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2016 WINNERS: Learn Thai Podcast

WLTs Thai Language Giveaway

Welcome to the SIXTH week of WLT’s seven weeks of Thai Language Giveaways.

Chosen by Jo and Jay, here are the winners of Learn Thai Podcast’s megga course:

And the winners are … Danielle Tong, Wes and Matthew. Congratulations you three! An email will be sent to you soon.

Learning Thai is essential to get most out of your time in Thailand. We are happy to have helped over 20000 people to improve their Thai and learn to speak, understand and even read and write Thai. We hope you enjoy the course and of course your time in Thailand even more!

Jo and Jay: Learn Thai Podcast

Congrats to the winners! And thank you Jo and Jay for sponsoring the SIXTH week of WLT’s giveaway. Thanks also goes to those who took the time to leave comments. And btw: there’s one more giveaway to go, the Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary app (iOS and Android) – to be announced tomorrow.

Note: Here’s the list of the past and future prizes: Vote THAI and WIN! | SEVEN Weeks of FREE Thai Giveaways. Good luck everyone!

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WLT’s 2016 Thai Language Giveaway: Learn Thai Podcast

WLTs Thai Language Giveaway

WLT’s 2016 Thai Language Giveaway…

We’ve now reached week SIX of WLT’s seven weeks of Thai language giveaways. Whew! If you need a refresher of what’s going on read Vote THAI and WIN! | SEVEN Weeks of FREE Thai Giveaways.

Jo and Jay: Learn Thai Podcast…

Jo and Jay are giving away THREE full subscriptions to learn to speak, read, write Thai via Learn Thai Podcast’s massive Thai course that has over 800 video, audio and text lessons. Included is a vocabulary trainer, a forum, and a way to track the lessons you’ve learned.

I previously covered LTP in Review: Learn Thai Podcast Relaunches, so here’s an outline from my review.

  • Visuals: Online lessons, downloadable YouTube videos in many formats.
  • Sound: Individual sound bites in online lessons, YouTube videos and mp3 files to download.
  • Thai script: Script included with all lessons, complete Alphabet course, transliteration.
  • Thai only: Lessons without English translations.
  • Conversations: Movies and sound files of actual Thais talking.
  • Testing: Reviews after each lesson, vocabulary trainer for individual words.
  • Extras: Printable notes to download.

And for absolute beginners there’s also the Top 300 Thai Words course. Pssst … the first couple of lessons are free.

Mezzie Learns has the best review ever of LTP so if you have time for more, here you go: Learn Thai Podcast Features and Why I Chose Learn Thai Podcast over ThaiPod101.

Rules for WLTs Thai Language Giveaway…

The rules are simple:

  • To be included in the draw, leave comments below.
  • Comment(s) need to add to the conversation (it really does matter).
  • Each relevant comment gets counted, so please leave as many as you like!
  • If you don’t collect your prize within a week of the announcement, it will be given away to the next person in line.

As with other giveaways, Jo and Jay will choose the winners for this giveaway. And carrying on as before, if you’ve won previously you can still enter this competition.

The draw will run from now until 3rd July (Sunday), 6pm Thai time. After the winners have been selected a comment will be put below and I’ll create a dedicated post.

Thank you Jo and Jay for sponsoring WLT’s eight year celebration! Good luck everyone!

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Vote THAI and WIN! | SEVEN Weeks of FREE Thai Giveaways

Top 100 Language Lovers of 2015

Just like last year’s Language Lovers Competition, this year fabulous sponsors supporting the Thai industry have again donated products. Thanks all!

PickupThai Podcast (24th-29th May): SIX winners will get subscriptions to the new Creamy Coconut course for beginners (One winner – all 30 lessons. Two winners – 15 lessons. Three winners – 10 lessons).

Duke Language School (31st May-5th June): TWO 60 hour Journey One group lessons with course books. This is not a taster, the winners go straight through the course to the end.

Bingo-Lingo (7th-12th June): FOUR copies of Bingo’s detailed book and CD, Read Thai in 10 Days.

Learn Thai Style (14th-19th June): FOUR Speak Thai Course winners (includes a pre-release version of Speak Thai Course with Thai script only – no transliteration) will receive a lifetime access to over 40 hours of audio and video materials, over 300 worksheets (with or without transliteration), online quizzes, self study materials, learn Thai blog access, as well as access to over 700 trained teachers (UK, USA, Singapore, Thailand and Skype).

Learn Thai from a White Guy (21st-26th June): TWO courses of Learn to Read Thai in 2 Weeks and TWO courses of The Need to Know Sentence Pack.

Learn Thai Podcast (5th-10th July): THREE subscriptions to learn to speak, read, write Thai via LTP’s massive Thai course that has over 800 video, audio and text lessons.

Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand (12th-17th July): FOUR EACH of the newly updated Talking Thai-Eng-Thai Dictionary apps (your choice of iOS or Android).

Giveaway Rules:

  1. Leave as many relevant comments as you like (with a stress on ‘relevant’).
  2. Comment on as many of the giveaways as you want (there is no limit on how many prizes you can win).
  3. Claim your prize before the week is out (unclaimed prizes will go to the next in line).

Each post will go live on Tuesdays at 7.30am Thai time and will close out on Sundays at 6pm Thai time.

Note: Those donating will be responsible for choosing the winners so even if you are my buddy you too can win!

Vote Thai…

Vote the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs 2016If you haven’t voted yet, please click on the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs button to your right. Thanks in advance!

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WINNERS: Learn Thai Podcast

WLTs Thai Language Giveaway

WINNERS to WLT’s FIFTH week of the Thai Language Giveaway…

Here we are giving away prizes for the FIFTH week of the WLT’s seven weeks of Thai Language Giveaways!

As Joy and Jay had a difficult time choosing between so many well-thought-out comments, eight favourites were put through the handy Random Name Picker.

Here are the winners: Aleishea, Bernard Le Du, Steve, Dafydd.

From Jo and Jay: We hope our course helps you to learn Thai more quickly and easily. Enjoy the course and thank you Cat for running the best learn Thai blog out there!

WLTs Thai Language GiveawayIf the winners would please send a message via my contact form, we’ll get your prizes sorted. Please note that if you do not contact me by next Wednesday, your prize will be given to the winner/s in waiting (already chosen).

I would like to thank Jo and Jay for sponsoring this giveaway with their wonderful product (Learn Thai Podcast should be in every Thai student’s arsenal). An additional thanks goes to Jay who come to the rescue right before the contest! What bad timing it was. WLT’s feedburner quit working and after weeks of tearing out my hair, Jay found the glitch that was muffing up the works. So a double thanks from me goes to LTP!

And as always, my thanks go to everyone who left comments. Please remember that even if you’ve already won, you are still eligible to keep on winning! Good luck everyone.

To get a complete list of the prizes and schedule, read the first post in the series, Please Vote THAI and WIN! 2015: Top 100 Language Lovers Competition.

WLTs 2015 Thai Language Giveaway…

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WLT’s Thai Language Giveaway: Learn Thai Podcast

WLTs Thai Language Giveaway

WLT’s Thai Language Giveaway…

Welcome to week FOUR of WLT’s seven weeks of Thai language giveaways by top movers and shakers in the learning Thai industry.

To find out about the $4,500+ in prizes being given away do read the intro post, Please Vote THAI and WIN! 2015: Top 100 Language Lovers Competition.

The previous three giveaway posts by sponsor are: 1) Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand, and 2) DCO Books and Orchid Press, and 3) PickupThai Podcast. Congrats to the lucky winners!

Learn Thai Podcast: 800 lessons and counting!…

WLTs Thai Language GiveawayFor the week four giveaway, Jo and Jay are gifting FOUR full subscriptions to Learn Thai Podcast. That’s almost US$800 in fabulous prizes right there.

LTP’s site now holds a massive 800+ video, audio and text lessons where you can learn how to speak, read, and write Thai. There’s also a vocabulary trainer, a forum, and the ability to track lessons learned.

I already wrote extensively about what LTP offers in my post, Review: Learn Thai Podcast Relaunches!, so here’s just a taster of my review.

Checklist for LTP:

  • Visuals: Online lessons, downloadable YouTube videos in many formats.
  • Sound: Individual sound bites in online lessons, YouTube videos and mp3 files to download.
  • Thai script: Script included with all lessons, complete Alphabet course, transliteration.
  • Thai only: Lessons without English translations.
  • Conversations: Movies and sound files of actual Thais talking.
  • Testing: Reviews after each lesson, vocabulary trainer for individual words.
  • Extras: Printable notes to download.

Since then they’ve added 100+ lessons (reading, writing and advanced). And to better serve you, revamped their site from top to bottom. Another addition is their handy Top 300 Thai Words course. The first couple of lessons are free, so give it a go?

Awhile back I ran into one of the best LTP reviews ever, on Mezzie Learns. The review is in two parts: Learn Thai Podcast Features and Why I Chose Learn Thai Podcast over ThaiPod101.

I won’t spoil it for you but I do want to share this one quote:

Mezzie Learns: Learn Thai Podcast … has conversations and monologues that are husband-approved in their authenticity. In fact, Learn Thai Podcast is the only learning resource I have that hasn’t made my husband double over in laughter. When I showed him some of the intermediate and advanced dialogues and grammar lessons, he was pretty impressed.

