So I’m currently learning to read and speak Thai, and while it’s certainly not easy it’s not actually as hard as I thought it would be. I guess it helps that I actually want to learn it, unlike French which was shoved down my neck for 4 years in school and yet I can still only understand the basics.
I’ve been building a list of resources and links for Thai learning and thought it might be helpful to brain dump it all here, please add any others you know of in the comments…
http://www.learningthai.com/ – a massive site with a lot of really good learning resources. The nice thing here is that a lot of it seems to be aimed at a younger age level, which makes it great for beginners! There’s also lots of familiar texts (Aesops fables, Winnie the Pooh) translated into Thai to practice with. Good forums with mp3 downloads etc.
http://www.learningthai.com/books/manee/index.html – part of the learningthai.com site but worth a mention all on it’s own, this is an online version of a popular early school book used from the 70′s until recently in Thai schools (a bit like the old Tricolore books everyone my age learnt French with). It’s got a great learning curve, loads of mini tests, and even features narration at ‘slow’ and ‘normal’ speeds.
http://www.learningthai.com/photoalbum/index.php – another section worth a mention of its own, a large collection of pictures of Thai road signs, products and advertising. A very useful resource as, much like English, the designers can get quite creative with the letter forms!
http://www.thai-language.com/ – a massive (and a little shambolic) site… lessons, dictionary, reference, if it’s not on here it’s probably not Thai! Good forums also.
http://learn-thai-podcast.com/ – does what it says on the tin
http://www.flashcardexchange.com/tag/thai – a whole load of free online Thai flashcards.
http://slice-of-thai.com/language/ – interesting collection of resources, flashcards, fonts and links. Even has a free downloadable spectrogram for you to practice your tones with!
http://www.learnthaionline.com/ – has some nice examples of real Thai signs to practice reading, and a windows only app that uses a novel (but odd) way of learning the letters through funny illustrations (e.g apparently ค looks like someone carrying a cactus?).
http://langhub.com/en-th/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/ – a great site full of video and audio content for learners.
http://www.teachthai.com/ – the official site from the Thai Ministry of Education… and the only site here that requires you to signup to use it, so I’ve not bothered. Aren’t governments great!
Thai 101 – a blog about Thai language, media and culture.
http://www.thai2english.com/ – online Dictionary and English<->Thai translation engine. They’ve also got a new standalone Windows app coming out that looks handy, even lets you type in transliteration and it converts it to Thai script on the fly!
http://www.thailanguage.org – small site, not much there but few interesting sections on Thai slang, sign language etc.
http://www.thai-blogs.com/ – not really a learning resource, but a whole load of blogs written by farangs (westerners) living in Thailand, some interesting stuff.
http://www.bangkokscams.com/- again not a language resource but worth a read if you’re visiting.
Utter coincidence, but I’ve just found out it’s H.M. Queen Sirikit of Thailand (Somdet Phra Nang Chao Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat) birthday today. Happy Birthday! (She reads my blog all the time