How To Learn Thai Language Fast
How To Learn Thai Language Fast is based on a core principle of memorization: find connections between the new information, and what you already know. In this book, pictures were created to enable you to almost instantly remember the shape and sound of the Thai letters with little effort.
Like scaffolding on a building, the system acts as a temporary support, to permit your mind to build a memory of the letters. But over time, you will automatically picture the letter, and hear the sound, without needing the stepping stone or scaffold, afforded by these images.
They enable you to surmount the primary obstacle in learning Thai and the letters – which is relating to the abstract shapes, and associating these shapes with their respective sound.
Learn the Thai Alphabet
There are 44 consonants in the Thai alphabet, and 32 vowels. However, some of these vowels are just long and short versions of each other, so it is actually only necessary to learn around 20 different vowel shapes. This may sound daunting – but carry on reading. Even the most casual of tourists will be easily able to learn these characters effortlessly.
How to Learn The Tones
Thai words are broken up into syllables, and each syllable has a distinct tone.
The five tones in Thai are as follows:
1- Low (said in the lower part of your voice’s register)
2- Middle (said in the middle part of your register)
3- High (said in the higher part – as if you are calling someone at a distance)
4- Falling (like the word no, when saying oh no if you are disappointed)
5- Rising (like the tone used, when asking someone if they are coming along: coming? )
How consonants affect the syllable’s Tone
Thai consonants are broken into 3 groups known as classes: called low, middle and high for convenience. These names don’t mean that the syllable will be low, middle or high tone – the names of these groups might as well as be 1, 2 and 3 – it’s just a way of separating the consonants into three groups.
The reason you need to know the class, is because the class affects how the syllable is pronounced, so when you learn the consonant, you will have to recall both its sound and its class.
The rules for determining the tone of a syllable are given in the Tones Section, at the end of How To Learn Thai Language Fast, but we’ll give a quick example here, to give you an idea of why you must learn the classes:
- Example 1: When a High Class consonant with the sound “s”, is followed by a dead-sound (i.e a sound that ends quickly), like at or ad, then the tone of the syllable is Low.
- Example 2: When a High Class consonant with the sound “s”, is followed by an open sound (a sound that lasts longer, like a long vowel or a nasal sound like n or m that kind of hums on), then the Tone of the syllable is a Rising Tone!
Seems complicated, but the technique will enable you to remember these rules in seconds. For now just be aware that you’ll need to remember the class as well as the sounds of the letters – easy really, with the special technique you’ll learn about below.
Introduction to the consonants
To get you going on how to learn Thai, let’s just concentrate on learning the sound of each letter, and its class. Certain letters also have different sounds, depending on whether the letter appears at the start or end of the syllable. So in summary, when you look at a letter, you must be able to recall three things:
1- its sound when its at the start of a syllable
2- its sound at the end of a syllable
3- its class.
The memory Technique
The memory technique which will be used to learn the alphabet, is best illustrated with an example.
Memorizing the Classes
To help you memorize the classes, the three different classes, with different backgrounds were included:
1- High class consonants have a mountainous background
2- Middle class consonants have an urban background
3- Low class consonants have a sea level, sea-side background – simple and logical!
How It works in Practice:
1- You look at the letter and automatically think of the image.
2- The easy-to-remember title will spring to mind and tell you the sounds.
3- The image’s background will tell you the class (low, middle, high)
Easy and remarkably effective!
The key to memorization is to get a foot-hold on what you are trying to remember. The alphabet is something you’ve never seen before, and is pretty alien, so the best way to get your head around it, is to find things that it resembles, and create connections with what you know. How To Learn Thai Language Fast has done that already for you, so you have an automatic connection for every letter, shaving months off the learning process.
Concentrating on the letters
1- Concentrate on how the letter resembles the image, and how the image’s title encodes the sounds of the letter.
2- Visualize the situation in your mind until you clearly see the resemblances. Remember that the background will encode the consonant’s class.
3- There are some explanatory notes to the right of each image, which should only be necessary the first time you look at the image.
So the next time you see the Thai character, just think of the image that the letter resembles. The title and background will spring to mind without effort. Then you’ll automatically know the letter’s sounds, and class!
How to approach the learning process:
Visualize each image in your mind, and then move on to the next one – don’t sweat or worry about it. Don’t overly tax yourself, instead just spend 20 to 30 minutes looking at some images, and then take a break for around 10 minutes. Come back and cover up the images, and try to remember the image, title and background, from looking at the letter. Don’t worry about not memorizing it perfectly first time off – just get an idea of things.
Move on, and try some new images, or take a break until the next day.The key to remembering though, is to repeat your exposure to the images often, until you remember them.
An example of a revision schedule would be something like this:
1- Practice and revise the images 10 minutes after the first exposure.
2- And then, 1 day after the first session, a couple of days after, a week after, a month after etc.
The images are like a scaffolding that will help you to build your memory of the letters, and will fall away after, as your mind
automatically recognizes the sounds and class of the letters.
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How To Learn Thai Language Fast