If you are currently planning to relocate to sunny Thailand, you certainly aren’t alone; aside from being top holiday destination, a growing number of digital nomads are flocking to this southeast Asian nation and there are many reasons to choose Thailand. Formerly Siam, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian country never to be colonised and that means the English language was never introduced; the percentage of Thai people that speak English is very low.
If you are planning to relocate to Thailand, here are a few language learning tips.
- Lots of free practice – If you live in the Kingdom, you have all the opportunity for free practice; say hi to the local food vendors, who are always happy to converse with a farang (foreigner). Start with the numerical system; it is important to know how much you are spending – learn from 1-1000 first – then move on to greetings in Thai. There is online help with Thai Genesis, a self-learning program offered by a top Thai language school.
- Take a basic Thai language course – This is definitely the best introduction to a phonetic language that can be difficult for westerners to pick up. You can combine learning Thai into your visa, with an ed-visa; talk to the school about this. The course will cover all 4 skills; reading, writing, listening and speaking; because Thai is phonetic, it is important to be able to read the characters in order to know the correct pronunciation.
- Online resources – There are many online resources to help a Thai language learner; you can listen to short audio clips of correct pronunciation by a native Thai speaker, which helps no end. You can have one-on-one Thai language classes with an online Thai language school, where you are guided by a native Thai teacher.
- Don’t be shy – When you try to pronounce a word, the Thais may burst out laughing; don’t take it personal, it is funny when someone asks you if you could iron a tiger! There are no shortcuts and you’ll have to battle your way through the early stages, depending on how quick you grasp the language. Click here to learn some safe travel tips.
- Thai partner – Of course, the fastest way to acquire Thai language skills is to have a Thai boy/girlfriend, which is what many western men do when they arrive in Thailand. Some relationships work out and some don’t; cross-cultural relationships can be tough going. If, for example, your Thai girlfriend speaks basic English, if you speak Thai and she speaks English, you are both getting something out of it, language-wise. She is actually a walking dictionary, so there’s no excuse for not knowing a Thai word.
- Listening to Thai media – The best way to practice comprehension is to watch Thai TV, soap operas, gameshows and even sports are excellent ways to develop your listening skills. Watching is better than just listening because you have visual clues as to what is happening.
We hope the above tips help you nail the Thai language, which will enrich your experience in the Land of Smiles. Learning to speak Thai will open many doors and you can enjoy a convenient life.