation: The search box is the control centre of the app. To the right of the search are forward and back arrows that take you to screens you’ve seen recently (history).

Bottom navigation: Here we have an English (search), Thai Script (search), Thai Sound (search) that uses the transliteration style you’ve chosen in the settings, Help, and More.

Bottom nav >> Help: First up is Help Home (links to: 30 Second Tour, Using the Dictionary, Speaking and Listening, Pronunciation Guide Systems, Reading and Writing, Useful Word Groups, Suggest a Word), followed by Speaking and Listening, then Parts of Speech. This is great stuff. No other dictionary walks you through the details of the Thai language like this one does.

Bottom nav >> More: Settings (Sound Control, select transliteration style, control text size, select English font, select Thai font, separate syllables, turn playback on or off, put translations on separate lines, space out definitions, select in-app keyboard or Apple keyboard for Thai script and Thai sound search), History, Real Fonts (too see what your selection looks like in the modern, quirky even, often difficult to read fonts), Inside Words (Thai words are often word combos and knowing what they are can be helpful), and Spelling (breaks words into syllables and explains tone rules and spelling).

Using the dictionary: In this dictionary you are only two clicks away from finding the translation of your target word (some dictionaries have three).

Typing a word into the search box with English, Thai Script, or Thai Sound selected takes you to a list of words. The most common translations are at the top (scroll down for related words). Clicking on the sound icon next to the Thai script or Thai transliteration gives native recorded audio. If applicable, next to the sound icons are icons that specify what type of word it is (used by monks, for royalty, obsolete, poetic, technical, formal, spoken/slang, impolite, and obscene). If you’ve read through that list I don’t have to tell you how important this is to know. Tapping on the icons takes you to Help, with a detailed list of explanations of the type of words used in social context. There’s also classifiers for nouns (again, important).

When you click on the translation of a word a black bar pops up with the option of playing the audio, going to a screen dedicated to the word, or copying the word. When you click on the blue arrow at the end of the bar you can see the word in Real World Fonts, discover the Words Inside, get an explanation of the spelling and tones, and google the word.

Choosing a translation of a word and selecting Go from the black bar takes you to a screen of possible meanings of the word, with the most common translations on top. Obtaining the most common translation of a word should be one of the most important tasks of a dictionary – or we’d all be licking spume off our beer!

Tip: To make the keyboard go away, click the blue Done button on the keyboard, or anywhere but the search box or links. Click inside the search box to bring the keyboard back up.

Worth highlighting: All sound files have been recorded with an actual Thai person (Benjawan Becker). Benjawan Becker, fluent in both Thai and English (and other languages), continuously updates the database by hand.

My personal wish-list: I’ve been asking for sample sentences and the ability to use the dictionary as an interactive learning tool – both are coming in the next update (ya!). Also on my wish-list are WOTD, bulk translate, Favourites and Flashcards (to quiz selected words from a list of Favourites). And … being able to turn off the transliteration.

Downside: Already mentioned, it’d be great if we could turn off the transliteration. For now, the best I can do is change the settings to Easy Thai with Irregular Tones Only turned on.

For more about this iOS app dictionary please go to their website at Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch.

Note: In iTunes the dictionary is called the Thai-English English-Thai Dictionary but for Android it’s the Talking Thai <> Eng Dictionary. Regardless, if you don’t have the above links just search for Paiboon.

Another fav iOS app from Paiboon: Thai for Beginners

#2) Thai-English Dictionary from thai-language.com (Thai-English)

Thai-English DictionaryThai-English Dictionary from thai-language.comThai-English Dictionary from thai-language.com
Price: Free
Seller: Christian Rishoj
Updated: Nov 06, 2014
Version: 1.7
Word count: 60,000+ entries
Audio: TTS (Text To Speech)
Thai script: Yes
Transliteration: Yes (+ you can turn it off)
Zoom/pinch: Not needed
Help: No
Requires iOS: 7.0 or later
Optimised for: iPhone 5
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
 

RANK: This app gets second place out of the top three.

Target market: English students of the Thai language.

Overview: This is the newest Thai dictionary for the English market. Many of us use the online dictionary at thai-language.com, created by their community (form members). Having it as an app is convenient. Christian packed an abundance of useful goodies into this app and there’s plenty more to come.

Top navigation: The top nav has two levels. First up is the search box with Cancel next to it (Cancel clears the screen and gets rid of the search). The three boxes below control your search: Literal (English and Thai), Transliterated (transliteration), and Bulk (for sentences and/or a bunch of text).

Bottom navigation: Dictionary (search), Categories (to discover vocabulary relavant to set subjects), Bookmarks (History and Favourites), Settings (turn History off or on, instructions to set Text Size in your iOS settings, Speech Rate, turn Transcriptions off or choose from a list: thai-language.com Phonemic, Phonemic Thai script, IPA, Paiboon, Royal Thai, AUA, Bua Luang, ALA, ISO).

Using the dictionary: When you do a search in English or Thai (Literal) you are given a choice of words and phrases. Selecting a word or phrase takes you to another screen with the type of word at the top (noun, verb, etc, formal, casual and more) and the translation (in large, legible script) below. In English search there’s Definition, Components (if any), Synonyms (if any), Antonyms (if any), Related words (if any), Examples and Sample Sentences (with Definitions and Components). If available, at the very bottom there’s Other Senses (swipe sideways to flip through more). Clicking on any word or phrase brings up a new screen. Seriously, you could click through this dictionary for hours.

Within dictionary definitions (not the main home search) at the top right there’s a square icon with an arrow pointing up. Clicking that icon activates a number of options: Send the information via Airdrop or a Message or Email, Bookmark, View Online (takes you to that exact page on thai-language.com) and Suggest Corrections. There’s a More section but mine don’t do anything (clicking on the icons didn’t work). What’s really great is if you do go to the online thai-language.com dictionary via View Online you can get back to the app quite easily. Not all apps have this option – they force to you restart the app and start the process of searching for a translation all over again.

When checking out a word or phrase tilt your iOS to see your selection, in large Thai script, featured on top of a fuchsia coloured screen. Clicking anywhere takes you back to your original screen. This function comes in handy when you need to show a Thai word or phrase.

To turn off transliteration: Go to Settings >> Thai Transcriptions >> Click on the red circle with the minus sign in the middle, and then select Delete. Now you’ll have a green circle with a plus sign in the middle, with Add Thai Transcription next to it.

Tip: To make the keyboard go away, click Cancel next to search box, or the blue Search button on the keyboard. Clicking inside the search box brings it back.

Worth highlighting: Important (to me) is the option to turn off the transliteration. Also important are sentences and the ability to translate more than one word at a time. Another huge plus is the established forum behind the dictionary. For students, having a community where you can ask all those pesky questions is a comfort.

A sidenote: It wouldn’t load via iTunes on my clunky iPhone 4S or my iPad 2 (both running version 7.1.2). Christian suggested loading the app direct via Safari and it worked. Thanks Christian! Seriously, if a quirk is even remotely possible, it’s going to happen to me.

My personal wish-list: Obviously, I’d like native audio. There is recorded audio on the site but going back and forth between online and app would be a chore. When I mentioned it to Christian he said audio will be coming in a future update, but as an optional download (to keep the installation size small). He also mentioned adding the ability to see entries in modern typeface. Going through the checklist I’d also like an overview of the Thai language, WOTD and Flashcards.

Downside: As mentioned, the audio is TTS, not audio of native speakers.

#3) ClickThai Dictionary (ClickThai)

ClickThai Dictionary Thai/EnglishClickThai DictionaryClickThai Dictionary
Price: $19.99
Seller: Theodor Pitsch
Updated: Apr 01, 2014
Version: 3.03
Word count: 70,000+ entries
Audio: Native and TTS (Text To Speech)
Thai script: Yes
Transliteration: Yes
Zoom/pinch: No need (Thai script is a decent size)
Font control: No
Help: Yes
Requires iOS: 4.3 or later
Optimised for: iPhone 5
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch
 

APP UPDATE Dec 17 2014:

What’s New in Version 4.0:
Increased Vocabulary: Now 88,000 Thai words.
Export training lists for ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer.
Optimised sorting of search results.
Show classificator for nouns.

