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Is Thai Difficult to Learn? (And Tips to Succeed!)

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If you’re interested in learning the Thai language but haven’t started yet, you may be wondering: “Is Thai difficult to learn?” We’re here to tell you that learning Thai may not be as hard as you think it is!  

There are certain things that make the Thai language hard to learn, and for these, you’ll need to spend some time studying and practicing. But there are also many other aspects that are pretty simple and straightforward! You may feel a little doubtful about this, as the Thai alphabet, grammar, pronunciation, and so on, are new to you. But you’ll get familiar with these things in no time once you start learning with ThaiPod101.com.  

There are many foreigners who can speak and understand Thai so well, after just a few years, that even native speakers are surprised. So with some time, practice, and the right tools, anyone can learn to speak Thai. Yes, that includes you!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Thai Table of Contents
  1. The Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Thai
  2. I Want to Learn Thai. Where Should I Start?
  3. Advice for a New Thai Learner
  4. Why is ThaiPod101.com Great for Learning Thai?
  5. Conclusion

1. The Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Thai 

In the following sections, we’ll cover the easiest aspect of Thai first, and then the hardest! Let’s go. 

What Makes Thai Easy?

Many language-learners dread the grammar aspect of their studies, and for good reasons! As such, you’ve probably been wondering: “Is Thai grammar hard?” 

Good news: It’s not difficult at all! It’s probably the easiest part of learning Thai.  

This is because there are no tenses or conjugations in Thai, so there’s a lot less to understand and remember.  You don’t have to learn how to change verb forms or swap around the sentence structure from one situation to another. For example:

Present simple tense:  

ฉันกินอาหารไทย
chǎn-gin-aa-hǎan-thai
“I eat Thai food.”

Present continuous tense

ฉันกำลังกินอาหารไทย
chǎn-gam-lang-gin-aa-hǎan-thai
“I am having Thai food.”

Adding กำลัง (gam-lang), which is like “ing” in English, shows that you’re in the process of doing the action.

Past simple tense:  

เมื่อวานฉันกินอาหารไทย
mûuea-waan-chǎn-gin-aa-hǎan-thai
“Yesterday, I had Thai food.”

Adding เมื่อวาน (mûuea-waan), which means “yesterday” in Thai,  shows that the action happened in the past.

Yesterday, I had Thai Food.

Future simple tense:  

วันพรุ่งนี้ฉันจะกินอาหารไทย
wan-phrûng-níi-chǎn-jà-gin-aa-hǎan-thai
“Tomorrow, I will have Thai food.”

Adding วันพรุ่งนี้ (wan-phrûng-níi), which means “tomorrow” in Thai, shows that this is a plan for the future. Adding จะ () shows that you will do it.

You can see that there’s not much difference between the four sentences above. That just goes to show how difficult it is to learn Thai language grammar. (Not at all, right? ^^)

Why is Thai Hard to Learn?

The hardest part of learning Thai is the การออกเสียง (gaan-àawk-sǐiang), or “pronunciation.” 

The biggest problem here is the เสียงวรรณยุกต์ (sǐiang-wan-ná-yúk), or “tones.” There are five tones in the Thai language, and foreigners often have difficulty distinguishing between them, thinking they all sound the same. For example:

  • ป้าดูปลาในป่า 
  • phâa-duu-phlaa-nai-phàa
  • “Aunt looks at fish in the forest.”
  • For foreigners who have just started learning Thai, it can be hard to differentiate between the words ป้า (phâa), ปลา (phla), and ป่า (phàa).

So, is it hard to learn to speak Thai? It certainly can be, but it’s still very achievable! 

Learning how to pronounce the Thai alphabet and tones correctly will help a lot, as it will create a strong foundation for your future studies. And by listening to plenty of Thai content, you’ll become more familiar with Thai pronunciation, making this portion of your studies a bit simpler.

2. I Want to Learn Thai. Where Should I Start?

When you start learning Thai, you should start with the most basic units, which are the พยัญชนะ (phá-yan-chá-ná) or “consonants,” and สระ (sà-rà) or “vowels.” Learning how to pronounce and write the Thai alphabet will enable you to read and write Thai with little problem, and make your conversations a lot smoother.

If you’ve been studying and practicing with the Thai alphabet for a while, and still struggle with reading, writing, or pronunciation, you may need to practice some more. Mastering the Thai alphabet right from the start will make the rest of your language-learning journey so much easier.

Learning the Thai Alphabet

At the same time, you should also start practicing basic conversational phrases and learn easy Thai words.  Learning new words along with the conversational phrases will make the words easier to remember. Not to mention how useful basic phrases can be in daily life! 

3. Advice for a New Thai Learner   

Learning a new language is not an easy thing to do. Here are a few tips for you.

1 – Listen to lots of Thai content

Whether it’s a Thai song, TV series, news station, or drama film, listen to your target language as much as possible. Even if you don’t understand anything you’re hearing, you’ll start to become more familiar with Thai pronunciation and tones. And it’s even better with subtitles! This will allow you to more easily learn vocabulary and sentence structures while enjoying yourself!

I Watch Thai Movies Everyday.

2 – Find something you like about Thai

Learning any language takes time, and this is especially true for a language very different from your own, like Thai. You can’t master Thai in just a few days!  

