WLT’s 2016 Thai Language Giveaway: Learn Thai from a White Guy

WLTs Thai Language Giveaway

This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.

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WLT’s 2016 Thai Language Giveaway…

Here we are already, at week FIVE of WLT’s seven weeks of Thai language giveaways! If you don’t already know, to find out what’s going on please read Vote THAI and WIN! | SEVEN Weeks of FREE Thai Giveaways.

Brett Whiteside: Learn Thai from a White Guy…

On this giveaway Brett from Learn Thai from a White Guy is giving away SIX prizes (not four as previously announced). TWO winners will receive Read Thai in 2 Weeks along with The Need to Know Sentence Pack. And TWO will get Read Thai in 2 Weeks on its own.

I wrote an overview of Read Thai in 2 Weeks awhile ago in my post Read the Thai Alphabet in 2 Weeks, 10 Days, 60 Minutes? Here’s a tidbit:

When struggling to learn tones and pronunciation, Brett created his own materials to teach himself Thai. After many adjustments to get it just right, and having great personal success himself, he designed a course to teach Thai to hundreds of expat students: Read Thai in Two Weeks.

The strength of this course is that being online it offers clickable audio files as well as quizzes, drills and exercises to test what you’ve learned (or not). Another plus – the mnemonics (memory hooks) help get the materials down solid. Anki files with audio, as well as the free (to the public) iOS and Android apps are tailored to the course.

The Need to Know Sentence Pack is a new course created as an addon to Read Thai in 2 Weeks. There is no transliteration in the course so you must know how to read Thai (hence the bundled prizes).

Brett: After getting a grasp on the sounds in any language, I believe that one should move immediately into learning a pile of short phrases and sentences that you might actually use if you get the opportunity to speak the language with a native speaker.

What I’ve done is pulled many of the sentences from my “100 Sentence Project” from 2008 and created examples for each of them, added in explanations where helpful or needed and had a professional voice artist record everything.

Rules for WLTs Thai Language Giveaway…

The rules are simple:

  • To be included in the draw, leave comments below.
  • Comment(s) need to add to the conversation (it really does matter).
  • Each relevant comment gets counted, so please leave as many as you like!
  • If you don’t collect your prize within a week of the announcement, it will be given away to the next person in line.

Brett will choose the winners for this giveaway. And even if you’ve won previously, you can enter this competition as well, no probs.

The draw will run from now until 26 June (Sunday), 6pm Thai time. After the winners have been selected a comment will be put below and I’ll create a dedicated post.

Thank you Brett for sponsoring WLT’s eight year celebration – and good luck to you all!

24 thoughts on “WLT’s 2016 Thai Language Giveaway: Learn Thai from a White Guy”

  1. Matthew, I have struggled with the memorisation aspect of learning to read that seems to be repeated through almost all Thai courses, but I think that has a lot to do with my poor memory and my just not repeating the boring rote aspect of the method often enough. So I do agree with you that a different approach, such as Brett’s is a different alternative that I hope will work for peole like me who have struggled to succeed with the ” proven standard”. However, I would add that if Thai language students get out of the tourist/expat scene and into real Thai environments then they will likely very quickly need most, and more, of the broad spectrum of vocab that the most common, and much copied, Union style courses cover, which may or may not be the ones you refer to but the same would apply to most of the commonlyavailable courses.