Please stay tuned for a dedicated post on the changes. I’ve been looking forward to the ClickThai export abilities especially. Thanks Theo!

RANK: This app gets third place out of the top three.

Target market: English speakers studying Thai.

Overview: ClickThai is an uncomplicated dictionary with clear audio files, multiple results per search (sorted by frequency), word-by-word translation of sentences, and the ability to save words for later. It hasn’t had a major update in awhile but there’s more to come (see below).

Top navigation: Across the top nav there’s a search bar with English, Transcript (search via transliteration), and Thai.

Bottom navigation: The bottom nav takes you to the search page for EN-TH, TH Text (Word-by-Word translation for Thai), Memo (saved favourites), and Help (EN-TH, TH Text, Memo).

Bottom nav >> Help: EN-TH (Introduction, Search English, Search Thai, Search Transcription, Word Class), TH Text (Word-by-Word translation), Memo help topics.

Using the dictionary: As with the other dictionaries reviewed so far, doing a search gives you to the most common translations at the top. Searching for a word with English chosen brings up a list of English words. Selecting one takes you to a dedicated page with large, legible Thai script at the top of the screen. When you click and hold down on a Thai word you are given the choice to Copy, Define, or Speak (hear audio files). Underneath is the transliteration of that word (transcript) followed by the different meanings and type of word (noun, verb, etc). The audio icon on the bottom right of the screen speaks with a male voice. Also on the bottom nav are forward and back arrows that take you to related words shown in the original search (if any). This saves you from going all the way back to the beginning to search through similar words all over again. At the top right of the screen is an icon that looks like stacked pages. Clicking saves words for later (and incase you’ve hit it by accident it beeps at you).

Tip: To make the keyboard go away, click the blue Search button on the keyboard, or the keyboard icon to the right of the search box. Clicking inside the search box brings it back.

Worth highlighting: The simplicity of this app makes it a breeze to operate.

My personal wish-list: In my chat with Leo we discussed the next update, most of which just happens to be on my wish-list. To make both VocTrain (one of my favourite apps) and ClickThai more powerful, Leo is adding the ability to export custom lists (with sound files) from ClickThai to VocTrain. Also mentioned were sample sentences and classifiers for nouns.

Downside: I’d like to see the Word-by-Word translation work (but I don’t know if it’s me or the app). As already mentioned, this app needs a major update, but as I know it’s coming, no worries.

Another fav app from Leo: VocTrain

Audio Collins Mini Gem Th-Eng & Eng-Thai Dictionary (Audio TH-EN)

Audio Collins Mini GemAudio Collins Mini GemCollins Gem Thai Dictionary
Price: $9.99
Seller: Mobile Systems
Updated: Oct 08, 2010
Version: 3.03
Word count: 20,000 entries
Audio: native English and Thai
Thai script: Yes
Transliteration: No
Zoom/pinch: No
Font control: No
Help: No
Requires iOS: 3.0 or later
Optimised for: Unknown
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

RANK: Top of the bottom four.

Target Market: Mostly for Thais and English speakers who can read Thai.

Overview: The app starts off in Thai mode so you’ll need to switch it to English if that’s what you want. A search takes you to a list of English words. Selecting a word takes you to an English and Thai translation with audio for both. Clicking on one of the Thai words takes you to another screen. Some of the screens have just the Thai and English word with audio, others have a list of English words. Each of the English words have audio (Thais learning English is a main focus).

Top navigation: When you open the app there’s two options on the nav across the top: Switch (between Thai and English) and a search box. Clicking inside the search box switches the search to: Keyword, Fuzzy, Wildcard, and adds a blue Done button to the end of the search. The Done button gets rid of the keyboard.

Bottom navigation: When you first start this app the nav across the bottom has a page icon (history) and an icon that goes to Random Word and Word of the Day (overkill?), as well as an information icon (tells you about the company but doesn’t help with the app). Random Word comes up with the word in Thai and English, with sound for both. Ditto for Word of the Day. Once you choose a word to define, the nav then has forward and back arrows, a page icon (history), a + icon (add bookmark), and an arrow icon with Random Word (and they do mean random) and Word of the Day.

Using the dictionary: Other than the navigation that I’ve already explained, there’s not much to this app. Getting to your translated word of choice gives you the word in English (with audio), one or more Thai words (with audio), and occasionally a Thai phrase (with audio). Also noted are the type of words (nouns, verbs, etc). Clicking on the + symbol bookmarks the screen.

Worth highlighting: If you want dead simple, this app has it in spades.

Downside: I haven’t discovered much (if any) benefit to using Keyword, Fuzzy, or Wildcard. Those who don’t read Thai are stuck with audio only.

Collins Thai<->English Phrasebook and Dictionary (Audio TH-EN)

Collins Thai English Phrasebook and DictionaryCollins Thai English Phrasebook and DictionaryCollins Thai English Phrasebook and Dictionary
Price: $12.99
Author: Mobile Systems
Updated: Apr 01, 2011
Version: 4.02
Word count: 10,000 entries
Audio: Native
Thai script: Yes
Transliteration: No
Zoom/pinch: No
Help: No
Requires iOS: 3.0 or later
Optimised for: Unknown
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

RANK: None

Target market: For Thais and English speakers who can read Thai.

Overview: This is mostly a Thai phrasebook. But, as dictionaries with translations in English for all Thai words are lacking, I’ve added it to the review.

Top navigation: Very simple, the only choice is to Switch between Thai and English.

Bottom navigation: The nav across the bottom has a star icon (favourites), magnifying glass icon (search for phrases), arrow icon (Random Phrase and Phrase of the Day), and an info icon (about the company not about the app). Random Phrase and Phrase of the Day has both English and Thai, with audio. But if you click on those you find yourself in the phrase section of the app, not the dictionary section. In that case, you must click all the way back to the home screen and start again.

Using the dictionary: The first screen of the app is in Thai. If you need to do so, click the top right button to Switch to English, and then select the Dictionary icon on the far left of the screen. Typing in the search box brings up a selection of words. The words are noted as noun, verb, etc. Selecting a word brings up a simple screen with English and Thai, audio is included for both. On that screen you can use the forward and black arrows, and click the + symbol to add to the word to your favourites.

Worth highlighting: A simple English / Thai dictionary with phrasebook.

Tip: Clicking on the blue Done button at the top right hand side of the screen removes the keyboard.

Downside: Without transliteration, unless you are learning how to read, it’s useless for those who cannot read Thai. Words in the dictionary are limited and there are mistakes. I briefly checked sentences in the phrase section and found ฉัน (the female particle) for I.

Collins Gem Thai Dictionary

Collins Gem Thai DictionaryCollins Gem Thai DictionaryCollins Gem Thai Dictionary
Price: $9.99
Seller: Mobile Systems
Updated: Dec 04, 2012
Version: 5.0.19
Word count: Unknown
Audio: No
Thai script: Yes
Transliteration: Yes
Zoom/pinch: Yes
Help: No
Requires iOS: 4.3 or later
Optimised for: iPhone 5
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch

RANK: None

Target market: English and Thai speakers (but mostly for Thais).

Overview: I’m sure this app started out as a good idea, but in my opinion, it needs a serious upgrade. The lack of audio (transliteration only), and activities that do not cover both English speakers and Thais, leaves it lacking.

Top navigation: The top nav has a search box with Cancel next to it (Cancel clears the keyboard). Underneath are buttons to switch between English-Thai and Thai-English. Further to the right is an icon that doesn’t work on my iPhone (only switches away from English-Thai and Thai-English to mysterious icons).

With English-Thai selected, typing a word into the search box comes back with a single English word. Clicking on that word goes to another screen with the English word and some sort of transliteration, what type of word it is (noun, verb, etc), and then the Thai word (Thai script) with transliteration next to it. There is no sound. Icons on the top right increase and decrease the font size. The star icon bookmarks the selection.

