Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Review and Free Draw

Cracking Thai Fundamentals

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Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Review and Free Draw…

For an extra holiday treat Stu Jay Raj (author of Cracking Thai Fundamentals) has gifted a book to giveaway to the lucky winner. As with previous draws, the rules are simple:

NOTE: Each relevant comment gets counted, so leave as many as you like.

The draw will run from this moment until 31st December (New Years Eve), 6am Thai time. As soon I’m awake(ish) I (or someone else) will throw the numbers into, and then announce the winner.

Good luck all and ho ho ho!

Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Review…

The Cracking Thai Fundamentals course by Stu Jay Raj was put together in 2000 to help members of the FCC (Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand) understand the Thai language. When researching the characteristic problems expats have with learning Thai as a second language, Stu developed an interactive system to kickstart students into learning the Thai language along with Thai culture (they go hand-in-hand).


Stu has since gone on to teach other expats, and has even taught the course in Thai to Thai teachers. I lucked out in my first year in Thailand when I came across CTF in Bangkok. It was such an entertaining eyeopener, I took it twice (as did many others in my class).

As there’s only so much of Stu to go around, to enable a wider audience to take advantage of CTF he created an interactive, online version at, a membership site.

So there’s Cracking Thai Fundamentals the on-the-ground course, Cracking Thai Fundamentals the online course, and now Cracking Thai Fundamentals the book. When I asked Stu “why the book” he came back with:

Stu Jay Raj: Yes … I am getting older. The problem with the live course is that I have to choose between giving a brain overload or giving a watered down version. The book gets to go into more detail and can be used over the longterm. The online course was developed for a similar reason.

No matter which flavour you go with, the on-the-ground course, the online course, the course in book form, or even a combo, all are suitable for students of Thai sporting various backgrounds. Those brand spanking new to Thai will benefit by avoiding the many traps students often fall into, and those already deep into studying Thai will notice more than a few “ah ha’s” along their CTF journey.

Before I go any further, I want to point you to the most complete review out there for CTF, the book. It’s by Josh Sager at Let’s Talk Thai: Product Review: Cracking Thai Fundamentals by Stuart Jay Raj.

Josh Sager: An Operating System for the Mind: It’s important to mention right off the bat that this is not a Thai language learning “system” as you are perhaps accustomed to using. Stu himself is adamant in making this point clear. The book does not give you vocabulary lists to memorize, lessons on sentence structure, or quick phrases you can use while visiting Thailand as a tourist. Cracking Thai Fundamentals is a suite of tools designed to ultimately provide you with a deeper understanding of the Thai language; it’s a way to take what you already know, what you are currently learning, and smooth out the rough edges. Think of it like expanding your paint palette from 8 to 128 colors to help you paint more vivid pictures.

Review: Cracking Thai Fundamentals…

As Josh has done a fabulous job reviewing the book I’m going to focus on linking the chapters in the book with Stu’s online course at

For those of you who want to sample the online course before you buy, I’ve marked the FREE sections.

Stu Jay Raj: At a bare minimum I would encourage everyone reading the book to use the free online initial Preparing to Crack section along with the Consonant Compass… both interactive and downloadable versions. Laminate an A3 version of the Constant Compass and have it beside you as you learn.

Section One: Preparing to Crack the Fundamentals (page 30)
Preparing to Crack the Thai Fundamentals – Part 1 (FREE)

Section One is chockfull of tips to help prepare yourself for your Thai journey. It goes from changing your mindset (plenty of “ah ha’s”) to rearranging your actual life on the ground (paper dictionaries to computers).

Section Two: Thinking in Meanings (page 68)
CTF Thinking in Meanings
Thinking in Meanings Part 1
Thinking in Meanings Part 2 – Quizzes and Drills

Section Two is a full body, interactive chapter, where, with a few choice words, you are shown how feel their meanings before learning how to create actual sentences. For beginners, this is a brilliant intro into understanding how the Thai language works.

Section Three: Cracking Indic Based Scripts (page 181)
Cracking Indic Based Scripts – Main Lesson
Indic Consonant Compass (FREE)

Section Three covers the Thai sound system, the Thai writing system, and the system behind the system. Taking you back in time, this is where Stu opens up the magic of Indic based scripts to lay a foundation for reading, writing, and speaking Thai.

