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The Thai language, both written and spoken, is worlds apart from English.

Whether to pick up a few words and phrases to help you on holiday, or to gain a fuller understanding of both written and spoken Thai, a wide range of resources are available.

Click on any of the following headings:




Introduction to Thai


If you are serious about learning Thai, you'll pick the language up much sooner and be able to speak more fluently by learning written Thai at the same time.

On the other hand, if you merely wish to pick up a handful of words or phrases to get you by, you'll be relieved to know you can get by quite happily without learning Thai script.

There are several distinct differences between Thai and English grammar:

  • Thai is a tonal language. There are five tones; rising, falling, low, middle and high. This is the aspect of Thai language western speakers have the most difficulty with. Using the wrong tone can cause you to be missunderstood, even if the pronunciation is otherwise OK.

  • There are no variant or plural forms of adjectives and nouns.
    Thais say ‘three mouse’ instead of ‘three mice' and 'five apple' instead of 'five apples'.

  • Thai has no verb conjugations. Past, present and future tense are understood in context or by the use of adverbs relating to time.

  • Thai language contains no articles - the, a, an.

  • Adjectives come after the noun.
    Thais say ‘apple green’ instead of ‘the green apple'.

  • The verb ‘to be’ is not used with adjectives.
    Thais say 'she beautiful' rather than 'she is beautiful'

  • 'Yes' and 'No' are used far less often than in English. In answer to the question 'you feel good?', the reply would often be 'feel good' or 'not feel good' rather than 'yes' or 'no'.

  • Thai script has only one case. There are no capital and lower case variants.

  • Thai script is written without spaces between words. Spaces are generally only placed between sentences or for clarification of a particular word.



If you are looking at learning Thai seriously, here is a small taste of what you are in for:

The Thai alphabet consists of 44 consonants:

The 44 Thai Consonants in Alphabetical Order

32 vowel combinations:

The 32 Thai Vowels สระ
The 32 Thai Vowels สระ
The 32 Thai Vowels สระ

4 different tone marks:

The 4 Tone Marks ไม้

4 special characters:

The 4 Special Characters

... and just to put the icing on the cake, numbers too:

Numbers 0 to 10

Confused already? Don't worry ......

For those more accustomed to "ABC..." the Thai language can be quite daunting.

In tourist areas most Thais know a reasonable amount of English and signs are often written in both languages. If you are visiting Thailand on holiday, getting to know a few words and phrases will be much appreciated by Thais and you'll have plenty of fun giving it a try. Don't worry about getting it wrong, most English speaking Thais will have as bad a grasp of English pronunciation as you have of Thai. Just enjoy yourself. Check out the Holiday Thai section for phrasebooks you can use to enhance the experience of Thailand during your visit.

Want to learn to speak Thai like a Thai? Then check out the other sections from Absolute Beginners to Beginners and Intermediate / Advanced Thai. Several Dictionaries are also available to assist you at all levels.


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Holiday Thai


There are a wide range of phrasebooks available to assist you during your visit to the Land of Smiles. The following are all available in the UK. Click on any picture for more information:

 
Thai-English Dictionary & Phrasebook
Thai-English Dictionary & Phrasebook

This book contains an extremely helpful layout and method of transliteration (converting Thai script into readable English). Very easily understood, it also contains a small dictionary. For a holiday in Thailand this is an excellent aid to speaking Thai.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

In-Flight Thai: Learn Before You Land
In-Flight Thai: Learn Before You Land - Audio CD

Short lessons introduce beginning students to the Thai language.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

The Rough Guide to Thai (A Dictionary Phrasebook)
The Rough Guide to Thai (A Dictionary Phrasebook)

This guide departs from the traditional phrasebook format and provides easily accessed words and phrases. It is laid out in dictionary style and also contains cultural tips for difficult situations, such as phonecalls, and a practical menu reader. The only downside to the book is it contains no Thai script, so showing the book to a Thai and pointing to a word or phrase will get you nowhere. Otherwise extremely useful.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Lonely Planet: Thai Phrasebook
Lonely Planet: Thai Phrasebook

This phrasebook contains essential words and phrases for effective communication with local people. It features a pronunciation guide, basic grammar, information about local cuisine and useful travel tips. Includes a small two-way dictionary.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Making Out in Thai
Making Out in Thai

This pocket sized volume is a must for those who want to understand what the locals really think of you! Thai slang and popular phrases are let out of the bag. Learning a few key words or phrases from this book, but keeping it under your hat, will be very illuminating on your next visit to the beautiful country of Thailand. Designed largely for conversations between the sexes, it still has plenty to keep all amused and keep you ahead of the rest.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Thai for Lovers
Thai for Lovers

This twin cassette pack offers a new and fun way to communicate in Thai. An enjoyable introduction to Thai words and conversation in the romantic culture of Thailand. Written by a Thai / American couple, it offers an understanding of which words and phrases to use, how to express feelings in Thai and Thai attitudes towards love and romance.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Travel Talk Thai [AUDIOBOOK]
Travel Talk Thai Audio Book

Includes a 60-minute audio CD providing key words and phrases, an audio reference guide, and a 'Lonely Planet' Phrasebook featuring: grammar, a 2-way dictionary, information on local culture, and travel tips.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details


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Absolute Beginners


Whether you can already speak a few Thai words or know none at all, the following are a great first step for anyone wishing to start learning the language. None will teach you to converse in Thai fluently, but all give a good foundation to understanding and speaking the language in preparation for further learning:

 
Talk Now! Learn Thai
Talk Now! Learn Thai

Excellent computer software not so much in terms of content but in terms of the way that it makes you remember what things are called. It will not teach you to fluently speak Thai but it is very useful as an aid to learning and as an introduction to more involved texts. It's fun to use and, as we all know, learning is much easier when its fun.

