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How To Learn Thai: A Beginners Roadmap

How To Learn Thai: A Beginners Roadmap

Thai Language
March 14, 2024 · 3 min read

Learning Thai can be a challenge. It’s a difficult language without a lot of resources. This article will walk you through the best methods and resources to learn Thai at each stage of your journey.

No matter what stage you’re in, learning Thai is easier with a great teacher to help keep you on the right path. If you’d rather learn on your own, follow these steps to increase your chance of success.

Level 1 (Absolute Beginner)

The first thing you should do when learning Thai is to familiarize yourself with the sounds and written characters of the language. This is the level where we would really suggest you work with a teacher to make sure your pronunciation is correct from the beginning. There are many sounds in Thai that are not found in the English language and can be tricky to get right.

Learn to read Thai before you start learning Thai. Romanized Thai (Thai written using the English alphabet) can be confusing since the sounds don’t line up perfectly.

While you’re getting used to the sounds, we recommend that you watch a lot of Thai videos to get used to the rhythm and sound of the Thai language. These can be YouTube videos or shows on Netflix.


Level 2 (Beginner)

Now that you know how to read Thai you should start exploring Thai grammar and vocabulary. We recommend continuing to use comprehensible input, but some studying can help make things comprehensible faster. Pick up a beginner Thai textbook and use an app to help you learn vocabulary.


Level 3 (Upper Beginner)

You can now read Thai and know everyday expressions and basic phrases. At this level, you should start reading beginner Thai stories. Keep using the textbook and going through the app if you are enjoying them. You should still be watching videos in Thai to immerse yourself in the language as much as possible.


Level 4 (Intermediate)

At this point, you should be able to do daily tasks in Thai (such as ordering in restaurants or taking a taxi). This is the hard part and where many people quit a language. Keep immersing yourself and start reading stories meant for intermediate learners. Try to find Thai speakers to have conversations with to build up your speaking skills.


Level 5 (Upper Intermediate)

At this level, you can have conversations with Thai speakers about familiar topics. At this stage, it’s about improving your vocabulary. The best way to do this is through comprehensible input. The more you encounter a word in the wild, the better you will learn it.


Level 6 (Advanced)

At this stage you can accomplish your tasks in a Thai workplace and comfortably interact with Thai friends. You should really focus on getting your input from the same places Thai people do. Thai YouTubers, Thai tv shows and Thai books. Watch and read as much Thai as you can. This will help improve your vocabulary and make your speaking more natural.


Level 7 (Expert)

At this point, you will practically be fluent in Thai. If you want to keep getting better, you need to focus on more specialized topics. Read scientific articles, technical manuals, and other more specialized Thai nonfiction. Keep immersing yourself in Thai and interacting with Thai people; focus on idioms and learning more about Thai culture to sound more like a native.


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