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New Year’s Resolution – Learn Thai Posted by on Jan 11, 2018 in Beginner, Intermediate, Videos

A New Year is here, and that means many people are trying to follow through on their New Year’s resolution (ความละเอียดปีใหม่ kwaam lá-ìat bpee mài). Perhaps your resolution is to learn Thai (เรียน ภาษาไทย rian paa-săa tai). Sadly, many people give up on their resolution halfway through the year. We’re here to help make sure that doesn’t happen by giving you some tips and resources to learn Thai in 2018.

Learn the Alphabet

It looks intimidating, but give it a shot.

It’s much easier to learn Thai if you know the alphabet. Actually, it’s not technically an alphabet – it’s an abugida. In this writing system, each unit is based on a consonant, while the vowel notation is secondary. We have a great and comprehensive guide to the Thai alphabet that you can follow. You can also follow along with these two videos to practice your pronunciation:

Consonants

Vowels

Work on the Tones

The Thai tones can be quite difficult, especially for speakers of non-tonal languages. There are five tones in all in Thai. It almost seems like you’re singing when you’re speaking Thai! Get started with the Thai tones in our awesome 3-part series:

This video also gives you a good guide to the sounds of them all, with plenty of examples for you to practice alongside.

Meet and Greet

Ready to cruise in a tuk-tuk?

The best way to learn Thai (or any language, for that matter) is to talk with native speakers. This is intimidating when you’re a beginner and you don’t know much, but you have to start somewhere. Try greeting people in Thai, even if you can’t say much else. Thai people are famously friendly and they’re always super excited to hear farang making an attempt at their language, even if it’s a poor one. Learn these common Thai greetings to get started:

สวัสดี – sà-wàt dee

hello/goodbye

สวัสดีครับ – sà-wàt dee kráp

hello (male)

สวัสดีค่ะ – sà-wàt dee kâ

hello (female)

คุณสบายดีไหม – kun sà-baai dee măi

How are you?

เป็นยังไงบ้าง – bpen yang ngai bâang

How’s it going?

มีอะไรใหม่บ้าง – mee a-rai mài bâang

What’s new?

ยินดีที่ได้รู้จัก – yin dee têe dâai róo jàk

Nice to meet you.

อรุณสวัสดิ์ – a-run sà-wàt

good morning

ยินดีต้อนรับยิน – yin dee dtôn ráp

welcome!

ลาก่อนลา – laa gòn

Goodbye

พบกันใหม่ – póp gan mài

See you.

แล้วพบกันใหม่ – láew póp gan mài

See you later.

เที่ยวให้สนุก – tîeow hâi sà-nùk

Have a good trip.

Be Polite

Please do not climb on the Buddha, you dumb farang.

You know how you say please and thank you in English? In Thai, it’s all about using ครับ (krap) or ค่ะ (ka) at the end of a sentence. We have a helpful post about the Thai ending particles that you can study. Politeness is very important in Thai culture, so learning how to use krap or ka is necessary. We have another video you can follow along for more practice:

Master Some Survival Phrases

If your goal is to get started speaking Thai as soon as possible, why not focus on mastering some survival phrases? Those who are just traveling in Thailand and simply want to be able to get by in Thai if necessary will find these very useful. Make your trip much easier by learning these survival phrases in Thai!

Have Fun

Thai people are so fun!

Struggling over the tones and trying to finally master that one tricky consonant isn’t exactly fun. When studying any language, it’s important to mix your study of grammar and vocabulary up with some more fun activities. After all, Thail people are all about having fun. If it’s not sanuk (สนุก sà-nùk), something’s not worth doing. Why not listen to some Thai music or watch a Thai movie? Put the English subtitles on if you need to. As long as you’re listening to Thai, it will be helpful. If you’re looking for some suggestions, you can follow our posts on the Top 10 Thai movies:

Travel to Thailand

New Year's Resolution - Learn Thai

The awesome Thai capital.

There’s no better way to learn a language than traveling to the country where it’s spoken. Famous for its postcard-worthy beaches, incredible scenery, and bustling cities, everybody wants to go to Thailand! If you’re trying to learn the language you have even more of a reason to go. While it’s true that many people in Thailand speak English – especially in tourism – they will all be more than happy to help you practice your Thai. So plan that trip to relax on a Thai island or go jungle-trekking in Chiang Mai. That will help keep you motivated to learn Thai all throughout the year.

Transparent Language

In addition to this blog, we’ve got plenty of resources to help you in your quest to learn Thai:

 

That should keep you busy for all of 2018 and ensure that you don’t give up on your goal to learn Thai this year!

How will you learn Thai this year? Do you have any other ideas to share with our readers? Leave a comment and let us know!

 

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About the Author:sasha

Sasha is an English teacher, writer, photographer, and videographer from the great state of Michigan. Upon graduating from Michigan State University, he moved to China and spent 5+ years living, working, studying, and traveling there. He also studied Indonesian Language & Culture in Bali for a year. He and his wife run the travel blog Grateful Gypsies, and they're currently trying the digital nomad lifestyle across Latin America.