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Learn Thai with HelloTalk: Android & iOS Language Exchange

Learn Thai with HelloTalk

HelloTalk: Language Exchange App…

To learn Thai, there are a growing number of iOS and Android apps available. If you haven’t seen it yet, just check out my GINORMOUS List of iOS Apps: iPhone, iPad and iPod.

Subject by subject, I’m working my way through the reviews but it’ll take some time. As it’s an immediate concern, Zackery from HelloTalk asked if I could please bump the review in order to help out their Thai members (and in turn, help others to learn Thai).

Zackery: So far we have 7,300 native Thai registered users, versus 1,915 users learning Thai. That means more than 5,000 Thai users might not find a language exchange partner. Your article about HelloTalk might help thousands of Thai users trying to learn foreign languages for a better future.

5,000+ – that’s a lot of Thai speakers going without language exchange partners. And it doesn’t matter if your native tongue is English, French, Italian, Russian, Japanese, whatever. They are waiting for you.

How HelloTalk works…

  1. To use the HelloTalk app to learn Thai, you first sign up. And while I object to sharing my age, country and location, there’s extensive privacy and control features in place.
  2. Next up is a tutorial of HelloTalk complete with video (you can choose to skip it).
  3. After that, it’s time to search for a suitable partner and then send them a message.
  4. Once connected with your new partner you can chat via text or send voice messages.
  5. Other options available are sketches, the ease of translating on the go, and the ability for language exchange partners to correct each other’s mistakes.
  6. You can even save messages in a notepad for later study.

Btw: Did you notice that no money is required? That’s right, this is a free app.

These two reviews go into a fair bit of detail about the HelloTalk app:

Nik’s QuickShout: HelloTalk – A language learning community on your mobile
BLCU: HelloTalk Chinese Language Exchange App (iOS/Android)

Short on time? Watch these quick overview videos instead:

Where to find HelloTalk…

HelloTalkSpeak Thai Slang - Nagaraja Rivers
Author: HelloTalk
Facebook: Hellotalk
Twitter: hellotalkapp
Google Play: HelloTalk

Price: Free
Updated: Oct 20, 2014
Compatible with: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. Requires iOS 6.0 or later.

Remember: 5,000+ Thai speakers are going without language exchange partners. See you there?

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How to Learn a Language in a Foreign Country: Thai Resources Included

How to Learn a Language in a Foreign Country

Video: How to Learn a Language in a Foreign Country…

In David Mansaray’s latest video he asks interpreter and translator Robert Bigler for his views on learning a language in a foreign country. In the video, Robert also discussed how he actively studies languages.

This is one of the best videos on learning languages. It’s that good. Actually, this video is what I’ve come to expect from David. David’s How to Use Motivation Effectively video is brilliant.

How to learn a language in a foreign country…

My original intention was to share only the bare basics but I found so MUCH good stuff I asked David for permission to post the full list. Thank you for your generosity David!

And while I’m handing out thanks, thank you for introducing us to Robert too. He’s a jewel :-)

If you enjoyed the video as much as I did, please leave comments on David’s YouTube channel: How to Learn a Language in a Foreign Country.

In the interview Robert gives advice on learning resources. I’ve added top favourites for learning Thai to the post below. I could easily add more but I ran out of time. If you have other suggestions, please do share them in the comments.

For even more resources for learning Thai, go to WLTs FREE Thai language learning resources. If you want to read about the resources, WLTs check out Archives.

Talking points: How to Learn a Language in a Foreign Country…

Prepare yourself: get as much information about the country as possible, acquire enough of the language to have a basic conversation, be open-minded and interested in the language as well as the culture and people.

Learning resources…

The bare essentials: a good dictionary with sample sentences, basic grammar book, self-study course with dialogs, a good phrase book.

Instead of buying ten books and merely glancing at each, take one small book to focus on.

Dictionaries with phrases:
Domnern Sathienpong Thai-English dictionary (hardcopy with CD)
New Model English-Thai Dictionary ฉบับห้องสมุด (Set) (ปกแข็ง) (hardcopy)
P. Sethaputra English-Thai Dictionary of Contemporary Usage (paperback)
Thai-language.com dictionary (online)
Thai2English dictionary(online)

Dictionary:
Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary

Note: This dictionary doesn’t have sentences (yet) but it’s still the best dictionary on the market.

