Thai Language Resources For Beginners

Thai 101: Essential Resources for Thai Language Novices

Are you interested in learning the Thai language? If so, you have come to the right place! Learning a new language can be daunting but by following some simple steps, and having access to great resources like those outlined below, anyone can become fluent in no time. This blog post will provide an overview of helpful Thai language tools and websites that are ideal for beginners. So if you’re ready to get started on your journey toward fluency – let’s dive in!

This page is specifically about the 39.8 million people in the world who speak Thai as their native language. It does not provide information on the total number of people who understand or speak Thai as a second language.

Key takeaways

  • The grammar rules in Thai are different from those in many other languages. The language uses a Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) structure and does not have plural forms for nouns. Additionally, verb forms do not change for tense, and there are no direct translations for the words “the” and “a”.
  • There are many resources you can use to learn Thai, such as online platforms like Duolingo, italki, and ThaiPod101. Additionally, there are a variety of books available that cater to learners of all levels, from beginners to those who are advanced.
  • To understand Thai grammar, you should begin with fundamental sentence structures, study tones, and pronunciation, recognize the significance of context, utilize classifiers, become acquainted with essential particles, and practice reading and writing.
Thai Language Resources For Beginners

Basic Thai Language Concepts

Overview of the Thai Alphabet

The script used in this context is believed to have been created by King Ramkhamhaeng the Great (พ่อขุนรามคำแหงมหาราช) in 1283. It is a combination of Pali, Sanskrit, and Old Khmer script. The alphabet is arranged with vowels on top and below consonants and is read from left to right. Learners must also become familiar with 5 different tones: low, mid, high, falling, and rising. While the ‘mid-tone does not have a specific tone mark, learners must still be able to distinguish between the 4 remaining tones.

Thai is a language that uses tones to differentiate words. These tones are determined by the initial consonant’s class (high, mid, or low), the vowel length (long or short), and whether the closing consonant is live or dead. Additionally, one of four tone marks may be used to indicate tone in the script.

When it comes to learning how to read or write Thai, keep in mind two important rules. Firstly, the Thai language doesn’t use lowercase or uppercase letters. Secondly, there are hardly any spaces and punctuation marks used. Learning the Thai Alphabet can be challenging at first as it is different from what you are familiar with. However, with consistent practice, you will gradually get used to its structure.

Key Principles of Thai Grammar

Thai, also known as Siamese or Central Thai, is the official language of Thailand. Here are some key principles of Thai grammar:

  1. Word Order: The basic word order in Thai is Subject-Verb-Object (SVO), just like in English. For example, the sentence “I eat rice” in Thai is “ผมกินข้าว” (pom kin khao), with “ผม” (pom) = “I”, “กิน” (kin) = “eat”, and “ข้าว” (khao) = “rice”.
  2. No Plural Nouns: Unlike English, there are no plural forms of nouns in Thai. The number (singular, plural) is usually understood from the context.
  3. No Verb Conjugation: In Thai, verbs do not change form for tense. The tense (past, present, future) is understood from the context or from time words used in the sentence.
  4. Classifiers: Thai uses classifiers, which are words that are used when counting or specifying quantity. Each noun generally has a specific classifier associated with it. For example, the classifier for “book” is “เล่ม” (lem).
  5. Particles: Thai language uses particles to express different tones and nuances. For example, the particle “ครับ” (khrap) is often used at the end of sentences by male speakers to show politeness.
  6. Tones: Thai is a tonal language, meaning that the tone (rising, falling, high, low, mid) with which a word is pronounced can change its meaning.
  7. No Articles: There are no equivalent words for “the” and “a” in Thai. This can make it a bit difficult for English speakers to learn Thai.
  8. Pronouns: Pronouns in Thai can change based on the speaker’s and listener’s gender and level of formality. For example, there are several ways to say “I” and “you”, depending on these factors.
  9. No Spaces Between Words: In Thai, spaces are not used to separate words, but to separate sentences or phrases. This can make Thai text appear as one long word to non-native speakers.
  10. Adjectives Act as Verbs: In Thai, there’s no need to use a “to be” verb before an adjective. The adjective can act as a verb. For example, the sentence “I am happy” in Thai is “ผมมีความสุข” (pom mee kwam sook), with “ผม” (pom) = “I”, “มีความสุข” (mee kwam sook) = “happy”.

