I don’t consider myself especially talented with languages, but I do enjoy learning them. In fact, I have written a fairly comprehensive look at how to study languages. In that article I list many good general language learning resources. This post will focus on free resources—sites, tools, downloadable material—available to learn Thai, though I have also included books and language schools, which are mostly not free.
I have generally listed resources alphabetically. Of course, some I like more than others, but I have chosen not to give any prominence because you and I are probably at different places in our learning curve and have different preferred learning styles. Most of these resources will be best for beginner and intermediate learners as that is what I am.
There is some fluidity to the categorization of sites. I list some sites that have multiple features in multiple categories. Others I only list once, especially those in the comprehensive/grammar category.
Finally, I have created some of my own study materials that I will share with you and I start with those.
Google Docs Spreadsheet
I created a Google Docs Spreadsheet with vocabulary I studied in and out of class over the past years.
I tried not to just randomly add words I looked up in the dictionary because you can never be sure if those are commonly used or not, though occasionally I have included such words. In those cases, they are usually words that have many sample sentences so I had some confidence they are somewhat commonly used. Most entries are simple or compound words, but occasionally I include phrases or even complete sentences. For most entries I have a column called Notes which includes sample sentences using the word in question, similar words, grammatical explanations, etc.
In total, the spreadsheet has the following ten worksheets:
- Notes: just some basic explanations about the spreadsheet.
- Vocab is my main collection of ~4,000 words and phrases.
- Vocab (Priority) is a sheet that automatically shows only the “priority” entries from the Vocab sheet. It uses the Priority column so simply set that to Y for the words that are a learning priority for you.
- thai-language.com is a list of 1176 commonly used Thai words according to the thai-language.com site (one of my favorites).
- Speak Thai in 15 Days. This is the name of the book CMU used. All the vocabulary on this sheet come directly from that book or from words covered in the classroom. This is good for beginners but all these words are also included in the main Vocab sheet.
- Speak Thai in 15 Days #2. This refers to the vocabulary picked up after we finished the first book in class. There is actually a second book in the series but often it covers the same vocabulary as the first book so the majority of words included here are from the classroom or from my experiences out of class. This is good for beginners but all these words are also included in the main Vocab sheet.
- Classifiers. This is not the complete list, but the more common ones. I have forgotten the original source.
- Idioms. These come from The Fundamentals of the Thai Language by Stuart Campbell and Chuan Shaweevong.
- Ending Particles. This is really a work in progress that hasn’t progressed very far.
- 20 ใ words. Self-explanatory.
Note that I occasionally update the spreadsheet. Check the Notes sheet for the latest update date to see if you should replace a previously downloaded copy.
My Google spreadsheet can be useful by itself or as a source for your favorite flashcard program. I use and recommend Anki, which is free for computer and Android but not for iOS.
I have written a detailed guide to creating an Anki deck from a Google Docs spreadsheet. That will be useful as you modify the spreadsheet with your own vocabulary and your own selection of what words and phrases are a priority.
If you can’t be bothered with making your own Anki deck or just want a quick start, I have created decks for four of the worksheets: my large collection of “priority” vocabulary, the common words list from thai-language.com and the two worksheets from the Speak Thai in 15 Days workbooks I originally used in my Thai class at CMU.
The Speak Thai in 15 Days worksheets are more suited to beginner level study. That vocab is also included in the Thai Priority Vocab decks so there is no need to download both.
For all worksheets I created three separate decks—one with only the Thai script on the front, one with only Thai transliteration on the front and one with only the English meaning on the front. Having all three is useful, because you don’t really know a word until you can recall it in both directions. Ideally, you will learn to read Thai sooner than later and the transliterated deck will become unnecessary but until then it can be very helpful.
All of my Anki decks also include text-to-speech pronunciation, which helps when working on those tones. When you review each card the audio pronunciation should play automatically. I used the AwesomeTTS add-on but it offers two different TTS options.
The first TTS option is “on-the-fly,” which fetches the pronunciation from an online source as you review each card. Obviously, that requires an active connection when reviewing the cards. But, it also makes for a smaller file size if that is a concern. The second option is to download and embed pronunciation audio files in each card.
For the priority vocab and common words worksheets, I have made decks for each method so download and use whichever suits your needs. If you have plenty of space on your phone, I recommend the embedded audio decks. For the Speak Thai in 15 Days worksheets I only have the embedded MP3 files option.
All files are in .zip format and I list the file size for each besides the download link.
- thai-language.com Common Words (TTS – On-the-Fly) (362 kB)
- thai-language.com Common Words (TTS – MP3) (8.4 MB)
Now onto the many great resources I found around the Web.
- Ancient Scipts: Thai
- Into Asia’s Thai Language, How To Speak Thai, and Speaking Polite Thai pages
- Linguistic Perspectives of Thai Culture by Peansiri Vongvipanond
- Omniglot Thai page
- Origin of the Word “Farang”
- Royal Thai General System of Transcription
- Some Historical Background of Thai Language by Thomas J. Hudak
- thai-language.com Overview of the Thai Language
- The Many Sub-Languages of Thai by palmisano
- The Thai Writing System by Nantana Ronnakiat
- Wikipedia Thai Language page
Below are some sources for audio and video I have come across. Note that I have a separate section for Thai teachers with online Youtube channels or other onliine pages with videos.
- Easy Thai – Learning Thai from the Streets
Produced by a non-profit project aiming to help people learn languages through authentic street interviews. Videos show local language and culture in natural, everyday situations. Each episode has a specific topic and includes subtitles in both Thai and English.
- Easy Thai Stories with Audio for Beginners and Intermediate Students with English translations
Five short stories in Thai along with a corresponding English translation and the Thai audio recordings. These are part of a series designed for beginning language learners. Thomas Dalsgaard Clausen created them with the help of a Thai translator and a Thai voice artist. Each mini story is first told in the third person, then in first person from the main character’s point of view and then lastly some main points are repeated in question form.
- Everyday Thai Learning Videos
Everyday Thai language school prepared a series of basic and intermediate Thai conversation with video, transcripts (Thai script and transliteration), and English translation. Note that although the site says these are for beginner to intermediate students, they strike me as a bit difficult for beginners. Advanced students should check out the animated video series on the 2011 flood.
- Illustrations and recordings for language learning
The aakanee website offers various recordings useful for for intermediate and advanced learners of Thai. There are two main collections:
SEA Illustrations is focused on daily routines and activities (tuk-tuk, monks collecting alms, rainy season, going to bed, going to the ATM, mobile phone, laundry, flying, going to the movies, the post office, getting a haircut, personal hygiene, and more). Each entry has a recording, transcript and illustrations. These tend to be longer recordings, typically between 15 and 30 minutes.
Thai Recordings is a larger collection but has no illustrations. For a given topic, there are usually three recordings of about 5 minutes each. The recordings are not designed to teach anything in particular, and they don’t systematically cover vocabulary related to the respective topic. The intention is rather to provide examples of story telling and talking about experiences. All recordings are unscripted, natural speech and 100% in Thai
NOTE: Pablo Román has made videos of the SEA Illustrations content on his YouTube channel.
- My Beautiful Woman (Full version, Part I, Part II, Part III)
Three tear-jerking Thai videos (each based on a true story) about strong, beautiful women, with English subtitles. Anybody will enjoy these stories, but for studying purposes it is probably beyond the beginner’s ability, though the speaking is clear and relatively slow.
- Real-Life Dialogues
Pickup Thai has six Thai audio conversations with transcripts in Thai script, transliteration and English translation. You can listen to each conversation at both slow and normal speed, to get accustomed to the way real Thai people talk.
- Sanook Lei!
An old blog (latest entry 2008) that highlights funny and sad Thai commercials. Mostly they are embedded YouTube videos with a short explanation or background information in English so probably only good for intermediate to advanced learners.
- SEAsite collection of YouTube videos
A collection of YouTube videos from 2007 covering a variety of topics, many with a code indicating the level of Thai used.
- Self Study Thai (SST)
This site offers Thai audio, corresponding transcripts, line by line English translations and flashcards for news articles from Voice of America (VOA). Also shared are a few other Thai language resources. It’s all self-study and it’s all free, though you do need to be able to read Thai. This site also makes use of HTML5 for audio playback. I haven’t really checked these out yet but I presume they are more advanced based on the source material.
- Study Thai Subs (STS)
This website presents Thai audio and subtitles along with corresponding English translations from some great Thai and Hollywood movies. While the Self Study Thai project broke up sentences to sharpen listening skills and study vocabulary, this website uses phrases and full sentences taken from movies to study the sentence structure used in narration and conversations. Content includes 15 movies and over 10,000 subtitles.
