How did you learn to read/write Thai?

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ReubenA
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Location: Bangkok, Thailand

How did you learn to read/write Thai?

Post by ReubenA »

As this is the first hurdle to really overcome with learning the Thai language - how did you do it? I feel like it could be useful for some newer learners. For me I broke it down to:

1. I memorised the start and ending sounds of each consonant. eg. ก makes 'g' at the start of a word and 'k' at the end.
2. I memorised the vowel sounds.
3. I learnt all the consonant classes for each one.
4. Finally learnt the tone rules.

Benny Lewis has a really good post here: http://www.fluentin3months.com/reading- ... s-is-easy/ on breaking down reading and I followed a lot of what he wrote.
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PatrickK
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Re: How did you learn to read/write Thai?

Post by PatrickK »

I wouldn't say I know how to read/write Thai, haha, or I guess I know some. I started off reading the Manee books, and used a website that had each word with the meaning, and audio file, and the phonetic writing. From studying those, I learned most of the consonant and vowels sounds. From there I started learning new words and practiced saying them. Overtime just read more and more. I had to go through and study classes/rules after, but that was how I started.

Today I spend most of my time reading, which is where I learn most. My typical day is reading probably 1 hr and study my Anki deck for an hour. I'm working on integrating more speaking into it.

When you read do you read out loud? I remember when I was learning English I could read fine in my head, but out loud I often struggled. Same is true with Thai for me at the moment. I can read in my head fine and understand, but out loud I'm much slower and make lots of mistakes. Practice practice practice.
Robyn.fnq
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Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:52 am

Re: How did you learn to read/write Thai?

Post by Robyn.fnq »

I enjoy reading Manee, but I am flummoxed when, again and again I find a syllable with one consonant, followed by another with the same vowel, but different consonant, same class, same sound. I'm not familiar enough with the class rules yet to distinguish where each should be used. Sorry this sounds confusing ... 555 ... welcome to my world! I read aloud to my computer daily, hopefully in a few months I can look back and laugh at my early efforts.
ChalongPhuket
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Re: How did you learn to read/write Thai?

Post by ChalongPhuket »

For those of you who, like myself, are having difficulty learning the complex rules of Thai reading and pronunciation, I suggest a practice approach to learning. A Thai educator has put together a series of seven slim volumes of practice material:

หัดอ่านภาษาไทยแบบใหม่ [Learning to Read Thai the New Way] Volumes 1-7 by ไสว สุนทร [Suwai Suntorn], ISBN Volume 1: 974-90393-3-5, 50 baht; Volume 2, 974-90394-4-3, 50 baht; Volume 3, 974-90740-7-6, 60 baht; Volume 4, 974-93172-7-0, 100 baht; Volume 5, 978-974-623-778-9, 100 baht; Volume 6, 978-974-13-6198-4, 105 baht; Volume 7, 978-974-05-3290-3, 110 baht.

If you are interested, go to your local bookstore and give them the ISBN numbers and ask if they can order these volumes. The Se-ed reference to the set is at https://www.se-ed.com/product/%E0%B8%AB ... 9749317273 .

These books are all in Thai and are intended for Thai students, but they are perfectly usable for the foreign learner in conjunction with a Thai native speaker.

Best of luck!
farang84
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Re: How did you learn to read/write Thai?

Post by farang84 »

I learned the slow way....

First, I'll give a plug to Benjawan Poomsan Becker's Thai for Beginners as I learned writing/reading from there. So, on to my painstaking method:

1).copy vocabulary by writing the word in thai script and only looking at transliteration

2). learn little by little how to read what i'm writing without looking at transliteration

3). read anything I can - billboards, labels, etc.
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Tod Daniels
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Re: How did you learn to read/write Thai?

Post by Tod Daniels »

Well, I taught myself to read thai 7+ years ago by a very unconventional method. :o

Thai has 6-T's (ฐ, ฑ, ฒ, ถ, ท, ธ), 5-K's (ข, ฃ, ค, ฅ, ฆ), 4-S's (ซ, ศ, ษ, ส) and so on. I learned when I saw a particular character what sound it made. I didn't care what the name of the character in thai was at all, didn't care about the consonant class, just what sound it made when I saw it. Thai has 44 characters but they only make 21 sounds! The vowels have 32 sounds but also some repeat or are rarely used. Also there're only 9 possible ways ANY thai syllable can end I learned those as well. I learned what the tone marks looked like, but at that time I didn't care what the tone of a word or syllable was because I wasn't tryin' to speak, I was trying to read. t seems daunting but in reality it wasn't that bad. :)

Then I just started memorizing what different components of the thai words looked like. I knew the meanings the "6-Cow-Words" in Thai before I could pronounce them accurately by recognizing the differences in the components which make up those words;
ขาว, ข่าว, ข้าว เขา, เข่า, เข้า (white, news, rice, he-she-they-animal horn-mountain, knee, enter).

After that it was just memorizing words, TONS & TONZ of words. Unfortunately because I learned to read this way, I could read and comprehend what I was reading long before I could speak thai with any degree of clarity.

Those books mentioned by "ChalongPhuket" called หัดอ่านภาษาไทยแบบใหม่ are good, but they are almost TOTALLY worthless without a native thai speaker to get you thru them. Now with a real live thai, they're a great learning resource!

However there are far better resources out there geared towards teaching adult non-native learners to read the thai language than the material for native speakers.. Early on, I'd say go with one of them and then branch out.

One very important thing is; once you can read, pick material which is just over your current ability AND pick material which you have an interest in. Don't sweat the fact you don't know EVERY word in the sentence. See if you can guess the meanings of the words you don't know by the context. You'll soon start adding to your vocab without even trying, because you get better at predicting the meanings of words.

The main thing is motivation. You either WANT to do it, and you do, or you say you want to, go thru the motions and you don't...

I tell people all the time; "It is entirely plausible that one percent of the world's population is smarter than you. However it is a statistical impossibility that all 70 million of those people are thai." If they can speak, read, write thai, so can you, IF you want to. :D .

Good Luck, stick with it, sorry this was long
Tod Daniels
Whoever said 'Money can't buy you love or joy' obviously was not making enough money. <- Quote by Gene $immon$ of the rock group KISS
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