Resources for Learning Thai - Thai Language - slice-of-thai.com
slice-of-thai.com Thai Language Resources for Learning Thai

Resources for Learning Thai

Last Update: October 2017

On this page you will find a list of apps, books and DVDs for learning the Thai language.

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Resources

Talking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary app for iOS/Android/WindowsTalking Thai-English-Thai Dictionary app for iOS/Android/Windows

I worked on this Thai-English, English-Thai Talking dictionary for iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch), Android smartphones/tablets, and Windows laptop/desktop PCs along with Paiboon Publishing, released December 2010 and now updated to include more than 195,000 bold entries, a built-in phrasebook with 12,000+ entries organized into 300+ practical categories.

You can listen to a high-quality sound recording of a native Thai speaking any Thai word in the whole dictionary. The app has three sections so you can look up an English word, look up a Thai word using Thai script, or look up a Thai word by its sound using an English-like pronunciation guide system. We support 12 different pronunciation guide systems, so you can use the system you are most familiar with.

The app also comes with an comprehensive introduction to speaking Thai (including grammar) and reading/writing Thai (teaching you the consonant vowel, tone, and other letters), as well as a feature to show you any Thai word in a set of real-world Thai fonts found on signs, menus, and other documents. There is also a feature to split any Thai word into its component words, or split each syllable of a Thai word into its consonants and vowels to help teach you to read Thai Script.

Talking Thai-English-Thai Phrasebook appTalking Thai-English-Thai Phrasebook app

Whether you are on a short trip to Thailand or living there, communicate with Thais instantly with this app for iOS (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch; Android smartphones/tablets coming soon, or you can purchase our Android dictionary today since it includes the phrasebook built-in)! 12,000+ ready-to-use, customizable phrases in 250+ practical categories. Clear native sounds for every Thai word—even offline. Full-text search or dictate words in English or Thai. Haggle using the built-in translating units and currency converter. Favorites screen organizes phrases you use often in multiple folders. Comprehensive guide to Thai speaking and listening. Perfect even for beginners who cannot read Thai Script and have no time to study Thai (shows both Thai Script and 12 English-like pronunciation systems). The essential conversation guidebook and mini-dictionary that talks for you!

Thai for Beginners AppThai for Beginners App

Cool iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android (smartphones and tablets) app from Paiboon Publishing that lets you quizz and drill all sorts of beginning Thai grammar, spelling, and usage lessons from the Thai for Beginners book.

Thai for BeginnersThai for Beginners
Paiboon Publishing

Love it or hate it, this is definitely the most ubiquitous beginner book. Covers spoken and written Thai, including vocab, grammar, and even follow-the-dotted-line writing practice forms. All Thai words are in Thai script and the (famous or infamous) Paiboon transcription system. Some complain that the sample vocab and sentences in the book are not all that useful, but most still seem to think it's the best choice.

Thai for Intermediate LearnersThai for Intermediate Learners
Paiboon Publishing

Ok but seems hurriedly written. The beginner or advanced book are probably better bets.

Thai for Advanced ReadersThai for Advanced Readers
Paiboon Publishing

A great resource to help wean yourself away from transcription. It's a whole book of Thai-script essays, interviews, and documents with English and transcription help only for the tough words.

Survival Thai for English SpeakersSurvival Thai for English Speakers

Basic iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android (smartphones and tablets) survival phrases app from Paiboon Publishing with more than 1,500 phrases.

Thailand FeverThailand Fever

You've met the perfect Thai woman. You're dizzy with joy as her exotic world swirls around you. You've heard so many horror stories, but your heart tells you that she's for real. You want to understand her mysterious ways, and you wish she could understand yours. Now, there's help. Thailand Fever is an astonishing, one-of-a-kind, Thai–English bilingual exposé of the cultural secrets that are the key to a smooth Thai–Western relationship.

