Incidental learning is very important when it comes to picking up a new language. The same goes for learning Thai, which is a very dynamic language and impossible to pick up from an enclosed rigid classroom setting. In this article, I will be sharing my secrets to picking up new Thai vocabulary from Thai songs, which works for advanced Thai language learners. Stay tuned!
Recently, I got to know of this song – Recall by Bowylion via Cool Farenheit radio channel 🥰 For those who do not know, Cool Farenheit is a Thai radio I highly recommend you listen to. This is where I constantly practice my Thai listening skills, by listening to Thai radio and enjoying Thai songs while working 🤩
I hope you enjoyed listening to the song as much as I did. 🥰 But we’re not here to just enjoy listening to Thai songs, we’re here to build up our Thai vocabulary from our favourite Thai songs. Here’s where the hard work comes in! 💪💪💪
Ps: Till today, I still don’t understand why the English translation of the song is “Recall”. The Thai title of this song is วาดไว้ – วาด (waat, falling tone) means to draw. ไว้ (wai, high tone) has no direct English translation [Remember that there shouldn’t be a 1-1 translation from Thai to English and vice versa?] ไว้ is usually added behind a verb/action to convey the idea that the action is being done in future. So the meaning of the song is to draw something in future and I’ve no idea how it got translated to “recall” unless it’s implying drawing out an experience in future and thus recalling? That’s quite a stretch to me even if I do know that a good translation is about getting the meaning across, not blindly translation word for word. I wrote a post on Learning how to Translate English to Thai which you can check out. 🥰
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 you Thai language course fees!
Step by Step Method to Learn Thai Vocab from Thai Songs
Step 1: Search for the Thai song lyrics with Thai script
Optional depending on your proficiency level: Thai song lyrics with Thai words spelt in English (i.e. Karaoke) and English subtitles
This is all about learning Thai reading and writing so naturally, you HAVE TO search for the Thai song with Thai script. You can just copy the Thai script of the Thai song and add “เนื้อเพลง” behind (i.e. “meat song” which is then translated as song lyrics). If you are not confident to just search using Thai script, you can add some English into your Google search term to give you a mixture of Thai and English results. Bottom line is, you need to get Thai results for your search.
In the example above, I’d search for “วาดไว้ เนื้อเพลง” OR “วาดไว้ recall bowylion lyrics” which gives me the screenshots below:
Step 2: Copy out the entire Thai script song lyrics
If you are an advanced Thai learner and wish to learn Thai writing, constantly practicing writing out the Thai script is a MUST. How else can you differentiate between ด ค ต and other Thai characters that look really similar if you’re not familiar with how the letters are formed?
In this example, I’d copy out the Thai script I’ve boxed up in red to give me the screenshots below:
You might have noticed that Thai songs tend to use เธอ (tur) instead of คุณ (khun) for the English word “You”. 🤔 Why is this so and how then should one say “you” in Thai?
Read here to learn how to say you in Thai
Step 3: Practice reading the Thai script and isolate terms you cannot read to search for its meaning
As stated above, the last step is for you to read as much of the Thai script that you can, isolate terms that you are unfamiliar with / cannot read, and Google those terms one by one to understand its meaning. 🤓
I hope this helps you learn Thai vocab effectively – from Thai songs that you love and to practice reading and writing Thai too. Enjoy, เรียนให้สนุกๆ และขอให้โชคดีนะคะ ~~
Get help with learning 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.