Thailand is the Star

ENGLISHandTHAI is not a "personality" driven site. At Thai Trends and ENGLISHandTHAI, Thailand is the star... not hosts trying to be popular and impressive... not teachers looking for recognition and praise. Our priority is focusing on satisfying your desire to learn the Thai language while taking you on an informative and entertaining journey through this beautiful land and culture.

Just Basic Phrases Please!

We also understand that you may just want to learn a few basic words and phrases to get through a trip and satisfy the desire to have a little Thai language under your belt, however, we don’t leave you alone with phrases and call it a day....after all... what do you do when the person actually answers you in Thai, or asks you a question in Thai? We give you the answers to that.

Take "Hello" in Thai for instance - สวัสดี

This is universally shown in English as SAWASDEE

One additional word that we see consistently (and so have you if you have ever eaten in a Thai restaurant) is PAD THAI, the English translation for ผัดไทย - or Thai fried noodle dish. ENGLISHandTHAI will show you how to order this dish accurately and clearly, taking you to a new level of fluency in the Thai language.

Remember, a tonal language like Thai is quite a dramatic change for non-tonal language speakers and requires different techniques than moving from English to French for example which uses nearly the same basic alphabet.


So as long as you understand that you may be at a natural advantage and pick all this stuff up with great ease, or you may sneer at your parents for passing on the “I need a little more time than other people at this” gene, you can, and will, learn Thai as long as you have the desire and put in the time and concentration at first. All of this is no different than learning to drive a car; thinking about everything at first, then one day after all the days and months of concentrating on the minutia of it all, you find yourself so automated driving to work that you need to scold yourself and change your habits after realizing that you’re eating, drinking and checking your email all at fifty miles an hour in traffic. While the learning cycle is comparable, the great part is that reaching automation, or fluency, in Thai usually doesn’t result in the possibility of running into a telephone pole.

Let’s get moving.... time to learn where the brake and gas pedals are located.


It’s been shown that by the age of 5, most children begin writing letters of the alphabet, writing and retelling simple stories and will learn and distinguish between several languages if those languages are spoken to them since birth. There seems to be a certain innate ability for humans to acquire languages with relative ease in the early years of development. So if you are reading this and you are under the age of 5, make sure you tell your parents to expose you to as many languages as possible. For the rest of us old folk, we have to chug along at a slower rate - and even that is relative since we all have different innate abilities and varying speeds at which we learn.



Why ENGLISHandTHAI?

Thai Language Learning

Now the little ones don't necessarily have ALL the advantages.... those of us over 5 have a language we already know well (hopefully the one you're reading now or the rest of our instruction is going to be a little problematic). Since you can't easily "unlearn" your native English language to truly learn as you did when you were a child, you can make the best of it  - and we show you how.

The main reason for this is that the letter is represented by an S in English so this is the letter that is used where the is used. (ส has a tone associated with it, which we will address)


Native Thai speakers see these universal translations and learn to accept them as accurate translations. After all, they can say สวัสดี just fine - clear as a bell. You, as an English speaker will say what you read (Sawasdee) and probably realize it's not quite what you heard from the Thai speaker. If you listen carefully, and actually you don't need to listen that carefully because it's very clear, that the Thai speaker said, "Sa-wut-dee" (yes, spoken with tones - we will teach you the importance of tones - if the tone is wrong, you are most likely saying a completely different word or no word at all!). So you see that Sa-wut-dee is a much better representation for SPEAKING correctly than Sawasdee. "Wait a minute," you say when we tell you that the "a" is pronounced like the "o" in "hot". You pronounce "hot" one way and your English speaking friend from another country says it more like "hawt". Don't worry, we are well aware of accent issues and cover that for you so you are speaking clearly and understanding regardless of regional variations.

We don't ask that you learn the standard phonetic alphabet used for universal translation and representation of every aspect of the spoken word. If you want to dive into this area, please visit The International Phonetic Association. Standardization in translation is important so that all language translation (especially important when dealing with legal documents) follow the same set of rules so that translated words look the same regardless of the translator or document. 


So the positive is consistency, but the negative is accuracy regarding the TRUE sound of some words as actually spoken. For example...

Let’s talk a minute about the Thai Trends philosophy in “assisting” you along the way to learning the Thai language. As learners of both English and Thai, Thai Trends understands that the only way to learn a new language is to apply oneself as much as possible in the immersion of the language in all its forms. 

Of course the best and truest “immersion” is to go and live in the country, study with native speaking teachers and language books then risk making a fool of yourself at times by testing your listening and speaking skills with every native speaker you meet. 

Since most people will not be able to do this, there is an alternate immersion which we will cover later. 

How many times have you heard people say (maybe you’re the someone you heard) that they studied - 
insert language here - in high school and college, yet they can only say a few sentences and can’t understand it when they hear it? What happened? They obviously placed themselves in classes with other learners and professionally paid language teachers for several years. 



They probably spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars when all the credit hours and book costs were added up. So all this time and all this money, yet the only lasting result is the ability to say, “Hello, where is the bathroom?” (Now don't get us wrong..."Hello, where is the bathroom" is a VERY useful phrase, but it alone should not cost thousands of dollars and countless hours of study)

Well, one need not be a rocket scientist to understand that there is no direct relationship between how much money you spend on a language course with or without instructors and how well you learn the new language. 