Whether you met in a bar, in a university, or at work, and whether you met last night or decades ago, Thailand Fever covers your issues:

Trusting Each OtherSexIt's My Money!The ParentsThe Dowry PrivacyIndependenceSaving FaceLiving in “Paradise"

Thailand Fever is the must-have relationship guidebook which lets each of you finally express complex issues by just pointing across the page! Everything in the book is in both English and Thai, on facing pages.

Speak Like a Thai Volume 1Speak Like a Thai Volume 1
Contemporary Thai Expressions
Paiboon Publishing

Speak Like a Thai Volume 2Speak Like a Thai Volume 2
Thai Slang and Idioms
Paiboon Publishing

I flipped through this one and wow, Kun Benjawan doesn't at all hold back in giving you the complete list of Thai slang! I'm glad someone finally pushed past the normal, academic prudishness of language books to give us this trove of words and phrases you hear in the real world every day.

Speak Like a Thai Volume 3Speak Like a Thai Volume 3
Thai Proverbs and Sayings
Paiboon Publishing

Speak Like a Thai Volume 4Speak Like a Thai Volume 4
Heart Words
Paiboon Publishing

Speak Like a Thai Volume 5Speak Like a Thai Volume 5
Northeastern Dialect
Paiboon Publishing

I'm glad someone finally made this too! Isaan/Lao dialect may not be academically "hi-so," but a huge percentage of the population speaks it, particularly a segment that interacts with farangs.

Speak Like a Thai Volume 6Speak Like a Thai Volume 6
Real Life Conversations
Paiboon Publishing

Speak Like a Thai Volume 7Speak Like a Thai Volume 7
Thai Abbreviations and Formal Thai
Paiboon Publishing

Thai Hit Songs CD Vol. 1Thai Hit Songs CD Vol. 1
Paiboon Publishing

A new approach to Thai learning: songs! Paiboon commissioned an up and coming professional Thai band to record several fun songs relating to the Thai language. There's an alphabet song, a song to help you memorize the 20 "mai muan" words, a song of Thai slang, and others too.

Thai Hit Songs DVD Vol. 1Thai Hit Songs DVD Vol. 1
Paiboon Publishing

Nine music videos of the Thai Hit Songs tunes.

Thai for TravelersThai for Travelers
Paiboon Publishing

Paiboon's phrase book.

Improving Your Thai PronunciationImproving Your Thai Pronunciation
Paiboon Publishing

A CD and booklet that help you practice hearing and making some of the tricker sounds of Thai that are also found in our language section.

Thai Keyboard StickersThai Keyboard Stickers
Paiboon Publishing

Get these to avoid going insane when you try to type Thai.

Practical Thai Conversation - Vol 1Practical Thai Conversation - Vol 1
Paiboon Publishing

In this practice DVD they first speak slowly so you can understand, then they say the same thing at normal, supersonic speed so you can learn how it's really said! Cool idea.

How to Buy Land and Build a House in ThailandHow to Buy Land and Build a House in Thailand
Paiboon Publishing

For those trying to "manage" their construction workers, includes amazing 3-D charts with Thai script and Thai transcriptions of the names of crucially important house parts, tools, materials, etc. Also includes vocab for land deeds, etc.

Thai Law for ForeignersThai Law for Foreigners
Paiboon Publishing

Mostly about the law in Thailand (sadly, only the kind that occurs above the table :), but also includes vocab lists for government agencies, land title types, etc.

Retiring in ThailandRetiring in Thailand
Paiboon Publishing

Essential ThaiEssential Thai
James Higbie

A beginner Thai book by James Higbie that many people like because the vocabulary it uses while teaching you Thai sounds and grammar is immediately useful in everyday situations. It's almost like a phrasebook and intro language book combined. Writing is just touched upon quickly in an appendix; this is about understanding and speaking Thai.

The book uses yet another strange home-brewed pronunciation guide system, one where tones are indicated using actual lines that bend up or down like the tones themselves.

From 2005-2015 this book was very hard to find due to the demise of its old publisher, but is now back on Amazon and in bookstores in Thailand (Suriwong in Chiang Mai and DK Books in Bangkok for example).

