In a post back in 2010 (And the Award for Slowest Ever Thai Language Learner Goes To… ) I mentioned how my Thai language skills had stagnated. It’s now been over two years since that post, and I can’t really say that much has changed. Intellectually I know that it would be good for me to keep progressing with my Thai skills, but, to be honest, I just don’t have the motivation to put in the required effort at this stage in my life – there is just too much other great stuff going on. I did put a lot of effort into learning Thai during my first few years living here, but for the last four years I haven’t made much noticeable progress at all. The only real effort I make is when my son says a word that I’m unsure about, and I need to hit the dictionary. I do read Thai newspapers and website content on a fairly regular basis, but this is more about looking for information rather than trying to pick up any new vocabulary.
Learn Thai Podcast
Recently I was offered the opportunity to revisit a Thai language tool that I enjoyed using in the past. The Learn Thai Podcast offers a unique learning experience that is suitable for people like me who are too antisocial to go to a real life class – I suppose it could also be used to supplement a class. The website for this program offers some free material, but in order to really get the most from this course is necessary to get a paid subscription. There are programs to suit beginners, intermediate, and advanced learners, and it is reasonably priced when compared to other Thai courses.
I first came across the Learn Thai Podcast a few years ago, and I found it easy to use. This is a practical program that uses authentic conversations that would occur in real life situations in Thailand. The lessons use native speakers who are talking normally, so that listeners can become familiar with how people are likely to speak in the real word – that’s important. The lessons are available in video and audio format, and these can be downloaded to a computer or mobile device – I used my iPad. Students who are super eager can also print off the script for each episode, and this will be useful for those who are learning to read Thai (although the Thai script is shown in the videos as well). I used this program for about a year, and my active vocabulary did increase without too much effort. The topics covered in these videos were diverse enough to keep me interested – I particularly liked the news story lessons.
Jay is the main man behind the Learn Thai Podcast, and he is a very friendly and approachable guy. He invited me to have another look at the subscription area of the website a few weeks ago. I hadn’t been back there since 2009 (?), and there were some noticeable changes to how the site is laid out. The interface has a much improved look, and it is easier to navigate around the lessons – downloading is also more straightforward and intuitive. There are many more lessons than were there last time, and he seems to be adding to the catalogue on a regular basis. I downloaded the news story lessons; so that I can listen to them sometimes when I go for my evening walks on the beach – hopefully, Jay will be adding more news stories in the future.