Bottom navigation: The nav across the bottom has a Search, Contents (cheat sheets for Abbreviations, Thai and English pronunciation, and Numbers), Favourites (bookmarks), History (everywhere you’ve been), and More.

Bottom navigation >> More: In More there are six activities. Word scramble, Hangman and Anagrams are for students of English. Flashcards and Word of Day are for both students of English and Thai.

Downside: There is no Thai or English audio, only English text, Thai script, and Thai transliteration. Many of the searches don’t work (“no results found for …”). Do not use this app to memorise Thai words (using the iffy transliteration alone will muff you up).

English Thai Dictionary (English/Thai)

English Thai dictionaryEnglish Thai DictionaryEnglish Thai Dictionary
Price: $5.99
Author: Aanthai
Updated: Jan 05, 2009
Version: 1.1
Word count: 7,000 entries
Audio: No
Thai script: Yes
Transliteration: Yes
Zoom/pinch: No
Help: Yes
Requires iOS: 2.2 or later
Optimised for: iPhone
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

RANK: Bottom.

Target market: English speakers.

Overview: It’s just long list of alphabetised words. The nav consists of clicking on one of the letters of the alphabet on the right side of the screen.

Downside: This app has not been updated since 2009. Selecting the nav crashes the app on both iPhones (4S and 5) and the iPad 2. This app either needs to be upgraded or taken out of the app store.

Learn Thai on Your iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod): What’s next…

Coming next will be a review of Thai-English Dictionaries for the Thai market. This does not mean that some of the dictionaries aren’t for English students learning Thai as well, so please do stay tuned.

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Sample Sentences in Thai Dictionaries

Sample Sentences in Thai Dictionaries

Sample Sentences in Thai Dictionaries…

While reviewing Thai dictionary apps for my series, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch Apps, I came across a subject that needed clarification: sample sentences in dictionaries.

As 
Chris Pirazzi already answered my question about the LEXiTRON dictionary database (developed by NECTEC) in a previous post, Backstage View into the Process of Creating a Thai Dictionary, I knew he was the person to ask.

So before I post my review, please take the time to read Chris’ valuable insights into sentence samples found in Thai dictionaries.

Chris Pirazzi on Sample Sentences in Thai Dictionaries…

I’m really glad you mentioned sample sentences. We may indeed add sample sentences at some point, but sample sentences are an area where there is a LOT of misunderstanding and mis-set customer expectations, and you could really help a lot of people in your review by helping to head off these mis-set expectations before the customer gets disappointed.

First of all, customers should be aware that the quality of sample sentences varies wildly between apps, so customers should be sure to look at more than just quantity. Most apps actually get their sample sentences by having a computer program crawl through huge, freely available, error-ridden bilingual datasets available on the internet with no human intervention or editing. In many cases, the sample sentences contain errors, or even more often, they do not even demonstrate the meaning of the word being defined at all. For example, an entry for “หก” with the English translation “The number 6” may contain many sample sentences for the other meaning of หก, “to spill (a liquid).” The sample sentences in these cases are at best confusing and possibly misleading. With some apps (and I never could figure out why) you will even see sample sentences for a Thai word that don’t even contain the Thai word! Typically, if an app boasts a huge number of sample sentences (like, tens of thousands or more), that is a major red flag that the sentences are crap. Doing sample sentences properly requires humans to edit the sentences of each entry for relevance, and that takes almost as much work as creating the dictionary dataset in the first place. Almost no vendor is willing to take this time for editing.

Secondly, and even more importantly, challenge your reader to ask why they want sample sentences.  There may be other ways of getting what they want that are simpler and more direct. Let me explain.

Sample sentences are a little like transcription: at first, when looking for Thai learning materials, Thai learners always ask for a transcription system that is as “English-Like” as possible, and they may even choose their app by that criterion. It isn’t until much later that they realize that due to the unavoidable reality of Thai language and how its sounds differ from English, the goal of being “English-like” is not only impossible but it may actually damage their ability to learn Thai sounds properly (e.g., transcription systems which over-simplify Thai sounds so that ส้ม and ซ่อม are written the same way, or เป็ด and เผ็ด are written the same way), or at the very least the goal of being “English-Like” may actually make the transcription system more complicated and make it more hard for them to learn Thai than they could with other systems. I talk about that at length in Slice of Thai: Pronunciation Guide Systems for Thai.

At first, customers also ask for sample sentences, but sample sentences can lead the customer to a similar dilemma. When we were beginning our multi-year dictionary production process, we asked ourselves why it is that people ask for sample sentences. The answer is that it helps give more information about a given translation, for example:

  • for a given translation from language 1 to language 2, which SENSE of the word is being translated?  For example, if there is an English entry for “glass” that shows a Thai word, then is that the Thai word for “drinking glass” or the word for “pane of glass?”
  • what prepositions and other linking words need to be used along with a given word?  For example, when I want to say “wait for him”, I can see that there is a Thai word “รอ,” but what (if any) preposition should I put in in place of “for”?
  • what level of formality (e.g. slang, formal) does the word have?
  • what are the word’s classifiers, if it is a noun?

Typically, bilingual dictionaries will try to answer these questions by providing sample sentences. 

But even if the sample sentences are carefully hand-crafted and hand-edited by humans (and so far I have never seen an iOS/Android app where they are), sample sentences are a very poor way to answer the questions above, because the reader has to read the sentence, understand its parts, and then think backwards to get the answer to the original question they really wanted answered.

We decided that it’s much better to spend our effort answering the important questions for the user directly. We are the only Thai-English English-Thai dictionary that we are aware of that was designed from the ground up to help English speakers who are learning Thai in this way.

When giving definitions, we provide glosses to clarify shades of meaning (e.g. “glass (drinking)” vs. “glass (pane)”), as shown on our website at Designed for English Speakers.

We have specifically designed our headwords to solve the preposition/extra word problem. For example, we include a transitive verb entry “wait for” that translates to “รอ,” and this is a specific, explicit cue to the user that they do not need to insert a Thai word corresponding to “for” when using the Thai verb รอ. We talk more about how this works in our application Help under “Speaking and Listening” then “Verbs, Objects, and Prepositions.”

We specifically notate the register (slang, formal, …) of each word using symbols, rather than trying to make the user guess from sample sentences. You can click on “Word Register” in our app Help to get the details.

And of course we explicitly notate classifiers too.

There are still cases where sample sentences can be handy, but we feel we’ve delivered a much, much greater bang for the buck by spending our finite development time by going right for the information that Thai learners need.  We may still add sample sentences as well. No matter what, we will continue to listen to our customers’ requests for what information they want in each entry and provide that in the most direct and useful form we can.

Chris Pirazzi,
Word in the Hand: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary | Slice of Thai | Thailand Fever

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GINORMOUS List of iOS Apps to Learn Thai: iPhone, iPad and iPod

Thai Learning Apps for Your iOS

Thai Learning Apps for Your iPhone, iPad and iPod…

Welcome to my addiction – collecting iOS apps (iPhone, iPad and iPod) for learning Thai. Here you’ll discover apps for Thai dictionaries, Thai courses, translators, OCR, studying the Thai alphabet and vocabulary, phrasebooks, pronunciation lessons, quizzes, ebooks and online bookstores, flashcards, games, keyboards, entertainment (TV and radio), newspapers and magazines, telling time, language exchange and more. And because they are so versatile, I even collect iOS apps for the Thai market – Thais learning Thai.

I started collecting iOS apps back in 2009 when I bought my first iPhone 3G. By 2010 there were enough Thai apps for a series that included Thai Language Phrase books, Thai Alphabet and Vocabulary and iPhone apps: English Thai Dictionaries.

Each year the apps update, multiply, or disappear off the market. Back in 2010 there were around 15 Thai phrase books. Three years later, there are over 70. It’s now past time (story of my life) to write a follow up series.

The number of available apps is so GINORMOUS, two weeks ago (give or take) I felt compelled to create an Excel spreadsheet to wrap my head around what’s out there. And just incase I missed any (Thai apps can be difficult to locate) this week I asked fellow iOS addicts Michel and Bernard if they had any more. They did.

