As someone that studied Indonesian for 5 years many (many) years ago, I wanted to brush up the conversation skills for my upcoming trip. Likewise, I learned some basic Thai when travelling to Thailand last year.
Here are some useful sites that I have found that have FREE downloadable podcasts and PDF language guides.
Thanks to info on Travelfish, I have converted some of these PDF guides to text format to load onto my iPod so I can follow the language lessons on my iPod on those long bus rides!)
48 lessons available via iTunes or from the website. Includes PDF guides. I have found these excellent for my refresher training!
Lots of podcast lessons plus PDF transcripts. Available via iTunes. I found these very good. I notice that they have now added videos to their range which show the words they are teaching in Thai script, in English and in phonetic spelling.
9 lessons available - podcasts and PDF transcripts. Can be accessed via iTunes.
MANY LANGUAGES (incl Indo, Thai, Viet, Laos, Malay, - but many others)
I just discovered these on the World Nomads insurance website. haven't listened to them yet so can rate them. The have MP3 podcasts for iPods (not via iTunes as far as I know), applications for iTouch/iPhone and PDF files.
MP3 and PDF files. Just discovered these this week as well, and haven't checked them out yet.
Sorry, am unable to do links - Somtam, maybe you can fix them up? Also feel free to move to a more appropriate forum if necessary.
Thanks for that -- excellent... see -- you can add links ;-)
The WorldNomads ones are particularly good -- they include phrases like "Don't shoot, the drugs aren't mine!"
Busylizzy I need to brush up my Bahasa Indonesia too and that Indonesian language course is excellent! Many thanks.
Not so sure about the learn Thai thing...too much (unnecessary) new vocabulary all at once in lesson 1 for a complete beginner IMO. Pinkchilli seems a bit better, easier to follow and memorize.
Not at all impressed by the world nomads and intrepid travel language courses however!
Hi busylizzy, thanks for the links. I can recommend the learn-thai-podcast which we used last year to develop a few words, numbers and phrases. The video version was really useful. And a great way to pass time on a long bus journey.
You can also search iTunes for language podcasts which is where i came across the Thai series.
Time for an update - this time for Laos!
In prep for my upcoming trip, I'm trying to learn some basic Lao. There doesn't seem to be as much available as for Thai and Indo, but I've found a few things that might be of interest to others. Unfortunately, I haven't found much in podcast format, but the first one is in MP3 format that you can listen to while on the move.
1. Intrepid and WorldNomads have put together a 15min 'dialogue' in MP3 format and in an iPhone App which covers some of the basic conversational words. There is also a link for you to download a PDF of the script to help you follow along.
2. Laos 411 have a webpage dedicated to the Lao (travel-related words, phonetic spelling and audio files that you can listen to). It's a bit annoying in that each time you click on the audio file it pops up in a separate window, but I think by printing the page you would have a useful phraseguide to keep on hand.
3. Lao Connection has a few pages on language, and includes info on the tones and script. The website looks a bit crappy to me and I haven't had the patience to look at it in more detail yet - but maybe you will find it useful.
4. SEAsite Laos is a site (apparently) run by University in Illinois. It has about 30 short lessons, and you can listen to audio files, and do the exercises/tests after each lesson. Again, the website seems a bit archaic,but if you have the patience and time to work through it, it looks like it could be good. The media files are RAM format so you may need RealPlayer or VLC to play them.
Personally, I prefer podcasts and don't have the inclination to learn online, hence my less-than-positive comments about the online options. But - hey, these are all free, so I guess I can't complain too much!
Hope this is useful to someone.