- Teacher Oo teaching materials (ครูโอ๋ สื่อการเรียนการสอน)
This YouTube channel has lots of videos meant to teach Thai children that can also be useful for foreign learners of Thai, especially if you’re ready to tackle videos where only the Thai language is used. There are playlists by Thai school year which are probably a good place to start.
- Thai Ad with Unexpected Ending
On the Farang Can Learn Thai group, David highlights an amusing Thai commercial with relevant vocabulary (and a script added by member Jean-Louis Narolewski).
- Thai Fairy Tales
A series of fairy tales on YouTube that are entertaining and good for listening practice (language used is aimed at a children’s level of understanding). Some have English subtitles and do not.
- Thai Film Archive ห่างกันสักพัก ช่วง COVID-19 Playlist
A host of films deemed to be “historically and culturally significant” are now available to view for free on YouTube via The Thai Film Archive Covid-19 playlist. Films include the feature length “Santi-Vina” (1954) and clips of the oldest Thai film with a transgender woman from the same year. Many other films on the playlist are documentary film clips that entered the National Film Registry for preservation.
- Thai Girl Talk
This is a collection of podcasts and videos which are quite good for beginner self-study, covering both the language and cultural issues (like the wai, saving face, etc.). They have been created primarily by online Thai teacher Mia. At the beginning she is joined by Lani but then in more recent episodes Lani seems to have gone away and either Mia is alone or others are brought in. The production quality is generally very good and a lot of the topics are very helpful, though note that if you are already an intermediate or higher student, these might seem a bit too basic for you.
Some of the Thai Girl Talk episodes offer a Thai-only version video or audio with a downloadable Thai transcript. These seem to start with Episode 15 though not all subsequent episodes include them. Also, note that I couldn’t successfully download the audio or transcript directly from the episode page but rather had to click each separately which opened them in from their Dropbox location and then I could download them. Though it’s on the blog not the podcast page, Mia has an interview with advanced learner Jan that will either make you cry for your inadequacy or inspire you by showing what you can become; plus, it is good for listening practice and vocabulary building.
- Thai National Anthem Translation เพลงชาติไทย แปล
Sarah (Thai with Sarah) sings and gives a full explanation on the Thai national anthem’s lyrics in this video.
ThaiPod101 is part of the Innovative Language family and is a freemium course offering audio, video, and PDF learning materials. Generally, you can listen to most of the content for free, but if you want to download the transcripts, notes or extra material and services, you need to pay for a full account. Personally, I have used and enjoyed the sibling services SpanishPod101, PortuguesPod101 and JapanesePod101 though I still haven’t used ThaiPod101 much yet. From my browsing, it seems the videos that are available are only at the absolute beginner and beginner level whereas there are abundant audio lessons for all levels, though I have to say that their idea of beginner and mine are a bit different as I found the beginner audio I listened to a bit difficult, but maybe that’s just because I am a bad student?
- Thaisubtitle seems to be a site for both English and Thai subtitles for both foreign and Thai videos.
- Thai TV shows (and other videos)
Josh from Sweet and Coolbeans compiled this Google Doc listing various TV shows and other useful videos for Thai language learners. It’s a bit old and I haven’t checked most of the sources included but they may or may not be reliable any more. Still, it should serve as a guide for some videos you can go find yourself.
- You too can learn Thai
This podcast uses English as a medium, accompanied by bilingual show notes (Thai writing, transcription, English translation). Tune in and learn Thai with Kruu Nan, a native Thai speaker and a Ph.D. graduate in linguistics. She has taught Thai language courses at various universities. Most episodes are suitable for listeners with just a basic knowledge of Thai. Episode contents have detailed explainations.
- จากหัวใจ [jàak hǔajai] “From our Heart” by Boyd Kosiyabong feat. Bie Xu
Yuki Tachaya of PickupThai breaks down the lyrics and vocabulary of this COVID-19 tribute song.
This song was one of the greatest hits in 2012 in Thailand. It’s a slow ballad and this page from the sanukmaak blog lists the lyrics with transliteration.
- Carabao in English is a fan-run website dedicated to translating the songs of Carabao, especially those of lead singer/songwriter Aed Carabao, into English. Aed Carabao’s solo work will also be covered.
- Green Wave (106.5 MHz)
- Chill (89.0 MHz)
- EFM (94.0 MHz)
- MCOT Radio Network (FM 95, FM 96.5, FM 97.5, FM 99, FM 100.5, FM 107, AM 1143, AM 1494)
- NATION Radio
- Channel 3
ไทยทีวีสีช่อง 3 (Bangkok entertainment company limited)
- Channel 5 (TV 5)
ททบ.5 (Royal Thai Army Radio and Television)
- Channel 7
ไทยทีวีช่อง 7 (Bangkok Broadcasting & Television Company Limited)
- Thai PBS
Thai Public Broadcasting Service
- Channel 9 (MCOT)
อสมท. ช่อง 9 (MCOT Public Company Limited)
National Broadcasting Services of Thailand
This is just a collection of books I have seen recommended online. If you have others to recommend, please let me know. Note that compared to other languages I have studied, textbooks that present Thai grammar in an orderly fashion (or at all, for that matter) seem scarce, though I have included the ones I know of (also check out the WLT review of grammar books by Mark Hollow).
A few of these are actually available for free online or to download. I have tried to include both Amazon and Asia Books links for the others where available.
- A Reference Grammar of Thai by Shoichi Iwasaki and Preeya Ingkaphirom seems to be the most comprehensive book on Thai grammar, but apparently is not really a good choice for beginners and perhaps not even for intermediate students as it tends to present its information in a style used by linguists more than average folks. Perhaps this is the book to get if you are an advanced student, though one reviewer seemed to think it was a good book to have for serious beginners as well. (Amazon, Asia Books)
- Cracking Thai Fundamentals Book: Installing a Thai Operating System for your Mind by Stuart Jay Raj (Amazon link, Asia Books)
- Everyday Thai for Beginners by Wiworn Kesavatana-Dohrs (Amazon, Asia Books)
- Fundamentals of the Thai Language by Stuart Campbell and Chuan Shaweevongs. According to the WLT review, “this is more of a language course than a grammar book” and it has “a strong emphasis on basic grammar and outlines some key differences from English which is useful for beginners. Each topic is presented with basic vocabulary lists and example conversations. The first edition was printed in 1956 so some of the vocabulary is showing its age but the clear explanations and well-structured content make this a useful book.” The book is now out of print, but you can read it online. Though I have only browsed it, I found the content clear and helpful but I must warn that the transliteration used is truly awful and doesn’t seem to indicate tones at all so it might be better to start using this after you can read Thai script.
- Google Books: Thai Learning Resources is a curation of various useful books by Catherine Wentworth for Thai learners available either partially or fully on Google Books, separated by topic.
- Khian Thai: Thai Writing Workbook by Titima Suthiwan
This workbook was built on a prototype edition that was used at the National University of Singapore’s Thai program, the world’s largest program of Thai as a foreign language. (Amazon, Asia Books)
- Outrageous Thai: Slang, Curses and Epithets (Thai Phrasebook) by T. F. Rhoden (Amazon, Asia Books)
- ภาษาพาที is a series of six Thai language textbooks used in Thai schools that might be good for intermediate to advanced learners. I read that the first two aren’t the best but that from book #3 on they are quite good. There are seven workbooks that accompany these as well (two for the first book). They are quite inexpensive so worth giving a try.
- Progressive Thai by Rungrat Luanwarawat (Amazon, Asia Books)
- Read Thai in 10 Days by Arthit Juyaso (Amazon, Asia Books)
- Reading Thai is Fun (อ่านภาษาไทย สนุกมาก) by James Neal (Asia Books)
- Reading and Writing Thai by Somsonge Burusphat (Amazon, Asia Books)
NOTE: read the WLT review and find related audio files you can download.
- Thai: An Essential Grammar by David Smyth. As one reviewer writes, this book is well organized and “stresses practical grammar used in spoken Thai, and captures cultural aspects of usage in the manner of native Thai speakers. Nice features include cultural notes on certain grammatical forms with regard to their appropriateness in social situations, gender specificity, idiomatic expressions, and other interesting features peculiar to Thai, such as the use of special adjectives that intensify meanings and make the foreign speaker sound more natural to native speakers.” The one complaint I read about this book is its choice of transliteration. Apparently it uses a system that will be more comfortable for British English speakers (e.g., por instead of paw or pɔɔ [พอ]).
Note: According to the WLT review, the “the Kindle and ePub editions use miniature graphics files for the Thai text and some transliteration symbols so resizing the layout doesn’t work properly,” though nobody has mentioned this in the Amazon reviews. (Amazon, Asia Books)
- Thai for Beginners, Intermediate Thai I, and Intermediate Thai: Reading Exercises are three books by Jacob de Groot that can be downloaded for free on his Thammasat University webpage. You will need to access the files via a Google or Facebook account (the former granting permission to your contacts which worries me) or you can register with an email address.
