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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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The Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary Update

Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary 2.0

The Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary Update…

I’ve been known to bug Chris Pirazzi about this and that software and lately it’s been about his progress with a brand spanking new TalkingThai phrasebook, as well as the update to Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary. Only just yesterday I received a positive reply to both. Excellent.

I’ll go into detail about the TalkingThai phrasebook in a later post, but for now, in the hands of the Apple gods is the latest update to the Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary.

Chris Pirazzi: Apple’s iOS 8.x “upgrades” came as a nasty surprise that broke many apps (not to mention making phone calls!). No wonder why, after an initial rush to upgrade, customer adoption of iOS 8 is slower than any recent iOS version.

In the case of the Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary from Paiboon Publishing and Word in the Hand, iOS 8 bugs took away access to key functionality that we have now restored in a free 1.8 app update just submitted to Apple. The features affected include “Find Words Inside,” “Real-World Fonts,” “Explain Spelling,” “Google Thai Word,” and “Clear History,” as well as the Paiboon Thai Script and Thai Sound custom keyboards. This app update also sports a new iOS 7/8 visual style, adds full-screen support on iPhone 5/6/6+, and fixes some rare reported app hangs. Now we are all waiting for Apple to approve our app update (a rather arbitrary process that can take days to weeks) and then you will see an update show in the App Store app on your device.

We’d also like everyone to know that we are nearing completion of a massive 2.0 upgrade to your dictionary app that has been more than two years in the making. This upcoming free 2.0 upgrade will include thousands of new Thai words suggested by users, thousands of complete, ready-to-use customizable phrases divided into 200+ practical categories like “Hotel,” “Ordering Food,” “Renting a Place,” and “Price Haggling,” a “Favorites” feature that lets you save and organize words and phrases you are learning, full-text search that lets you find words in the middle of phrases, and a complete rewrite of the internals of the app that will allow us to issue more frequent cross-platform upgrades in the future. Our first step will be to release a standalone phrasebook-only app, then fold all of its features and vocabulary into your dictionary app as a free 2.0 upgrade.

Thanks Chris. So to clarify, first out will be the Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary 1.8 update, followed by the Talking Thai Phrasebook 1.0. And finally, the Thai–English–Thai Dictionary 2.0 super update which will include the Talking Thai Phrasebook. If you feel you can’t wait, go ahead and purchase the phrasebook (we can always use the support).

The Talking Thai–English–Thai Dictionary just keeps on getting better. Students of the Thai language are extremely lucky in that they have access to such a top-notch dictionary. When I went to source an iOS app dictionary for Italian, none I found came even close in quality. We are indeed spoilt.

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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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FREE DRAW: James Higbies’ Essential Thai and Thai Reference Grammar

FREE DRAW: James Higbies' Essential Thai and Thai Reference Grammar

FREE DRAW! James Higbies’ Essential Thai AND Thai Reference Grammar…

Someone is going to get lucky soon. Originally, the prize for this draw was to be a signed copy of Essential Thai by James Higbie. But when Jim and I got together over a beer he agreed to offer both Essential Thai AND Thai Reference Grammar. Kudos to Jim, that’s quite a healthy prize!

As before, to be included in the draw the rules are simple:

  • You need to leave a comment(s) below.
  • The comment(s) need to be reasonable.

Explanation: Each comment gets counted so please feel free to leave as many as you like. But here’s the thing… the comments must add to the conversation as well as pertain to this post.

How it works: Each time a relevant comment is made, I’ll write the name on a slip of paper. When I meet up with Jim over a beer, the papers will be stirred, shaken, whatever, for him to pick the winning name.

After it’s over: The draw will close on Saturday morning, July 6, 8am BKK time. The winner will be announced that very same day.

Thai Reference Grammar and Essential Thai..

Both Essential Thai and Thai Reference Grammar are on my ‘must have’ Thai book list. Essential Thai because it covers the basics in an easy to understand manner. And Thai Reference Grammar because when I need to know something grammar-wise, it’s easily found.