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

Grammar books:
Thai: An Essential Grammar (hardcopy) and Kindle edition
Thai Reference Grammar: The Structure of Spoken Thai (hard copy)

WLT: Review: A Guide to Thai Grammar Books

Self-Study courses:
Essential Thai (hard copy)
FSI Materials: Thai Language Wiki
Glossika Thai
ITS4Thai online
ITS4Thai iOS apps
Jcademy: Cracking Thai Fundamentals (online)
Teach Yourself Thai Complete (hard copy)
Thai for Beginners (hard copy) and iPhone, iPod Touch & iPad App
Thai language products at Paiboon Publishing
Learn Thai Podcast (online and iTunes)
L-Lingo Thai (online) and iOS iPad

WLT: Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Thai Bites
WLT: David Smyth Updates Teach Yourself Thai
WLT: FREE Download: Glossika Thai Fluency 1 GMS and GSR
WLT: ITS4Thai DRAW + iPhone and iPad Review
WLT: Thai for Beginners iPhone App
WLT: Review: Learn Thai Podcast Relaunches!
WLT: Using the Assimil Method with Essential Thai

Phrasebooks:
WLT: iPhone Apps: Thai Language Phrase books
WLT: Thai Language Phrase Books: A Mega Review

Natural materials…

Start with natural material as soon as possible: radio programs, newspaper articles, magazines, on subjects you are interested in.

Radio:
Cat Radio
Surf Music: Thailand
Thailand Radio Stations
Radio Thailand and Thai TV & Radio Pro (iOS apps)

Paul Garrigan: This is the Sound of Thailand

Newspapers:
Onlinenewspapers.com: Thailand
Learn how to read Thai newspapers at Paknam Forums
Learning from the news > Learn Thai from the Bangkok Post

WLT: Free Download: Advanced Thai Reading and Vocabulary Building
WLT: Learn Thai from the Bangkok Post

Thai TV:
FukDuK.tv (offline for now – will be back)
Thai tv Online, ThaiTVonline.tv

Frequency lists…

Use frequency lists. The same 3-4000 words come up all the time. Learn them. Work with them. If you don’t understand something, ask people to explain.

Chula University: 5000 word frequency list (no longer online at Chula)

You’ll notice that Chula’s list is all in Thai. When I asked Mark Hollow (programmer) about the English he graciously created several versions for download.

WLT: Thai Frequency Lists with English Definitions

Words, phrases, conversations…

Learn phrases you’ll use in discussions pertinent to your life: who you are, where you are from, what you do, how old you are, etc.

Have a basic set of structures: how to say what happened in the past, what is going on right now, what’s going to happen in the future.

Anticipate likely conversations, prepare your replies, talk to yourself in the foreign language, rehearse as if you are on stage.

When preparing for conversations on certain subjects write down repeatedly used words and expressions. Go through them. The words you lacked in previous conversations are the words you need to focus on.

If you hear a nice expression use it in your next sentence. Make sentences out of the words you’ve just heard.

When you have problems with expressing yourself, immediately look it up. If there is something you cannot say because you don’t know the word, look up that word.

Don’t learn words on their own without context. If you learn them in context you will get exposure to the words and structures. Exposure is the key.

You don’t need a lot of material but you have to be able to reproduce them automatically so it’s essential to actually speak the language. You need to get used to talking. Your muscles need to be trained.

How to listen…

Be a good listener. You will benefit from the wealth of knowledge received from the person you are talking to.

To get into the flow of the language listen to audio. Get a lot of exposure by listening. Listening helps to practice the language passively. Listen carefully and attentively. Don’t listen in the background.

Audio:
Glossika Thai
Self Study Thai: Audio, transcripts, English translations and flashcards from VOA
Thai Recordings: Five minute audio clips with transcripts for intermediate learners of Thai

WLT: FREE Download: Glossika Thai Fluency 1 GMS and GSR
WLT: Free Podcasts in the Thai Language
WLT: ดึงดูดใจ: Thai Lyrics and Translations

Create a natural environment…

Create a natural environment by getting involved in discussions of interest on TV and radio. Sitcoms are a great way to get use to structures that come up in everyday conversation. If you lack the words to get your point across in your fake conversation, look them up. Keep talking. Say something like, “I’m sorry I have to look up the word”.

Thai videos on YouTube:
Andrew Biggs on YouTube
Andrew Bigs: Easy English
Adam Bradshaw’s YouTube Channel
AUA: Learn Thai Language Videos
ฝรั่งป๊อก ป๊อก Farang Pok Pok (search for other episodes)

WLT: AUA Thai Videos on YouTube
WLT: Thai Movies: A Relaxing Way to Study Thai

Tips on reading, writing, speaking…

Writing and reading is the whole package. When it comes to internalising grammatical structures and vocabulary, writing does a lot.

Write by hand, not by using the computer.

Copy books. Look at the words. Really get involved. Read the sentences out loud. Write them. Look at them. Get embedded in the language environment.