It’s important to keep in mind that these principles are general and there could be some exceptions. To learn Thai or any language, it’s crucial to practice and immerse oneself in it.

Basic Thai Phrases

here are some basic Thai phrases that can be useful for beginners:

  • Hello: สวัสดี (sawatdee)
  • Thank you: ขอบคุณ (khob khun)
  • Yes: ใช่ (chai)
  • No: ไม่ใช่ (mai chai)
  • Sorry / Excuse me: ขอโทษ (khor thot)
  • How are you?: สบายดีไหม (sabaai dee mai)
  • I’m fine: สบายดี (sabaai dee)
  • What’s your name?: คุณชื่ออะไร (kun cheu arai)
  • My name is…: ฉันชื่อ… (chan cheu…)
  • Please: โปรด (proht)
  • Goodbye: ลาก่อน (laa gon)
  • Where is the bathroom?: ห้องน้ำอยู่ที่ไหน (hong nam yu tee nai)
  • I don’t understand: ฉันไม่เข้าใจ (chan mai khao jai)
  • Do you speak English?: คุณพูดภาษาอังกฤษได้ไหม (kun pood pasa angkrit dai mai)
  • How much does this cost?: นี่ราคาเท่าไหร่ (nee raakhaa thao rai)

These are general phrases that should be suitable in most situations. The way to say some of these phrases can change depending on the speaker’s and listener’s gender and level of formality. Thai is a tonal language, so pronunciation, particularly the tone of each word, is very important. I would recommend listening to native speakers or using a language learning tool with audio to get a better understanding of the pronunciation.

Thai Language Learning Resources

Online Language Learning Platforms

There are numerous online platforms and resources available to learn Thai. Here are a few that stand out:

  1. Duolingo: A popular language learning platform, Duolingo offers a free, gamified approach to language learning. It includes Thai language lessons and is a good place to start for beginners.
  2. italki: It is an online platform that connects language learners with native language tutors. You can find Thai language tutors who can provide one-on-one lessons tailored to your skill level and learning goals.
  3. ThaiPod101: This is a comprehensive platform dedicated to learning Thai. It offers a wide range of resources such as audio and video lessons, flashcards, vocabulary lists, and more.
  4. Rosetta Stone: Known for its immersive language learning method, Rosetta Stone offers a Thai language course. It is an excellent resource for developing pronunciation skills due to its robust speech-recognition software.

Thai Language Books

  1. Thai for Beginners by Benjawan Poomsan Becker: This book is designed for beginners and focuses on teaching basic conversational skills, grammar, and vocabulary. It also comes with audio recordings for pronunciation practice.
  2. Paiboon Publishing’s Thai Language Series: Benjawan Poomsan Becker’s series of Thai language books (Thai for Beginners, Thai for Intermediate Learners, Thai for Advanced Readers) are well-regarded resources for learning Thai at various levels.
  3. Everyday Thai for Beginners by Wiworn Kesavatana-Dohrs: This book provides an introduction to spoken Thai, focusing on everyday situations and practical conversations. It includes a pronunciation guide and audio recordings.
  4. Essential Thai: Speak Thai with Confidence! by Jintana Rattanakhemakorn: This book focuses on teaching practical Thai phrases and expressions used in daily life. It is ideal for travelers or those who want a quick introduction to conversational Thai.

Thai Language Apps


I highly recommend using Pimsleur if you want to learn Thai quickly and effectively. Pimsleur offers comprehensive courses for many popular languages, including Thai. With Pimsleur, you will start practicing speaking from your very first lesson and learn practical conversational skills. What sets Pimsleur apart is that it is audio-only, making it an excellent tool for improving your listening skills at a rapid pace.

The lessons are convenient as they only take around 30 minutes and can be taken anywhere. They aim to help you deal with everyday situations.