  1. You have to WANT to learn the language first - you need a true desire. 
  2. Next you need some instruction and good advice.
  3. Then you have to apply yourself.
  4. Finally the consistent and productive time you spend immersed in the Thai language allows you to have conversations, listen and understand most if not all of what is said on the radio and television, read magazines and road signs and write letters or update your social pages all in your new language.


As long as you have number 1, Thai Trends will provide number 2 which allows you to do number 3 to eventually lead to number 4. (No bathroom puns intended here)




Just Basic Phrases Please!

We absolutely understand that you may just want to learn a few basic phrases to get through a trip and satisfy the desire to have a little Thai language under your belt and that will suit you just fine. 

Thai Trends offers a basic phrase section. If and when you're ready, move on to bigger and better sentences.








NOTE: BEWARE AUTOMATED COMPUTER TRANSLATIONS. 


Just enter this sentence into an English to Thai translator and check the results (you will probably need to verify results with a Thai speaker), 

“I was really slammed with work yesterday.” 

 Which “I” in Thai should you use? Several options may be given depending on whether the “I” is for a man, woman, young, old, related to the reader, etc. - if you are a new learner you will not know which one to use. “Slammed” in this instance will most likely not be correct. 
Slang, new vocabulary and less that perfect source material all contribute to improper translations in automated systems, regardless of the language.







For those of you who want to continue on with a little more intensive study, we would like to mention a couple of things we do not delve deeply into here before we begin the introduction to the mountains of things we will cover. 

We don't ask that you learn the standard phonemic or phonetic alphabet used for universal translation and representation of every aspect of the spoken word. If you want to dive into this area, please visit The International Phonetic Association. Standardization in translation is important so that all language translation (especially important when dealing with legal documents) follow the same set of rules so that translated words look the same regardless of the translator or document. So the positive is consistency, but the negative is accuracy regarding the TRUE sound of some words as actually spoken. 

Take "Hello" in Thai for instance - สวัสดี -  this is universally shown in English asSAWASDEE. Native Thai speakers see these universal translations and learn to accept them as accurate translations. After all, they can say สวัสดี just fine - clear as a bell. You, as an English speaker will say what you read (Sawasdee) and probably realize it's not quite what you heard from the Thai speaker. If you listen carefully, and actually you don't even need to listen that carefully because it's very clear, that the Thai speaker said, "Sawutdee" (yes, spoken with tones, but let's wait until later for that). So you see that Sawutdee (Sa - the "a" pronounced like the "o" in "hot" in a low tone, wut - the "u" pronounced like the "u" in "cut" in a low tone, dee - the "ee" pronounced like the "ee" in bee) is a much better representation for SPEAKING correctly than Sawasdee. One additional word that we see consistently (and so have you if you have ever eaten at a Thai restaurant) is PAD THAI, the English translation for พัดไทย - or Thai fried noodle dish. Next time you place an order for Thai fried noodle with a native Thai speaker, ask for Putt (as in a golf putt) Thai (make sure you do not aspirate or release air after the final t sound and go right into the next word - Thai). When the server compliments you on how clearly you ordered the dish, tell them Thai Trends sent you.

The above examples show how difficult it is to accurately represent the alphabet of one language with that of another using a completely different set of characters - and add tones to the mix and you have.....well....you have PAD vs PUTT (low tone, by the way). Yes, learning to read and write is the best way to solve the problem, but we know many of you just may not be interested or have the time to devote to it. This is where we come in. We use our combined expertise - Thai native speakers fluent in English and English native speakers fluent in Thai - to give you the best phonetic explanations possible. 

Since we focus on two languages only - English and Thai - we use words spelled in English, to give you a representation of the Thai word which will allow you to speak correctly. Even more specific, the English representations of the corresponding Thai words work perfectly for American English speakers, but all English speakers can use the method. 

It’s been shown that by the age of 5, most children begin writing letters of the alphabet, writing and retelling simple stories and will learn and distinguish between several languages if those languages are spoken to them since birth. There seems to be a certain innate ability for humans to acquire languages with relative ease in the early years of development. So if you are reading this and you are under the age of 5, make sure you tell your parents to expose you to as many languages as possible. For the rest of us old folk, we have to chug along at a slower rate - and even that is relative since we all have different innate abilities and varying speeds at which we learn.

So as long as you understand that you may be at a natural advantage and pick all this stuff up with great ease, or you may sneer at your parents for passing on the “I need a little more time than other people at this” gene, you can, and will, learn Thai as long as you have the desire and put in the time and concentration at first. All of this is no different than learning to drive a car; thinking about everything at first, then one day after all the days and months of concentrating on the minutia of it all, you find yourself so automated driving to work that you need to scold yourself and change your habits after realizing that you’re eating, drinking and checking your cellular email all at fifty miles an hour in moderate traffic. While the learning cycle is comparable, the great part is that reaching automation, or fluency, in Thai usually doesn’t result in the possibility of running into a telephone pole.

Let’s get moving.... time to learn where the brake and gas pedals are located....