If you’d like to help out with reviews but don’t want to break the bank by acquiring everything, like I did, just skim through the list to see which apps are listed as FREE (there are plenty of free apps to choose from).

Oh. And if you come across apps I don’t have, please send them over.

Please note that not all apps will be included in the review. I won’t share any apps that have been discontinued (obviously), Filthy Thai (I don’t go there), ripped apps, and apps for learning Thai in languages other than English. But I will include a few apps for Thais learning English.

So here it is (finally), Thai learning apps for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod.

Thai Dictionaries: English Market…

Audio Collins Mini Gem Thai-Eng Eng-Thai Dictionary: $9.99
ClickThai Dictionary Thai/English: $26.99
Collins Gem Thai Dictionary: $9.99
English Thai dictionary: $5.99
English Thai Dictionary: FREE
English Thai Dictionary Pro: $2.99
English Thai: $2.99
EnThai Dictionary: $4.99
Longdo Dict: FREE
Longdo Dict HD: FREE
MyLex English Thai Dictionary: FREE
Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary: $24.99
Thai Dictionary: $4.99
Thai Dictionary Free: FREE
thaienglish: $1.99
ThaiPro Dictionary: $0.99
ThaiPro Dictionary Free: FREE
VocabMate: FREE
YourWords English Thai English travel and learning dictionary: $2.99

Thai Dictionaries: Special…

Dr. Wit’s Dictionary of Thai Laws: $19.99
Dr. Wit’s Management Dictionary: $3.99
Dr. Wit’s Marketing Dictionary: $3.99
First Dictionary for Kids 1: $1.99
First Dictionary for Kids 2: $1.99
First Dictionary for Kids Lite: FREE
Thai SL Dictionary: $0.99

Thai Dictionaries: Thai Market…

@Dict: FREE
@Dict Lite: FREE
CM Thai Dictionary Lite: FREE
CM Thai Dictionary Pro: $2.99
Dict Thai: FREE
Dict Thai +: $2.99
Dict Thai for iPad: FREE
Dict Thai PRO: $2.99
Dictionary English Thai: FREE
Dr Wit’s Desk Edition (Thai-En Eng-Thai Thai-Thai): $5.99
Dr Wit’s Pocket Edition (Thai-En Eng-Thai Thai-Thai): $3.99
Dr. Wit’s Library Edition (Thai-En Eng-Thai Thai-Thai): $17.99
English Dictionary Pro: $2.99
English – Thai: FREE
English English Thai Dictionary: $4.99
English Thai – Thai English Dict: $5.99
English Thai (My Dict): FREE
English Thai English Dictionary: $3.99
English Thai Free: FREE
English-Thai Talking Dictionary: $19.99
HEdictionary English Thai: $2.99
HEdictionary English Thai HD: $2.99
Jonathan’s Thai Dictionary: $1.99
Multilingual Dictionary South East Asia: $12.99
Plaewa: FREE
Proford English Thai Dictionary: $15.99
QuickDict Thai-English: $1.99
Thai: FREE +
Thai Dict: FREE
Thai Dictionary Box พจนานุกรม: FREE
Thai Fast Dictionary: FREE
Thai Fast Dictionary HD: FREE

Thai Alphabet…

ABC Thai Kids: $1.99
ABC ThaiKids HD: $1.99
Akson Thai Lite – Thai alphabet flashcards: FREE
Akson Thai Pro – Thai alphabet flashcards: $1.99
Easy Learn Thai Alphabets for iPad: $1.99
Easy Learn Thai Alphabets for iPhone and iPod Touch: $1.99
Easy Thai Script: $2.99
I Know My Thai Alphabet: FREE
iSeeThailand: Thai Alphabets: $1.99
iStudy: Thai Alphabet: $1.99
Kids Thai Alphabets HD: $1.99
Kids Thai Alphabets: $0.99
Kor Kai Game: $0.99
Kor Kai Game Lite: FREE
korkaikhai: FREE
Learn Thai From a White Guy: $4.99
Learn Thai Writing: $1.99
Letter Fall Thailand: FREE
Read Thai: $1.99
Read Thai Alphabet: $0.99
Reading Thai: $4.99
Tap AlphaBet Thai: $0.99
TH-Write: FREE
TH-Write HD: $1.99
Thai Alphabet: $0.99
Thai Alphabet: FREE
Thai Alphabet App: $0.99
Thai Alphabet for iPhone: FREE
Thai Alphabet Game: $1.99
Thai Alphabet Game U: $1.99
Thai Alphabet QuickRef: FREE
Thai Alphabet Tap & Speak Thai: $0.99
Thai Flash: $1.99
thai language “Koh-kai”: $0.99
Thai Language character Mechanism: $0.99
Thai Letter: $1.99
Thai Tiles: $0.99
ThaiAlphabets (คัดอักษรไทย): FREE
Tiny Thai: $1.99
TK Thai Alphabet: $0.99
Trace Thai for iPhone and iPod touch: $0.99
Write Thai: FREE
write thai letter: $0.99

Thai Alphabet: Thai Market…

iRead Thai: Final Consonants: $1.99
iRead Thai: Tone Marks: $1.99
iRead Thai: Vowel: $1.99
MattraThai: FREE
Read Thai Alphabet: FREE
Smart Thai: FREE
Thai Alphabets for Kids: $0.99

Thai Vocabulary…

Basic 1,000 Words & Sentence EN/TH Lite: FREE
ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer EN: $12.99
HXP Pasa Thai: FREE
Hxp Pasa Thai HD: FREE
Instant Thai: $1.99
iStudy: Thai Vocabulary: $1.99
iVocabulary – Your flexible vocabulary trainer: $5.99
iVocabulary Lite – Your flexible vocabulary trainer: FREE
Jourist Vocabulary Builder Asia: $9.99
Learn Beginner Thai Vocabulary: $9.99
Learn Free Thai Vocabulary with Gengo Audio Flashcards: FREE
Learn Thai – Free WordPower: FREE
Learn Thai – WordPower: $9.99
Learn Thai Vocabulary with Gengo audio flashcards: $5.99
Learn Thai with TicTic: FREE
MyWords – Learn Thai Vocabulary: $9.99
Thai Word of the Day: FREE
Thai Word of the Day!: $0.99
Who Makes These Sounds?: $1.99

Thai Vocabulary: Thai Market…

Basic 1,000 Words & Sentence EN/TH: $2.99
English Vocab Builder for Thai: $1.99
WordTrainer Thai – Learn English: $0.99

Thai Phrasebooks…

Blighty: Travel Pal: FREE
Collins Phrasebook: FREE
Collins Thai Phrasebook: $3.99
Collins Thai<->English Phrasebook: $12.99
EasyPiecy Thai: FREE
English-Thai Talking Travel Phrases: $4.99
FirstThai: $4.99
FirstThai LITE: FREE
Fodor’s Travel Phrases: Phrasebook for 22 languages: FREE
Free Thai Phrases by Nemo: FREE
IEMG – International Emergency medical guide: $3.99
iParrot Phrase English-Thai: $4.99
iParrot Phrase Thai-English: $4.99
iParrot Talking PhraseBook (Multi-language): $4.99
iPoodThai: $2.99
ITS4Thai – Learn Thai Language Phrasebook and Flashcards: $0.99
Learn Thai – Phrasebook for Travel in Thailand: FREE
Learn Thai HD – Phrasebook for travel in Thailand: $4.99
Learn&Play Thai ~ easier & fun!: $3.99
Learn&Play Thai Free ~ easier & fun!: FREE
Lingopal Thai – talking phrasebook: $0.99
Lingopal Thai LITE – talking phrasebook: FREE
LingoWorld – Learn the basics of 11 languages: FREE
Lonely Planet Thai Phrasebook: $5.99
Nemo Thai Complete: $9.99
PhasaThai: $7.99
PhasaThai Free: FREE
Speak Thai: $1.99
Speak Thai (6 Languages): FREE
Speak Thai (EN): FREE
Speak Thai by Click Thailand: FREE
Speak Thai Phrasebook Lite: FREE
Speak Thai Phrases: $2.99
Speak Thai Sanuk: $2.99
Speak Thai Sanuk for iPad: $2.99
Speak Thai Slang: $2.99
SpeakinThai: $0.99
Survival Thai for English: $4.99
Talking Translations: FREE
Tap & Say – Speak Phrase Book: FREE
Thai – Icon for Traveler in Thailand: $4.99
Thai – Talking English to Thai Translator and Phrasebook: $7.99
Thai App – Perfect Travel App: Learn Thai and Thailand app: FREE
Thai Beginner Survival Phrases for iPad: $19.99
Thai Buddy: FREE
thai conversation master: FREE
Thai For Travelers: $0.99
Thai Language Guide & Audio – World Nomads: FREE
Thai LH Lite: $0.99
Thai Medical Thai: FREE
Thai Phrasebook – Travel in Thailand with ease: FREE
Thai Speaker for iPad: $2.99
Thai Speaker For iPad Lite: FREE
Thai Speaker for iPhone: $0.99
Thai Speaker for iPhone Lite: FREE
Thai TalkBoard: $1.99
Thai Video Teacher: $2.99
Thai Video Teacher For iPad: $0.99
Thai Video Teacher For iPad Free: FREE
Thai Video Teacher Free: FREE
ThaiSupasit: FREE
ThaiTalk: $0.99
ผมพูด – Talking Thai to English translator and phrasebook: $8.99

