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What are the best places for learning Thai language?


tri

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Hi guys!
It's time for me to focus on learning Thai language (speaking, reading, writing).

What are the best options (places and rates) currently available in CM? Any personal experience feedback or friend's recommendations?
Cheers!

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Following this with interest. I'm in Jomtien but will retire to Bueng Kan in a couple of years. Obviously there are plenty of places advertising Thai language teaching but just wondering if there's a tried and tested method which has worked for others

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This has been discussed many times in the past. Just to review.

 

The traditional places are:

1. CMU - Chiang Mai university

2. AUA - American Alumni

3. Payap university 

4. YMCA

5. TSL (newbie on the block)

 

1. Chiang Mai university Thai courses are quite relaxed and one year long. Good for beginners but not good for those who want to go to lower to higher intermediate.

 

3. Payap university

I heard this is a very intensive course, not for the faint hearted. They treat you like Thai is your first language.

 

4. YMCA teaches only the bottom 4 levels (beginner to elementary) most of the time, you don't need to learn read and write here which is a plus for most people as the writing can be tough. You can stop anytime, each course is around 1 month.

 

5. TSL - the one month courses are intenstive and have the same syllabus as YMCA except it goes up to a much higher level i.e. 12 levels.

 

 

 

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Payap was excellent for me & really drove home the fact that learning to read/write while maybe not 100% needed in day to day life ...........WILL help your Thai Language skills immensely. Because seeing it written in Thai Alphabet will help your pronunciation so much more than Thai words transliterated into English which just does not work most of the time.

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I studied this year at We Learn Thai, at Pantip Plaza. If I remember well was 33K for one year, including the paperwork for the visa and extensions. 4 days a week, 2 hours a day. I'm pretty happy with it, but I would like more conversation practice.

For next year I'm thinking about going for the intermediate level in this school, or trying any other... I'd like at CMU but I'm now at low intermediate, so if they only do the beginner it's not an option to me [emoji19]

How about the cost at Payap?

Payap was excellent for me & really drove home the fact that learning to read/write while maybe not 100% needed in day to day life ...........WILL help your Thai Language skills immensely. Because seeing it written in Thai Alphabet will help your pronunciation so much more than Thai words transliterated into English which just does not work most of the time.
Absolutely agree
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1 hour ago, aremesal said:

How about the cost at Payap?

 

It was 8000 baht & if I remember right it was 8 weeks I believe ? I think it was 2 or 3 classes a week 3 hours each

 

But this was 2012 & I cannot seem to get to their web page

 

It is called Intensive Thai & you go ahead & they test you & place you.

If you have any experience you will likely go to level 3 as I did to start.

 

If so you want to know your alphabet & vowels ahead of time

 

A very good class & the teacher spends as much time as you need/want after class for help etc.

But it is as the name suggests a bit intensive & has homework

 

I am in US at the moment so you can call them or try search Payap Intensive Thai from there & the website may be working

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4 hours ago, aremesal said:

I studied this year at We Learn Thai, at Pantip Plaza. If I remember well was 33K for one year, including the paperwork for the visa and extensions. 4 days a week, 2 hours a day. I'm pretty happy with it, but I would like more conversation practice.

For next year I'm thinking about going for the intermediate level in this school, or trying any other... I'd like at CMU but I'm now at low intermediate, so if they only do the beginner it's not an option to me emoji19.png

 

Since you have been learning at Pantip Plaza, you might want to try TSL at the same floor and same plaza, they have higher level classes and is cheaper than Payap.

 

By the way, how is the teaching at 'We learn Thai'?

 

I am surprised you didn't ask around there first. They provide one free observe session.

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3 hours ago, mania said:

It is called Intensive Thai & you go ahead & they test you & place you.

 

I met one or two previous students at Payap, they commented that it was too tough (can't teach) and so they are now studying at other schools.

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Since you have been learning at Pantip Plaza, you might want to try TSL at the same floor and same plaza, they have higher level classes and is cheaper than Payap.
 
By the way, how is the teaching at 'We learn Thai'?
 
I am surprised you didn't ask around there first. They provide one free observe session.
I asked before enrolling last year, and chose WLT because the schedule is Mon-Thu, so I have long free weekends - others like TSL was M, T, T, F, I don't like that schedule.

At WLT they have beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, that's not a problem.

Do you want to know something specific about the teaching there? For me it's OK, but it's a big school so every month is a different teacher depending on the schedule, and some teachers are more of my like than others.
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3 hours ago, aremesal said:

I asked before enrolling last year, and chose WLT because the schedule is Mon-Thu, so I have long free weekends - others like TSL was M, T, T, F, I don't like that schedule.

At WLT they have beginner, intermediate and advanced levels, that's not a problem.
 

