Are you looking to beautify your lingual prowess, diversify your cultural dexterity or simply need to order that Thai curry like a native? Learning Thai is a lot easier than you think. We have compiled the top tips to learning Thai to propel you forward on your learning journey.
Tip #1: Believe in your ability to learn Thai as an adult. It is widely and incorrectly believed that only children can become fluent in learning a second language. Some linguists have even publicly said that after age 17, an adult can never become fluent. This is now known to be false. According to the New Scientist, adults appear to be better than children at learning a new language. So trust yourself, you can do it!
Tip #2. Understand which Thai dialect you wish to learn. While ‘Thai’ is generally understood to be the national language of Thailand, there are seven commonly used dialects to be aware of. Isan is the largest of these, being used by approximately 20 million people in the north of Thailand. It’s a good idea when learning a language, especially if you are learning it through conversation with a native Thai person, to confirm which Thai dialect you are learning. Otherwise it could be like learning Cockney instead of Oxford English.
Tip #3. Download a podcast. Podcasts on your smartphone are a great way to practice a language, offering you mobile immersion throughout your busy day. Whether you’re on the bus to work or out for your morning run, you can multitask and still carry on learning. You get way more exposure to a language with podcasts, and that can only be a good thing. Top podcasts include Learn Thai Podcast, or if you are just trying to get a little lingo going before you loll in the Thai island sunshine, then Thai – Survival Phrases provides all you could want.
Tip #5. Learn Thai through games. Learning a language CAN be all fun and games. In a review of published research on learning through games versus conventional learning, education through games is a great way to inject some fun into the learning process which can initially seem tedious. Gaming is generally deemed to make language learning memorable, but it’s also fun and socially safe…there’s no public humiliation here if you get things wrong. Learning Thai through games is a whole lot of fun; Digital Dialects provides a nice selection of games for basic Thai vocabulary, or if you want to get your groove on with video games, most have free language packs that can be downloaded. World of Warcraft through Thai anybody?
Tip #5. Practise is the key. Whilst theoretically, you could spend hours on end taking Thai learning classes no amount of formal training can deliver the benefits that you’ll experience to solidify what you’ve learnt unless you put in the time to put all the theory in practices. What that means is that you’ve got to consistently practice speaking Thai, ideally with someone who’s knowledge of the language is significantly better than yours so they can guide you on any mistakes or improvements you need to make.