- The Benjawan Poomsan Becker series Thai for Beginners (Amazon, Asia Books), Thai for Intermediate Learners (Amazon, Asia Books) is very popular and usually easy to find in local bookstores in Thailand. It comes with an audio CD but when picking up a used copy that may or may not still be included. If you do pick up any of these books, make sure you check out Thai Language Study Aids, a site that offers a series of study aids and quizzes for people who are using the books. You will find word lists, comprehension exams, jumbled sentence quizzes and matching quizzes. Later I also list some Memrise collections based on this series. She also has a popular Speak Like a Thai series (Amazon, Asia Books)
- Thai Language: Straight To The Point (Scribd, download)
Emil Vøhlert has written a free e-book where he shares tips and tricks on how to learn Thai language.
- Thai Reference Grammar by James Higbie and Snea Thinsan. This book seems to be the consensus best for intermediate learners. One review has claimed this is the only book that goes beyond beginner level grammar (though apparently there is still no advanced grammar reference on the market). Two complaints I noticed in the Amazon reviews are the small size of the font and its excessive use of transliteration, including having that as the only option for some areas including the index. Apparently, it occasionally omits tone marks with the transliterations too. (Amazon, Asia Books)
- Wannakadilamnam (วรรณคดีลำนำ) is a series of textbooks sort of recommended on a Farang Can Learn Thai Language post but I am not sure what it is about or what level it is appropriate to.
Note that I haven’t used these books so I can’t offer a personal opinion of which to pick up. However, based on the reviews I read, it seems Thai: An Essential Grammar is excellent but not complete so you’ll probably eventually want to supplement it with Thai Reference Grammar. As for the Becker books, one review had this to say: “All in all, if you want to learn Thai, you might start with Thai for Beginners […] but after that, don’t bother with her Thai for Intermediate Learners, but get [Thai Reference Grammar] and you will find it will serve you for a long time to come.”
- ClickThai Dictionary (Android, iOS)
This app is almost as expensive as the Talking Thai app (below) but not nearly as popular. There aren’t many reviews, but they are positive.
- Google translate (Android, iOS, Web)
I don’t particularly like Google Translate as a Thai dictionary but it does have three redeeming qualities. First, it is a good first-choice for translating blocks of text from Thai to English (not good in the other direction as the transliteration displayed under the result is practically incomprehensible…really!). Second, it is good for the pronunciation files available. Third, it has a virtual keyboard, and even better, the ability to type a word in transliterated form and select the proper Thai word from a dropdown list of possible choices. This is a great way to type quickly if your Thai typing skills are lacking. On the app version you can also use voice input, which is very accurate.
- Longdo Dict Thai dictionary (Android, iOS, Web)
This free app provides online and offline access to multiple bilingual dictionaries between Thai and non-Thai (English, Japanese, French, Chinese, etc.) languages. Features include: A fast full-text word suggestion; Search using prefix, suffix, or even infix; Search by saying a word (speech search); Word pronunciation; Basket for favorites; Search history; Optional content download for offline use.
- Royal Society Thai Dictionary (Android, iOS)
This free Thai dictionary feature 43,000 words from the Royal Institute’s Dictionary. It contains parts of speech, pronunciation, definitions, and related words. You can explore these words via direct search or by alphabetic index and trace back to your search history. This app is a product of collaboration between Office of the Royal Society and National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC).
- SEAlang Library Thai Dictionary (Web)
I only recently came across this dictionary based on the Mary Haas Thai Dictionary Project. I still haven’t used it enough to form a final opinion but my first impressions are good. It has an advanced search panel on the left that lets you enter terms in English, Thai script (includes a virtual keyboard with predictive completion) or IPA transliteration (includes IPA phonetics buttons to make that easier). Results are displayed on the right-side panel. If you are having trouble finding a word, try using the approximate matching options, which let you have flexibility in things like vowel length, confused consonant sounds (e.g., r vs. l), ignore differences between Thai words with syllables separated by a space or a dash (-), search derivatives of English words (house, houses, housed, housing), and the combination of these options.
I suspect the biggest problem with this dictionary for average users it the fact that it is based on the work of a linguist, and therefore the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is used, which will be a bit foreign to all but the geekiest of us.
One small but nice feature is that you can easily change the font size of the results. My other preferred dictionaries generally present the results in a readable size so this hasn’t been a big problem, but this might be helpful for those that complain of Thai script being harder to read because of its size.
- Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary (Android, iOS)
This has been my dictionary of choice since shortly after I started studying Thai. I had looked in vain for a decent free dictionary app (they were all pretty bad) and was hesitant to spend US$25 on an app, but as I read reviews and realized it had a few unique features, I decided to buy it and I would say it was absolutely money well spent. So, what makes this dictionary worth $25?
First, besides searching in English or Thai script, it is one of the few apps that let you search for transliterated Thai words.
Second, in the settings you can choose which transliteration system you want to use. This is really great because you can choose the one that matches whatever course or textbook you are using to study the language and keep some consistency. Eventually you want to be reading only Thai script, but realistically that point will take a while to get to so this feature is great. By the way, just as you can choose the transliteration, you can choose which Thai script font you want to use.
Third, the app includes a Thai keyboard so you don’t need to install one for your OS and switch to it. This is more convenient than you realize, though you won’t probably appreciate it until you get more comfortable with reading and writing in Thai.
The fourth great feature—and perhaps the best one for beginners—is that audio readings are available for all the words. When you are struggling to learn tones and perfect your pronunciation, this is a true lifesaver.
A fifth standout feature is the inclusion of relevant classifiers. As a complete beginner you often ignore these, but after a while you will realize that they are essential to speaking Thai well. The problem is there are so many and it is hard to remember them all. Fortunately, anytime you look up a word that has an associated classifier, it (or they if more than one can be used) will be listed.
Yet another great feature is “Explain Spelling,” which will deconstruct the syllables in a word and tell you why they have the tones they do (including if they are irregular). You can even select any of the component sounds to find out more about vowels and syllables or consonants, which are two of the many subjects in the “Reading and Writing” chapter of the app. A related feature is the ability to find words inside, which will deconstruct a multi-part word and show you the meanings of each component. Since a great many Thai words are created from two or more words, this is very helpful.
These features alone make the app worth buying, but there are a few others worth mentioning. For instance, where appropriate, you will be shown an icon indicating a word is either formal or mostly used in spoken language. There is a “Google Thai Word” option which will probably only be useful for more advanced students (though by checking the number of results returned you can at least get an idea of whether the word is common).
There is also an “Easy Thai” option that helps ease the transition from using transliterated Thai to Thai script. I haven’t used it, but it could be helpful for some. Essentially, it will show the real Thai word, and then instead of (or in addition to, you choose) the transliteration, it will show the word in a simpler version of the Thai script (if possible) along with the tone marks. With the tone marks, you can choose to include them, not include them, or include them only for irregular words, depending on where you are in your knowledge of the Thai script. I have never used this feature but it might be useful to some.
- Thai2English (mobile-friendly, Web)
This is a good alternative to the thai-language.com dictionary (below). Like it, compound word components are listed when appropriate. Also, results include example words that the searched word is a component of. Some words have more than one distinct meaning, and for these the example words are appropriately categorized according to the meaning. Another useful feature is that if a word seems to be a spelling mistake, Thai2English will try to offer suggestions of words that seem to be similar. Finally, you can save words to your favorites.
Note that you can supposedly input transliterated Thai, though it must match either that of the thai2english default scheme or the Royal Thai General System of Transcription
The site also offers a translation option where you can enter complete sentences or blocks of text in Thai and get a transliterated output and a listing of each separate word and its definition.
In my mind, the biggest drawback to this dictionary is that it only uses one transliteration system, which is definitely not my preferred system.
Note that there is no Android or iOS apps for this, but its mobile site performs like an app, so if you regularly have online access it is a great option, and much better than the thai-language.com Android app.
- THAI DICT (Android)
A Thai dictionary + translator with more than 500,000 dictionary word entries. Advance word lookup, help you discovery more related words. Full synonyms , antonyms , relevant word and Thesaurus support. High Quality voice and pronunciation. Voice Search support. Vocabulary pictures support. Online Google Translate, Longman Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, Collins Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, Youdao Dictionary, Longdo included.
- thai-language.com (Android, iOS, Web)
This is my preferred online dictionary. Like Thai2English, you can search a word in transliterated form, though it is more accurate and supports multiple forms of transliteration. Unfortunately, to do so you have to use the reverse phonemic transcription feature. I also prefer its bulk word lookup. Although it won’t translate the entire text as a whole, it will list all the component words, their transliterations, and their definition, all in a compact format.