    Only a couple of months after getting into a more Thai environment I was immediately frustrated that I could not recall much of the novice monk vocab as I was attending a friend’s son’s ordination ceremony. I had the same feeling of frustration when attending a Thai teacher’s funeral, and any and all trips outside of cities, or even just talking to people in cities about their family is almost certainly going to involve the course subjects as conversation will eventually migrate to aspects about their farming relatives and the crops they plant and grow, or the area they are from, or problems they had in a taxi getting to work, or a problem with a sick friend, or issues at work, or the latest news story. Admittedly the first few weeks for most learners will likely not involve this vocab as they will likely only attemt to discuss Somchai who drove the taxi they took to the language school that moring as that is as much as they have covered in the lessons to date that they though worth memorising as that was the only currently relevent vocab, and some learners never venture out of the limited comfort of the tourist/expat social scene and may never need to use any of this vocab but personally I have had to kick myself almost daily as, due to my not memorising the vocab on those courses) I cannot converse with friendly Thai people tying hard to involve me in a discussion about important aspects of their lives like ordaining, farming, or even simple things like how friendly or unfriendly the taxi driver was last time they used one (though in my experience they are more likely to be discussing the bus, songtaew, or mo-cy driver they used on the way to work). The point being, that your environment dictates your required curriculum and in my opinion the standard courses like the Union clone ones pack a huge ” bang for the buck” as Todd puts it, fitting in a huge varied but Thai daily life related vocab into a very compact set of courses and should be appreciated for their value not knocked and dismissed as representing an idealised Thai cultural world as they are far from that and actually are still very relevent to Thai’s daily life experiences and to any Thai learners who integrate into that life & culture.

    That, in no way, puts me off being desperate to get my hands on Brett’s course and sentence pack as, as I said, there are some aspects of the common systems like the Union clones that can be improved. For example, Brett will supply Anki flashcards to add SRS and aid rote memorisation and as his course is online you don’t just have the coursebook to review daily while trying to decipher your scribbles in the margin about how the class teacher pronounced the word, but the whole audio enabled lesson to repeat as often as you need to to memorise the consonants, consinant classes, tone rules, etc.,

    I want to try Brett’s courses to address my shortcomings in using the Union courses as I think for me it could be a great improvement in getting the reading, especially of tones, into my head.

    Brett’s aim in the RTi2W course and the follow up Sentence pack course seems to be exactly that, teaching reading, I am sure he would be the first to admit that it is not aimed at providing the huge vocab content that the Union etc courses provide, he only currently aims to provide the reading skills and the sentence pack starter to enable students with the reading tools (and now a new tailored small core vocab starter sentence pack) that they need to allow them to tailor their following study to their individual needs.

    If students do not venture out of a tourist/expat environment, or have specific job or other requirements then they may not need much more, or they may want to choose specific lexicons to prioritise but if they want a good base of Thai cultural life vocab to enable interaction with Thais in their daily life (and have struggled with the Union Reading modules) then I sure that both courses will complement each other extremely well. I hope to win both Brett’s courses here and find out how well. :-). Good luck to you Matthew, and all who play in here!

  2. The first time I heard of ‘Learn Thai from a White Guy’ I couldn’t really see the point. I thought surely it would be better to learn Thai from a Thai guy. But having gone through several books and websites now I can definitely see the benefits of learning it from a westerner. A lot of books written by Thais present an idealised view of Thai language and culture that doesn’t exist in the real world. At quite an early stage, for example, they introduce the Thai word for ‘novice monk’ because in their idealised world farangs will be going around temples, meeting polite and friendly taxi drivers and talking to Somchai the rice farmer about his work. I’ve been in Thailand for a decade and have never used the word for ‘novice monk’ in a conversation with a Thai person, nor do I recognise the idealised world presented.

    I also think it will be great to have real sentences as practice reading material rather than obsure sentences like, ‘That girl standing beside the elephant is not my younger sibling but is the servant of my maternal grandfather.’

    I think what we all want is language that we’re going to actually use and perhaps a westerner is in a better position to judge that. He’ll also probably be in a better position to recognise the linguistic challenges we face and how to overcome them.

  3. Cat, I should have known you’d have this covered. Many thanks. I will check out the links later and look forward to the upcoming post whenever you have time to get to finishing it.

  4. Lol, A little off topic, but I have seen lots of what look like “self help” Thai audio books but nothing at beginner-intermediate level Thai. It would be nice to find a set of Thai graded readers with accompanying talking versions (Audio versions for the blind maybe?). I don’t suppose you know of any or you would likely have already posted links on your wonderful resource database…… or have I missed some?