Thai Phrasebooks: Thai Market…

2,000 English Sentences: FREE
English Conversation for Everyday Usage: FREE
English Conversations: FREE
Frequently Used English Questions and Answers in Daily Life: FREE
Hello Career English – Thai: FREE
Thai to English Sentences: FREE
นักแปลของฉัน นักแปลของฉัน: $0.99
พูดอังกฤษ 2,000 ประโยค – พูดได้: FREE

Thai Courses…

Advanced Thai for iPad: $9.99
book2 learn 40 languages: FREE
Byki Thai: $7.99
High Tech Thai vocabulary trainer: $2.99
Introduction to Thai language and culture for iPad: $9.99
iSpeak Thai: $4.99
iSpeak Thai Lite: FREE
ITS4Thai – Conversation and Vocabulary Lessons: $0.99+
ITS4Thai – Learn to Read and Write: $0.99+
L-Lingo Learn Thai: FREE
L-Lingo Learn Thai HD Free: FREE
Learn Thai: $1.99
Learn Thai: FREE+
Learn Thai – Language Teacher: $19.99
Learn Thai (Speak & Write): $2.99
Learn Thai with Video for iPad: $14.99
Reading Thai – Words & Sentences: $4.99
Speaking Thai in a Flash for iPad: $5.99
Speaking Thai in a Flash FREE: FREE
Sulantra: FREE+
SurvivalPhrases – Thai: $19.99
Thai for Beginners: $19.99
Thai Language for Beginners – Udemy: Free app (Thai course $29.99-$49.99)
uTalk: FREE
uTalk Thai: $9.99
WordUP Thai: $4.99
WordUP Thai LITE: FREE

Thai Courses: Thai Market…

Conversations in Daily Life 1: FREE
Conversations in Daily Life 2: FREE
English for Beginners: FREE
Speak English 99 Hours: FREE
Speak English in 140 Hours: FREE
Listening, Speaking, Reading, Writing: FREE

Thai Books…

Aesop Collection: FREE
Aesop’s Fables: Series 1: $1.99
ebooks.in.th: FREE
FairHDLite: FREE
Kid’s Song: Nursery Rhyme: $1.99
LittleAngel: $0.99
LittleAngelHD: $0.99
LittleAngelHDLite: FREE
Mother Hen Mother Duck: $1.99
Noo Nid Didn’t Like to Brush Her Teeth: $1.99
Noo Nid Didn’t Like Vegetables: $1.99
Noo Nid Didn’t Want to Go to School: $1.99
Pra-Payom Cartoon: FREE
Rabbit & Turtle’s Tale (Thai version): $0.99
Sailing Sailing: $0.99
SailingLite: FREE
Thai Dinosaurs AR Book HD: FREE
TheHare: FREE

Thai Flashcards…

English-Thai Flashcards: FREE
Far East Language Revision: $1.99
FlashCards Thai Lesson: FREE
iCards: $0.99
iCards Lite: FREE

Thai Games…

Thai Bubble Bath: $2.99
Thai Bubble Bath Lite: FREE
Thai Jigsaw – Animal LITE: FREE

Thai Keyboards…

My Thai Keyboard: FREE
Thai Keyboard: $0.99
Thai Language Input: $0.99
Thai PaniniKeypad: $1.99
Thai Typing: $2.99
ThaiType: FREE
ThaiTyping BUScience

Thai Pronunciation…

Thai pronunciation analysis Copy Paste: $0.99
Thai Speech 01: $1.99
Thai Speech Tab: $4.99
Thai Tones: FREE

Thai Quiz…

ThaiFunQuiz 2: FREE

Thai Spelling…

Thai Spell Cube: $0.99
Thai Spelling Ball – Animal: $0.99
Thai Spelling Ball – Animal LITE: FREE

Online Thai Entertainment…

Dooeii for iPad: $9.99
Jaidee TV: FREE
Thai Live TV & Radio: FREE
Thai PBS for iPhone: FREE
Thai TV & Radio Pro: $0.99
Thai TV+: FREE
Thailand Radio + Alarm Clock: $0.99
ThaiTV Live: FREE
ThaiTV3 for iPad: FREE
TNN 24: FREE
TrueMusic: FREE
TrueMusic HD: FREE
Voice TV: FREE

Online Thai Newspapers and Magazines…

Thairath for iPad: FREE
Thairath LITE: FREE
Post Today for iPad: FREE
Thai Mag: $0.99
Thai News: $0.99

Telling Thai Time…

Thai Calendar: FREE
Thai Clock: $0.99
Thai Times: $0.99

Thai Extras…

BookStart for Kids : Colors: $0.99
Bookkids: FREE
FAIL SNAP: FREE
kid first write thai: FREE
Learn Thai Numbers, Fast! เรียนนับเลข: FREE
SimSimi: FREE
Thai Email Editor (Color, size, and format) Keyboard: $0.99
Thai Language Note: $0.99
Thai SL: FREE
Thai Talking Food Menu: $2.99
Thai Talking Food Menu Lite: $0.99
ThaiKID EN: FREE
Trueplookpanya.com: FREE
Memrise – Learn languages for free: FREE

Language Exchange…

bini2bini: $0.99
BLING W – Real Native: FREE
Global Citizen languageXchange: FREE
HelloTalk Language Exchange: FREE
italki Messenger: FREE
Lext Talk – Language Exchange Made Easy: FREE
Link – Language Exchange: FREE
PeopleHunt: FREE
plan P: FREE
Skype for iPhone: FREE
Tandem Finder: FREE

Learning Styles…

Language Learning Aptitude Test: FREE
Learning Style Test Executive Version: $1.99
Learning Type Test: $0.99

Translators for Thai – English…

CEMA Interpreter(To Thai): $9.99
English Thai Translator: $0.99
iTranslate with Text to Speech THAI to English: $0.99
PARTY Thai Speech-to-Text: FREE
Thai-Laos Transcription: FREE
The Thai Translator: $9.99
The Thai Translator Lite: FREE
Translate Thai and English: FREE

Translators…

babel fish: $0.99
CEMA Interpreter: $99.99
CEMA Translation: $99.99
Communilator free – Universal Translator: FREE
Communilator Pro – Universal Translator: $0.99
Email Translator: $0.99
Free Translator: FREE
Google Translate: FREE
gTranslate: FREE
iHandy Translator free: FREE
iHandy Translator Pro: $1.99
iLingo Translator Pro: $1.99
iStone Travel Translation App : FREE +
iTranslate – free translator & dictionary: FREE
iTranslate Voice: $1.99
iTranslate+: FREE
iTranslator: FREE
Jibbigo Translator: FREE +
Language Translator: FREE
Languages Assistant – speak into microphone: $2.99
OneWorld Translator: $1.99
QTranslator – the ultimate translator: $1.99
SayHi Translate: $0.99
SpeechTrans: $4.99 +
TableTop Translator: $2.99
Translate Professional: FREE +
Translate Text ~ myLanguage Free translator: FREE
Translate Text into spoken voice ~ myLanguage Translator Pro: $4.99
Translate well: $0.99
Translator ~ translate with voice: $2.99
Translator with Voice: $2.99
Travel Voice Translator Linguatec: $0.99
VoiceTra+: FREE
Dragon Dictation: FREE

