Thai is a fantastic language to become familiar with. One reason is that Thailand has grown into a huge expatriate and tourist destination, and familiarization of the language would make such a move or trip all the better. Also, about 60 million people worldwide speak Thai, in places like Northern Malaysia, Cambodia and Southern Myanmar.
Thai is a Tai-Kadai language that has some borrowed words from Pali, Sanskrit and Old Khmer. It is also intelligible to Lao. It is written in the Thai script, and no universal standard exists in translating Thai into the Latin alphabet. Nevertheless, people from all different cultures have the chance to learn Thai on their own time.
How to learn to speak Thai
One standard way to learn to speak Thai would be to take classes at a university or language institute. Though this is a great way to learn a language, not everyone has the time, money or want to go to school. Fortunately, there are many different ways around this in the modern age. Whether self-motivated people learn better on computers or books, countless different resources are available.
Learning Thai software or DVDs
Language-learning software has grown in popularity through the past few years, and there are a few programs for Thai.
Rosetta Stone’s Thai Program – Rosetta Stone has a Level 1 Thai program available, in which learners can master the building blocks of the language. This program has a CD-Rom, headset, microphone and user’s guide. They also offer an online program, where students are able to log in from anywhere with an internet connection and enhance their language skills.
Transparent Language’s Thai Program – Transparent Language offers the Thai Byki Deluxe 4, which has material compatible with computers, iPhones, iPods and other MP3 players. There are over 2,000 words and 500 phrases, along with images and native speaker sound.
Books for learning Thai
Instant Thai: How to Express 1,000 different ideas with just 100 key words and phrases! – This book offers its 100 key words to learn, as well as 500 necessary sentences to go navigate Thailand. It comes with an alphabetically-organized Thai-English word list, along with useful expressions in case of emergency.
Websites that help you learn Thai language
http://www.learningthai.com/index.php – This website offers some electronic materials to learn Thai, like difficult words to pronounce, handwriting samples, road signs, personal pronouns and assorted other subjects. It is meant for people to familiarize themselves with the Thai alphabet, as Thai is a tonal language that cannot always be phonetically translated.
http://www.learningthai.com/speak_thai.html – This website has a list of eleven chapters, and they offer the Thai spelling of the phrases, as well as audio samples. It goes through the topics of greetings, shopping, getting around town, talking on the phone, accommodation and more.
http://www.thai-language.com/ – This website has thousands of audio clips and dictionary entries for English speakers at any level of Thai language. People can browse through the lessons to learn anything from syllables, greetings, identifying objects, business appointments 0r renting out a house.