Speaking and reading:
AUA Thai: Reading and Writing videos
Learn2SpeakThai: Learn Thai with Maanii Books
Slice of Thai: Voice Viewer
Thai Reader Project

WLT: Andrew Biggs is Tongue Thai’d on YouTube
WLT: AUA Thai: FREE Reading and Writing Videos
WLT: Download 12 FREE Manee Books
WLT: Free Online Thai Readers
WLT: FREE Resource: Thai Reader Project
WLT: Thai-English Readers with Mp3s
WLT: The Easy Way for Beginners to Read and Write Thai

Language exchange…

For language exchange using email, you both choose the topics you are interested in. Each prepares text. Each corrects the other’s. You have the time to work with whatever tool you feel comfortable with (a dictionary, sentences from books, etc).

ALG Crosstalk Project: Bangkok

WLT: How to Learn Thai via Skype: The Series
WLT: Online Language Exchange Partners

Meeting native speakers…

When going abroad for an extended period of time, try to meet people by: joining clubs, fitness clubs, playing sports, and doing volunteer work.

Volunteer work is the best way to actually live with the people and not just beside them or next to them.

Be honest enough to tell people that you appreciate being corrected. Encourage people to correct you. Ask them to help you out. But also ask them not to judge you. There is a major difference between correcting somebody and judging somebody.

But it’s not the mistakes you should be worrying about. It is not being told about your mistakes.

It’s very important, especially in the beginning stages, that you meet someone you feel comfortable with to talk to.

When you get to the stage where you are open enough to actually learn from others without feeling bad for making mistakes, then you will be really successful.

Making progress is why it’s very important to have somebody around you who is understanding, but is also honest enough to actually tell you what you are saying wrong.

How to deal with communication snafus…

There will be moments of frustration, even when you believe that you are well-prepared. When this happens, don’t give up. Keep practicing.

You will make a lot of mistakes and at first might not understand much of what they are saying. When you make mistakes ask people to help you out.

When you struggle in conversation, once back at home get out your dictionary and turn to the subject at hand.

A final word from David Mansaray…

When it comes to spoken language people are willing to let some things go, but when it comes to writing people are a lot more sensitive to mistakes. They are going to be a lot more honest when correcting your mistakes. Writing is a great tool for the shy because you don’t have to immediately deal with that confrontation, you can look at your own mistakes to see where to improve.

It’s really important to have someone that you trust to help you with your language. Who you practice language with is also very important. When going through the stages you can be physiologically fragile. If you are not corrected in a friendly way then you can lose confidence in yourself, and that can make you retreat.

Where to find David and Robert…

David Mansaray:

Web: David Mansaray
YouTube Channel: davidmansaray
twitter: @DavidMansaray

Robert Bigler:

The Polyglot Project Podcast: Robert Bigler

Please join me in congratulating David and Robert on their fabulous video at: How to Learn a Language in a Foreign Country.

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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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Review: L-Lingo, Learn Thai Podcast, and Rosetta Stone

Learning Thai: L-Lingo, Learn Thai Podcast, and Rosetta Stone

Learning Thai: L-Lingo, Learn Thai Podcast, and Rosetta Stone…

I have a very logical mind. My job is software development, quality assurance in software engineering and search engine optimization. My hobby is chess and on my holidays I solve Sudokos.

My mind is always working. I want to “understand” the software problem, the position on the chess board, and the structure of languages. But as I have no “feeling” for foreign languages, I have to “build” the sentences, piece by piece.

I started learning Thai with Rosetta Stone, but had nearly no progress. Learning without translation and grammar was impossible for me. Frustrated, I stopped studying Thai for 12 months.

With L-Lingo I found a similar concept to Rosetta Stone: pictures, audios, Thai- and Latin-writing, translations and lessons. But there was no introduction to grammar, and I needed it. I thought “I will never understand, I have to memorize the sentences”.

I found the grammar explanations the most important advantage of Learn Thai Podcast (LTP). The grammar introduction helped me to “understand” the sentences and get a feeling for the structure of the Thai language. Also, being able to download mp3 lessons to listen to while traveling in Germany was a huge help.

After some weeks with LTP I had a basic understanding of Thai so I again tried Rosetta Stone. Rosetta Stone uses a very intensive method to repeat and check the content. And while I don’t feel that it is possible to learn solely with Rosetta Stone, I did find it helpful to repeat the basic lessons.

Rosetta Stone and L-Lingo have a better course structure and statistics than LTP. They say “follow me, I show you the next lesson”. In LTP there are hundreds of lessons, and I have to repeat each lesson until I have learned it. With LTP there are no tests and no visual indicators for my progress.

