Learning Thai in Chiangmai
For people looking for a beginner Thai study program we typically recommend starting with “Thai for Beginners” by Benjawan Poomsan Becker. This is by far the most popular book for foreigners learning Thai in the kingdom and we recommend this to all of the students who study Thai in Chiang Mai with us.
Aside from being an excellent starting our students who study Thai in Chiang Mai, Becker also has created her own very clear rominization system that makes sense to native english speakers phonetically. Almost every student of the Thai language knows the polite term “Krap” (used by men). Becker actually romanizes this as “krap” whereas other systems use everything from “khreab” to “khrapb” and other non-sensical variations.
This is important as it allows students to learn some basic vocabulary before they get down to the nuts and bolts of Thai reading and writing.
For upper beginners, we actually continue to use Thai for Beginners but we include some supplementary materials as well. One book for basic reading, and one book for basic writing.
Once the student uses these materials to get some basic reading and writing skills, we go back through the “Thai for Beginners” book and this time the student covers the romanized text and reads only the Thai script. This phase is typically shorter than the first, as the student can quickly recall phrases and words from the book from previous studies and this association helps his or her reading to improve quite quickly.
In the intermediate program, we introduce two new works, also by Becker. The text “Thai for Intermediate Learners” and “Practical Thai Conversation, Vol. 1” on DVD. Throughout the week, the student will work on reading, writing and speaking based on exercises from the book, the DVD and the DVD workbook.
This phase is typically a bit longer than the first two as the student must assimilate a lot of new vocabulary, grammar and structure. Also, more complex tone rules and aspects of Thai writing will be taught, which is one of the toughest, but most important parts of the Thai langauge. This is where it REALLY helps to have a patient teacher that can talk you through the rules of Thai reading and writing in English.
Upper Intermediate Program:
After you study Thai in Chiang Mai for about 6-12 months, you should be at an Upper Intermediate Level. By now, the student should speak passable every day Thai and be able to hold small, shallow conversations on a broad range of topics. Everyday life and geting around in the kingdom will be a breeze as all of the essential “survival” vocabulary and grammar has become engrained.
At this point, a focus on written materials will become less important and we will focus almost entirely on speaking, listening and pronunciation. For this, we again turn to Becker for her DVD’s “Practical Thai Conversation, Vol. 2” and “Speak Like a Thai, Vol. 1”. Using the main idea from the video lessons, your instructor will devise lessons that allow you to speak using the new vocabulary you learn in each chapter.
Programs for advanced students will always be completely customized for each individual. At this point, the student should have firm awareness of both his or her strengths and weaknesses when it comes to the Thai language. The student and teacher will need to sit down together with a number of different materials and make a plan to focus on strengthening weaknesses while shoring up strengths in an effort to continue to grow as a Thai speaker.
One last important note:
The above serves as a guide only, for students who want to study thai in Chiang Mai with us. If you have individual needs, or you are already waist deep in another program, don’t worry! Also, if you give our recommended texts a try and don’t like them, please don’t feel embarassed to say so.
We are willing to work around your individual learning style and teach you in a way that is best for you! Communication between the student and teacher is one of the most important things in the student / teacher relationship. You must let your teacher know what your learning style is and what works for you.
While all of the above materials are optional, we highly recommend that you purchase Becker’s 3 way Thai – English dictionary. It is by far the best dictionary on the market for a new learner of the Thai language.
If you want information on how to Study Thai in Chiang Mai, or if you want to set up a FREE first lesson / level assesment, contact Professor Simon at:
Phone : (66) 083-4805254
or send us an email at:
banpasathai [at] gmail dot com