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How I learn Thai - Blogs - Thailand Forums
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How I learn Thai

Rating: 2 votes, 4.50 average.
I have been trying to learn some Thai for more than 20 years now. Luckily my efforts have been more or less successfulalready!
I started - the first time I went to Thailand - with a book with the ridiculous title "Easy Thai". This is more than ridiculous, because there is no such thing as Easy Thai! Thai is a really difficult language for westerners.
My first serious attempt to learn the language was with the FSI Basic Thai course. Books with tapes. The material is really good (and I paid a lot of money for it!), but they use some transliteration, which I believe is principally wrong. From the first lesson on one should use the Thai alphabet. But apart from that, to learn to speak Thai on a basic level, the FSI course is really good material.
By the way, the course is now Public Domain, and can be freely downloaded from the internet. And even better news: A group of enthusiastic people has translated all the transliterated phrases into real Thai writing. So now I believe this is the best basic course to start learning Thai.
A place to learn the alphabet and tone rules could be I do not recommend this site for more than (very) basic study, because you don't
know where to start, and the different resources have very different levels, without them being specified.
Anyway, when I had discovered that the only way to master the language is to use a book that uses the Thai alphabet from the start, I studied "Fundamentals of the Thai Language". It is a bit outdated, but it works. But in this book you miss the spoken examples of the texts.

My next (and quite successful) attempt was "Manii and Friends", online. Especially book two learned me a lot. There you have a course, using the Thai alphabet, with sound examples of the complete text, and some grammar.

But what next? It took me a long time to find a suitable follow-up. I started with the Mary Haas Reader (online), but that was a bit too advanced, directly after Manii. And the texts were not very appealing to me.

But: A few weeks ago I discovered that there is a FSI Reader online. Good texts, a bit advanced, but not too difficult for me, with full sound examples for all lessons. That is it! Now I can get further in speaking, reading and listening. Find it at
This is great stuff, as the Thai Basic Course of FSI also was.
What will come after these 56 lessons? maybe than at last I will be able to read simple books. If not, I will have to find new materials. But after more then 20 yers of visiting Thailand (and more than 16 years of marriage with a Thai wife) I will be able to understand and read the Thai language reasonably!
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