OCR…

iSignTranslate: FREE +
OCR Scanner – Images & documents to text: FREE
Ocrtool: $4.99
Pixter Scanner OCR: $0.99
Prizmo – Scanning, OCR, and Speech: $4.99
Thai Dict Lens: Free
TextGrabber + Translator: $5.99

Flashcard Creators…

A+ Flashcards Deluxe: $0.99
AnkiMobile Flashcards: $24.99
Brainscape: FREE
Easy Flash Cards: $0.99
Eductic ~ Learn vocabulary efficiently using flashcards: FREE
Flash My Brain Flashcards: $5.99
Flashcard Elite: proven memory algorithm for flashcards: FREE +
Flashcard Touch: $0.99
Flashcards: $1.99
Flashcards Deluxe: $3.99
Flashcards Deluxe Lite: FREE
Flashcards Study Helper: $3.99
Flashcards*: FREE
Flashcards+: FREE +
FlashCards++: FREE
FlashCardSets: FREE
FlashCardz: $0.99
Flipcards: $0.99
FREE Exam Vocabulary Builder: FREE
FREE Flashcards Study Helper: FREE
gFlash+ Flashcards & Tests: FREE +
gFlashPro – Flashcards & Tests: $3.99 +
iFlash: $14.99
iFlash Touch: FREE +
iFlashCardPro: $1.99
iFlashCardPro Lite: FREE
iFlipr Flashcards: $4.99
iKnowIt: $1.99
iLearnFast: Flash Card Studying: $2.99
iMCards Lite – Flash Cards (I don’t own the full version yet): FREE
iRevise: $1.99
Lexicon: $9.99
Mental Case 2: FREE +
Quizlet: FREE
Repetitions for iPhone and iPod Touch: $4.99
Repetitions Free for iPhone and iPod Touch: FREE
StickyStudy: Flash! (Quizlet and Flashcard Exchange): $3.99
StickyStudy: Flash! Lite (Quizlet and Flashcard Exchange): FREE
Study & Me: $0.99
Study Flash: $1.99
STUDYBLUE: FREE
StudyCards: $3.99
Touchcards 2 – Flashcard learning system, import free cards: $1.99

Quizmakers…

Quiz Creator: $0.99
Quizicards: $0.99
RapidLearn: $3.99

Extras – Generic…

iReadFast for iPhone: $4.99
Repeater: FREE
SpeedUpTV: $2.99
Unicode Map: $1.99
Unicode Map Free: FREE

Pictures (vocabulary)…

ICOON global picture dictionary: $0.99
Show it!: $0.99
ShowMe: FREE

Thai Learning Apps for the iPhone, iPad and iPod…

Note: This list will continue to be updated and tweaked. I won’t change the prices, but the location of the apps will change. When I created this list my aim was to quickly lump apps under headings. As I figure out their main focus, some will need to be elsewhere. Something like that.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy cruising the iOS apps on this list as much as I do!

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App Winners: ITS4Thai + iPhone and iPad

ITS4Thai iOS Winners: iPhone + iPad

Winners: ITS4Thai iPhone + iPad apps…

Drum roll… the four winners of the ITS4Thai iPhone and iPad apps are: Bernard, Tom, MV and Meg. The grand prize winner is Meg. Congrats all! If you four would please send me a message via my contact form I’ll give you the app codes asap.

Stuart (ITS4Thai), thank you for making this draw possible, and Talen (Thailand Land of Smiles – no longer online) thank you for sending your readers my way!

Before I sign off I’d like to announce that Stuart is busy getting a new ITS4Thai product ready for launch – a Reading and Writing app. As I’m an advocate of learning how to read Thai, I’m especially looking forward to reviewing the app.

For those who didn’t win the ITS4Thai iPhone + iPad app…

ITS4Thai - Learn Thai Language Conversation and Vocabulary LessonsITS4Thai - Learn Thai Language Conversation and Vocabulary Lessons - I.T.S. 4 KnowledgeIf you didn’t win the ITS4Thai iPhone + iPad app you can do so direct from iTunes. And if you want to top up your lessons, or if you just want to nose around the site, go to ITS4Thai.

Again, congrats to the winners!

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ITS4Thai DRAW + iPhone and iPad Review

ITS4Thai iOS Review: iPhone + iPad

Free ITS4Thai iPhone + iPad apps!…

Excellent! You now have a chance to win one of four free ITS4Thai apps, as well as a grand prize of all of the ITS4Thai Conversation Courses. To be eligible, leave a relevant comment below. Yes, relevant ;-)

I’ve been following Stuart Towns’ ITS4Thai online learning Thai site since 2008. As early as February 2008, ITS4Thai signed up its first customer. As of 2012, over 23,000 registrations have been created. Wow. And now that the course can be accessed via an iOS app, I expect that number to explode!

From Stuart at ITS4Thai…

ITS4Thai iOS Review: iPhone + iPadThe ITS4Thai app is very unique. We have focused on great content, interactivity, and personalization at a reasonable price. So here are a few features that make it the best way to learn Thai:

  • Everyone learns at a different pace with different vocabulary, so the app and website both track the learner’s progress and gives them personalized word lists to study such as words they haven’t seen in a long time, or words that they are having trouble with.
  • The Thai learner’s progress and all game scores will sync between the website, iPhone, and iPad.
  • The app comes with two courses with six lessons each. This will teach 120 words and 15 sentence patterns that use these words.
  • Additional courses can be bought with in-app purchases for US$2.99 for Conversation Courses (vocab and sentences) and US$1.99 Vocabulary Courses (vocab only)
  • These are the same courses that are available on the ITS4Thai website. So purchases on the website, the iPhone, or the iPad will automatically sync between all devices.

At the moment the app needs an Internet connection because it’s always communicating with the ITS4Thai server to deliver the synced personalized content. We are looking into ways to enable this feature this on a future release, but for now, it’s still a great time killer in the taxi on the way to the airport :)

Here’s how the iPad version works:

For more, go to the iTunes store: ITS4Thai – Learn Thai Language Conversation and Vocabulary Lessons

Stuart G Towns,
ITS4Thai Language Conversation and Vocabulary Lessons

The ITS4Thai iPhone + iPad apps review…

ITS4Thai - Learn Thai Language Conversation and Vocabulary LessonsITS4Thai - Learn Thai Language Conversation and Vocabulary Lessons - I.T.S. 4 KnowledgeThai for Beginners
Price: US$0.99
Author: I.T.S. 4 Knowledge Co., Ltd.
Date: July 22, 2012
Version: 2.1
Internet connection required: Yes
Word count: 120
Thai script: Yes
Tone tips: Yes
Zoom: Not needed
Size: 76.8 mg
Sound: Yes, male and female
Quiz: Yes

As Stuart has already given an overview of the app I’ll focus on my experiences so far.

When I first loaded the ITS4Thai iOS app I switched the controls to Thai script. At the moment there’s still transliteration in the instructions but Stuart says it’ll be fixed on the next update (a couple of days from now).

I’ve had access to ITS4Thai since 2008 (2009?) so another change I made was to reset the course to the beginning. Some Thai learners (such as myself) often study in starts and stops so having a clean slate might be of interest. To do so, contact Stuart through the ITS4Thai website.

The basic Introductory Course includes Introductory Conversation and Introductory Vocabulary. Each course has a lesson list, and at the very bottom is a review section. When you start a lesson you’ll see two main listings: Vocabulary and Conversation. Under Vocabulary there is: Word List, Word Practice, and Listening. Under Conversation: Grammar, Sentences, and Sentence Builder.

