So now you can read, right?
Well, actually, that’s the easiest part of learning to speak and communicate in Thai.
The next step is to learn to speak and understand what you are reading.
And the best way is to read out loud, over and over again, starting by sounding out the words slowly and as accurately as possible until they become familiar muscle memories.
I’ve made a collection of enjoyable and instructive songs and stories (and a large menu so that you will instantly be able to know what’s going on in a typical Thai restaurant).
They’re more or less arranged in order of complexity, so you’ll probably want to dip into these every now and again, alternating with the basic conversational course Everyday Thai for Beginners.
The self-study pages are designed for you to practice speaking and listening. Listen to the song as a whole just for sheer enjoyment.
And then work through each sentence, one by one. Read it out loud to yourself first. Then listen to it being read out aloud at normal speed by a native Thai speaker. Listen to it again, slowed down a bit. Read it yourself again and listen again, trying to follow this time.
Rinse and repeat!
Then listen to the sentence from the song. It’ll probably be less distinct, so you might want to listen to the slowed-down version until you can begin to make it out. It probably won’t sound clear to you at first and you may struggle to pick out all the words.
But that’s okay. You are training your ear to hear what you’ve been reading and saying out loud. It’s an organic process. Your mind also has to “grow” into the sounds. It’s called “ear training” and it takes time. Even musicians go through this process, training their ears to pick out all the notes in a chord or being able to hear individual instruments being played simultaneously in a band or orchestra…
Your work with a Thai tutor will be to read these songs & stories out loud to make sure you’re doing so accurately. This is vitally important because however you speak now at this early stage will become how you speak and pronounce Thai for the rest of your life. It will be very difficult to correct bad habits and mispronunciations later on.
In fact, this universally popular reggae song above is designed as a Thai tongue twister. It’s the most fun way imaginable to learn to enunciate Thai clearly. Master this song – it may take several months! – and you will be able to speak everyday Thai in an easy and fluent manner.
Your Thai tutor’s other job is to help you understand what’s going on in the songs and stories. The stories are fairly easy – mostly basic conversational phrases and ways of speaking in Thai. The songs are a bit poetic, so not everything about them is relevant for colloquial speech, but there are plenty of useful vocabulary and phrases that are extremely useful for speaking and understanding at an intermediate level.
And an extra bonus is that, once you’ve learnt the song(s) off by heart and can enunciate them clearly at speed, you can join in with your Thai friends at the karaoke bars and sing your song. Some of the songs are very raunchy, but everybody in Thailand knows them!
And each song or story comes with the vocabulary used, as a quick reference online, but also as a set of flashcards so that you can build up your useful vocabulary by memorizing them over time as a separate activity.
Click here to order the Supplementary package
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Note: there is no transliteration. The Thai words are only in Thai script, so you need to know how to read before this course will be of any use to you.