“Husband-approved in their authenticity” – don’t you just love that? If you’ve been around the learning Thai block awhile you are sure to have run across phrases that no one uses (except in class). With LTP you get real Thai everytime.

Jo and Jay have big plans for the future but mums the word for now. All I can say is that I just know you’re going to love it to bits! But their course, as it stands, is already heaving with Thai learning goodness (some free even), so please don’t wait to try it out.

And here’s a bit about the sponsors…

WLTs Thai Language GiveawayI ran into Jo and Jay years back when they first dipped their toes into creating learning Thai products. It was thrilling really, because their fun mp3’s appeared for a short bit, tantalizing us all, and then came back in full force, bypassing all expectations.

And now thinking about it, in a way theirs is a modern day love story. Computer geek (Jay) moves to Thailand for work. Geek meets gorgeous and talented local gal (Jo) who has a love of languages. Using her command of the Thai language, she teaches him Thai in such a way that his geek instincts go into high gear. After briefly testing the waters, his geekiness and her Thai skills were fused to give us Learn Thai Podcast, which has now surpassed 800+ lessons. Now is that sweet, or what?

For more of the story, read Jo and Jay’s post from 2010: Overview: Learn Thai Podcast

Rules for WLTs Thai Language Giveaway…

The rules are dead simple:

  • To be included in the draw, leave comments below.
  • Comment(s) need to add to the conversation (it really does matter).
  • Each relevant comment gets counted, so please do leave as many as you like!
  • If you don’t collect your prize within a week of the announcement, it will be given away to the next person in line.

The draw will run from this moment until the 24th of June, 6am Thai time. As soon as Jo and Jay pick their favs, I’ll announce the winners in the comments below, as well as create a dedicated post.

And before I forget, my thanks goes to Jo and Jay for being a part of WLT’s seven year celebration!

WLTs 2015 Thai Language Giveaway…

Here are the posts so far in WLT’s Thai Language Giveaway.

And remember, after this there’s still THREE more weeks of prizes to be given out to celebrate WLT turning seven. Good luck everyone!

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Please Vote THAI and WIN! 2015: Top 100 Language Lovers Competition

Top 100 Language Lovers of 2015

Please VOTE for the Top 100 Language Lovers…

Vote the Top 100 Language Learning Blogs 2015It’s that time again, the Top 100 Language Lovers Competition! To vote for Language Learning Blogs, please click on the button to your right (I’m in the A’s this time – oh yah).

There are five categories to vote in: Language Learning Blogs, Language Professionals Blogs, Language Facebook Pages, Language Twitter Accounts, and Language YouTube Channels.

Competition rules: You can only vote for one entry per section. For more about the competition go to: Top 100 Language Lovers 2015 – Let’s Get Started!

Language bloggers have worked hard all year long, so please do show your support by voting for your favourites.

Psst: WLT also made it into the Language Facebook Page section this year.

I look forward to the Language Lovers Competition organised by bab.la and Lexiophiles each year because it inspires me to improve WLT. This year I’ve totally revamped the site (as you can clearly see). And with over 700 posts (aren’t Guest Writers wonderful) I’ve also added a Please Start Here page with an easy access button. I hope it helps.

But hold on – there’s more! As WLT is turning seven (my lucky number) there will be Thai product giveaways each week for seven weeks. So every week there will be new winners. Yay for you!

What I did was approach the top movers and shakers in the Thai industry to see if they’d be interested in donating their fabulous products. And everyone said yes! I’m so grateful because I can now share what I believe are some of the best products available for learning Thai.

My sincere thanks goes to Stu Jay Raj (Jcademy), Duke (Duke Language School), Bingo-Lingo (Read Thai in 10 Days), Jo and Jay (Learn Thai Podcast), Tom and Kruu Jiab (Learn Thai Style), Benjawan Poomsan Becker (Paiboon Publishing), Chris Pirazzi (Word in the Hand), Yuki and Miki (PickupThai Podcast), James Higbie and David Smyth via Danny at DCO Thai and Orchid Press.

In total, they have generously contributed over US$4500 in prizes. Wow.

Seven weeks of FREE giveaways from top movers and shakers…

Before I get to the prizes, I’d like to explain exactly what I believe makes a true mover and shaker in the Thai industry. I thought long and hard about it, so here you go.

Each company mentioned are at the top of their field, creates materials with everyday Thai that you will actually use, and has a longtime commitment to the learning Thai industry. Are there others out there? Sure. But I was limited to seven weeks.

Jcademy (July 9): FIVE of Stu’s Ultimate Thai Combo packages (includes the Full Cracking Thai Fundamentals program, Thai Bites and Glossika Thai Fluency 1). If you already have the combo, you can go with the new subscription package (yet to be announced).