Thai Reference GrammarThai Reference Grammar
Author: James Higbie
Paperback: 443 pages
Size: 9.4 x 6.9 x 1 inches
Published: July 10, 2006

Thai Reference Grammar has already been reviewed in Mark Hollow’s Review: A Guide to Thai Grammar Books, so I won’t cover it again.

Essential ThaiEssential Thai
Author: James Higbie
Paperback + CD: 234 pages
Size: 7.8 x 0.5 x 9.8 inches
Published: 2012

Most of those interviewed in the Successful Thai Language Learners series have a favourite Thai course. Mine is Essential Thai. When I first started learning Thai I heard of the legendary but out of print Essential Thai. Cherished copies of copies were being passed around, but by then, even those had all but disappeared (I looked). Lucky for beginners, Jim reprinted Essential Thai in 2012.

Teach Yourself Thai and Thai for Beginners are also good, so why do I favour Essential Thai? Well, if you pinned me down for a reason I’d have to say that it’s because the lessons get straight to the point. When you first start studying a foreign language you often don’t remember long, detailed explanations. In Essential Thai, after a brief overview of the subject matter, you get a selection of vocabulary and useful sentence patterns to practice with. And then you move onto the next subject.

What the course doesn’t have is a quiz (I’m partial to testing). If that’s how you learn, you can get around it quite easily by following the suggestions in Using the Assimil Method with Essential Thai.

Essential Thai: table of contents…

I could spend hours extolling the virtues of Essential Thai but if I do this review will never happen. Just ask Jim (he’s been waiting for a year). Instead, here’s the robust table of contents that clearly includes everything a student of the Thai language needs to get started.

Introduction: pronunciation, numbers, colours.

First Things: greetings, going places, very/not at all, already, thank you/excuse me, do you understand, pronouns/I am, speaking politely, I don’t know, can you speak Thai?

Shopping, getting around: money and shopping, paying in restaurants, how many, bottles of water, food and drinks to go, buying clothes, getting change, bargaining, where is, asking for a restroom, traveling – basic questions.

Questions and expressions: what’s your name, how are you, where are you from, how old are you, have you eaten yet, have you been in Thailand long, goodbye/good luck, phrases for learning Thai common expressions, expressions from Thai culture.

Step by step conversation: basic sentences, to be, too (too hot), this/the, the same/not the same, comparing, like more than/like the most, possessive, this person/that person, who/which person, numbers of people, using verbs, yes/no questions, maybe/I might, go with verbs, I like to/I want to, have to/must, can/able to, I’d rather, I’ve/I’ve never, have you yet, not anymore/never again, so/shall, connecting words, request/commands, let/allow, there is/there are, somebody/nobody, many/a lot, a little, more/again, only, each other, together/myself, a different one/not this one, what kind/what style, particles, notes on vocabulary, compound words and prefixes.

Conversation topics: family, marriage, work, religion, asking Thais where they are from, foreign people and things, important cards and documents, children and adults, some people/most people, weather, talking about places, feelings, dialogues.

Time: days of the week, morning/afternoon/night, telling time, minutes/house/days/weeks/months/years, how long, times/occasions, time conjunctions, other time words, months and years.

Food: ordering, drinks, ingredients, friend rice and noodles, Thai dishes, vegetarian food, western food, fruit, buying foods on the market.

Transportation: kinds of vehicles, stations/airport/pier, city bus, city to city bus, driving instructions, renting a vehicle.

Hotels and bungalows: hotels, asking for things, beach bungalow.

Getting around town: places in town, directions, near/far, prepositions of location, inside/outside/above/below, which floor, bank, post office, tailor/dressmaker, invitations/appointments.

Medical, emergencies, phone: parts of the body, medical problems, medicine, emergencies, telephone.