The Pimsleur Thai course has a monthly cost of $14.99 to $20.99, or you can purchase the entire course for a one-time fee of $119.95. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial of the Pimsleur app to try out the course. Additionally, there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, making it a risk-free experience.


If you’re looking to learn Thai vocabulary fast, Drops is the app for you. It offers comprehensive lists of useful words and phrases and allows you to customize your study sessions. The user-friendly design of the app will also help you stay on task.

Drops alone may not make you fluent in Thai, but it can be a helpful addition to other language-learning apps such as Pimsleur. With Drops, you can monitor your progress by keeping track of the number of words you’ve learned, which can provide motivation.

If you pay monthly, the cost of Drops is $13.00 per month. However, if you subscribe for a longer period of time, it will be cheaper. You can try out the app for free for 5 minutes each day to see if you like using it.


If you’re planning a trip or working remotely from Thailand, you might find it helpful to learn some useful words and phrases. Glossika is a great app to help with that. Instead of focusing on grammar, it uses spaced repetition to help you practice common phrases.

Using Glossika can assist with basic tasks such as ordering food or asking for directions while staying in Thailand. It is not a tool for achieving fluency, but it can enhance your ability to communicate with natives.

You can subscribe to Glossika for $16.99 per month for one language, or you can opt for a package of 60+ languages for $30.99 per month. If you’re unsure, you can take advantage of the free 7-day trial to see if Glossika is suitable for you.

Thai Language Podcasts and Audio Resources

If you’re new to podcasts, don’t worry! There are some podcasts specifically made for beginners which you can easily download. Additionally, these podcasts provide extra resources, like transcripts and worksheets, which will help you understand beginner concepts faster.


The ThaiPod101 podcast provides a variety of resources for learning the Thai language, which includes a considerable amount of episodes tailored towards beginners, as well as supplementary episodes for intermediate and advanced learners.

You can learn basic grammar, vocabulary words, and phrases that will be useful while traveling in Thailand by listening to episodes that provide linguistic, cultural, and current information. ThaiPod101 uploads new episodes regularly, which include information about Thai culture and history, along with words and phrases. You can find more information about the podcast by reading our full review of ThaiPod101.

Learn Thai Language

You can learn to speak Thai using the Learn Thai Language podcast and associated resources, which offer both audio podcasts and interactive video lessons. These materials concentrate on teaching you practical and straightforward phrases that you can use when traveling to Thailand. Additionally, you can download various learning materials to support your studies.

The podcast consists of only a few episodes, each lasting a few minutes. It provides important words and phrases to give you a quick understanding, such as how to communicate during an emergency situation, how to converse with your taxi driver, or how to inform a restaurant about your allergies.

LTP: Learn Thai Podcast

The podcast provides lessons on the basic concepts of Thai sentence structure and the 300 most frequently used Thai words. Although the podcast is no longer producing new episodes, you can access several short episodes (less than 10 minutes each) and extra resources on the LTP website.

Thai Movies and TV Shows

Learning the Thai language through movies is possible just like learning it from books, songs, or TV shows. It can be an enjoyable method for those who love watching films and want to improve their language skills.

We suggest you start a hobby of watching Thai movies that you like, either once a week or twice a month. If you’re not sure which movies to watch, you’ve come to the right place. We have a list of 2018 Thai movies, some with English subtitles to help you learn Thai. Additionally, we have some tips on how you can work on your pronunciation while watching Thai movies.

1.พี่มาก…พระโขนง (phîi mâak phrá-khà-nǒong

Thai movie 2013 / Romantic / Comedy / Horror / Thai movie on Netflix

Every Thai person knows the story of แม่นาก พระโขนง (mâae nâak phrá-khà-nǒongs).

This is a story about a woman named Naang Nâakt who died while pregnant and became a ghost while waiting for her husband to return from war. It is believed to be a true story that took place during the time of King Rama 4. One piece of evidence for this is her shrine located at Máhǎabùt Temple.

The movie “พี่มาก (udyphîi mâak T)” is a popular Thai romantic-horror story about a woman who refuses to let death separate her from her husband. This story has been made into a movie 20 times, a TV drama 8 times, and a musical show 4 times.