Duke Language School and Bingo-Lingo (Arthit Juyaso) (July 2): FOUR copies of Bingo’s detailed book and CD, Read Thai in 10 Days. And FOUR budding Thai students will receive Duke Language School’s Survival 1 group lessons, which includes the textbook as well as free access to the beta version of Duke’s online course.

Learn Thai Podcast (June 18): FOUR subscriptions to Learn to speak, read, write Thai via LTP’s massive Thai course that has over 800 video, audio and text lessons.

Learn Thai Style (June 25): FOUR Speak Thai Course winners will receive a lifetime access to over 40 hours of audio and video materials, over 300 worksheets (with or without transliteration), online quizzes, self study materials, learn Thai blog access, as well as access to over 700 trained teachers (UK, USA, Singapore, Thailand and Skype).

Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand (May 28): FOUR EACH of the Talking Thai-Eng-Thai Dictionary apps, Talking Thai-Eng-Thai Phrasebook apps, and Thai for Beginners apps.

PickupThai Podcast (June 11): FOUR winners get 15 podcasts each of either Sweet Green or Spicy Red. Winners get to choose their level (beginner to advanced).

DCO Books and Orchid Press (June 4): TWO sets (four books) of James Higbies’ Essential Thai and Thai Reference Grammar, as well as Smyth’s Essential Grammar and Segaller Thai Without Tears.

The rules for the giveaways are simple:

  1. Leave as many relevant comments as you like (with a stress on ‘relevant’).
  2. Comment in as many of the giveaways as you want (there is no limit on how many prizes you can win).
  3. Claim your prize before the week is out (unclaimed prizes will go to the next in line).

Note: Those donating will be responsible for choosing the winners. That’s right. So even if you are one of my closest buddies, don’t stay away! Yes, everyone can win. Good luck all!

Top 100 Language Lovers of 2015

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Successful Thai Language Learner: David Fahey

Successful Thai Language Learner: David Fahey

Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

Name: David Fahey
Nationality: British
Age range: 30-40
Sex: Male
Location: UK
Profession: Management Consultant

What is your Thai level?

I can converse comfortably about most everyday things and watch and understand Thai soaps and films etc as long as they are set in the present in Bangkok so from that perspective, I consider myself fluent. An off the wall analogy perhaps, but anyone familiar with karate, for example, will know that students aspire to attain a black belt, but once there, that’s where the real learning begins as you focus your attention on moving through the “Dan” grades which come after the black belt. Where learning Thai is concerned  I’m a black belt but only a low ranking one with vast amounts left to learn.

Do you speak more street Thai, Issan Thai, or professional Thai?

I speak standard central Thai which is a product of the materials I started using when I began learning, that I lived in Nonthaburi and commuted into Bangkok for work and that my wife is from Samphran, Nakorn Pathom. My teenage street slang is a bit rusty now but at 37, I don’t worry too much about this! My Isaan is non-existent but we have a bit of land up in Chiang Mai where we plan to put a house one of these days so learning the northern dialect is on the cards at some stage.

What were your reasons for learning Thai?

When I was 22 having left university and gone straight to work, I decided on a bit of an adventure before the rat race consumed me. I took a teaching job in Bangkok – word of mouth, friend of a friend who knew someone sort of thing. I started to learn from a book a few weeks before travelling to Thailand so it was about survival and being keen to integrate as much as possible at first. Nowadays Thailand is very much a part of the fabric of my life so it seems only fitting I should speak the language. We also try as best as we can to bring the kids up in a bi-cultural environment so I try and set an example and we speak Thai at home a lot.

Do you live in Thailand? If so, when did you arrive?

I lived in Thailand from 1998 to 2005. We visit for 6 weeks in the UK summer holidays every year and it is our intention to return to Thailand in the medium term. Our plan is to live out a “simpler” existence ad flit between bases in Nakorn Pathom and Chiang Mai.

How long have you been a student of the Thai language?

Since 1998 and I am still very much a student – something I don’t expect will ever change.

Did you learn Thai right away, or was it a many-pronged approach?

I learned to read early on but had I been more consistent with my studies my Thai would have been stronger today. Learning for me has involved a series of plateaus where I have had to spend time consolidating what I already know. A two steps forward, one and a half steps back scenario.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?

No. Not when I was living in Thailand, though I try to do now.

What Thai language learning methods did you try?

I have used a variety of books to supplement my learning over the years and these days I always have a subscription to a web-based resource. I’ve used Learn Thai Podcast and now I’m trying Thaipod 101 – both have their place, strengths and weaknesses but I am of the opinion as much exposure as possible from different sources is a good thing and it helps to recycle previously learned language in a different context. I also meet up with an ex (Thai) student of mine, now a good friend and who also has relocated to England, once a week where she pushes me conversationally for a couple of hours. However, my secret weapon is my long-suffering wife, Ple. She has a degree in education specialising in Thai from Chulalongkorn University and before we relocated to England she was the High School Thai language teacher at a well-known international school – ISB. One resource I do use is a magazine which I can get here in the UK called “Koo Sang Koo Som”. Whilst a light read for Thai native speakers and not the kind of thing I’d go in for in my own language, it provides me with sufficiently challenging material for my level at the moment. I try to read two to three articles a week, extracting new vocabulary etc and then discuss at least one of them with my wife.