Around Thailand: areas of Thailand, Bangkok, Central Thailand/the East, the North, the Northeast, the South, forest, ocean, countryside, a Thai temple, home, Thai culture.

And the rest: reading Thai, classifiers, Thai dictionary.

Where to buy Essential Thai and Thai Reference Grammar…

In Bangkok you can get both books at Kinokuniya’s bookstore in Paragon. As I don’t like fighting traffic, whenever possible I use DCO Books (online bookstore).

DCO: Essential Thai with CD by James Higbie
DCO: Thai Reference Grammar by James Higbie and Snea Thinsan

DCO offers a wonderful service. When I’m in a hurry Danny sends my order by motorcycle taxi (and I’m always in a hurry!) Note: I do not get a cut for mentioning DCO but please do say “hey” from me anyway.

Both amazon.com and amazon.co.uk also carry Essential Thai and Thai Reference Grammar.

FREE DRAW recap…

So there you have it. To enter the draw leave relevant comments below. As many as you can muster. The draw will end next Saturday morning. The results of the draw will appear sometime that same day (after I wobble back home from meeting with Jim). I hope you get lucky!

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Review: Domnern Sathienpong Thai-English Dictionary

Domnern Sathienpong Thai-English Dictionary

Review: Domnern Sathienpong Thai-English Dictionary…

Title: Domnern Sathienpong Thai English Dictionary 4th Edition
Authors: G. Domnern, W. Sathienpong
ISBN: 9789742129200
Pages: 800
Price: 395baht (hardbound CD and larger font) 255 baht (paperback)
Availability: Just about anywhere which sells Thai books, Se-Ed, B2S, Asia Books, Kinokunia, Chula Books, etc.

I normally write reviews about Thai language schools and articles about my trials and tribulations in learning Thai. This is my first book review, so please bear with me.

I have several English-Thai dictionaries scattered around the house. Before I could really read Thai to any degree of proficiency I relied on them heavily. Problem is, looking up English words to find the Thai equivalent is often a hit or miss endeavor. True, you’ll get whatever the author of the dictionary thinks the appropriate Thai word or words for the English word, but what you won’t get is usage, example sentences, and compound words the word is tied to. And you often won’t get critical information about the word as far as if it is colloquial, formal, official, or used primarily in written Thai. And this is information a non-native speaker of Thai needs to use new vocabulary. These shortcomings had me giving away my English Thai dictionaries to Thai friends.

While browsing the dictionary section at B2S (the bookstore chain of Central Group) I happened across the bright blue cover of the Domnern Sathienpong Thai-English Dictionary. Now, at that time I could read Thai fairly well, meaning I could read something and mostly comprehend what it was saying. After I looked through the paperback edition I immediately bought it. Once I got it home I started reading it. I know, reading a dictionary doesn’t seem like an edge of your seat thing to do, but the way this dictionary presents information makes it quite an interesting read.

After a couple of days reading the paperback edition I realized that saving the 140 baht between the cost of the paperback and the hardback edition was short-sighted. The print in the paperback is noticeably smaller and often I couldn’t tell which vowel was which. A trip back to B2S to purchase the hardback edition solved and I was good to go.

The hardback version comes with a CD. I immediately installed it on my PC with disastrous results! It totally changed the entire desktop to the Windows default of giant icons, oversized printing, etc. An uninstall and system restore took care of the problem and I now use the CD as a coffee table coaster.

Some things I’ve found of interest in this dictionary are: the Thai word กระ, which can mean freckle, liver spot, or tortoise shell as a stand-alone word, is also the prefix for about 10 pages worth of words! Similarly the prefix ประ, which can mean to strike, touch, add, attack or pat on has nearly 9 pages worth of words.

What I like most about this dictionary is the use of example sentences in many of the definitions. I also like that the authors delineate slang from formal words, and seem to have no reticence in providing example sentences for some pretty coarse slang words. Now, granted, the slang is quite dated and not that much contemporary (ภาษาวัยรุ่น is included). Still, at 54 years old, it’s more age appropriate slang for me.