UK delivery - click on the image for more details

World Talk Thai
World Talk Thai

Perfect follow-on to the popular "Talk Now" range.
Dictation, worksheets and a brand new recording section.
Topics covered include calendar, sentence building, asking directions, weather and numbers.
Interactive TV Quiz.
Compete in a one-to-one match with a friend.

Europewide delivery - click on the image for more details

Conversational Thai in 7 Days
Conversational Thai in 7 Days

A good choice for anyone who wants an accessible and friendly approach to learning fundamental and usable Thai.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details


Learning Thai the Easy Way!

Learning Thai the Easy Way!
Another excellent website by Thai teenager Nattawud Daoruang. Introduces basic Thai words and phrases for the absolute beginner with both sounds and pictures.


Thai-Language.com

Thai-Language.com
Internet resource for learning the Thai language. Includes an ever-expanding dictionary with over 14000 entries and many other features.

Thai Language Audio Resource Center

Thai Language Audio Resource Center
A general overview of various aspects of the Thai language from Thammasat University Bangkok.

Thai Language and Culture Learning Resources

Thai Language and Culture Learning Resources
An information-rich, multimedia, interactive web site aimed at a very wide audience.


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Beginners


OK, so you can count to 100 and know a small bucketful of Thai words and phrases.

What next?

The following break you in gently and guide you through to a solid basic understanding of both spoken and written Thai:

 
Rosetta Stone Level 1 Thai
Rosetta Stone Level 1 Thai
Interactive software for Windows or Mac featuring over 3500 real-life images and phrases in 92 lessons. Rosetta Stone Level 1 Thai provides up to 250 hours of mastery instruction in Listening Comprehension, Reading, Speaking and Writing. Systematic structure teaches vocabulary and grammar naturally, without lists and drills. Previews, exercises and tests accompany every lesson with automated tutorials throughout the program.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Teach Yourself Thai
Teach Yourself Thai (Book and CD Pack)
This complete course in Thai is designed for beginners and those wishing to refresh their knowledge. It includes a range of dialogues, notes and varied exercises. This is how a good language book should be written. Spend four weeks with this book and you should be able to say something meaningful in Thailand.

Also available as a separate book, CD or audio cassette.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Thai for Beginners

Benjawan Poomsan Becker เบญจวรรณ ภูมิแสน เบคเกอร์
Thai for Beginners
The first in a series by the very skilled Benjawan Poomsan Becker. Perfect for those serious about learning the language. Unlike many other textbooks it assumes the reader knows nothing. The clear presentation, to the point lessons, and self-testing aids make learning varied. The layout is easy to navigate and well structured. The author (pictured bottom left), coming from a wealth of interpreting experience does not make the mistake of trying to teach too much, but gives you all you need in order to be understood. She uses modern concise language, and takes account of colloquial pronunciation. Divided into ten easy to follow lessons, the first part of each teaches vocabulary and sentence structure and includes a vocabulary list with Thai spelling, transliteration and English definitions. The second part of each lesson goes on to teach basic reading and writing.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Linguaphone Thai
Linguaphone Thai
A combination of a Textbook, Handbook, Study Guide and 6 cassettes make up this language course in Thai. Incorporating a range of oral and written exercises to help you practise. Spend just half an hour a day with your Linguaphone Starter Course, learning with a unique 'listen, understand, speak' method, you'll soon be chatting with the locals - sounding just like a local.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details


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Intermediate / Advanced Thai


If you've mastered any of the basic teachings above then give yourself a pat on the back for your achievement. Ready for more? Then try the following:

 
Thai for Intermediate Learners
Thai for Intermediate Learners
Further study in the excellent series of language books from Benjawan Poomsan Becker. Will take you well on your way to a useful understanding of both written and spoken Thai.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Thai for Advanced Readers
Thai for Advanced Readers
Polish your skills with this, the last and most in depth of the series of Benjawan Poomsan Becker study aids.

When combined with the optional double cassette pack, you'll be left with confidence in coping with both written and spoken Thai.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details


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Dictionaries


To assist you in your use of the language, a good dictionary is a must:

 
Thai-English-Thai Electronic Speaking Dictionaries
Thai-English-Thai Electronic Speaking Dictionaries
Thai <-> English Handheld Talking Dictionaries. Over 5,000,000 words. 11 dictionaries with voice synthesis in Thai and English. Free shipping within the UK.
Thai-English-Thai speaking software dictionaries for Pocket PC and Palm OS.
Free trial download.
 
Robertson's Practical English-Thai Dictionary
Robertson's Practical English-Thai Dictionary

This is a new edition of this popular dictionary. The content has been thoroughly updated and expanded, and is now presented in a clear double-column layout. The rendering of each word and phrase in the familiar roman alphabet has been completely revised, and tones are clearly indicated throughout. Thai script is also shown in a font that can be read without difficulty both by learners and by Thai natives.

Worldwide delivery - click on the image for more details

Thai-English/English-Thai Dictionary for Non-Thai Speakers
Thai-English/English-Thai Dictionary for Non-Thai Speakers
Another book from Benjawan Poomsan Becker, the author of the most successful Thai language book and tape courses in Thailand.

This handy dictionary, aimed at foreigners learning Thai, overcomes the main problem with many Thai-English dictionaries of having the Thai only in Thai script. This one has phonetic spelling in English in all three sections; English-Phonetic-Thai, Phonetic-Thai-English and Thai-Phonetic-English.

Worldwide delivery.
Available from Amazon.co.uk

LEXiTRON
LEXiTRON

Online Thai <=> English Dictionary.

Limited vocabulary, but a free and quick method of translation from Thai to English or vice versa whilst on the internet.

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