Did one method stand out over all others?

This one is easy – Teach Yourself Thai by David Smyth. He presented the Thai reading system in bite-sized chunks in a logical manner. I still think it is the best starting point for those wanting to learn to read Thai and gives you a solid foundation to build on. I bought it before I went to Thailand and have had two or three copies since. Even though my level is beyond this book now, I think that is largely because of this book and I still have a copy on my shelf! I hope to meet Professor Smyth one day.

How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai?

Straight away, again due to David Smyth’s book which gets learners to tackle the Thai alphabet early on. It made sense –  I thought that instead of learning a Romanised version I might as well focus my energy on the real thing. Also, Professor Smyth’s book made clear the tonal component of the language was implicit to the written system. The way this has evolved is quite elegant l really. My frustration now is being able to read everything but not understand everything – I still struggle with newspapers for example though that is down I think to certain stylistics which are characteristic of Thai tabloid journalism.

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult?

Not particularly. I am a scientist by training and look for patterns and logic in things and the Thai writing system has plenty of that in it.

What was your first ‘ah hah!’ moment?

Figuring out what was meant by a “rising tone” – it took me a while to be able to distinguish between some of them
.

How do you learn languages?

I have TEFL and NLP qualifications which I sort of reverse engineer into my own Thai learning. But I guess I do an number of things all of which add up to developing the four core skills through various types of intelligence – e.g. logical/linguistic, visual/spatial etc. so I might do gap/fills, free-writing, diagrams and charts etc because I’ve always subscribed to differentiated learning strategies like Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences. I have a conversation class which is meant to stretch me so these sessions always generate lots of new vocabulary which I try and weave in again and again during the course of the lesson. I take a note of these words and create a flashcard with each and drill them. This way the types of words I deal with are the words I have used myself in real conversation and will probably need to do again at some point. I also try and make up sentences or stories or diary entries using this vocabulary. Then I try to read something (aloud) in Thai, or listen to something in Thai everyday. If I manage to get a quiet half an hour, I try to “think” in Thai as well – this is incredibly useful and I can practise anywhere and anytime.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Weaknesses are vocabulary range for what I want to be able to do – I try and work on this everyday. Collocation too – Thai is a language of verbs and these often combine in a way they perhaps wouldn’t in English. The fourth (high) tone is also an effort for me – not words in isolation but within sentences, making that shift. My strengths are being able to read – it helps me take responsibility for my own learning more.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai?

Not sure – perhaps that Romanising the Thai alphabet is in any way a good idea?

Can you make your way around any other languages?

No, none whatsoever.

Were you learning another language at the same time as Thai?

I had a bash at Mandarin for a year or so but I struggled and also Khmer years ago as well but gave up – not enough opportunity for exposure to the language.

What advice would you give to students of the Thai language?

Learn to read as early as possible.

David Fahey,
Management Consultant

The Series: Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

If you are a successful Thai language learner and would like to share your experiences, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

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UPDATE: Jeff Netto’s Thai Challenge

Jeff Netto's Thai Challenge

Jeff Netto’s Thai Challenge…

Jeff is a serious language learner. If you remember, he started his Thai language challenge with ziltch Thai. Nada. In addition to the 6 week challenge Jeff set himself 19 months to learn as much Thai as he can. Reason? A friend is learning Thai too, only in Thailand.

I’ve seen other language challenges but I’ve never seen the likes of what Jeff got up to. During the challenge, Jeff studied four hours a day, six hours a day, ten hours a day even. Impressive.

Jeff Netto's Thai Challenge

And Jeff has real excuses to avoid studying (I have a handful of my own). I mean, he works ten hour days, has a young family, yet he still drove himself to study long hours.

Jeff Netto's Thai Challenge

Jeff didn’t stop at learning Thai either. Alongside Thai, Jeff concentrated on Serbian, Xhosa and Spanish. Again, impressive.

How did Jeff manage? During the day he grabbed opportunities where he could and after work he studied long after his household was asleep. Given the choice of sleeping or studying languages, Jeff chose languages.

This, my friends, is a man with a serious language passion.

Interview with inspirational polyglot Jeff Netto…

Understandably, Jeff is still busy concentrating on his Thai challenge so instead of my usual long list of questions I’ve kept the interview to the bare minimum.

Jeff, what is your mother tongue?

(Brazilian) Portuguese.