  5. No probs 🙂 I just didn’t want anyone thinking they were getting a book when the course is online. And you are right, online is handy – books don’t talk (most of mine don’t anyway).

  6. Oops, my mistake Cat. Sorry. It will be nice not to have to lug an accompanying course book, or sentence book, around when out & about in case I find spare moments to study like I have had to do with other previous courses. 🙂

  7. Thank you everyone for your wonderful comments! I just wanted to stop in to clarify that these courses are for online study (there’s no book).

    Good luck everyone (there’s only two days to go…)

  8. Tim, Yes, it is frustrating how Thai “greng jai” gets in the way of true feedback so often. Getting that big step up from everyday basic repetitive conversation and the “toneless” reading I have up to a real general conversation & tonal reading seems to be the slowest highest and hardest step in my progress so far. If we are lucky then Brett’s RTi2W book will help me read with the essential tones & if the new RTi2W Need to Know Sentence Pack will get us both up over that next conversation step to new & more interesting intermediate conversations 🙂

  9. Gordon, I understand you completely. People keep complementing you, how “good” your Thai is, but honestly I know, I couldn’t participate in a proper conversation. Sometimes I would appreciate, if I would receive honest feedback. I think reading a lot will help to improve your Thai, because it extends your vocabulary and improves your grammar. Even though my reading skills are poor, it helped me to feel more comfortable.

  10. Tim, I have also been in Thailand for many years now and for me it has been long enough to be very embarrassed when complemented on my Thai and then asked “How long have you been in Thailand?” when I know how limited my vocab is and especially how inaccurate I am with using the appropriate tones and vowel lengths, and consonant aspiration when speaking. I have struggled to find something that works for me and I believe that reading more will be a great way to “memorise” all these aspects of the correct pronunciation (and also the spelling) of the words, but I have put off reading too much until I find a good course that works for me to get the reading of words right so I do not fossilize my wrongly read (pronounced) words (or at least that is “one” of my multiple excuses! 555). Hopefully Brett’s book and follow on sentence pack courses will be my breakthrough to accurate reading and pronunciation!

  11. Colin, you say you have already done Brett’s course. Did you get the book as part of that? It would be interesting to hear more about your thoughts on what aspects of the course you found most useful and specifically, how it was different from other courses in the way it helped you grasp reading tones correctly.

  12. This course sounds great to improve my still basic Thai, specially my reading and building sentences.
    Thanks to Catherine for the work here and the Giveaway draws

  13. I’ve been five years in Thailand, but still don’t feel confident with my Thai language skills. I can already read easy content like restaurant menus, signs or simple facebook posts, but still struggle to read more complex topics. The same issue applies to everyday conversations. I feel like I never get above the basic, that’s why I wonder if Brett’s course would be able to help me.

    Recently I moved back to Germany together with my wife (Thai). Now I am looking for some new material to study in order to keep learning and improving myself. I haven’t given up studying Thai yet and I am confident that I will “master” it one day.

    A big thank you to Catherine for all the work she put into this website. It really helped me to stay motivate over all the years.

  14. I am a huge lover of Thailand and Thai culture. I frequently visit the land of smiles and regularly challenge myself to develop my knowledge of the language further. I would often look through courses on the Internet to aid me in doing this. Brett’s course would always come up and I would see the title ‘Read Thai in two weeks’ and I would skip by it thinking to myself ‘that cannot be possible’. However, I took that course and it is 100% legit! Amazing that you’ve taken time out of your life to help us Thai learners in a simple understandable format for the farangs of the world! Thank you 😀 p.s I would love to have your other courses too! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  15. This is a week I have been waiting for. I have seen so many good reports about Brett’s Learn to Read Thai course by people who (when leaning to read Thai with correct tones and vowel lenghts) have struggled (like I am doing) and have found this course to be the one that worked for them where other courses had not, so I need to give this a try. Having kindly also changed this to add in the new Need to Know Sentence Pack is a great bonus. (Thanks Brett & Cat).


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