If you're serious in learning Thai, at some stage you've got to wrap your had around the Thai alphabet
If you want to find a good language school, ask for the qualification of teachers. Not everyone who can speak Thai can also teach. Some schools work with part-timers without much experience or real qualifications. Obviously, a teacher who has a Masters Degree in Thai Languages is didactically better than an average Thai who thinks he/she can speak and teach Thai, but doesn't really know the background of grammatical rules and the origin of words.
Decide if you want to have a 'good view' staring at cute young teachers or possibly date them or if you really want to learn something. If you want to learn, you need a good teacher, not a nice teacher, all Thai are nice but a good teacher is willing to continuously correct you.
Does your teacher need to master a good level of English? Well, in the beginning it's not so necessary, but as you advance, the lessons can be more efficient and subtle if your teacher can relate more abstract things to you using an English explanation.
Calculate the real costs per hour, this is a fair comparison. For example, some people think that Payap is expensive, but that only seems so because their modules include a large number of hours. The real costs per hour are actually rather low.
If you meet a freelance teacher in a coffee shop at THB 300 per hour and you have to pay for a coffee of say THB 70 to stay an hour, your real costs are actually much higher than when you go to a real school and get either a group or a private lesson at THB 80-250 per hour, with a teacher who has a real degree in teaching.
As a general rule, the more education visa students in your class or school, the less serious both students and teachers become. Some education visa students are merely interested in the possibility to stay in Thailand for a long time, and are not so interested in the study.
It's hard to judge the quality of the lesson materials when you're still a beginner, but some books and materials are a pain to work with when they are full of mistakes and don't offer enough clear reference material to review your homework. Most beginners believe that their teacher is great, because they are moving up from zero, but in fact some of them are learning slow, ineffective or even taking in wrong information.
Thai-style education is more of the "repeat-after-me" style and that's what you also find in the more old-fashioned language centers in town.
Beware that you don't learn "official Thai" only, some methods teach foreigners the correct way to speak but nobody around you talks like that. So, it's good to know the official way, especially for reading and writing, but for daily life you need to learn the spoken language too.
Should you go as far as learning slang, local accents or local dialects such as pasa meaung in Chiang Mai, or even vaul words? In my opinion it should be of your lowest priority. Slang is useful to some extent but only after you master Thai proficiently. There is no point to speak broken Thai with a few outstanding slang words, just to show off to your Thai friends. Local lingo like the one spoken in Isaan or Chiang Mai should not be of your interest unless you're really fluent in Thai, although it's just fun to pick up a few local words at the market (jiao).
Vaul words have no added value whatsoever for you as a foreigner, not to hear them and not to speak them. Speaking them may get you into serious trouble, hearing them means you know when somebody is speaking bad words, so what?
Get beyond the thrill of your ego to show off special words and start learning real Thai.
It's always best to switch to the local script as soon as possible. So teaching methods that leave you playing with phonetics and romanization script to replace the Thai alphabeth are wasting your time and delay the real deal. You only learn Thai by using the Thai alphabeth. This is all the more true for Thai language because there is no nationally reckognized romanization or phonetic script, such as there is in China with it's fantastic pinyin. In China, if you stick with the pinyin, you'll be able to read road signs and complete books for the reason that it's one unified and nationally recognized system, so if you stick with the pinyin or fall back on it now and then, it's not such a bad thing after all. Thailand obviously lacks the degree of organisation and discipline to ever work with one phonetic system so it's best you switch to Thai alphabet as soon as possible.
Should you take private Thai language lessons or group lessons?
Group lessons are cheaper and more fun but you need to be able to commit the time to attend the fix lessons. Private lessons are more expensive yet can be very effective if you're motivated.
Group dynamics can be fun and sociable, but can also drag the pace of the group when some foreigners like to show off what they know of Thai language and start discussing with the teacher.