One of the best things about this site is that you can configure how it displays for you. There are many configuration options, but the most useful is the ability to choose the type of transliteration used. So, if your textbook or favorite learning materials use one of 12 or so common forms of transliteration, you can choose that one to display on thai-language.com.
Another unique and wonderful feature of this dictionary is the sample sentences, which help you get a good feel for whether a word is common or not and how it might be used in practice.
Other essential features include audio readings of the words, the listing of individual components of compound words, antonyms, synonyms, and—crucially—the relevant classifier(s) for the word in question. There are also useful lessons and reference materials.
Unfortunately, the Android and iOS apps are developed by different people and differ greatly in quality. The iOS app is actually pretty good, and even offers autocomplete, something most other dictionary apps don’t. The Android app, on the other hand, kind of sucks. It is pretty much just a mobile version of thai-language.com but even that isn’t done well as the screen sizing isn’t optimized for a mobile device.
- Thai Notes offers several online dictionaries, including two editions of the Royal Institute Dictionary (RSD) that offer advanced wildcard searching capabilities. For either TH-EN or EN-TH you can type directly into a search box or use a virtual keyboard on the screen. Note that there is a noticeable delay while the dictionary data gets loaded.
So, what to make of the above? For online use, I recommend either thai-language.com or Thai2English (whichever you like better) combined with Google Translate for block text lookup (TH-EN only) and simplified Thai text entry. For an app, spend the $25 and get the Talking Thai app. It’s worth it. If you don’t want to do that, get the thai-language.com app for iOS or use the Thai2English site as a mobile app for Android (and/or for iOS). For more advanced users, add the Longdo and Royal Society dictionaries.
There are some downloadable files listed in the relevant resource sections but here is a collection of files that don’t seem to logically belong to only one category.
- Farang Can Learn Thai Language files
There are a lot of files available on the FCLT Facebook group. A few may also be listed separately but as I haven’t had a chance to review them all I list the main collection page here for you to peruse yourself.
- FREE Audio and Vocabulary Downloads: Thai for Beginners, Intermediate and Advanced
Benjawan Poomsan Becker (Paiboon Publishing) gave permission for Catherine at WLT to record and release the vocabulary for her three classic Thai courses: Thai for Beginners, Thai for Intermediate and Thai for Advanced Readers. These are now available as audio files and spreadsheets downloads (click the book titles for direct download links).
- Free Thai Font Collection
The Lanna Innovation Thai Font Collection currently includes over 300 font files in 108 font families. Not all font families include multiple variants, but many do. Font files are in TTF or OTF file format. The collection of fonts show the diversity of Thai typefaces. While there are many different websites with fonts for download, some fonts are difficult to find, and many sites also have proprietary fonts which are not free, and their use violates intellectual property laws. In addition, information about additional free-to-use fonts not hosted here is included, as well as information about standard proprietary Thai fonts, specifically those Thai fonts that come with Apple OSX and Microsoft Windows.
- Omniglot Guide to the Thai Alphabet by Simon Ager
- Thai Learning Documents
Pauline Daithanawong, a member of the Farang Can Learn Thai Language group has posted this collection of learning resources she created to help her boyfriend learn Thai and made them freely available to anyone.
- Thai Learning Resources
Jan Badertscher uses this site to store things related to learning the Thai language. Topics include grammar, reading, apps, and culture. Of particular note is a number of files and images he has created that you can download.
- Book2 (English-Thai, Thai-English)
100 lessons, covering both useful everyday topics and grammatical concepts. Each lesson presents a list of phrases or sentences relevant to the topic in one language on the left with the translation in the middle and the ability to play a sound file on the right. Since versions are available for both Thai-English and English-Thai, you can practice both ways, though beginners will likely want to stick with the English-Thai version. A useful feature of this site is that the middle translation column is first shown as incomplete with spaces replacing letters, which you can fill in by clicking a link. The idea is to translate yourself first and then check if you were right or not.
- Everyday Thai Free Thai Language Study Aids
Everyday Thai Language School has produced a series of free online learning aids. Their main objective is to improve vocabulary acquisition and increase students exposure and interaction with the language. Their Thai language teachers have created hundreds of Thai flashcards and Thai language exercises. These learning aids cover most of the vocabulary introduced in their Thai language books and include over 4200 audio clips. Additionally, they have adapted part of the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) Thai language course to use as a basic Thai reader for self-study. They have also developed an additional series of short Thai readers on various subjects (all accompanied by a reading comprehension quiz) for the benefit of all advanced Thai language learners. Finally, they offer a learn Thai with music series where each song includes the music video, Thai lyrics, English translation, and Thai transliteration.
- Farang Can Learn Thai Grammar Section
A collection of grammar-related explanations originally posted in the Facebook group of the same name. (Note: the site seems to have died so I am linking to an archived copy)
- Foreign Service Institute Thai Language Course
The Thai Notes site offers the well-known Foreign Service Institute courses for the Thai language (volumes 1 and 2 plus the Reference Grammar guide). Unlike some sites for FSI materials in other languages, this site lets you read all the materials online and includes embedded audio as well. It replaced the FSI transliteration system with IPA, which is the least intuitive system IMHO (it’s mostly meant for linguists), but there is an option to turn it off if you can already read Thai. If you prefer to download FSI in PDF and MP3 formats, you can do so at the FSI Language Courses site (note that there is a download button at the top that requires a name and email but I am not sure what that is for as you can simply scroll down and find all the relevant files. Perhaps it provides a single .zip file download but I didn’t test it so I am not sure). thai-language.com also offers a direct PDF download for the text.
- GLOSS (Global Language Online Support System)
Reading and listening lessons taken from articles, TV, radio, etc. Brought to you by the Defense Language Institute. You can select lessons based on level, modality (listening or reading), competence, and topic.
- Into Asia Thai Language
This site has some really good overviews of the Thai language. I especially like their easy to read and understand big-picture look at Thai grammar and how it diverges from English grammar, but most of their pages are worth reading.
- Langhub.com – Learn Thai
Text, audio and video files to help you learn Thai. Beginner, intermediate, advanced, and grammar lessons that include downloadable MP3s, PDFs, and embedded videos of translated Thai words and phrases (with Thai transliteration including accent marks) spoken in both English and by a native Thai speaker are available. Also available are lessons for expats living in Thailand, traveling in Thailand, business, and some columns about topics such as Thai words to use while getting a Thai massage and how to talk on the phone in Thai.
- SEAsite Thai Language and Culture Learning Resources
This site is a bit of a mess with an outdated design and you may have trouble viewing the fonts (they tell you how to install their fonts but if you use Chrome you may not need to). Anyway, enter the main site and on the left sidebar you will see many options, including: Alphabet, Beginning Thai review (follow my link as the link on the site is wrong), classifiers, Business Thai (again, their link is bad), Comics, Language (with sections on Reading, Vocabulary, Writing, and Conversation), Literature, Music, Reading, Self-Assessment, Signs, Spoken Thai, Tones, and more. Really, there is a lot to explore on this site so it’s probably worth reading the overview page.
- Spoken Thai
Spoken Thai for the Internet has been adapted from the book of the same name authored by Mary R. Haas and Heng R. Subhanka and first published in 1945 by the Linguistic Society of America. This is the Spoken Thai section of the SEAsite resource already listed, but since it is acts as a self-contained course I list it separately as well.
- thai-language.com Reference Information and Tables offers a variety of useful material about the Thai language including: handy phrases, a glossary of Thai language terms, common words, phonetics, pronunciation, tones, the Thai alphabet, grammar concepts, writing and typing, and some useful tables (telling time, numbers, kinship terms, months, days, etc.).
- Thai Time: Relearn Thai Tense the Thai Way (Part 1, Part 2)
Arthit Juyaso offers an alternative approach to some of the most common time markers in Thai.
- Bangkok Language Exchange Meetup (Facebook page, Meetup page)
- Conversation Exchange
- Language Exchange Chiang Mai is a Facebook group with meetings twice a week (Saturdays and Wednesday from 18:00)
- Learn to Speak Thai (language exchange via email, text and voice chat)
- PolyGlot Club
- The Mixxer (exchanges via Skype)
- Dailymotion – AnothaiDara has videos by Potato, New & Jiew, and So Cool.
- Deungdutjai (ดึงดูดใจ)
This site offers a large collection of lyrics and translations for popular Thai songs. Apparently, you can even ask Tahmnong (the woman who runs the site) to add a song if it isn’t already available. If you are interested in knowing what music is currently popular in Thailand, it includes a current Top 20 weekly chart with links to any songs that have already been translated.
