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BANGKOK 25 March 2019 14:41
JackGats

How to learn the alphabet first

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Transliteration systems are a waste of time. I was advised to learn thai writing right from the start using picture books ("h" like "horse", "s" like "snake" etc.). Is this a good strategy?

 

Since such picture books are meant for Thai pupils I would need to get the pronunciation from an internet source. What pisses me off on my Android is that each time I click on an audio file I'm asked if I want to play the file with google music play or whatever. On a PC small audio files get played straight away.

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Yes, please believe me you have got the best advise.

 

I wasted so much time on phonetic Thai in the rush to speak it.. as the letters and writing just looked too difficult to me.

 

This meant that I was pronouncing a lot of words totally wrong and not knowing it!!!

 

Only when I started to learn to read Thai did it all suddenly click into place and my language skills improved really quickly.  

 

The reading and writing is not difficult.  I would say its much easier than actually speaking Thai.  I am at the stage now where I can read most Thai, newspapers, notices, information, etc quite fluently and any Thai person who is listening to me understands   (even if I don't understand some of the words myself).

 

The kids books are OK to lean to write the letters, but you won't have a clue about how they should sound, or the tones of the words.  For that I used videos on You Tube and a Thai online dictionary.  Most important is to speak to Thai people in Thai every day.  I could never get the hang of the written down tone marks, but through trial and error taking to Thai people in every day life the tones of the worst became natural to me on their own.  

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Yes learning by transliteration is a waste of time!

 

I learnt all the alphabet, then realised that you mostly only ever use 80 percent of it.

 

Teach yourself Thai by David Smyth gives you an easy staged approach.

 

1steasythaialphabet was also helpful.

 

The Google Translate app is great for practising pronunciation.
 

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How to learn lots of timeand energy

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I learned to speak and read Thai together. 

Me and my wife were living in Singapore at the time, and she pretty much taught me like I was a small child.

I would also agree that read first, or at the same time. Trying to speak first is not the way to go. 

Thai isn't difficult, unlike Mandarin were I struggled for years

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There's a small alphabet cards application on my website at:

 

http://thai-notes.com/games/alphabetcards.html

 

with the help file at:

 

http://thai-notes.com/games/alphabetcardshelp.html

 

The consonants are introduced in a logical sequence over 17 levels.

 

The app includes audio (albeit computer generated), and the ability to select from a number of typefaces.  (Non-standard typefaces cause most learners a bit of grief.)

 

The OP might find it useful.

 

FWIW, I didn't intend to make this app public - I developed it to test out some new technologies and design ideas as part of a long term plan to convert my site to "responsive design" (meaning that it will work well on all devices from mobile 'phone to desktop).  It should work on most modern Internet browsers (except Opera Mini - regular Opera is OK).

 

I do, however, disagree with previous posters who've suggested that learning transcription is a waste of time.  It only takes 30 minutes or so to do, and lets you know the exact pronunciation of any word in Thai.  Thai script can't do this.  Specifically it can't represent the sound /a/ which occurs at the start of words such as saˑwàtˑdii ("hello") and aˑrɔ̀y (delicious), or show the vowel length in words such as lên (to play) since it's not permitted to have both a tone marker and the vowel shortening symbol máyˑtàyˑkhúu.

 

Anyway, once the OP has finished learning the alphabet, he might be interested in my reading course at:

 

http://thai-notes.com/reading/index.shtml

 

(Only the first 33 lessons are currently available.  It's work in progress.)

 

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Learning to read Thai is the only way to go - the whole world around you becomes a giant language lesson as you read shop signs, street addresses and so on.

 

One suggestion I have is to buy a newspaper regularly; if you have an interest in sport, say, all the newspapers have sports coverage (I like Khao Sot for this) and it provides motivation to read on and find out what the article is about. Far more interesting than ploughing through consonant tables.

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I learned 4 consonants a day using flash cards... each day, I reviewed the ones from the days before... in 10 or 11 days I was mostly there... I spend much more time in conversation than reading, mostly signs... but it does help to know the sounds. 

 

oh no! There are vowels too!!

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