So my breakthrough with the Thai language started with LTP, but I learn vocabulary best with L-Lingo. For my Thai studies so far, I’ve been using a mix of three courses: start with LTP to learn “content”, learn vocabulary with pictures and quizzes with L-Lingo, and finish with the intensive tests in Rosetta Stone.

Reviewing the L-Lingo update…

When L-Lingo updated this week I was asked give my opinion. The new grammar notes are a good introduction for beginners, and if I had this software a year ago I would have seen much more progress in my Thai studies.

Each lesson is introduced with a short summary and grammar notes for the lesson. The new words needed to understand the sentences are also introduced. I found this angle very good for my learning style.

In comparison to LTP, the L-Lingo grammar notes are shorter and easier. LTP’s grammar instructions are much deeper. For instance, in LTP, when teaching “how to ask questions”, the question words and how to place them in sentences is explained.

LTP is more helpful for me because after learning basic vocabulary I am now creating real life sentences. In addition, the grammar lessons in LTP are labeled, so I can choose lessons that are interesting to me.

L-Lingo has matching grammar notes for each lesson, while LTP has grammar notes for topics. Both ways are good, but for learning grammar I prefer the LTP way. To learn the grammar together with the vocabulary in the course program of L-Lingo, the grammar notes are a good solution. Maybe L-Lingo can extend the notes (I cannot explain what I’m missing, but it feels a little bit short for me).

In some notes from L-Lingo the explanation for new words are in the examples (but I haven’t checked to see if L-Lingo introduces every new word). For me, it is important to know the words being used, even if they are not in the exercises. Here LTP is nearly perfect for me because every word in every example is translated. And even if the words are not in the exercises, you get a feeling for the common words like “have”, “is”, “he”, “they”, “everybody”, and how to use them.

L-Lingo made a big step in the right direction with the grammar notes but I will continue with my method of learning by using the three courses together: LTP, L-Lingo and Rosetta Stone.

Learning languages is very hard for me (even getting new English vocabulary is not easy). Now, with LTP and L-Lingo, I am making progress in Thai. Week after week I see that my vocabulary is extending. Sometimes I even understand words in Thai movies or songs :-)

In spring next year I will try “learning with Skype“. I want to have human partner for speaking and understanding, for discussions and getting into unexpected situations.

Reiner Eiteljörge
www.antaro.de

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Thai Language Schools in Pattaya

Thai Language Schools in Pattaya

Sourcing a Thai language school in Pattaya…

On moving to Pattaya one of my first orders of business was to find a decent Thai language school that could fulfill my two main requirements: provide me with a 1 year education visa and be able to teach me to speak Thai competently.

While the Education Visa is a necessity the actual learning of the Thai language is a goal anyone seeking to to live, or stay long term, in Thailand should have.

As I have chosen to live in Pattaya the schools I will be reviewing are all Pattaya based but some do have offices in Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well. While there are a multitude of Thai language schools in Pattaya I have chosen the top 3 schools in the area based on ease of access, variety of schedules and payment plans and the fact that these three schools all offered a 1 year student visa.

Disclaimer: The following review of Thai language courses offered in Pattaya is based on my personal experience attending a free class at each school and talking with both representatives of the school and students, as well as looking over their teaching materials. These reviews constitute my opinions and my opinions only, your experience may differ.

Also keep in mind that everyone has a different learning curve and style and what may work well for one student doesn’t necessarily work well for another. Anyone interested in learning the Thai language while in Thailand should do their homework and look into the various schools/teachers available and if possible sit in on a free class to get a feel for the teachers teaching style and the methods used by the school. Only then can you make an informed decision as to what is best for you.

Also note that all the free classes I sat in on were beginner’s courses which had all just started at the beginning of the week and at most had only a few classes under their belt.

Review: Thai language schools in Pattaya…

PLC: Pattaya School of Languages and Computers

Location: 194/10-11 Moo 9 Pattaya Klang Road

Info: As the name suggests PLC offers a wide variety of classes from Language to computers and web design. The representatives I spoke to were well-informed about classes, schedules and cost.

Materials: The lessons in the text book seemed to flow together nicely and the reviews at the end of each lesson were very helpful. Since I am new to learning Thai I can’t give a comprehensive report on the text book used but in my opinion I could easily follow the lessons which were in English and Thai with phonetic spellings and tone marks which helped to get pronunciation correct.

Teacher: The teacher who taught the free class I attended was very knowledgeable and spoke both English and Thai fluently. She took her time going through the lessons to make sure everyone understood the lesson. She also corrected bad pronunciation.