It is Mon, Wed, Fri and not M,T,T, F.

 

That is three days per week and not four days per week like at WLT.

 

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13 hours ago, EricTh said:

I met one or two previous students at Payap, they commented that it was too tough (can't teach) and so they are now studying at other schools.

Yeah as I said it is called Intensive Thai for a reason 😉

 

If your looking for a relaxed social type of school maybe the YMCA would be better

 

As for teachers....They were excellent

Spoke English perfectly & were always extremely helpful & concise

The definitely knew how to teach

 

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3 hours ago, mania said:

Yeah as I said it is called Intensive Thai for a reason 😉

 

If your looking for a relaxed social type of school maybe the YMCA would be better

 

As for teachers....They were excellent

Spoke English perfectly & were always extremely helpful & concise

The definitely knew how to teach

 

YMCA is definitely not relaxed. A lot of material is covered in roughly one month, but the pros in YMCA is that you don't have to study written Thai in order to speak and listen.

 

IPA Phonetics is sufficient regardless of what some forummers here say that you must study written Thai in order to speak Thai well. LOL

 

By the way, read the origin of Thai writing here. The current writing script isn't actually 'Thai'.

 

http://eastasiaorigin.blogspot.com/2017/08/origin-of-thai-language.html

 

 

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3 hours ago, EricTh said:

IPA Phonetics is sufficient regardless of what some forummers here say that you must study written Thai in order to speak Thai well. LOL

Agree to disagree,,,,,But also I did not say "You Must" but I did say "it WILL help your Thai Language skills immensely. "

Simple example .........

นั่นรบกวนคุณไหม?

nân róp kuan khun mǎi?

That English transliteration is not helping yet that is how English transliterates it

Yet if you can read & sound out the Thai letters & vowels your pronunciation will be much better

 

But if it works for you then your all good 😉  Enjoy

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1 hour ago, mania said:

 

นั่นรบกวนคุณไหม?

nân róp kuan khun mǎi?

for you then your all good 😉  Enjoy

LOL.

 

I can read the phonetics 100 times faster than the Indic script. I don't have to figure the complex rules just to figure out the tones and a lot of irregular idiosyncrasies of Thai spelling just to figure out what it actually sounds like.

 

I also don't have to figure out where a word ends or starts in phonetics because it is separated by spaces.

 

Those who claims that reading in Indic script makes them pronounce better don't know what they are saying.

 

Yours is a very simple example but when you come to more complex writing that don't correspond to the sound, the phonetics advantage is much more clearer.

 

A lot of Thai sounds don't correspond to what is written. 

 

I notice a lot of farang actually pronounce wrongly if they just learned the Indic script instead of the phonetics because of this.

 

Of course, there are advantage in reading the Indic script, you can read tags, menus and road signs but that is not speaking/listening skills but reading skills.

 

Some people are confused between the 4 skills of speaking/listening/writing/ reading . LOL

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10 hours ago, EricTh said:

Those who claims that reading in Indic script makes them pronounce better don't know what they are saying.

Said by one who can't read 😂

 

As I said before...if your YMCA method works well for you that is all that matters.

But don't try to tell folks who read/write Thai or went to Payap it is too hard or not useful.

 

Sounds like the sour grapes. Instead try to accept that folks have different opinions than you.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, mania said:

Said by one who can't read 😂

 

As I said before...if your YMCA method works well for you that is all that matters.

But don't try to tell folks who read/write Thai or went to Payap it is too hard or not useful.

 

Sounds like the sour grapes. Instead try to accept that folks have different opinions than you.

Where did you get the assumption that I can't read? 

 

Youshouldacceptfolksthathavedifferentopinionsthanyouinsteadthisishowindicscriptlooklike.Youcanreadthisbutitis100timesslower.

 

Like I said, you are confused between the 4 skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening. They are mutually exclusive.

 

A native speaker of any language can speak well but he might not know the written characters.

 

Reading is related to writing. Speaking is related to listening.

 

If you bothered to read that article (which you didn't obviously), Thai was written in Chinese characters before it was replaced by Indic characters.

 

If I were to replace the Indic characters with IPA phonetics today, it would still work and the spoken language would remain the same.

 

Vietnamese was written in Chinese characters in the past but it was replaced by latin script but the spoken language still remains the same.

 

Probably Payap didn't teach you all these but all they taught you  was those who know the written Indic characters are 'superior' ? 

 

So you should begin to read Chinese characters in order to understand spoken Thai because it was first written that way.

 

 

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Condolences to the OP for taking this thread so far off track this will be my last post on it I promise 😉

 

Again my simple recommendation is any school that also teaches reading Thai will help immensely with your speaking/pronunciation of Thai.

