Many people struggle to learn the Thai language despite putting in lots of hard work. In NUS, I have seen hundreds of students sign up for beginner Thai 1 lessons…just to give up eventually. How did this happen? Why do so many people give up? Is learning Thai that difficult?
Before you start learning Thai, ask yourself these 3 questions. Make sure the answer to these questions are a resounding “yes!” before you begin your Thai language learning journey!
1. Do you have the passion to learn Thai?
Learning a new language will start off fun. However, along the way, you will inevitably face difficulties in expressing yourself for the simplest things. For example, a simple phrase “I am working now” can be expressed in multiple ways in Thai. How do you say “I” in Thai for instance? Which word should you use given the different contexts? If you do not have the passion to learn the Thai language, you will have a higher tendency to give up in the face of your struggles.
In addition, learning a language is not just about going to classes and doing your homework diligently. It is about grabbing every opportunity you have to be exposed to the language. It is about incidental learning and putting in lots of extra hours outside of the classroom setting. This is especially so for the Thai Language, which is a very fluid language with no fixed grammar patterns. You can only learn to speak Thai properly by listening to how Thai people converse in daily life settings, and then practising your Thai conversational skills regularly with a Thai local/teacher. This is even more so for written Thai because there are so many exceptions and it is impossible to learn how to spell every single Thai word within a classroom setting. Passion to learn the Thai language is a must-have for anyone to be willing to put in all these extra hours of hard work.
Here’s a very popular Thai song – Tur Young by Potato 😘 Enjoy listening and hope this motivates you to learn the Thai language!
If you still need more motivation to learn the Thai language, check out my blog post here on 5 recommended Thai dramas to watch!
2. Do you have the time to learn Thai?
As with all other languages, practice makes perfect. If you don’t practice listening to or speaking in Thai regularly, you will easily forget what you have just learnt. This is especially so at the start where everything is unfamiliar to you. As such, learning the Thai language becomes very time consuming. Just within the classroom setting, Thai classes in NUS took up 6h per week. Doing the assigned Thai homework easily takes up another 4-6h. Unless you are prepared to set aside a minimum of ~10h per week to learn Thai consistently, it will be difficult for you to master the Thai language.
FYI: I myself put in a lot of hours outside the classroom setting to learn the Thai language. I came up with a 3-step method for myself to learn Thai while enjoying Thai music – hope you can try this out and enjoy the process as much as I do! 🥰
Interested to learn the Thai Language? Here’s what you can explore!
Practice your Thai speaking skills and learn how to use Thai to express everyday small talk.
A serious Thai learner aiming to master Thai reading and writing? Start off by learning to text in Thai!
Go for regular Thai classes. Use your SkillsFuture credits to offset your Thai Language course fees!
3. Do you have proper resources to learn Thai?
It always takes two hands to clap. You need to have the passion and the time to learn Thai – but you will also need to have a Thai teacher who is willing to journey with you every step of the way. Even if you buy heaps of Thai language learning books, you still need someone to tell you the “informal” but “Thai way” of phrasing things instead of regurgitating memorized phrases from a textbook. Even if you put in hours listening to Thai language learning videos, you still need someone to point out to you what is correct or wrong with your pronunciation.
You can practice your Thai conversational skills regularly with learnthaiinsingapore 🥰 You can also check out these Thai language learning courses which are covered by Singapore Skillsfuture.
If your answer to the three questions above is a “yes!”, wait no longer and start learning the Thai language today! Also check out my FAQ page on learning Thai and blog “Should I learn to read and write Thai?” to answer any burning questions you may have before beginning your Thai language learning journey.
Get help with learning to read, write and text in Thai today! 🥰
About the author – see the About page for more informationJoanne Tan is an aspiring polyglot and has so far mastered English, Chinese and Thai languages. She first started learning Thai in 2015 before staying in Bangkok for 5 months, and then continued studying Thai up to Advanced Levels at the National University of Singapore. In 2017, Joanne was awarded ‘Advanced Thai Proficiency’ by the Sirindhorn Thai Language Institute of Chulalongkorn University. Today, Joanne continues to teach her friends basic Thai speaking and helps her Thai friends actively promote Thai culture.