Word List is where you listen while reading each word (Thai script or transliteration). Flag any words for a later review. Grammar and Sentences are read only.

Word Practice, Listening, and Sentences Builder are where the games begin and the scoring starts. Getting an answer right or wrong will be reflected in your score with a percentage. If you need more practice in any of the games, select Word Practice, Listening, or Sentences Builder straight away (without leaving the lesson you are working on). Clicking the buttons ‘try all again’ and ‘try missed again’ will not change a bad score; they are there to give you more practice. If you want the chance to get a better score, you need to back out of the lesson (not just the game) and then return. Replaying the game will change your score.

The questions in the review are potluck. You don’t get the same questions each time, which is great and (I imagine) can be scary at the same time. Your score is a way to see how far you’ve come in each course (not just individual lessons).

The entire ITS4Thai course is designed to put Thai vocabulary and phrases into your long-term memory. It does that by remembering the strengths and weaknesses you’ve shown when playing the games. So think of the Dashboard as your long-term memory quickstart. In Dashboard you get direct access to what you’ve accomplished so far, as well as what you still need to work on: xx seen words, xx mastered words, xx flagged words, xx almost mastered words, xx words older than two weeks, and xx struggling words. In flagged, almost mastered, older words, and struggling words, you need to have at least 8 words in each group before you can start practicing them.

I’m still playing around with ITS4Thai’s iOS app on both the iPad and the iPhone but I can tell it’s a winner. My weaknesses (that I’ll admit to anyway) are reading the higher numbers and there’s already a marked improvement in my scores. Yeah!

The free ITS4Thai iPhone + iPad apps draw…

As with previous draws, the contest will stay open until Sunday evening, 8pm Thai time. On Monday morning I’ll announce the winners. Leave as many comments as you like – each relevant comment will be entered into the draw.

Good luck everyone! The ITS4Thai iPhone + iPad app is a grand app to have.

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WINNERS of 3 Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary Apps

WINNERS of the Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary Apps

The WINNERS of the Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary Apps…

Finally, the three winners of Chris and Benjawan’s Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary. Yeah!

In order: Rob, Lawrence and Mike. If you three could please send a message via my contact form I’ll get you the app codes asap (or later – life is full of weirdness lately).

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the creators of the dictionary, Chris Pirazzi (Word in the Hand) and Benjawan Becker (Paiboon Publishing), for working their butts off to give the Thai language community such a wonderful dictionary. Everyone is raving about the dictionary, and for good reason. It’s fabulous.

Another thanks goes to Snap (Learning Thai in Chiang mai). Without her help, the Android part of the review wouldn’t have happened: Android and iPhone: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary Review. Ta!

And there’s one more to thank. Talen (Thailand Land of Smiles – no longer online) took the time to send people my way, even though he was mired in a crisis. Thanks buddy :-)

If you didn’t win the Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary iPhone App…

Talking Thai–English–Thai DictionaryTalking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary - Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand
Apologies if you didn’t win this fabulous iPhone app. If you are looking to purchase a copy of the app you can do so direct from iTunes or stop by Word in the Hand. If you prefer a hardcopy version of the dictionary instead, then order from Paiboon Publishing.

Again, congrats everyone!

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WIN! 3 Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary iPhone iPad iPod Apps

WIN: Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary iPhone iPad iPod App

WIN! Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary iPhone, iPad, iPod App…

Did you win a Three Way Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary app at Talen’s Thailand, Land of Smiles? No? Well, no need to give up yet because I also have three fabulous dictionary apps give away.

Chris Pirazzi (Word in the Hand): We are very happy to have completed the grueling 6-month process of development and testing on the amazing variety of different Android devices, from tiny sub-mobile phones to huge 10″ tablets.

We were able to include pretty much every feature from the iOS version of our app and even add handy speaker icons to play sounds with one touch (and we also ported this back to the latest iOS version). Plus we added 50,000+ new everyday entries (making the current total more than 150,000 bold entries). Plus, over and above the 150,000 figure, we now include more than 28,000 place name entries which help you to pinpoint geographical locations in Thailand.

If you’d like to learn more about this topnotch Thai-English-Thai dictionary read all about it at Word in the Hand or WLT’s double review here: Android and iPhone: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary Review.

As before, the contest rules are simple:

  • Leave comments below.
  • Comment(s) need to add to the conversation.

NOTE: Each relevant comment gets counted, so leave as many as you like.

The draw will run from this very second until Wednesday, the 14th of March, 6am BKK time. As soon as I wake up I’ll throw the numbers at Talen who will then throw them into random.org. And ASAP, I’ll announce the three winners.

Psssst… the giveaway is only for the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch. Not the Android.

Good luck everyone. The Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary is an exceptional app to win.

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Android and iPhone: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary Review

Android and iPhone App Review

The Three Way Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary…

Benjawan Poomsan Becker & Chris Pirazzi have been working around the clock (seriously) to give us the best Talking Thai-English-Thai dictionary on the market. And it doesn’t matter if you are into actual books, smart phones, or computers, Benjawan and Chris have it covered.

I’ve been using a version of the Three-Way Talking Thai Dictionary for years. I started with the small dictionary in paperback form and then purchased the Three-Way Thai–English, English–Thai Pocket Dictionary when it came out.

I love actual books but I do spend a lot of time on my computer, so when the PC version was available (the Three-Way Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary), I was all over it.

Following fast came the iPhone Dictionary app which morphed into the Three-Way Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch app. What more could you ask for?

Well, not only did all the dictionaries get a heavy update, but the Android version of the Thai-English-Thai dictionary launched this week as well. Finally, the rest of the smart phone world can see what all the shouting has been about.

I don’t have an Android phone so Snap from Learn Thai in Chiang mai offered to review it for us. Thanks Snap!

Snap’s Android App Review: Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary…

Let me first say, that I was tickled pink to be included in the testing of Paiboon’s Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary app for Android phones, tickled pink, but perhaps not worthy, as a now lagging learner of Thai.

After, I’m sure, an incredible amount of work and tweaking by it’s creators, I was more than happy to purchase the finished product. The T-E-T Dictionary is one of three Thai dictionaries I have on my Android phone, the other two I haven’t consulted since.

Already very familiar with the basic layout and functions, having used the PC version for about a year now, I found it very easy to navigate through it’s various ‘sections’ of the menu: English, Thai, Sound (English transliteration), Configure Thai sound and Help…although as yet I’ve found no need to consult the latter.

Once you’ve located whichever word you’re looking for, you have several choices:

  • Play Sound: which is, in my humble opinion, essential for anyone learning a new language…especially one that is tonal. And, because this app is pocket portable, could save one from avoiding those grinding (heart sunken) halts, when we realise that we’ve been pronouncing a word embarrassingly wrong. If all else fails, at least you have the option of clicking play and letting it do the talking for you.
  • Go: well, is just that, ‘Go’, which will take you from one section to another. Look up a word in English and select the Thai word and ‘Go’ will plonk you in the appropriate Thai – English part of the dictionary etc.
  • See Real World Fonts: As someone who’s sat staring for tens of minutes at signs on Thai streets, this function also is a blessing. I remember my first encounter trying to figure out which Thai letter could possibly have been morphed into a backwards ‘S’!!!!
  • Find Words Inside: For me, this is the piece de resistance! As someone who loves to dissect things…like Thai words, this function is a dream come true. Not only does it find words inside, but it finds words inside the words inside. Now, if I cling to the notion (possible myth) that there are only about 3000 individual words in the Thai language and all others are compounds of those words, and I just learn those, I’ll be set, right?
  • Explain Spelling: A function that students would love. ‘Explain Spelling’ addresses why the word is the tone that it is, breaks the words down into syllables/consonant and vowel clusters, and feeds you the sounds bit by bit. Want to know more? Select any of those sounds to find out more about ‘vowels and syllables’ or ‘consonants’, which are two of the many subjects in the ‘Reading and Writing’ chapter of the app.
    It seems the more you dig, the deeper you go with this dictionary.
  • Google Search: Self explanatory, but handy. Particularly if you want to test (where possible) the accuracy or appropriateness of a word using Google’s ‘Image’ search.