Students: Students seemed eager to start class and seemed to have a good grasp of vocabulary and speaking small sentences.

Class: This was a group class that consisted of 8 people. PLC also offers individual classes and smaller classes for a different fee.

Schedule: Classes are offered Monday through Friday at varying times to fit any schedule.

Cost: Learning Thai in a group class will cost you 3000 baht for 20 hours, 9000 baht for 60 hours or 17,000 baht for 120 which includes a 1 year Education Visa. There is a 100 baht nonrefundable registration fee for all classes.

My Take: The class, teacher and method seem to be put together well but the class was rather boring, sticking strictly to the materials at hand. I think I could learn to speak Thai well here but I worry that I might lose interest over time.

Pro Language

Location: 116/33 Moo.9 Central Pattaya Road (Pattaya Klang)

Info: Pro Language is another outfit that has offices in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya. Their representatives were very knowledgeable about classes, schedule and pricing and even went the extra mile to make sure I learned a little Thai while signing up for the free class.

Materials: The course book is well laid out and lessons flow easily one into the next with reviews and vocabulary at the end of each lesson. The lessons are laid out in both Thai and English with phonetic spellings and tone marks to get the pronunciations correct. The beginner’s material actually has you dealing with not only words but sentence structure with later lessons dealing with reading and writing Thai.

Teacher: While the teacher followed the lesson plan he would often deviate from the lesson bringing students real lives into the examples and using real places in Pattaya to make his point. The class was much more interactive with the students being asked simple questions in Thai and giving the responses back in Thai using sentences and proper sentence structure. Emphasis was there when it came to pronunciation, tone and sentence structure.

Students: Seemed eager for class, showed great participation and had very good vocabulary and sentence skills.

Class: The class was small at just 4 people which made for a much more personal experience.

Schedule: Classes are offered 7 days a week at varying times to fit any schedule.
Cost: Group pricing starts at 9000 baht for 60 lessons up to 25,000 baht for 180 lessons and a 1 year Education Visa.

My Take: My teacher was very knowledgeable and both fluent in Thai and English. The materials are easy to follow so there should be no problem studying on your own. The class is very interactive and hands on which for me is very conducive for learning. The teacher made me feel like I was getting a one on one lesson and often used examples from the student’s lives to teach lessons which made the lesson much more personal and easy to remember.

Callan & Walen

Location: 194/74 Soi Paniad Chang Moo.9 Central Pattayaq Road (Pattaya Klang)

Info: Callan & Walen is a very well known School both in Pattaya and Bangkok. Their representatives were very knowledgeable about classes, schedule and pricing and the offices were very nice.

Materials: The course book seemed very well put together but unfortunately there was no phonetic spellings and much of the course book is in Thai. This is in fact part of the Walen method in which they get you to start reading Thai early on and not rely on phonetic spellings. While this may be good in theory I think a little help in the beginning is paramount when starting off with Thai. One worry is that I would be lost with the materials when studying on my own.

Teacher: The teacher seemed to follow an inflexible lesson plan that hinges on mostly repetition of words. While this method may work well for others I can’t see where this would help me to speak Thai in the long run. The teacher seemed almost mechanical and I didn’t hear her correct the pronunciation of any of the students during the class.

Students: Seemed mechanical but had a good vocabulary although sometimes pronunciation was off.

Class: The class size was nice at 6 people but you would think with that few people there would be more interaction going on between students and teacher, there wasn’t much if any.

Schedule: Classes are on offer 7 days a week with lessons to fit any schedule.

Cost: Group lessons start at 9900 baht for 60 lessons, 19,200 baht for 120 lessons and 24,960 baht for 180 lessons which includes a 1 year Education Visa.

My Take: While the class size is perfect I don’t feel their method of teaching will work for me. Repetition can be a good thing but without sentence structure and pronunciation into the mix I feel I would be wasting my time. A strong vocabulary is important but if I can’t put that vocabulary into proper form then I don’t think I’ll be speaking Thai.

My choice of a Thai language school in Pattaya…

After sitting in on free classes offered by these schools I decided to go with Pro Language as their methods, materials and teachers really suited my style of learning and I feel I will get the most out of their classes.

This doesn’t mean the other schools aren’t worthwhile. If you are thinking about learning the Thai language in Pattaya I encourage you to sit in on the free classes offered by these schools. You may find that one of the other methods suits your learning style better. You may also have different teachers than I had for each class and they may make the learning experience much different than what I observed.

Whatever you choose, making the choice to learn the Thai language is a daunting one but one that I think will make your experience in Thailand all the richer.

Talen (AKA Tim Bull)

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