Both foreigners living in Thailand and visitors to the country will benefit from learning the Thai language. Not only does it make getting around and communicating with Thai people much easier and more satisfying, but it also provides insight into Thai culture. The Thai language was first officially codified when King Ramkhamhaeng of the Sukhothai kingdom used Thai for an inscription in 1292. As the language has long been one of the foremost cultural treasures of the Thai people, Sukhothai Thammathirat is pleased to highlight some resources that make learning Thai easier.
There are many systems for transcribing Thai into the Roman alphabet. STOU adheres to the Royal Thai General System of Transcription. This is the system followed by the government and many other academic institutions in Thailand.
- Royal Thai General System of Transcription
Wikipedia page on the official transcription system used by the Thai Government and several academic institutions.
- Thai Romanization
A computer program developed by Chulalongkorn University for transcribing Thai according to the Royal Thai General System of Transcription.
Learning the Language:
STOU has found that the most effective approach to education is a diverse one. By studying from a combination of printed materials, audiovisual media, broadcasts and other instructional tools, STOU students participate in a meaningful and useful learning experience. Likewise, those learning Thai will benefit from a similar approach. For learners who happen to be in Thailand, engagement with their respective communities is an essential part of the process. Learners away from a Thai language environment should also find opportunities to listen, read and write. All of these can be practiced over the internet, and the following links contain a wealth of information about the Thai language.
LearningThai.com – An expansive site with a wide range of resources for learning Thai. There are many self-instructional sections, and the forums on the site are a valuable tool for language learners and others interested in Thailand.
Thai Home Page on SEAsite (Northern Illinois University) – Another site with a wide range of resources on Thai language and culture. This is part of NIU’s site on the languages and cultures of Southeast Asia.
Thai2English.com – An excellent online Thai-English/English-Thai dictionary that accepts both Thai script and English text. One helpful feature for learners of Thai is the dictionary’s recognition of individual words within phrases or sentences. Many speakers of Western languages find that Thai’s lack of spaces and punctuation makes it difficult to pick out individual words, but this dictionary will do that for you.
LEXiTRON – Hosted by Thailand’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Center, this online dictionary is fast, simple and reliable. It is not as complex as Thai2English, usually giving a single translation for each word instead of a choice of terms.
Reading Thai websites is a great way to practice and improve your reading and comprehension skills.
Please feel free to explore the STOU website, and learn all about how our university works while practicing reading Thai.
Visit STOU’s e-Learning & Learning Object Module site to try some basic courses and self-assessments on a variety of subjects.
Read Thai news from the Thai Rath newspaper. Though the jargon and expressions in headlines might be difficult, reading the articles is another good way to improve reading abilities.