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Learning basic Thai

  • karibou

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2013
    Posts: 54

    Can anyone suggest a good free tutorial (online) for learning some basic Thai? I have almost a year to study up before my first visit, and I'd like to master at least some rudimentary phrases to help me get by when I stray from the main tourist trails. Thanks!

    #1 Posted: 1/4/2013 - 23:22

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6057
    Total reviews: 10

    I like this girl. There is stuff all over youtube. But I warn you it REALLY helps to find a Thai to practice with - because the difference in word pronunciation is subtle.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-I8jqiv9MfY

    #2 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 03:35

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
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    Total reviews: 20
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    Hi - I made a post about various language podcasts a few years ago: http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/traveltechnology/6502_language-guides-for-ipods. It looks like the PinkChilli podcasts are no longer available on iTunes but if you enable Private Messaging I can work something out for you. The other one, Learn Thai podcast still seems to be available via iTunes (and poss via the website).

    Travelfish also had a guest poster who offered some lessons: http://www.travelfish.org/board/topic/learnthai

    #3 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 04:04

  • svendj

    Joined Travelfish
    30th April, 2010
    Location Belgium
    Posts: 196
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    At least 32

    agree wit Madmac, finding a Thai person will help you a lot more!
    although, try to learn the characters as well for pronunciation this way you can learn vocabulary a bit better! Since you've got a year: plenty of time.
    thai-language.com might help you out as well. some basic lessons for vocabulary as well!

    #4 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 07:18

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
    Joined Travelfish
    21st April, 2006
    Location Canada
    Posts: 1411
    Total reviews: 15
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    At least 71

    Some of the folks teaching Thai on YouTube also offer reasonably priced one-on-one Skype sessions. As mentioned above, having someone to give feedback will be far more valuable than one-way learning. I'm not promoting this particular person ... just providing an example ...

    http://www.learnthaiwithmod.com/


    It's fine to learn how to ask a question in Thai, but not much use if you can't understand the answer.

    You won't regret learning some of the language. You can get by fine without any Thai, even when you're off the main circuit, but having some will certainly enrich your experience and can be helpful in a pinch. Good luck.

    #5 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 11:10

  • karibou

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2013
    Posts: 54

    Thanks for all the good suggestions. I will find someone Thai to practice with -- hadn't thought of that. And I've enabled private messaging here as suggested by busylizzy. Learning French and Spanish went smoothly for me, but Thai seems really daunting!

    #6 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 11:43

  • karibou

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2013
    Posts: 54

    PS My profile shows that I've enabled private messaging, so I think you can just ignore the "messaging not enabled" that showed up in my last post.

    #7 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 11:48

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Canada
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    This may sound like a reach, but find a Thai restaurant where you might be able to go once per week. Around the area where I live the kitchens are staffed by parents and other relatives of the owners, and many want to learn English as much as I want to learn Thai. The restaurants are loaded with props that are highly relevant, as well.

    #8 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 12:08

  • karibou

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2013
    Posts: 54

    My plan exactly!

    #9 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 12:46

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2046
    Total reviews: 20
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    At least 107

    You still don't have PM enabled - once you do you will see the 'Private Message' hyperlink like you see under my name. It's a two-step process - you have to have the Private Messaging enabled AND set your profile to public (I think that's the second part).

    (PLEEEEASE change this, Somtam!)

    Send me a PM to let me know that it's sorted .. and I'll help out with the podcasts.

    #10 Posted: 2/4/2013 - 14:43

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6057
    Total reviews: 10

    "You can get by fine without any Thai, even when you're off the main circuit, but having some will certainly enrich your experience and can be helpful in a pinch."

    I wonder now if I went to Saimun where I have a farm and couldn't speak any Thai at all, would I be able to order food at the restaraunt? How would I be able to tell them anything? Hand signals work for some things... but that would be tough. Out there nobody speaks any English at all. Not a word. You just got me wondering Tilapia. I kind of take my Thai for granted now, but I remmember there was a time when it just sounded like gibberish coming out of someone's mouth.

    #11 Posted: 3/4/2013 - 00:12

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
    Joined Travelfish
    21st April, 2006
    Location Canada
    Posts: 1411
    Total reviews: 15
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    At least 71

    Fair to say that you certainly wouldn't starve in Saimun. You may not get exactly what you want, but you'd get something.

    You got-by alright before you could speak a word of the language, and many on this forum have braved English-less towns and villages without any problems. And before and after Muk, I ran into several couples on bikes (Germans, Russians, Dutch) who didn't know a word of Thai, and who barely spoke English. They were having a blast, and all looked well-fed.

    Did you have your kumite tournament in KK yet?

    #12 Posted: 3/4/2013 - 08:32

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6057
    Total reviews: 10

    The tournament was moved to Sisaket and I couldn't fight because I'm not Thai and it wasn't an open tournament. My principal sparring partner did really well. I will fight on the 10th of this month in an open tournament (unofficial) in Kalasin.

    Before I could speak Thai I used my long haired translator.

    And of course I agree I would get something to eat (finding a place to sleep would have been tricky... but I think I'd figure it out) but I am equally sure it would probably be something I didn't want to eat.

    I'm sure you could get by of course. But I can imagine how communications would be "entertaining".

    The contrast with Mukdahan is significant, because while there are few people who are proficient in English, most younger people are marginally funcational.

    #13 Posted: 3/4/2013 - 22:57

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
    31st December, 2007
    Location New Zealand
    Posts: 2046
    Total reviews: 20
    Places visited:
    At least 107

    Karibou, have sent you a PM. Not sure if you received a notification as I didn't get one for yours....

    #14 Posted: 4/4/2013 - 00:00

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