Phone: 02 250 0072
Location: Prolanguage, Nimmanhaemin road
There are several places where you can have a free language exchange with Thai students or locals. They expect you exchange English with them, of course. Example: Language Exchange in Focus Bar. There are some more places that don't advertise much, sometimes in small groups in condominiums. Ask around.
Put yourself in a position where you are forced to speak Thai because others can't speak English well. For example volunteer with Thai or work with locals. I learned most of my verbal Thai when I renovated an apartment and had to communicate directly with local workers. Gestures, facial expressions and real-life situations help most in understanding the context of words.
Watching Thai soap TV and listening to Thai music can help to some extent, especially if there is simultaneous translation / subtitles.
You can also be active and make your own song, it'll help one way or another :
How music can help to improve your Thai language skills and get more friendships: Maggie Rosenberg with her splendid song about how hard it is to learn Thai language. I wouldn't be able to figure out some words without the subtitles because her accent is still very 'farang' but it's the cutest song I've come across about Thai language lately.
I've met several people who claim to be learning Thai online or using handy smartphone apps. My conclusion is that online tools can help you as a supplementary aid besides having real lessons, but not alone by itself, or you go very slow. You simply need the correctional effect of a real teacher in flesh-and-blood right in front of you who tells you what you do right and wrong.
Friends using smartphone apps with translation tools often get to learn a few more words they like to use in specific situations, such as dating Thai girls or ordering food in a restaurant, but often they didn't learn how to read and write Thai because they simply couldn't figure out the rules and were never corrected.
The same applies for watching videos online, you have to stay very committed and motivated to keep studying and then, you don't know it when you do something wrong. I would never "learn Thai from a white guy", for example, if you want to go deeper in the language you need a native speaker.
Then, there are some foreigners trying to sell shortcuts to learn the Thai alphabet. My experience is, that this doesn't work because you've got to wrap your mind around what someone else finds recognizable to remember a Thai character. Sometimes you just don't get someone else's logic. It costs me double effort to remember what someone else thinks of when looking at say 'ฉ' while I've already figured it out for myself. The best is to come up with your own shortcuts to remember.
Finally, if you use an app as a help besides your study, I recommend lingopal.
Some claim that having a Thai girlfriend or boyfriend helps in speaking more Thai, but in my experience that hardly helps because over time a girlfriend gets used to your mistakes and then gets lazay to correct you. If you want to benefit from your partner correcting your language, you should get several girlfriends and don't meet them too often.
By Edwin L., for Chiang Mai Locator
DISCLAIMER: This article is a personal review by a Thai language student and long-term resident of Chiang Mai.
It does not necessarily reflect the position of this website.
Do you have experience with a Thai language school or a specific teacher? Share it here as a comment
|TSL School Principal Posted on May 07, 2016 at 10:22:22|
Further to your comment about the evening class, we are pleased to inform you that our new introduction class to learn Thai conversion for beginners (Book 1) start on Monday 9th May 2016 at 17:30-19:30pm. (We usually open the class at the beginning of each month.) For the evening basic course is to study on every Monday-Wednesday-Friday at 17:30-19:30pm. (24 hours for one month; 3 days/week, 2 hours/class, with the reasonable price of 2,300 Baht.) If you are interested in joining our class, please confirm us as soon as possible. We still have seats available. Do not hesitate to contact us again and anytime, if you want more information.
Please visit our school, and also we would like to offer you a free trial lesson. You may observe our class before applying for admission. With much appreciation, thank you.
(TSL School Principal)
For more information: TSL CHIANGMAI
152/1, Room 3148-52, PANTIP PLAZA, #3 floor (near Night Plaza), CHANG KHLAN ROAD, CHIANG MAI, THAILAND 50100 Phone: +66 (0)882-672-286, +66(0)910-701-001, 052-000-322 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.tslchiangmai.com
|Ludovitche Posted on May 07, 2016 at 05:51:49|
Great list thank you.
Do you have any comment for Cornerstone ?
The issue is I am an employee so I'm working during most school opening hours, do you know about schools that opens on evening and weekends ?
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