- Learn Thai from Songs
This site from University of Hawaii at Manoa is designed for beginning readers of Thai who already know all of the Thai alphabet and writing system, and know some basic Thai. Seven songs are on offer with each having pop-up glossary help and an audio pronunciation guide, by word and by verse. Each song is also accompanied by culture notes, grammar notes and an explanation. Also, you will have a chance to sing along or read along, with the accompanying sung vocals and pictures which are provided to help your understanding.
- Learn Thai Language Online with Music
Everyday Thai offers up this series where each song includes the music video, Thai lyrics, English translation, and Thai transliteration.
- Pick up Thai Music Station includes six songs with karaoke readings.
- 12 Easy Steps to Reading Thai by Stuart Jay Raj
- Ben Crowder’s Thai Script Card is a compact chart of all Thai consonants, vowels, old system numbers and tone rules. Useful as a reference sheet.
- Consonant Shape Learning Aid
Find some useful tips for learning Thai consonants as well as a good PDF with them all broken out by class.
- Cracking Thai Fundamentals – Stuart Jay Raj’s Thai Vowel Handsigns (Part I, Part II)
- Does Written Thai Need Spaces? by Hugh Leong.
- How Do Thais Tell Letters Apart? by Doug Cooper
This detailed paper talks about the different stylistic Thai fonts commonly used and how you can more easily read them since they often cause problems for foreigners learning Thai.
- How to guess “inherent” unwritten vowel
On the Farang Can Learn Thai Facebook group, member Ziad Attia put together a useful video on guess what unwritten vowel a word uses.
- How to Write Thai Consonants
- Learn ALL Thai Alphabet in 50 minutes/hour – How to Write and Read Thai
This video from ThaiPod101.com aims to teach the Thai alphabet in less than an hour
- Learning Thai 101
The purpose of this web module is to introduce you to the Thai writing system and teach you to read Thai script through self-instruction using the AUA Thai Course Book and AUA PDF and sound files, in conjunction with additional exercises. Note that the site is a bit ancient and, although the exercises do function, they are clunky. (NOTE: site is offline so I am linking to an archived version)
- Learning Thai language – Thai numbers
- Learn To Read Thai is a collection of 15 YouTube videos by David Voetberg covering the alphabet, consonants, vowels, tones, and reading rules.
- Learn to read Thai Tutorials is a collection of 29 tutorials and YouTube videos aimed at people who currently have zero knowledge of written Thai. These lessons are not intended for intermediate or advanced readers of Thai.
- Let’s Talk Thai cheat sheet is a PDF collection of various Thai “rules” compiled from various sources by Josh Sager. Great for beginners and also great for when you have forgotten some of the basics.
- Read and Write Thai – COMPACT by Ruedi Seiler is a compact version of the course “Read and Write Thai” (Lessons 1-21).
- Reading Lessons and Vocabulary Building by Hugh Leong offers some useful tips for deconstructing Thai sentences.
- Slice-of-Thai.com Thai consonant/vowel flashcards are very nice and even let you decide which transliteration system you wish to use.
- Summary of Basic Thai Reading & Writing Rules
This PDF is a nice, compact (one page) summary of the Thai writing system. For example, you will find the tone rules, all the consonants organized alphabetically and separately in a table separated by low-mid-high classes. There is also a summary of final ending sounds, a list of all the ใ words, consonant clusters, special pronunciations, irregular usages, silent ห and อ and more. This sheet assumes you already know the readings of the alphabet so those aren’t included.
- Thai Abbreviation List
Abbreviated Thai words make reading more difficult. Here is a massive list of abbreviations you might encounter. Note that for some reason they don’t all have the full Thai word listed, only the English meaning.
- Thai alphabet poster
No transliterations, just relevant illustrations next to each consonant. A different, old-fashioned collection of min-posters is available at CreativeRoots.
- Thai Comics (เบื่อเมีย)
- Thai Consonant Map – Phonetic Map of the Human Mouth (Stuart Jay Raj, PDF)
- Thai consonant mnemonics and images
Phoebe Storm is a visual learner and she created these illustrations to help remember the consonants by class. There are only illustrations for the middle and high classes (a promised future low class collection seems to have never been realized) but by process of elimination, if a consonant isn’t middle or high it must be low.
- Thai Consonant Sounds Initial-Ending (Tod Daniels, PDF)
- Thai Language Cheat Sheet (NguuMuu, PDF – Letter, A4)
- Thai Script Typographical Styles
This page, part of the thai-language.com site, illustrates 62 different styles of Thai script, showing the stylized script on the left and the standard browser font on the right.
Kirk Scott has created a set of 22 Microsoft Word files for learning the alphabet and spelling of the Thai language. The files form an electronic textbook on the subject and make use of color to help learn the pronunciation of tones. They also include original mnemonic devices for keeping the spelling rules in mind. There are 22 companion apps, one for each of these units, available at the Google Play store, usable on Android devices. The names of the apps are Unit1ThaiSpelling, Unit2ThaiSpelling, Unit3ThaiSpelling, and so on.
- Thai vowels introduction
- The Easy Way for Beginners to Read and Write Thai is an article by Catherine Wentworth offering some advice and listing useful resources for those trying to learn the Thai alphabet.
- The Thai Alphabet Poem is a poem that young Thai boys and girls use to learn the forty-four Thai consonants. This page presents the poem, with audio by a native Thai speaker along with transliteration and English translation. Some useful notes about the poem as well as related resources are also provided. thai-language.com also has the poem with an option to hide the transliteration.
- Chulalongkorn University Proficiency Test of Thai as a Foreign Language (CU-TFL)
Check out Tod Daniels’ article about it.
- Important Points in Learning Thai by Sean Harley
- Thoughts on Learning the Thai Language after One Year is an article I wrote after I finished my first year course at CMU.
- Thai Culture: Understanding Greng Jai (เกรงใจ)
- Thai government language proficiency exam (การสอบวัดระดับความสามารถในการไช้ภาษาไทยสำหรับชาวต่างประเทศ)
NOTE: I have read that the Chula exam is a better measure of Thai language ability, and far more convenient to take as well. There’s also an interesting thread discussing both tests on Facebook.
- Advanced Thai Reading and Vocabulary Building
There are quite a few books and online programs that can help you to begin to read Thai but there are a lot fewer advanced books that will help you once you have achieved a beginner’s proficiency. So, when Hugh Leong needed to work at a more advanced Thai reading level, he wrote his own textbooks and now he is sharing them with the wider community of Thai learners. (Volume 1, Volume 2)
- Chula Book is an online seller of Thai books. It’s the only site I have found so far that also offers eBooks.
- I Get English is a magazine for Thais learning English but is good for more advanced Thai learners as well since its content is presented in both Thai and English. You can even read it for free online.
- Languages on the Web
This site offers a small collection of short stories—the Daisy stories written by Crystal Jones—presented as bilingual parallel texts in three columns for the original Thai, a transliterated version and the English original. Note that the Daisy Macbeth story is currently linked to the Indonesian translation instead, but it does exist, though without a transliterated column.
- Learn Thai with Maanii Books
The Maanii books were originally produced by the Thai Ministry of Education and were used to teach primary school students to read and write Thai between 1978 and 1994. Apparently, it has become very difficult to find these books in print so Mia from the highly recommended Thai Girl Talk series has been digitizing and translating them for free download. As Mia says, the books are not just textbooks to learn Thai, they also teach the morals of the Thai people and provide an insight into what it means to be Thai. In Thai schools the books were used in grades 1-6. Students read two books each year for a total of twelve by the time they were 10 years old.
NOTE: if you use Anki, there are currently shared decks for books 2-4.
- Learning Thai with Post Today (Archive)
These are the current archives of Bangkok Post articles meant to help Thai language learners. Each article is posted in English and Thai and a list of vocabulary used in the article is provided.
- SEAlang Lab “Just Read”
This is a fantastic resource. Basically, you can select from a ton of readings listed by topic, difficulty level and source. You can choose whether to display only Thai, English, paragraph side-by-side, sentence side-by-side, paragraph over-under and sentence over-under. If you can’t read Thai script well yet, hover your mouse over a word and its transliteration will be shown. Click on any word and it will automatically be added to the search field. Click the search button and you a small window will popup with the word’s dictionary entry and usually an audio and video option for the word.
- Thai Basic Reader
This online course offers 56 lessons, each one as downloadable PDF and MP3 files. The original textbook was developed by Thomas W. Gething and Pongsuwan T. Bilmes of the University of Hawaii and the lessons are designed to roughly correlate with Lessons 1 through 50 of the AUA books by J. Marvin Brown. Each lesson begins with a passage dealing with some aspect of Thai society, history, geography or culture. Following the passage are questions on the content of that passage. Also included is an accompanying glossary. The early lessons also have exercises designed to practice using the syntax and vocabulary of that and previous lessons.
