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Learning Thai (or Chinese, or Mongolian, or Korean, or Japanese, or Arabic, etc.)

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Senior member
Senior member
One of the items on my bucket list was learning to read and speak a little Chinese!


Smart-assy-ness aside, Mandarin is less cryptic now than it was when I arrived

It was similar with Thai and pretty much every language with its own alphabet that I've ever encountered. A drawing of a vase becomes two faces facing one another.

There is/was a series of books, Colloquial (language), eg., Colloquial Korean, Colloquial Thai.

Each book came with an audio CD.

Also, there is Pimmsleur (Thai, Chinese, whatever).  This is an audio approach without reading or writing. For the truly lazy, this is a match made in heaven.  You can play the CD while you sleep.  Pimmsleur Chinese comes with the scripts in Pinyin and Chinese.

Philip Yungkin Lee has blessed us with 250 Essential Chinese Characters 1 & 2 and Chinese in a Flash.

Yong Ho has Beginners Chinese, a smaller book good for study when in transit, etc.

In addition to Pimmsleur and Colloquial, Thai students can use The Fundamentals of Thai.  I fear that this book has faded into oblivion.  That's a shame.  Studying Thai without ever laying eyes on TFOT is like studying English Lit. wi/out studying Shakespeare.

DK also had a nice book with cassette tapes, long since CD's, I imagine.  Some recordings were an introduction to tonal languages.  (I wish they had also warned native speakers of English and Arabic that they speak stress timed languages and must allow for that.)  The others are of the พูดตามผม variety.

Last I heard, long long ago in a galaxy far far away, is that AUA is a watch and listen experience.

I think that the coursebooks they put out 30 years ago are not without value.  Grab 'em if you can find 'em.  A humble example:  a drawing of how an English speaker and a Thai speaker hear words.  This explains why Thais say "I Thai" instead of "I'm tired" and why I've wanted to kill my wife two or three times a day for the past 17 years.

Sadly, one actually has to put in some time.

I've bought a lotta schitte from Amazon. Torrent sites have become an option, but I cannot recommend them unless you're ready to make an anonymous donation to the authors of the downloaded material.

The good news is that there are free materials online.  The Peace Corps has online lessons.  This is how I study Mongolian.  And, there's Ajarn Mod for horny DOM students of Thai.


Senior member
Senior member
There is a series of books by J. Marvin Brown in conjunction with the AUA. From memory, books cover reading, writing, grammar and conversations. It is a great set of books for learning Thai. However, it is difficult to get any audio for the books although some might be found on the internet.

The link below shows the AUA Reading book. A small amount of audio can also be found on that website via the Resources link.

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