2. ขุนพันธ์ (khǔn phan)

Thai movie 2016 / Thai movie 2018 / Action / Fantasy

Police Major General Khun Phantharak Rajadej was a heroic figure in the police department around eighty years ago. During his years of service, he apprehended many bandits who were causing a lot of problems and making people feel unsafe. What makes his story particularly interesting are the superstitious elements. To this day, he serves as a role model for those in the police department.

Khǔn phan’s captivating story has been adapted into two movies. The first one premiered in 2016, followed by the second in August 2018. While not a biographical film, the movies depict Khǔn Phan’s pursuit and capture of bandits who possess similar magical abilities as him. If you enjoy action movies, these two films come highly recommended.

Tips for Beginners

Tips for Memorizing Thai Alphabets

Learn the Thai alphabet using only one resource. To learn the Thai alphabet, there are several options available such as YouTube videos, in-person classes (only in Thailand), and various apps. Among all these options, the Ling app seems to be the most efficient way of learning the Thai alphabet as it is specially designed for beginners and makes the learning process both enjoyable and effortless.

Strategies to Understand Thai Grammar

To learn Thai grammar effectively, it’s crucial to understand the meaning of every sentence. This can be achieved by listening to and repeating Thai conversations frequently. It’s also necessary to learn the common prefixes and suffixes used in Thai sentences to comprehend the language’s basic structure. Lastly, practicing speaking with native Thai speakers will help you receive guidance and feedback on pronunciation.

Techniques for Learning Basic Phrases

Learning basic Thai phrases can be an overwhelming task. To make the process easier, start by writing down all the words and phrases you want to learn in a notebook. Then, try to create simple sentences using these words and practice them with native speakers. Additionally, watch movies or TV shows with Thai subtitles to gain a better understanding of how the language is used in everyday conversations.

Thai Language Resources For Beginners

Thai Language Resources For Beginners FAQs

Are there any podcasts or audio resources that teach the Thai language?

Yes, there are a number of podcasts available that teach the Thai language. Podcasts can be found on iTunes, Spotify, and other audio streaming services. The most popular ones include Thaipod101, Learn to Speak Thai with Guruu Nee, and Speak Thai Today. Additionally, YouTube channels such as Learn Thai from a White Guy and Learn Thai with Mod provide audio lessons that are ideal for beginners.

How can I utilize Thai movies and TV shows to learn the language?

One effective way to learn the Thai language is by watching Thai movies and TV shows with Thai subtitles. By doing this, you can better understand the spoken words and improve your learning experience. Don’t forget to take notes of new vocabulary and language expressions to practice later.

How can I memorize the Thai alphabet effectively?

Memorizing the Thai alphabet can be challenging, but there are tricks to make it easier. Try breaking down the alphabet into smaller parts and practicing them one at a time. It also helps to draw out each letter by hand as it allows you to remember better. Furthermore, use mnemonics or memory games to help commit letters and syllables to memory.

What strategies can help me understand Thai grammar?

To grasp Thai grammar, it’s crucial to pay attention to the significance of each sentence. Practice repeating dialogues with native speakers frequently until you can start creating your own sentences. Also, become acquainted with the typical prefixes and suffixes used in the Thai language to assist in constructing a correct sentence structure. Lastly, converse with locals to hone your speaking skills and receive feedback.

What are some techniques for learning basic Thai phrases?

To master basic Thai phrases, maintain regularity in your learning. First, compile the words and expressions you wish to learn in a single location. Next, create uncomplicated sentences using these words and rehearse them out loud with native Thai speakers.


Learning a new language can be intimidating – from the strange grammar to having to learn entirely new vocabulary. However, getting started on this adventure into learning Thai is easier than ever! With the resources listed above, you’re sure to find something that satisfies your individual learning needs. Keep in mind: practice makes perfect, and embracing the various imperatives of your host country will open up even more interesting opportunities and experiences while living in Thailand. Plus, as an added bonus, enrolling in our newsletter provides you with current information about living in Thailand so you can soak up as much culture as possible! So don’t wait any longer – take the plunge and start exploring Thai today!

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