- Thai Free Epubs is a Facebook community that collects reading material from the internet and converts into ePub format.
- Thai Reader Project
This project at the University of Wisconsin at Madison provides a set of Thai language reading lessons intended to be used in a classroom setting by students who have completed a year of elementary study and attained at least basic literacy.
- Thai Reader and The Thai System of Writing are two books by Mary Haas meant to be used together by intermediate students. The former is a link to an online version, with audio files (though in .wav format that you have use with an external audio player) and the latter is a PDF download. Frankly, I just perused the PDF and found it dull as dirt and a bit academic, but to each his/her own. Thai Reader is part of the previously covered SEAsite page and does offer some useful short reading passages and so my recommendation is use other resources to learn the alphabet if needed and then focus only on using the Thai Reader page for practice, though even it recommends starting with the first Maanii books already mentioned.
- Thai to English Fiction | เรื่องสั้นไทย
Modern and classic Thai short stories in English, brought to you by Marcel Barang. No transliteration, just Thai original and English translation.
English Language Papers
Thai Language Papers
- ไทยรัฐ (Thairath)
- กรุงเทพธุรกิจ (Bangkokbiznews)
- ข่าวสด (Khaosod)
- มติชน (Matichon)
- คมชัดลึก (Komchadluek)
- สยามรัฐ (Siamrath)
- ฐานเศรษฐกิจ (Than)
- เดลินิวส์ (Daily News)
- ไทยโพสต์ (Thai Post)
- ผู้จัดการ (Manager)
- สยามธุรกิจ (Siam Turakij)
- ประชาชาติธุรกิจ (Prachachat)
- สยามกีฬา (Siam Sport)
- Farang Can Learn Thai Language
This is a very popular Facebook group and probably my most useful online resource. Many Thai teachers are members and regularly post mini-lessons (or links to them on YouTube). Other more advanced learners sometimes do the same. And, many members ask questions that other members helpfully answer and these are great learning opportunities. The mods do a great job so that I have rarely seen nonsense or spam posts.
- Lang-8 (native speakers correct your writing and vice-versa; not specific to Thai)
- Learn2Speak Thai language blog
- Let’s Talk Thai
- Speak Read Write Thai
- thai-language.com Thai Language Forum
- Thai Visa Thai Language Forum
- The White Guy’s Thai Guide
- Transparent Language Thai Language Blog
- UniLang Language South East Asian Languages Forum
Thai Language Schools
- AAA Thai Language School
- Duke Language School
- Jentana & Associates
- Language Express
- Rak Thai Language School
- Sumaa Language and Culture Institute
- Effective Thai
- Language Institute Chiang Mai University
- Payap University
- Studying Thai in Chiang Mai: Advice from a Long-Term Chiang Mai Resident
- TSL Chiang Mai
There are lots of individual teachers (see the section below for many of them) with whom you can arrange either in-person or online classes. but Learn Thai Style offers a marketplace for connecting with one or more teachers across the globe.
Thai Teachers Online
There are an increasing number of Thai teachers offering free mini lessons online, usually on Facebook and/or YouTube. The quality and level varies. I haven’t had a chance to check out many of them so I only have short descriptions for the ones I do. Some are also inactive but if their lessons are still available I am including them anyway. I am also including YouTube channels run by language schools. If you have any thoughts on any in particular, please leave a comment.
- AUA Language Center Learn Thai Language Videos
A large collection of ALG videos, most around 10 minutes each. ALG (“Automatic Language Growth”) is a language learning method. You can also find all the videos directly on YouTube.
- BananaThai with Kru Smuk (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- David Thai Lesson (YouTube)
- Duke Language School (Bingo) (Facebook, YouTube)
- Edu4Fun เรียนภาษาง่ายนิดเดียว (Kruu Natcha) (Facebook, YouTube)
- Easy Thai by Alif Silpachai (Facebook, YouTube)
I’m not sure that these well-made videos really qualify as “easy” as some of the dialogue used to illustrate the core expression get fast and complicated. Still, Alif is kind of funny and he introduces useful words or phrases that even beginners might want to learn. A big plus is that he includes the Thai script in the About section.
- Easy Thai Language by Kru Nam Suwapa Chatasu (Facebook)
- Easy Thai with Bo (Facebook, YouTube)
- Fluent in Thai by Narisa (YouTube)
Only four old videos so appears to be inactive.
- How to Speak Thai (YouTube)
12 videos by Bua, mostly covering vocabulary and phrases and culture.
- I Want to Learn Thai with Bobo (Website, YouTube)
- Farang Kii Nok teaches Thai (YouTube)
- KruMay (Facebook, YouTube)
- Krumeithai (Facebook, YouTube)
Only two videos the last I checked, which is a shame because she is one of the few (only?) teachers that speaks nothing but Thai in her videos. She also offers both English and Thai subtitles.
- Kruu Wee Teach Thai (Facebook, YouTube)
- Khun Kruu Noot (Facebook, YouTube)
- Langhub.com (YouTube)
A large collection of short videos from Langhub. Most seem to be just a collection of vocabulary words written on the screen and pronounced by a native Thai speaker.
- learn2speakthai (Kruu Mia) (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- Learn Casual Thai with Kru Mon (Facebook)
- Learn Thai Bon’s Way (YouTube)
- Learn Thai by NATTO (Facebook, YouTube)
- Learn Thai from a White Guy (Website, YouTube)
- Learn Thai I Sat (YouTube)
- Learn Thai Language with Jang (Facebook, YouTube)
- Learn Thai Podcast (Website, YouTube)
- Learn Thai Style Language (YouTube)
- Learn Thai Thaigomaster (YouTube)
This is the YouTube channel for TSL Chiang Mai language school. Different teachers have playlists. I haven’t yet watched many but I found the intermediate “confusing words” videos by Kruu Note to be quite good. Kruu Ang also has a 60+ video playlist of lessons that follow her Thai textbook.
- Learn Thai with พร (Facebook)
- Learn Thai With Kate (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- Learn Thai with Kru Ju (Facebook)
- Learn Thai with Kru Lookkade (Website, Facebook)
- Learn Thai with Mind (Facebook)
- Learn Thai with Mod (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
Kruu Mod (with Kruu Pear helping) has been online longer than most other teachers and has a good collection of videos helpful for anyone studying Thai.
- Learn Thai with Shelby (Facebook, YouTube)
- Learn Thai with Waan Waan (Facebook, YouTube)
- Mellow Method – Thai Tutor (Facebook)
- My Thai Language School (YouTube)
- Pick up Thai (Video Lessons and Real-life Thai Conversations)
Thai teacher Yuki Tachaya offers YouTube videos covering useful Thai expressions on various interesting topics. Watch these to “pick up” interesting Thai vocabulary and expressions. She also offers a small collection of conversations with Thai script, transliteration, English translation, and audio (slow and normal speed).
- Rian Thai Kruu Cherry (Facebook)
- Speak Thai Easy with Kruu Nun (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- Speak Thai Possible with Naam (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- Speak with Pair (YouTube)
A growing collection of videos from online teacher Pair. In the few I checked out, the use of transliteration and Thai script was inconsistent and when transliteration was used, it didn’t indicate tone marks.
- Speak Thai with Khruu Wachi พูดไทยกับครูวชิ (Facebook, YouTube)
- Speak Thai with Noi Naa (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- StilloKay (YouTube)
- Stuart Jay Raj (Website, YouTube)
This is home to a well-known polyglot’s many videos, only some of which cover Thai (though still a lot and generally titled Thai Bites or Cracking Thai Fundamentals).
- Study Thai with Kruu Jan (Website, Facebook)
- Talk Thai to Me (Kruu Jittin Chaitamart) (YouTube)
- Terrible Thai Teacher (Facebook)
- Thai & Thai Culture Learn Together with Kru Elle (Facebook)
- Thai by Chom (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- Thai Language Hut School (Website, YouTube)
A large (250 as of this writing) collection of useful short (usually less than 3 minutes) videos covering a variety of topics.
- Thai Language PhasaThai (Facebook)
- Thai Language Program by Dr. Ruedi Seiler (Facebook, YouTube)
- Thai Lessons by New (Facebook, YouTube)
- Thai Online with Bowie (Facebook, YouTube)
- ThaiPod101 (Website, YouTube)
- Thai Thai by Champagne (YouTube)
- Thai Times: Speak Thai Fluently with Joy (Facebook, YouTube)
- Thai with Sarah ซาร่า (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- The Travel Linguist (YouTube)
- Tongue Thai’d by Andrew Biggs (YouTube)
Catherine Wentworth also created a playlist to organize them all
- Wondrous Thai (Facebook, YouTube)
Once you get to a more advanced level, you may wish to stop following video channels like those above and switch to channels focused on teaching English to Thai speakers as all of the background information and explanations will be in Thai. I haven’t really reached that point yet so I am not aware of many good options, but if you have suggestions please leave a comment.