Section Four: Cracking the Thai Vowels (page 249)
Cracking the Thai Vowels – Main Lesson

Section Four uses hand signals and dimensions to get the Thai vowels into your head and out your mouth.

Section Five: Cracking the Thai Consonants (page 287)
Cracking Thai Consonants – Main Lesson

Section Five is understandably a large chunk of the book as it takes you through the Thai consonants. To assist your understanding, it goes through Stu’s pronunciation glyphs, the five cardinal points of articulation, and then over to each consonant in turn.

Section Six: Cracking Thai Tones (page 484)
Mastering Tones in Thai Chinese and other Tonal Languages
Conquering Thai Tones – Webinar

Section Six covers the bane of most language learners of Thai, tones. By this section you will already have constants and vowels down, along with an understanding of the map of the human mouth, so with a bit more work you will be able to slot in the tones.

Final: How to Make the Cracking Thai Fundamentals Vision a Reality (page 545)

Stu Jay Raj: Lastly, don’t forget that Thai Cracking Fundamentals is not a complete system to teach you Thai; that it is a system to help lay a new physical and mental operating system that will work hand in hand with all the other methods that you are using to learn Thai.

The final part of the book is a general “where do you go from here” section filled with advice on how to use what you’ve learned.

Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Draw reminder…

As if you’d forget … the draw will run from this moment until 31st December (New Years Eve), 6am Thai time.

Good luck!

7 thoughts on “Cracking Thai Fundamentals: Review and Free Draw”

  1. Thanks all for commenting (although Facebook is where most of the comments can be found so if you want to peek… please do).

    Soooo …. do the materials need to be taught in a classroom setting, like John M suggested? In my opinion, not really (but obviously, everyone is different). Note: I have attended Stu’s course but that was 11 years ago and the course has been updated since then (technology and mindsets evolve).

    If you can’t attend one of his courses in person, then obviously, your only other options will be the online course, his free videos on YouTube, and/or the book.

    As quoted already in my mini-review, when I asked Stu “why the book”, he replied:

    Yes … I am getting older. The problem with the live course is that I have to choose between giving a brain overload or giving a watered down version. The book gets to go into more detail and can be used over the longterm. The online course was developed for a similar reason.

    BTW: There are two more days to go before the winner is chosen so good luck all!

  2. The back cover needs to detail what you’ll be able to do…like on the website but more concise of course…the word “vision” should be there…less bio on Stu and more on his “secrets”, hot button words that sell the distinctives…the OS analogy is used so maybe the ultimate system created from…..something along those lines…sell it!

  3. I agree with the other comments that the book does sound exciting.. However, I was very disappointed. It was an interesting read but it is very “wordy” (could be cut in half). Much of the information is interesting but I don’t see how to use it to help my Thai. I think this needs to be taught by a teacher in a classroom setting to be of any benefit. The book does refer to videos to help with pronunciation, but for the price.. why not include a CD? For me, it was not useful at all especially without a CD. It is more of a theory book and not very practical.

  4. I had the pleasure of meeting Stu earlier this week, and was extremely impressed with his linguistic ability, his skill at breaking down concepts in a way that makes it easy for those of us less gifted to understand, and his passion for improving languages are taught. I think the online version of CTF is preferable for new learners because of the multi-media content, the book is a great reference and has a lot of expanded information that’s very useful. I’ve been working on Lao recently, so the material on tone shifts between dialects has been very useful.

  5. This book looks really detailed yet not hard to follow. This is the first time I’ve ever heard about this one, so I’m excited!

  6. What a cool giveaway! I have to admit that Stuart’s materials also impress me. I’ve watched some of his videos on Youtube and such and liked them, and the fact that he seems to be trying to teach people how the language and culture work, rather than just throwing out things to memorize (dare I say “blindly memorize”?). I think Tod Daniels would say I’m regularly beating my head against the “wall o’ whyz,” but I can understand and learn things so much more easily when I know *why* they are the way they are, and the background surrounding them.

    It seems there are so many good resources out there these days for those of us who are learning– very awesome.


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