Is learning Thai difficult?
Very few travellers heading to Thailand on short visits try and learn the Thai language, the two main reasons being that English is widely spoken especially in Bangkok and the main tourist areas. Secondly, the Thai language is hard to learn compared to say Spanish or Italian. For a start, the Thai alphabet is made up of 44 consonants and 30 vowels, compared to the English alphabet of 26 and it’s all in strange unfamiliar symbols.
But that’s not to say the Thai language is impossible to learn, far from it in fact. By making an effort to learn some of the basic words to help you get by will not only earn you more respect from the Thai’s but will possibly open up opportunities that other tourists may not get to experience.
So you may be thinking how do I go about starting to learn a new language? Follow these simple steps below and you’ll be speaking Thai in no time at all…
Get a Learn Thai App
Nowadays most people carry or have access to a smart phone, so what better way to learn Thai than using your phone via apps. Not only can you use it to learn Thai while at home, but also on your commute to work, during your lunch break and even on the flight to Thailand, so what’s stopping you!
Head to your App Store and search Thai language and you will be presented with quite a vast selection of apps (some free, some paid) helping you to learn the Thai language. To save yourself some time searching through each app here are some of the more popular ones…
Walen Thai – this app has been designed to help you learn the fundamentals of the Thai language by guiding you through the process of learning the Thai alphabet and numerical system. By interacting with the characters the app helps you easily learn and memorise the alphabet and in turn start to master some Thai language.
Speak Thai – the Tourism Authority of Thailand developed this app to help your visit to Thailand run smoothly and enable you to interact with locals. The app is a portable translator which includes over 2,500 words to help you communicate with Thai’s with just a few simple touches. The app is great to hear and understand the pronunciation of each word.
Learn Thai – Learn Thai is a free and easy to use mobile phrase book that provides visitors to Thailand wanting to learn the language a good start in doing so. The app has been Developed by Thai people to provide the most authentic pronunciation whilst ensuring it’s still easy to understand and learn from. The basic version contains over 400 essential phrases which include greetings, general conversation and transportation.
Tips to Practice Your Thai
If for what ever reason you’d rather not use an app to learn Thai language then follow these steps below to help you on your way to tackling Thai.
Learn the Thai alphabet – as previously mentioned the Thai alphabet consists of 44 consonants and 30 vowels which at first can be quite overwhelming. But many of the vowels are the same just pronounced with either a short or longer sound, so it’s not as formidable as first thought. As you start getting associated with the alphabet you will begin to understand the language which in turn will help with your speaking.
Practice writing Thai letters and basic words – by practice writing Thai letters you will learn to associate the symbols and sounds with words that are familiar to yourself.
Before you arrive in Thailand a good technique to apply is making note cards with basic Thai words. You can then carry the note cards around with you and practice as you go.
Make friends with locals – one of the most successful ways of learning the Thai language is by practising with the locals. Once you arrive in Thailand try and make friends with the hotel staff, local bar or shop owner and get practising your Thai. Thai people are very friendly and will be more than happy to help you learn the language, they may also be interested in learning your language too.
Basic Thai Words
Some basic words you could start with are:
Hello – Sawatdee
How are you? – Sabai dee ru
Thank you – Khob Khun
Yes – chai
No – mai chai
I can not speak Thai – pood Thai mai dai
How much? – nee Tao Rai?
Water – naam
Airport – sanaam bin
Hot – ron
Cold – nao
Toilet – hong naam
Ice – naam keng
Beer – bia
1 – neung
2 – song
3 – sam
4 – see
5 – haa
6 – hok
7 – jet
8 – paed
9 – gow
10 – sip
Most importantly be patient, confident and try and take each step at a time, Thai may seem hard, to begin with, but stick with it and you will be speaking Thai in no time at all, good luck!