- เรียนภาษาอังกฤษแบบ American สไตล์ – TalkAmerican (Facebook, YouTube)
- Ajarn Adam (Adam Bradshaw) (Website, Facebook, YouTube)
- English by Chris (YouTube)
Thai Tones and Pronunciation
One very useful tip to practice your tones is to use the speech input on your mobile phone. Using your note app or any other app which accepts text input, choose the Thai keyboard and then use the microphone option to speak instead of typing. It’s quite good at recognizing words so if it doesn’t capture what you are trying to say, your tones are probably off. Keep practicing until it recognizes what you want to say.
- Any phonetic script can be learned in just a few hours by Benny Lewis
- Factors determining the tone
- Forvo Thai pronunciation guide
Forvo is a great site where native speaking members record and add words. It is basically a pronunciation dictionary.
- How to pronounce the combination of the Thai tones
This video from Kru Ju focused on pronunciation when there are multiple tones in the Thai words. She also offers a video of a basic introduction to tones.
- Learn To Speak Thai: Tone Drills by Class
Brett (Learn Thai from a White Guy) has modified the tone exercises found in the The Fundamentals of The Thai Language with a version that reflects words that you are actually going to be using.
- Listening for the Tone of One-Syllable Words
In this quiz, you’ll listen to one-syllable words and identify the lexical tone.
- Olle Kjellin’s Method for Improving Your Thai Pronunciation
Catherine at WLT breaks down a novel method for improving Thai pronunciation based on work by Olle Kjellin.
NOTE: the old WLT download PDF file link is not working on the new ExpatDen site, but here is an alternative link.
- Mastering Tones in Thai Chinese and other Tonal Languages by Polyglot Stuart Jay Raj
- Reading Thai and its tones isn’t as hard as you think by Benny Lewis
- Thai Bites – Taking Control of Tones and Your Throat by Counting in Thai by Stuart Jay Raj
- Thai Tone Cheat Sheet (PDF) by Arthit Juyaso
- Thai Tones
An introduction to the tones by Brett (Learn Thai from a White Guy), with a quiz to test your ability to hear them correctly and a worksheet to practice them.
- Thai Vowels for Dummies in 5 Min v2 – A System Impossible to Forget by Stuart Jay Raj
- Teaching Thai Tone Rules is a PDF file written by Walaiporn Tantitkanangkul (aka Uan) that covers the following topics: The myth about tone rules, Why tone rules are important, How tone rules can be introduced in the classroom, Introducing the rules. Probably better read by teachers than students, but worth a read for those wanting to be thorough.
- The Sounds of Thai is a PDF file that Justin Travis Mair created to explain the sounds of Thai and how to make the tones. It is intended to be a primer and a reference for those learning the sounds of Thai.
- Below I include an image of what I consider to be the simplest tone rule diagram but there are many others out there, including: this PDF, this decision tree (or this one), this table of rules by consonant class, and this chart with vowels and examples.
Tools, Browser Extensions, and Mobile Apps
- Language Learning with Netflix (Chrome)
After installation, you will have additional features for language learning when you watch videos on the Netflix website: Subtitles are shown in two languages; You can listen to subtitles one at a time, and to change the playback speed; There’s a pop-up dictionary, and the extension suggest the most important words for you to learn.
- Longdo Dictionary (Chrome, Firefox)
- Subadub (Chrome, Firefox)
Enhanced Netflix subtitles for foreign language study: Subtitles are displayed as selectable text, so you can copy+paste them; Full subtitles for a video can be downloaded in SRT format for personal study/review.
- Thai Text Enlarger (Firefox) enlarges just Thai characters on a page. Another option is to use the Greasemonkey addon with the related Thai Enlarger script.
Honestly, I don’t have the energy to research all the apps available, and certainly not for both iOS and Android. Still, here is a small collection of apps that I have seen others say good things about online.
NOTE: I have listed Thai dictionary apps in the Dictionary section above.
- ClickThai Word Trainer (iOS)
- FunEasyLearn (Android, iOS)
- Keyboard ManMan (Android)
Keyboard ManMan is an English/Thai keyboard with “most likely pressed key” prediction based on language statistics.
- Learn Thai Alphabet (Android)
- Learn Thai Language with Ling (Web, Android, iOS)
NOTE: the Ling developers have a few other apps, including Simply Learn Thai (a phrasebook app), Write Me Thai (Thai writing), and Vocly Thai (Thai vocabulary).
- Learn Thai Numbers, Fast! (Android)
- Nemo Thai (Android, iOS)
Nemo is a vocabulary app with words and phrases but it also offers an audio training tool whereby you can record yourself and quickly compare it to native pronunciation.
- Pocket Thai (Android, iOS)
- Read Write Speak Thai: Learn Thai for free (Android, iOS)
Focused on learning vocabulary and tones and uses a color coding system to differentiate the tones. Over 800 useful sentences with 5500 words and you can play the audio for each. You can also choose between six Thai fonts. There is also a complete set of the Thai alphabet with consonant and vowels in a card format easy to swipe.
- Thai for Beginners (Android, iOS)
Apps for the famous book by Benjawan Poomsan Becker.
- Thai Script (Android)
Learn to read and write the Thai script. This app is a great reference for the symbols and sounds and will help you to memorize the script by reading, listening and writing. The charts provide a reference to the sounds corresponding to each symbol. The Memorizer component allows you to select sets of symbols to memorize. Use the reading, listening and writing modes to memorize the symbols by sound and sight.
- A Spaced Repetition System (SRS) is basically an electronic flash card system that takes into consideration what you have already learned so you are only shown the cards you don’t recall well. Read the Wikipedia article (main link) or Khatzumoto’s overview if you want to understand this incredibly useful language learning tool. When you are ready to get going, Anki is my personal favorite, not necessarily because it is the best (it may be, but it needs work on usability, especially for learning to created new flashcard collections from a spreadsheet and editing existing collections), but because it has a huge community that regularly contribute their decks which you can download for free. Still, alternatives exist, including cram, FullRecall, Memrise, Mnemosyne, and Quizlet (to be honest, not all of those properly qualify as SRS but all are worth at least considering). I recommend choosing one that has free collections to download and a mobile app for whatever OS you use (which ideally will sync with your desktop version) as you will probably use it on the go most (it’s a great way to kill a few minutes while out and about).
- Does Your Computer Speak Thai? is an article by Catherine Wentworth that discusses various ways you can get your computer to read Thai text. To be honest, I hadn’t really thought of this as a study aid until I came across her article, but will give it a try going forward. As a summary, she says that Macs have the capability already in the OS but for PCs your best bet will be with a Chrome extension.
- Language Accessory Pack for Office add additional display, help, and proofing tools to MS Office. There is a Thai option.
- aTypeTrainer4Mac is a multilingual typing tutor for Mac OS that comes with a prepared lesson set, has the ability to create customized lesson sets, imports from RTF files, email, and web browsers, and remembers the last files imported (check out the WLT review).
- Branah.com Thai Keyboard is my go-to virtual keyboard. Either click the keys with your mouse or type them via your keyboard. Choose between the Kedmanee and Pattachote layout.
- LearnThaiPing teaches Thai online with a unique technique, combining typing exercises with visual and audio prompts. Practice with LearnThaiPing on your computer, smartphone or tablet. Use your own keyboard or the virtual keyboard option. It’s free to use but does require registration.
- Martin Henry’s Thai keyboard learning tool shows a Thai word, its transliteration and tone, and the definition. Once you type it correctly you will be given the option to load a new word. This tool comes with no documentation so I have no idea how many words are supported and there seems to be no lessons or levels, but for a dead-simple typing practice (and vocabulary review) app it might be worth a look.
- Mnemonics for the Kedmanee Keyboard offers just what it says.
- Thai keyboard offers another virtual keyboard.