Even if you’re not serious about learning Thai and just heading to the LOS for a vacation, this app is worth every penny and more. Just imagine ordering food and actually getting what you thought you ordered, not what you actually ordered! Or, getting unlost instead of continuing on a wild goose chase around town…or simply making pidgin Thai conversation and enjoying interacting with the locals.

Now if I could only find an app half as good as this one, in Khmer!

Snap,
Learning Thai In Chiang Mai – My Journal!

Note: To see how to install and use the Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary, check out a video of the features of the Talking Thai English Dictionary Android App.

iPhone App Review: Paiboon’s Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary…

As Snap covered the basic features I’ll mainly share the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch/PC update.

The PC version of the Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary (reviewed on Hugh Leong’s site) started out with 42,000 entries, high-quality sound recordings, English to Thai, Thai to English, sound to Thai, multiple pronunciation systems, instant search, and typing in Thai.

That was in 2010 and it was considered smoking hot back then. And 2011 brought us even more entries.

Then a few months ago, when Chris Pirazzi contacted previous beta testers to check out the 1.6 iPhone/iPad/iPod update, he wowed us even more:

What’s new in 1.6:

This release delivers another massive increase in the number of dictionary entries, from more than 100,000 entries to more than 150,000 entries (from 134,000 translations to more than 220,000 translations), plus another 28,000 entries (not counted above) containing the names of cities, subdistricts, districts, and provinces of Thailand.

As always, there is a high-quality sound recording of a native Thai speaker for every single Thai word in the dictionary.

In addition to the huge increase in entries, this release also adds:

  • A new setting on the iOS platform called “Show Playback Buttons” that lets you turn on the display of little speaker icons right inline with each Thai word on-screen, so that you can hear any word with just one touch, as you can also do on the Windows and Android platforms.
  • A handy new unified Quick Click Chart in our Help section on Reading and Writing which shows all Thai consonants and vowels at once on your screen, allowing you to click to hear each one or to go to its details in the relevant section.
  • A large number of small improvements to the Help including a lot more sound recordings for sample phrases, more sample words, and playback icons in our charts of Thai vowels.

An no. They are not done yet. In fact, Benjawan Poomsan Becker wants to hear from you:

We will continue to add words to future updates of the app that I come across or that are suggested by our customers. Therefore, we want to reassure readers that if they do happen to come across a word that they feel needs to be added to our dictionary it can be included in future updates. I look forward to seeing suggestions.

To submit new words email: support@word-in-the-hand

For a detailed list of goodies, read the overview at Word in the Hand.

Using the various Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionaries…

I bounce between three electronic versions of the Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary. The dictionary app is on both my iPhone and iPad, and the PC version on my Mac with an emulator.

When I’m running around town, logically, the iPhone is the one I use. And when I’m at home or traveling, I prefer the iPad because the screen is larger. But when I’m compiling Thai vocabulary lists and need to cut and paste into excel files, the PC version is invaluable.

It’s not expensive to run all three versions. My original copy was for the iPhone but it sucks into my iPad without an additional charge. And the massive upgrade for the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch as well as the PC is free. Totally free.

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Learning Languages: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Learning Languages: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Learning Languages: The art and science of remembering everything…

My ability to remember names (people or places) is weak. Unless it’s for a short-term project like a script, my memory just doesn’t go there. So I skip over names whether in books or when meeting new people.

Carrying on a conversation without remembering names is doable. It has a potential for being embarrassing but profuse apologies will fix most snafus. Besides, a bad memory for names is not rare. A good one is.

But a lack of memory of this sort also makes learning a language like Thai a challenge. Seems that every new Thai word is exactly like a name. Can you explain the reasoning behind that to me? Because I’d like to know.

Like most (I’m sure) reading this post, over the years I’ve made attempts at improving my memory. Books were acquired but many were turfed out during moves. Still around (for no memorable reason) are: It’s All In Your Head (remarkable facts about the human brain), Dental Floss For The Mind (a complete program for boosting your brain power), and The Mind Map Book by Tony & Barry Buzan.

Last year (or was it the year before last) I purchased both the French and Italian Language Revolution Complete Beginners sets (yet another Buzan creation). Think mind mapping, but for languages. And after a quick skim, these too were put aside (for now).

This past Sunday I read Study Hack: Improve Focus by Tweaking your Senses, written by Zane at Life by Experimentation (no longer online).

Right away I can say that I definitely have noticed that I am paying more attention to my studies. It is not a small difference, either. I walk away from each study session, now, feeling as though I truly learned something. Of course, in my next experiment (to learn French) I’ll be publishing more quantifiable data about just how much I was able to learn in how much time, and how much these techniques helped.

The above quote plus Zane’s mention of using sleep masks, headphones, and earplugs to study a language were quirky enough for me to download the book in question: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by Joshua Foer.

The book is so good that I bored the man of the house with it on Sunday, finishing it first thing Monday morning (today). And now here we are. A review. Sort of.

After an intro Josh takes readers through the Loci Method, an age-old method of memorising lists of things (not numbers). Within minutes I’d memorised Josh’s disjointed list. And except for the name of the actor, I can still remember the list this morning. So obviously, following his exact instructions is something I need to work on. And I will.

As mentioned, I’ve read several known books on the subject of improving memory, yet only Josh’s winding explanations convinced me to actually try out the memory suggestions. His marvelous research (I’m a sucker for detail and his book is saturated) plus his wonderful writing kept me reading until the end. Just saying.

There are several ways to get a copy of his book (legally). As I’m way out here in the boonies of Thailand I went with a Kindle download to read on my iPad. But if you want a real book, and are closer to either amazon.com or amazon.co.uk, a hardcopy (an enviable choice) might be the better option.

amazon.com: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
amazon.co.uk: Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything
Kindle (co.uk): Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

PS: No, there is not an affiliate code on those amazon links. The links are included in this post because I really really really want you to read his book. It’s that good. Even Amazon thinks so as it was listed in Amazon’s Best Books of the Month for March 2011.

Joshua Foer: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything…

Amazon has a video where Josh explains how it all came about. With no way to share it here, I checked YouTube to find more than expected. My connection is sucky (I’m downloading heaps) so I’ve yet to get through them all. But as soon as this post goes live, and my downloads are finished, I aim to.

Memory resources…

If you have no intentions of getting Josh’s book (or want more convincing) then read more of what you’ll find in the book:

wikipedia: Method of loci
wikipedia: Mnemonic major system
wikipedia: Art of memory
wikipedia: Mind map

I’ve only just read Josh’s book, The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, but I guarantee that this post won’t be the last on the subject. Because for learning a language such as Thai, discussing tricks to access more memory is just too important to miss.

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iPad: HEdictionary English Thai HD

HEdictionary English Thai HD

HEdictionary English Thai HD…

EDIT: This app is no longer available for Thai.

Before I launch back into my extensive reviews of iPhone apps for the Thai language learning market, I thought I’d share this beauty with you.

HEdictionary English Thai HD is a superlative dictionary not only for Thai to learn English but also for English to learn Thai. The comprehensive dictionary contains 4 built-in dictionaries and Google – Thai dictionaries. Moreover it can work as useful online translator for your instant needs.

iPad: HEdictionary English Thai HD…

YourWords English Thai English travel and learning dictionaryHEdictionary English Thai HDNo longer online
Price: $2.99
Author: VietDorje
Released: 14 Jun 2010
Version: 1.0
Size: 107 MB
Sound: Yes
Internet connection required: Sometimes
Transliteration: Yes
Rated: 4+

English Thai with 52,000 entries
Thai English with 35,000 entries
WordNet 3.0: 200,000 entries, 3.5 million words and 1.7 million links
Thesaurus with 20,000 entries
Google English <> Thai dictionary
Audio pronunciation for English keywords

EDIT: This app is no longer available for Thai. I did manage to buy it before it disappeared though. It’s a pity it’s gone as it was a gorgeous app. Perhaps someone reading this can help bring it back?

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