Thai Reference GrammarThai Reference Grammar
James Higbie and Snea Thinsan

For a computer geek like me who likes to see everything analyzed and spelled out in great detail, this is the best book on Thai grammar I have ever seen—almost the only one I would even call a grammar book. It's one of the few books that tries to answer the question "How to I build Thai sentences?" rather than "How do I say this or that word in Thai?"

I find myself repeatedly exclaiming "finally I found it!" as I browse chapters with titles like "Questions" and "Tenses." If you're the type of person who likes to see the whole picture written down, even though the reality of human language is messy and complicated, get this book!

The book uses the same strange home-brewed pronunciation guide system found in Essential Thai above, but for an intermediate/advanced learner that's not a big obstacle as everything has Thai script too.

The book has so many examples of how to build sentences that it must have taken them a decade to write it! The one disadvantage of the book is that it is just that—a huge list of examples, divided only into coarse categories. Now we need someone to take the next step and further analyze this gold-mine of examples into a more heirarchical presentation where common properties are drawn together to make learning easier.

From 2005-2015 this book was very hard to find due to the demise of its old publisher, but is now back on Amazon and in bookstores in Thailand (Suriwong in Chiang Mai and DK Books in Bangkok for example).

Thai: An Essential GrammarThai: An Essential Grammar
David Smyth

Very much in the same spirit and organized similarly to Higbie's Thai Reference Grammar, this analytical work also has chapters entitled "questions" and "time," though at first glance it doesn't seem to be as detailed as Higbie or have as many example sentences.

It uses yet another pronunciation guide system that falls somewhere in between the Paiboon and IPA systems, and also has Thai script for everything.

This might be a good compromise for those who want more details than the Paiboon books but less detail than Higbie.

Easily available on Amazon.

A Reference Grammar of ThaiA Reference Grammar of Thai
Shoichi Iwasaki and Preeya Ingkaphirom

This one is expensive and contains a much more linguistics-oriented summary of Thai grammar, using lots of terminology found in advanced linguisics texts about English grammar. When flipping through some sections I found myself questioning whether Thai really has some of the micro-fine distinctions they were making, vs. whether they were projecting them from other languages, but they might be on to something. At any rate, this book has little value for someone who wants to learn the language to get to fluency rather than for linguistic analysis. Go for Higbie or Smyth or one of the other titles if you want something aimed at the traveler or practical language learner.

Easily available on Amazon.

See AlsoYou'll probably also like these sites...
allaboutpai.com
A site about Pai, my peaceful home in the mountains of Northern Thailand.
lurkertech: video tech and diversions
Buzzword bingo, bill the borg, MEZ, lurker's guide to video, and Thai, oh my!
mapfling.com: free custom maps with your own labels
Party? Meeting? Request a map, label it yourself, and easily fling it to your friends!
world's stupidest everything
See some of the worst the world has to offer, and add some of your own!
thailand your way
Travel with my friend Nang, who is a great nature, birding, and cultural guide.
jeed illustration
My English-fluent Thai friend Jeed is a freelance illustrator who is available for hire.
CopyrightEntire website copyright 1999-2017 Chris Pirazzi unless otherwise indicated.

License for use:

See Also

You'll probably also like these sites...
allaboutpai.com
A site about Pai, my peaceful home in the mountains of Northern Thailand.
lurkertech: video tech and diversions
Buzzword bingo, bill the borg, MEZ, lurker's guide to video, and Thai, oh my!
mapfling.com: free custom maps with your own labels
Party? Meeting? Request a map, label it yourself, and easily fling it to your friends!
world's stupidest everything
See some of the worst the world has to offer, and add some of your own!
thailand your way
Travel with my friend Nang, who is a great nature, birding, and cultural guide.
jeed illustration
My English-fluent Thai friend Jeed is a freelance illustrator who is available for hire.
Copyright

Entire website copyright 1999-2017 Chris Pirazzi unless otherwise indicated.

License for use: