MultiLingual : Learning Thai

Features, Self-help

Vol 25, Issue 19, 17 March 2023

Being a global citizen, the probability of encountering an event where one has to communicate in another language is very high. Thailand in recent years has become quite noticeable and continues to promote the country via social media and its television series. Thai is the national language of Thailand.

Thai, also known as Central Thai, is a Tai language that originated from the Kra-Dai language. It is spoken by the Central Thai and Thai Chinese people. Thai is not an easy language to learn and might need a lot of practice to master, however, it is also not extremely difficult as the overall structure is not the most complex. The Thai alphabet has 44 consonants that are grouped into three consonant classes, low, middle, and high. Each consonant is made out of two parts. The first part is the sound the letter makes and the second part is any word or letter that contains that letter. It has 32 vowels and though it seems a lot, it is not. There are short and long vowels that can be attached to a consonant. The placement of these vowels can be above, below, in front, behind, or all around the consonant. There are 5 different tones in the Thai language, middle, low, falling, high, and rising.

The starting resource to learn Thai is, ‘Teach yourself Thai’ by David Smyth. The book assumes that the learner does not know any basics of the Thai language and is a beginner. The book mentions different situations like going to a vendor to buy something. These conversations that happen in reality quite often fast track the learning and understanding of the Thai language. It also shows how to write individual letters and because there are vowels in Thai, the book clearly shows the placement of them.

The resource is learning applications such as DuoCards and LuvLingua. DuoCards is beneficial if the learner wants an overview of the Thai language and wants to learn basic phrases and the alphabet. LuvLingua is a more in-depth in terms of learning the structure of the Thai language, including all other aspects.

Thai Language is a fun language to learn. It is versatile and the structure is not the most complex. It is a good use of time to learn something new. Thai can be included in that time. Just giving twenty mins a day to learn Thai, a whole new skill set can be earned!

Sahar Farzand
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