When did your passion for learning languages develop?

Well, it started when I was a kid learning martial arts, Japanese was the first language I ventured on at age 14. Almost at the same time I started to have English classes at school as part of the Brazilian Public School’s Curriculum. Later on came French (age 17) influenced by a couple friends who were engaged in a government project for foreign languages training.

But what REALLY took me for a loop was an exercise given by a college professor back in Brazil. The class was “Instrumental English” (aimed at preparing the student to do peer reviews and bibliographical research in the Biology field), and the exercise was basically to interpret texts in different languages by using visual or cognate material in the text itself, no dictionaries or any other aid material.

Each week she brought a different text: Spanish, Italian, Japanese… those three didn’t really offer many difficulties, but when she finally brought the text in German everything changed!

I remember it was a Mickey Mouse comics page, and I could only give the meaning of three words out of the whole story! I can’t express the frustration I felt…

I remember ditching the second block of classes and going straight to the university library. I pulled out a German dictionary and a German grammar book and started to translate the little story. Well, as you know, dictionaries don’t list conjugated or declined (case) words, so I decided to appeal to the Internet.

As soon as I typed “German Grammar” on Altavista (yeah, I know it is old…) I came across the website: “travlang.com/Languages” (that is actually still active) which offered the basics for about 70 different languages with links to support material. And then the rest you already know… chain reaction! German, Russian, Korean, Hebrew, Swahili, you name it!

This happened in 2000, and I haven’t stopped since.

You mentioned the importance of changing out activities, to not overdo. Could you please explain further?

When you decide to study a language you need to make sure that you have a balance between the main skills of a language: writing, reading, listening and speaking. Otherwise you may have a counterproductive effect, which actually happened to me after the last day of the challenge. I studied over 24 hours of Thai straight, so even with changing methods my brain got sick of it! I couldn’t touch a Thai book for nearly a month.

I have to admit that it was quite embarrassing, but it does serve as an example to others who are considering a similar challenge whereas they put an excessive amount of study hours in one single language!

Which Shadowing method are you using?

:) It is hard to define which type I followed, I definitely didn’t walk back-and-forth in a park reciting Thai out loud! I don’t think I would EVER do that. What I call shadowing, is in essence the very same thing others do: listen to audio files repeating out loud the expression while trying to get as close as possible from the native pronunciation (like the guy from Pimsleur always says…).

But beyond that I modify the sentences to fit my goals. It is quite effective when you are doing some sort of manual labor which requires mechanical movements, because you can let your mind run free while your arms and legs operate on “auto-pilot”.

Now that it’s over, what are your overall thoughts on your six week Thai challenge?

It was amazing, and I intend to participate in many others! Probably with different languages, but I’ll definitely keep going with Thai.

The Challenge gave a different taste to the tedious study process, which can be extremely motivating at times.

How will your 19 month Thai challenge be planned out?

Well, taking into consideration that I need to juggle 17 college credits and off-record language study at the same time, I’m still studying the possibilities. But I intend to find a steady study-buddy and keep on until life intervenes. :)

What are your suggestions for language learners aiming to emulate your studies?

There are a couple guidelines that I think would give learners some leverage:

  1. Find a concrete interest to support your language study. Be it to impress that one girl in French class or read the Old Testament in Hebrew, it doesn’t matter what the interest is, as long as it exists;
  2. Find out how you learn things (wikipedia: Learning Styles), your study time will be most effective if you know how information sticks to your brain!
  3. (in case you are not living in the country where the languages is spoken) Immerse yourself as much as you can. Music, TV, radio, any and everything you can find in that language;
  4. Be humble about it! If you can’t understand after reading three times, ask somebody with experience. At the end of the day you’ll need to interact anyway, right?!
  5. NEVER, EVER let obstacles or other people’s comments demotivate you! You can do it! No matter what it is, you can do it!

Jeff Netto,
twitter: JNatAlkhimia
YouTube: JNatAlkhimia
Blog: The Thai Challenge

Jeff Netto’s impressive Thai language learning timeline on twitter…

I followed Jeff’s tweets from the beginning. And from the start of the 6 week challenge Jeff stayed at the top of the pack.

But what really interested me was his pattern of study and how he switched out the focus. He’d write for a bit, watch a video on YouTube, study vocabulary, and then perhaps get back to writing.

And if Stu Jay Raj had a twitter challenge timeline I imagine it’d look similar. I’ll ask.

Because I was curious, I kept a rolling record of Jeff’s progress. I’ve tidied it up a bit so you can get some language learning inspiration too.

Pdf download: Jeff’s Twitter Thai Challenge

NOTE: As mentioned, in addition to Thai Jeff was studying other languages but I only kept the Thai tweets.