Writing is a byproduct but not really used much by foreigners.

 

Think back to when you learned your first language…If it was English you started with the ABC’s

You then sounded out what you saw & spoke the word

 

Next of course the vowels & later certain little things like Sometimes when two letters are used together they change the sound of individual letters.

Like ph for instance in English becomes an “f” sound

 

Yet the functionally illiterate would have you believe otherwise.They will say things like….

Quote

“A lot of Thai sounds don't correspond to what is written.”

 

You show them an example of why English transliteration often does not work & they say

Quote

"I can read the phonetics 100 times faster than the Indic script.”

 

Yet they never notice that, yes maybe they can but does it matter to them they are saying it wrong?

Because it is transliterated wrong

That a “” is not an “p” sound nor is a “” a “k” sound but hey they can say it wrong 100 times faster so they are happy.

 

It could go on & on with other things like how does a transliterated Thai word differentiate between long & short vowels etc etc

But the functionally Illiterate will say

Quote

" read the origin of Thai writing here. The current writing script isn't actually 'Thai'. "

As if that matters 🙂 If you live in Thailand long term the results are well worth the effort.

 

Anyway…Learn Thai where you can but also download a free Thai Alphabet application from Google Play or Apple store there are many available.

It is not hard just learn 3 or 4 consonants a day will take you less than 2 weeks then work your way into vowels the same way.

It is not hard & certainly not useless as the functionally illiterate would have you believe.

 

Good Luck to the OP & those that asked about Payap it is very good IMHO 😉

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, mania said:

 

Good Luck to the OP & those that asked about Payap it is very good IMHO 😉

 

 

You have the right to your opinion but you should accept the opinions of others.

 

I have talked to one or two  ex-Payap students who went to other schools, they didn't say Payap teachers were good.

 

So just because you like Payap doesn't mean others have the same opinion.

 

Try to talk to other students in other Thai schools (eg. TSL, AUA etc) why they changed schools . I have listened to other opinions but you obviously didn't.

 

 

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I have, at different times, taken courses at both Payap (this year) and the YMCA (2013).

The Payap courses (8 of them, ascending levels) are very intensive (each is 4 x 3 hour lessons per week, for 5 weeks) but I personally found them better than YMCA. That is not to say that everyone will.

Both allow you to sit in on a lesson before you book. That is what I would suggest the OP does, before he chooses.

(By the way, the Payap courses are 8000 baht each)

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I’m doing book 1 reading and writing at TSL at the moment and am learning quite a lot. The teacher speaks very good English and is super friendly and helpful. I have done 2 others classes reading and writing at other schools a few years ago but not been able to pick it up yet (reading and writing, speaking is quite a bit better). My classes are 2 hrs on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for a month which suits me great. I feel like I can concentrate much better for two hours rather than three at other schools. Price 2500 includes course book.

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On 8/14/2019 at 8:29 AM, EricTh said:

IPA Phonetics is sufficient regardless of what some forummers here say that you must study written Thai in order to speak Thai well. LOL

IPA phonetics might be sufficient, but imho it's a waste of time to learn them (because they are not intuitive, especially for people who's mother tongue is english). IPA phonetics only make sense if you say: I never want to be able to read Thai.

If you ever want to be able to read Thai in the future, just learn it at the beginning.

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12 minutes ago, jackdd said:

IPA phonetics might be sufficient, but imho it's a waste of time to learn them (because they are not intuitive, especially for people who's mother tongue is english). IPA phonetics only make sense if you say: I never want to be able to read Thai.

If you ever want to be able to read Thai in the future, just learn it at the beginning.

Guess what. I know quite a few who have been staying in Thailand for many years (around 7 years) and they don't know any written Thai, they learnt spoken Thai by phonetics. They are doing fine in Thailand.

 

IPA is intuitive because there is only one character for one sound unlike the Indic Thai script which has several characters for the same sound. One character can have different sounds too depending on the combination.

 

So remembering low, mid, high consonants, long and short vowel etc just to find the tone is more intuitive than a tone marker? 

LOL

 

Oh wait, I forgot most learners just ignore the tones which is a huge mistake.

 

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I respect those who formally enroll in a university to study Thai, especially for reading & writing. However, I must say being able to speak Thai pretty decent, I found learning through small talk, dealing with taxis, being in school's and IMO the best source, is your significant other! I also have previously lived with Thai people everyday for two years. 

 

Speaking has been my goal, even before I came here, I practiced.  I should say, as I'm not that interested in learning to read and write. Much support and praise to those who are learning to do so also! Eye-opening and good for the spirit I'm sure!

 

So I guess my point is again, IMO, speaking with your significant other will be the fastest and most efficient way for speaking!

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