That said, it’s easier to do something for a long time if that thing interests you. You should find something you like about Thai so that you can develop a passion for learning the language. 

For example, if you like a certain Thai actor, you’ll enjoy watching that actor in a movie or TV drama—and you’ll be able to learn Thai at the same time! You’ll also want to understand what he said in an interview or behind the scenes, which will motivate you to learn the language.  

It doesn’t have to be a person, though. There are many other Thai-related topics that may interest you: TV shows, culture, food, desserts, or even ghost stories. You just need to look for it, because we guarantee you’ll find something!

3 – Be patient

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

As mentioned earlier, you can’t master any new language in only a few days, so you have to be patient when learning Thai.  

You may find it a bit tough and not very enjoyable at first because everything is new and there’s a lot to take in. There are a lot of letters to remember, several pronunciation rules you need to memorize, and the tones are driving you crazy. But that’s just because you’re not familiar with the Thai language yet. As you start to understand Thai, you’ll feel very satisfied with yourself and your language skills. 

There’s a saying in Thai: ความพยายามอยู่ที่ไหน ความสำเร็จอยู่ที่นั้น (khwaam-phá-yaa-yaam- yùu-thîi-nǎi khwaam-sǎm-rèt-yùu-thîi-nân). It means that if you keep trying, you’ll be successful. In other words: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” So next time you feel like giving up, just remember these words.

4 – Choose the right learning tools

Have you ever seen chefs in five-star restaurants using dull knives? No, they use high-quality knives and keep them sharp. Their cooking may not depend on the knife they use, but having a good sharp one will make the job a lot easier! 

The same is true for learning Thai. If you’ve been learning Thai for a while, and still find it very difficult, you may be using the wrong tool. 

Good books used to be enough, but nowadays, everything you need to learn Thai is at your fingertips when you use ThaiPod101.com. ThaiPod101.com is like a knowledgeable teacher, a friend who gets you interested in Thai culture, and an encouraging mentor all wrapped up into one person. So don’t hesitate to visit and learn more about us! 

4. Why is ThaiPod101.com Great for Learning Thai?

ThaiPod101.com is a fast, fun, and easy way to learn Thai. Below, we’ll give you just a few reasons to give us a try: 

1 – A variety of lessons and materials

We provide various Thai lessons for learners at every level. For example, our page on the Easy Way to Learn the Thai Alphabet for beginners, and our Thai Language Exam article for more advanced students.

We also have audio lessons so that you can hear how Thai people speak, improve your listening skills, and practice your pronunciation. And don’t forget our handy vocabulary lists, categorized by topic. Examples include Talking About YouTube and Useful Words and Phrases for Going to the Movies. You’ll also find a grammar bank on our website (which contains almost 400 grammar topics you can learn) and printable PDF lesson notes for you to review after lessons.  

And by upgrading to a Premium PLUS account, you’ll be able to communicate one-on-one with your own personal teacher. Your teacher will be more than happy to help with your Thai learning and provide you with the tools and encouragement you need to succeed.  

With these abundant materials, ThaiPod101.com is the best and easiest way to learn Thai! 

2 – Learn Thai 24/7

You don’t need to meet your teacher face-to-face to learn Thai. With internet access and a mobile phone, tablet, or PC, you can access all of our Thai lessons through ThaiPod101.com—anytime, wherever you are.

I Can Learn Thai 24/7

3 – Flexible learning plans for individuals

ThaiPod101.com provides the most flexible Thai class you can join. If you don’t know where to start, we can provide you with guidance and suggestions, tailored to your current level and your goals. But you can also plan your lessons based on your interests, strengths, and weaknesses. In addition,  you can always repeat a lesson if you forgot something or didn’t quite understand the topic. Learn at your own pace, your way! 

4 – Pronunciation practice

Learning Thai pronunciation is the hardest part of learning the language. As such, you may be concerned that learning Thai online will take away from your ability to practice pronunciation. Don’t worry! ThaiPod101.com has a pronunciation and accent review function for you to practice with. You can keep practicing until you get it right.

5 – Assignments, quizzes, and tests

Don’t leave yet! Even though assignments, quizzes, and tests are typically boring and unwelcome, you can’t deny that completing assignments and quizzes improves our understanding and shows us where we need to do better. And don’t worry: there’s not much pressure when completing them, like there would be in a traditional classroom.

6 – Daily learning encouragement

If you’re a student, we know that you probably have tons of homework to do, tests to prepare for, and recreational activities to attend to stay sane. If you’re a full-time worker, finding time to learn a new language can be an issue when there are work responsibilities and other things you need to do. We understand and will encourage you to learn Thai little by little with us. There are even short lessons you can complete daily—we’ll even remind you to do them. 😉

7 – Cultural knowledge

ThaiPod101.com also provides information about Thai culture: how Thai people live, act, and think in daily life.  These lessons are interesting for both Thai learners and foreigners who are living in Thailand. 

Learn More about Thai Culture.

5. Conclusion

At this point, we hope that if someone asks you whether the Thai language is easy or hard, you’ll let them know it’s not that bad. 

It will take some time, but anyone can learn Thai. 

The best way to get started is to visit ThaiPod101.com and explore our many lessons and learning tools. We recommend starting with our Thai Alphabet Made Easy lessons.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if you feel ready to start learning Thai! If not, we’d love to hear your questions or concerns as well. 

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