Why reading Thai is so important?

For starters, it’s quicker, easier and more efficient to learn to speak, once you can read.

1. By knowing how to read you will know exactly how to pronounce each word accurately and with the correct tone.

The various phonetic transliteration schemes – that try to represent Thai with an English approximation – are inconsistent and mostly just plain wrong.

This means that you will learn to pronounce Thai in a mangled way. Therefore Thais will struggle to understand what you are trying to say.

Worse still, these bad speaking habits become so ingrained that they are difficult to eradicate later on.

Being able to read Thai leads to good diction and listening skills.

2. Another curious effect of learning to pronounce accurately is that you are able to hear more clearly what people are saying. There seems to be a strong correlation between seeing a word, the muscular action of speaking the word, and being able to hear it.

3. A crucial advantage of being literate is that you can pick up Thai vocabulary directly from your environment.

Thailand’s street signs, menus and notices become a Living Dictionary.

How long does it take?

Learning to read Thai using the Rapid Method takes about 24 hours, spread over about a month. Or one week if you attend an intensive boot camp.

(Learning to read Thai the regular, old-fashioned way takes about half a year!)

It’s great fun, and satisfying, to learn Thai words by reading them directly from signs and menus.