- thai-language.com lists the following Thai pangram (a sentence using every letter of the alphabet), which can be helpful to practice your typing:
เป็นมนุษย์สุดประเสริฐเลิศคุณค่า (bpen má nút sùt bprà sə̀ət lə̂ət kun ná kâa)
กว่าบรรดาฝูงสัตว์เดรัจฉาน (gwàa ban daa fǔung sàt dee rát chǎan)
จงฝ่าฟันพัฒนาวิชาการ (jong fàa fan pát tá naa wí chaa gaan)
อย่าล้างผลาญฤๅเข่นฆ่าบีฑาใคร (yàa láang plǎan rʉʉ kèn kâa bii taa krai)
ไม่ถือโทษโกรธแช่งซัดฮึดฮัดด่า (mâi tʉ̌ʉ tôot gròot chɛ̂ɛng sát hʉ́t hát dàa)
หัดอภัยเหมือนกีฬาอัชฌาสัย (hàt à pai mʉ̌an gii laa àt chaa sǎi)
ปฏิบัติประพฤติกฎกำหนดใจ (bpà dtì bàt bprà prʉ́t gòt gam nòt jai)
พูดจาให้จ๊ะ ๆ จ๋า ๆ น่าฟังเอยฯ (pûut jaa hâi já já jǎa jǎa nâa fang əəi)
- Thai Notes Typing Thai is a collection of programs to help you learn to type in Thai. They are:
Thai Typing Trainer – a 50 lesson tutor going from the first few keystrokes to complete coverage of the Thai keyboard, a practice program with 8 passages of Thai to type to help improve your speed (providing feedback on the number of errors made and words per minutes typed), and a similar practice program that lets you paste your own text for practice.
Thai Steady Typer – a program to help you to practice typing at a steady pace, one of the keys to building up typing speed.
Thai Typing Game – type the words as they fall from the sky and before they hit the ground. 50 levels of increasing difficulty.
IPA Typing Tool – type characters like ɛ ə ʉ̌ o ô ɔ́ etc.
Thai Typing Tool – a virtual Thai keyboard
- Thai Typing – The Key to A Hidden World
Stuart Jay Raj discusses the benefits of learning to type in Thai and offers some tips for doing so.
- Thai Typing Tutor Game is a game developed by Josh Sager and hosted at thai-language.com that will help you master the Thai keyboard by playing a Space Invaders style game. You can set the speed and decide what to include (consonants, vowels, tone marks, Thai digits, punctuation marks, rare letters, and words). Quite cool, actually.
- Typing Test Thai isn’t focused on learning to type as much as testing your typing speed and accuracy.
- Typing Warrior is a new application for learning touch typing. It supports both English and Thai keyboard layout. After you have completed a lesson you will see either a green pass mark or a failed mark to the right of the lesson. This indicates how well you did. You can also see your best lesson score to the right of the keyboard with information regarding time spent and words per minute. To pass a lesson you need your words per minute value to exceed 20 and your accuracy needs to be above 90%. The lessons are initially easy but are gradually increasing in difficulty. When you have completed all lessons feel free to use the custom lesson at the bottom of the lesson list. This is a special lesson where you can copy and paste a custom text to use as typing practice material.
- Chanchao’s Thai Travel Menu is a generic Thai food menu that you can use so you won’t be intimidated the next time you go to eat street food with no English menu. More than that, useful tidbits about eating in Thailand are included (things you should know, vegetarian hints, food safety, types of restaurants and street stalls and some useful expressions).
- English-Thai Vocabulary Quizzes
Quizzes to help you learn and review vocabulary.
- Farang Can Learn Thai Vocabulary Section
A collection of vocabulary-related explanations originally posted in the Facebook group of the same name. (Note: the site seems to have died so I am linking to an archived copy)
- Learn Thai Proverbs
Mia at Learn2SpeakThai offers a large collection of Thai proverbs. Each one has a nice illustration, the proverb in Thai script, transliteration, a literal English translation, the English version of the proverb, an audio file, a detailed explanation, and an example.
- Lingopolo Online Thai Lessons
Lingopolo organizes lessons into sets of words, and trains you to understand these words by quizzing you with flashcards. At the start of each quiz, you will be shown your current knowledge of the set of words, and at the end of each quiz, you will be shown your new knowledge level. The idea is that you move each set of words along from having a starting knowledge of 0% to the point where for each set you have a knowledge of 100%. Lessons are divided into easy-to-use categories. You can study in whichever way you prefer; by thematic lesson such as colors or animals, by particular parts of speech such as nouns or verbs or even by our complete global collection of vocabulary and phrases.
- Online Thai Vocabulary Size Test
This test ostensibly gauges how many Thai words you know, though on a Facebook post many people (including native Thai speakers) claim it includes a lot of esoteric and literary words and isn’t such an accurate or meaningful test. Still, it’s free so give it a shot if interested.
- Peace Corps Northern Thai word list (PDF)
- Quick & Dirty Thai Vocabulary (Excel downloads – Vocab, Phrases; Audio downloads – vocab by subject, vocab total list, phrases; there are also Memrise files)
- Speak Real Thai is aimed at people learning Thai who want to speak “real Thai,” as spoken by Thai people. You want to use phrases and expressions that make your Thai sound natural and easy to understand. Lessons cover a wide range of subjects, from greetings to how to wai; from how to make a suggestion politely to giving a snappy retort and lots of useful in-between things like how much money to give a beggar and dialects. If you are reasonably proficient in Thai you won’t have to rush to the dictionary every other word, however, vocabulary pointers and transliterated sentences have been included.
- Super Useful Short Expressions
David Martin has posted numerous collections of useful short expressions on the Farang Can Learn Thai Facebook group. There is no direct repository for them but this link is to the group with a “Super Useful Short Expressions” search string which should work. He also has a collection of “Super Common Verbs” and “Thai Through Pictures.”
- The difference between การ and ความ and how to use them by Kruu Natcha
The most useful explanation I have seen for a common point of confusion regarding Thai vocabulary.
- Thai Frequency Lists with English Definitions
Catherine Wentworth offers a thorough roundup of various Thai word frequency lists available. Many of them can be downloaded directly.
- thai-language.com Classifier List is complete (319!) but if you want a more condensed version, there is a list of about 70 on my Google Docs Spreadsheet.
- Thai Language Phrase Books: A Mega Review by Catherine Wentworth
- Thai Language Tricks
A very old and no longer updated blog (last entry 2008) by Jason Smith, who wrote about phrases or words as he encountered them, with conclusions coming from interviewing his Thai peers. His objective was to compile an extensive collection of unambiguous links between Thai and English so even though the blog is no longer updated, troll the past posts for some useful nuggets.
- Thai Pronouns
David Martin posted a useful chart of the various pronouns Thais use. It doesn’t to cover all the ways Thais address each other but it is a good reference.
- Thai Slang You Might Need to Know: Free Audio and Spreadsheet Downloads Included and Thai Slang Put into Phrases: Free Audio and PDF Downloads Included
- Thai Time: Using Pronouns Like a Pro (Part 1: How to Say ‘I’ in Thai)
- Thai Time: Using Pronouns Like a Pro (Part 2: What Should I Call ‘You’)
- Thai Time: Using Pronouns Like a Pro (Part 3: To ‘He/She’ or Not to ‘He/She’, That is the Question)
- Thai Vocab Builder Series is a Memrise collection of vocabulary from Thai for Beginners book by Benjawan Poomsan Becker with audio included. Builder 1, Builder 2, Builder 3, Builder 4, Builder 5, Builder 6, Builder 7, Builder 8, Builder 9, Builder 10.
- Thailand Bangkok Mission 1000 Word List
A list of Thai vocabulary words geared toward missionaries.
- Top 4000 Words
On the Farang Can Learn Thai Language Facebook group, Jørgen Nilsen offers a spreadsheet file with the top 4000 words ranked in order of frequency score, and including english definitions. Roberta Anne Young created an Anki deck based on it (with audio).
- TPR: Total Physical Response 500+ Thai Word List Translated
The main idea of TPR is to teach comprehension through actions: the instructor gives commands, and the student carries them out. To help with possible words and phrases, here is an edited version of Reid Wilson’s 502 Words that Can Be Learned with Total Physical Response, translated into Thai.
- Tweet Yourself Thai is a blog of short, timely, thematic lessons for intermediate learners of Thai. For those of you who know the basics (or speak fluent “Taxi Thai” as some call it) but haven’t yet got to grips with the vocabulary needed for the less run-of-the-mill situations, this blog should help you on your way. No long-winded explanations of things you already know, just key vocab for the featured situation and some reading practice to keep your eyes sharp.
- Vocabulary Trainer (Android app also available)
Choose from multiple course levels. Apparently, the words are based on English vocab frequency lists so they may not always suit Thai frequency usage.
- What Words Should I Learn First When Learning a Language?
Stuart Jay Raj offers some useful insights into tackling core vocabulary and helpfully includes a Google Doc with 715 core words translated into multiple languages (including Thai, naturally).
- Words and phrases you should know when you are sick (คำศัพท์และวลีที่ควรรู้ไว้ในเวลาเจ็บป่วย)
Benjawan Poomsan posted this lengthy listing of useful vocabulary if you or a loved one ends up sick or if you want/need to talk about medical care.
- Words Textbooks Don’t Teach
Thai teacher Yuki Tachaya presents a small collection of expressions you are unlikely to learn in your Thai textbook.