The Thai language learning community comes out in support…

Many in the Thai language community followed Jeff’s progress. I was chuffed to hear that the top three Thai language products were so generous in their support of his Thai challenge.

Learn Thai Podcast was on Jeff’s twitter timeline from the very beginning. And when LTP discovered Jeff’s passion for language learning, Jo and Jay gifted him with the entire LTP package. Fantastic.

Jeff started with Rosetta Stone but when he played around with a free version of L-lingo, Rosetta Stone was out and L-lingo was in. And also watching his progress were the good folks at L-lingo who graciously gave Jeff their software version.

Benjawan Becker from Paiboon Publishing was also curious about Jeff’s Thai challenge. Always one to support avid students of Thai, Benjawan sent her entire collection of learning Thai CD’s.

Jeff is plugging away at another language challenge so when he comes up for air I’ll ask for a brief review of Learn Thai Podcast, L-lingo, and the Thai language CD’s at Paiboon Publishing.

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Increase Your Thai Vocabulary: Word Brain & ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer

Word Brain & ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer

Word Brain & ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer…

I just can’t get enough of free stuff. There’s a lot out there but not all free stuff is good stuff (if you know what I mean). I also have an addiction for the ‘how to learn languages’ type of stuff. Sure, sure, as far as advice goes, there really isn’t anything new so you’d think that after all this time I’d be ho hum on the subject.

But, if written with just the right twist, I can get re-energised into tackling my studies in a slightly different way. And if you are in the long-haul for learning Thai, then you know that fresh injections of energy are needed.

In my collection of actual books (hard copy) I have: The Quick and Dirty Guide to Language Learning, Lingo – How to Learn any Language, Fast Language Learning for Adults, The Complete Guide to Learning a Language, The Art of Teaching a Foreign Language, The Learning Revolution, Second Language Acquisition, Learn Any Language, Speak Like a Native, The Whole World Guide to Language Learning, Learning Vocabulary in Another Language, and Learning Foreign Languages (there might be more filed away in the wrong bookshelf). My pdf collection is too numerous to list (also, I’m too lazy to type them out).

Boiled down, the good ones pretty much say the same thing – to learn a new language you need to do the time. And if the books differ at all, it’s all down to how to tackle that time.

On Saturday I didn’t feel like doing anything productive – like get out of PJ’s even – so I started looking for free stuff. A couple of hours into my search I found Bernd’s free ebook, The Word Brain.

The Word Brain describes the steps to metamorphose yourself from a perfect illiterate to a person who has fluent hearing and reading abilities in another language. To develop these abilities, you will ideally study on a daily basis. Depending on a number of variables that I will discuss, the time estimated to accomplish your task is between one and five years.

From what he’s saying, if it’s an easy language (high number of similar words) then you can get away with learning 5000 new words while fudging on the rest. But if it’s a language such as Thai (not much of a crossover with your native language) then to become fluent you are looking at learning 15,000 new words. From scratch.

At a conservative estimate of 10 words per hour, it will take you 500 hours to learn 5,000 words (French/Spanish) and 1,500 hours to learn 15,000 words (European/Arabic). Based on the number of hours you are prepared to invest on a daily basis, your total study time can be predicted with fairly good accuracy.

Talking ballpark figures, if you learn 10 new Thai words per hour, 5 days a week, then the time it’ll take you to learn 15,000 new Thai words is…

0.5 hours per day = 150 months = 12.5 years
1.0 hours per day = 75 months = 6.25 years
1.5 hours per day = 50 months = 4.16 years
2.0 hours per day = 37 months = 3 years
3.0 hours per day = 25 months = 2 years
4.0 hours per day = 19 months = 1.58 years

That’s right. Going by his reckoning, if you have been wobbling along with a half hour of vocabulary study a day, then you could very well be limping along 12 years later.

So now do you see what I mean by getting re-energised?

Bernd goes on to give advice on listening, speaking, reading, grammar, teachers, etc. But, for this post I’m interested in his ideas for increasing Thai vocabulary so I’m going to extract what fits and leave you to read the rest of your own.

To go through the process of language acquisition, you will:

  • learn 15,000 words in about 1,500 study hours.
  • train your ear and associated brain regions to perform real-time speech processing.
  • train your eyes and associated brain regions to perform fast reading.
  • train your vocal tract and associated brain regions to produce intelligible speech.

There are a lot of Thai courses that will teach you a vocabulary of around 500 words but we are aiming at 15,000, remember? And to get your eyes, ears, mouth, and brain involved, not just words are needed, but their sound files too.

The highly recommended beginners course, Teach Yourself Thai only has a vocab count of around 400 words. Ditto on Pimsleur Thai at roughly 500 words (but it’s sans visuals). Whereas Learn Thai Podcast has a huge vocabulary straddling beginners, intermediate, and advanced, all with visuals and sound files. And that’s one of the reasons why I recommend LTP – it’s a honker of a language course!

The ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer…

ClickThai (known for their extensive ClickThai Dictionary with sound) has a new product, the ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer. And for learning new Thai vocabulary, it’s quite handy. No, it does not have the full 15,000 recommended words but if you are a relative newbie at learning Thai, then their 5854 word count is a decent start.

Thai for BeginnersCT VocTrain EN - ClickThai
Price: £8.99 | US$14.99
Author: ClickThai, Theodor Pitsch
Date: March 19, 2011
Version: 1
Internet connection required: No
Word count: 5854
Thai script: Yes
Tone tips: Yes
Zoom: Not needed
Sound: Yes, Male
Quiz: Yes

ClickThai has a decent tutorial on their site but I’m going to mix it up. From what I’ve been able to suss, the majority of those reading WLT already have a bit of Thai so I feel a different arrangement of instructions are needed. And here’s why:

The ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer gives you 100 words per session. When you’ve successfully recognised a Thai word 12 times it disappears and a new word takes its place. So even with a beginner’s vocabulary, you could be clicking for awhile before you start getting to the words you don’t know. So here’s my suggestion:

  1. Create a user name.
  2. Click on that name to start your session.
  3. From the top blue nav, click on ‘learning’.
  4. Delete (DEL) until you get words you don’t know.

Don’t worry, the words will not be deleted permanently, they go to your review list.

Also across the main blue nav you are given a choice of:

  • Thai: A Thai word across the top with three English definitions to choose from below.
  • English: An English definition across the top with three Thai words to choose from below.
  • Audio: Sound (nothing across the top) with three English definitions to choose from below.

In the secondary (orange) nav: sound, auto sound, and transcript – they are all pretty much self-explanatory so I’ll leave it at that. Across the bottom (blue) nav: back and forth arrows (scrolls you through the vocabulary), show (let’s you peek at word), and a sound icon. Then at the very bottom (black) nav: user (to create up to 5 users), exercises, review (this is where your deleted words await), help, and a Thai-English dictionary (the entire 5854 Thai words with longer descriptions).

Word Brain & ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer

Word Brain & ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer

Word Brain & ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer

My only complaints so far have to do with transliteration. Review words have the Thai words in Thai script on the left and the transliteration to the right. I realise the need (saves space) so it’s not that big of a deal but it could be presented differently: Thai script, transliteration, one word description.

Anyway, just like Benjawan Becker’s Thai for Beginners iPhone App, ClickThai’s Vocabulary Trainer for the iPhone is also great for long hours of study as well as those ten minute taxi moments.

EDIT: Theodor says there’s a new version of ClickThai Vocabulary Trainer, due to go live in iTunes next week sometime. Instead of the 12 repetitions, you can choose a number suitable for your learning style. Also, it’ll be compatible down to iOS 3.1.

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Special Offer: Learn Thai Podcast Premium Course

Complete Learn Thai Podcast Premium Course

Today is a good day to learn Thai…

Do you know what day it is? It’s 11.1.11. I’m not sure if it’s auspicious, but it sounds like a day to start something special. Like learning Thai.

Not everyone will admit to making New Years Resolutions, but a lot of us secretly do. And as it’s only 11 days into the New Year, I’m going to bet that a number of you have learning Thai on your list.

And if that’s true, then Jo from Learn Thai Podcast has a deal for you:

From Jo: With the Women Learn Thai Special (now offline), you can get the entire Learn Thai Podcast Premium Course now for $129 instead of $197 and make 2011 the year in which you learn to speak, read, write and understand Thai!

It’s a great time to start our course because we now have so much content online. Even people who want to learn a lot in a short time won’t run out of things to do anytime soon.

And of course, any upgrades and new areas added during the year are included in the course too!

Just like the banner says, there are 800 lessons in the Premium Course. Here’s a short list of what to expect:

  • Visuals: Online lessons, downloadable YouTube videos in many formats.
  • Sound: Individual sound bites in online lessons, YouTube videos and mp3 files to download.
  • Thai script: Script included with all lessons, complete Alphabet course, transliteration.
  • Thai only: Lessons without English translations.
  • Conversations: Movies and sound files of actual Thais talking.
  • Testing: Reviews after each lesson, vocabulary trainer for individual words.
  • Extras: Printable notes to download.

Complete Learn Thai Podcast Premium Course If you want to know more about the course, I wrote a rather long-winded review when their entire site was revamped: Review: Learn Thai Podcast Relaunches!

The Women Learn Thai Special Offer is only on the table from the 11th to the 16th of January, so why not celebrate 11.1.11 by learning Thai in 2011?

To do just that, click on the present to your right, or the link below.

Women Learn Thai Special: Now offline

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