Another thing I really like is the incorporation of compound words related to a base word. I can’t begin to tell you the times I’ve looked up a word and then found myself reading the dictionary for 5 or 10 minutes. And all because there were so many compounds that can be made from the single word I was looking up. The dictionary has 71 listings for word compounds which start with ใจ and 36 for words which in which ใจ is used as a suffix.

In the back of the dictionary are appendices devoted to: birds, mammals, reptiles, insects, plants, aquatic life, geographical names, Thai dishes and ingredients, military and police ranks, Thai governmental, state, financial institutions, public universities and abbreviations. These are also very interesting to read thru, especially the section about police/military rank and the abbreviations. You can’t begin to read a Thai newspaper without a sizeable vocabulary in Thai abbreviations so this indeed is a helpful section.

Another asset, this dictionary is captioned with icons to denote polite, formal, slang, royal, etc.

Some of the downsides to the dictionary…

There is no Thai pronunciation for words, so you’re left to your own devices on whether a particular word has a double functioning consonant (used as a final and then again as a stand-alone sound too). Even if they’d included the pronunciation Thais are used to reading, it would have been an improvement, especially for a non-native reader/speaker.

I’ll relate a pronunciation fox-paw (faux-pas) I had 6 or so months ago in Thai language class. Now I’d learned the word อวยพร by looking it up in the dictionary when I was reading a teen romance novel, but I’d never spoken it aloud. In the lesson at school during the read aloud part, I unfortunately got stuck with a passage that had the word อวยพร in it. I pronounced it as อะ-วะ-ยะ-พน. The teacher who was in the process of taking a drink from a bottle of water almost blew it out her nose at my horrific mangling of the word. Honestly, if there had been a Thai pronunciation in the dictionary when I first looked up the word, I’da never made a fool out of myself like that. Still, hardly anyone else in class knew I mispronounced it so badly, until the teacher (after composing herself) pointed it out to everyone. We had a good laugh and I took it in stride. But really, sometimes you just don’t know how to pronounce an unfamiliar Thai word and a pronunciation guide would be a valuable addition.

They also have the irritating penchant for listing a word, but instead of providing the definition saying “see such and such other word”. I mean come on, how hard would it have been to put the definition in two places?

As I said earlier, that CD is a disaster waiting to happen so DON’T load it into your PC. I did Google around for a fix but came up empty. Also, it won’t display Thai font correctly on Windows 7, so using it as a coaster to set drinks on is probably the best you’ll get out of it.

Those are minor shortcomings and certainly shouldn’t stop anyone who can even read Thai marginally from getting this dictionary. I’ve found I’m about as fast (sometimes faster) looking up words with it than some technophiles are using the Thai-English dictionary app on their smart phones. It certainly gets you dialed in to the order of the Thai alphabet (which I still can’t recite BTW), and the progression of Thai vowels in a dictionary format. While I can’t recite the Thai consonant alphabet in order, I can look at the dictionary and guess pretty accurately what letter is what by the thickness of the sections.

Who will get use out of the dictionary…

I’ve recommended this dictionary to foreigners learning Thai almost any time I run into one. Truth be told, I’ve even bought copies to give them out to people studying Thai. Recently I ran into one foreigner I’d given a copy to months before. He promptly took 400 baht out of his pocket and gave it to me, saying it was the best thing he’d come across to help build his Thai vocabulary. I mean, how cool is that?

Cat wanted me to include some of my favorite words and example sentences in this review. However, my version of spoken Thai is coarse, blunt, direct, littered with profanity and far from suitable for a website like this. I think readers should invest in the dictionary and find their own pearls of wisdom rather than me providing examples (which might not be viewer appropriate).

I hope this review was of interest. If I continue to review books I’m certain to get better…

Tod Daniels | toddaniels at gmail dot com

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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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