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  1. #1
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    New iOS and Android Thai Learning App

    Hey guys,

    First off I want to say that I’ve been flipping through the home construction posts here for a few years now and love watching the builds that you all do.



    I also wanted to make a quick post here and let you know about a Thai language app that I’ve been working on for the past 1.5-2 years and see if anyone wanted to give it a try. It’s called Pocket Thai and it’s available to try for free on the App Store and Google Play.


    After living in rural Phayao (Phu Sang district!) for a few years, I came home and wrote a 50,000+ word textbook and hundreds of quiz questions focused on teaching Thai to people with little to no Thai language knowledge. The plan has always been to release the book as an app, since that allows for randomly generated quizzes, tap-to-play audio/translations, and updating lessons easily, all of which would be impossible with a printed book. Plus there’s a convenience factor of having it on your phone, which (if you’re like me) is almost always with you.


    I consider Pocket Thai to be a fairly comprehensive beginners guide, with 30 lessons containing vocabulary, grammar, and cultural notes. Audio was recorded at a recording studio in Chiang Mai with both male and female native Thai speakers.


    I would love feedback and critiques of anyone here would want to flip through the app and let me know what you think. If you’re interested, please send me a message and I can give you a link for a free download/unlock. Keep in mind that the app is made for Thai novices, but I appreciate feedback from any level of Thai language learner.


    Thanks everyone for taking a look! Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any thoughts/feedback, or if you just want to have a chat!

    I just created the account here but I lurk around and I’ll definitely respond to any questions or messages.
    Last edited by EWBears; 05-01-2018 at 06:58 AM. Reason: Font color change

  2. #2
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    I downloaded this today and paid $10 to unlock levels 7-30. I've been taking Skype lessons for 5 months, so I know how to read Thai pretty well. I have to say, I'm glad I found this app. I jumped right into Lesson 10. There's a good mix of vocabulary, reading, pronunciation, and sentence structure. Better than reading a book because each line of Thai script is clickable so you can hear pronunciation. Anyway, I plan to work through all the lessons.

    I've been taking Skype lessons through learnthaistyle.com. You buy the materials from them and then contract for lessons through one of their teachers. That's been working out well too - I take lessons twice a week. I'm in the US and even though my wife is Thai, it's not possible to learn from her. The Skype lessons are not expensive and making the commitment keeps me from slacking off too much.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for downloading + purchasing the full version Larry and I'm glad to hear that you're liking it so far! I'm working on a few big changes right now and the next update will divide the reading lessons into 12 total instead of the current 3 long lessons since it's just too much to get through. That won't affect you obviously, since you know how to read already, but lots of people are telling me that reading needs to be taken slower.

    After that update gets pushed out sometime soon (probably next week), I'm going to work on trying to spice things up and make it a little more fun. Right off the bat I was trying to create an app for serious learners, and that's still 100% my focus, but I wanted to include some optional matching games and things like that so that people can optionally practice reading and vocab in a slightly more fun way than just pure review. That update will probably also have either quiz high scores printed on the table of contents or maybe a special star or something next to lessons that you've gotten a perfect score so it's easier to keep track of progress.

    Glad to hear that the Skype lessons are working out too - commitment and consistent learning are definitely big factors, along with motivation. If you have any feedback or changes that you would like to see, please don't hesitate to post here or send me a PM/email. I'm still actively making changes and trying to make it a more effective Thai learning tool, and feedback/critiques are always helpful.

  4. #4
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    Be honest matey - it's not an APP. It's a e-book being sold as an APP.

    However, well done on having a try and anything that can make learning Thai easier is to be applauded.

  5. #5
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    ^ Agree on all counts.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudolus View Post
    Be honest matey - it's not an APP. It's a e-book being sold as an APP.

    However, well done on having a try and anything that can make learning Thai easier is to be applauded.
    Yeah - I call it a digital textbook on the website and maybe even the app description, I can't remember. It's definitely similar to an e-book, but an e-book doesn't have tap to play audio, tap to reveal translations/transcriptions, or randomly generated quizzes that automatically score your progress.

    There are some serious advantages that it has over an e-book, and I think that calling it just an e-book isn't fully recognizing the convenience that this provides over a textbook or PDF file. And I say someone that learned Thai in part via textbook/CD. There's a lot of little pains in the textbook/CD route like if you mis-hear a tone or word and want to replay it, there's no easy way to replay the audio except to go back to the beginning of the lesson, and once you take a quiz once there's no challenge the second time since it's identical, etc. At least that's how I see it.

    You're definitely right to point out that it is written and presented like a book, I just personally prefer the phrase 'digital textbook' since it's not just a plain e-book that could be sold on kindle or distributed via PDF or print.

  7. #7
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    Well as we are all friends here, and you are only here for free advertising (when you could get an advert probably VERY cheaply), why not post up some of your stuff and we can all learn together? Bet Thia Visa wouldn't let you plug your APP this easily .... hence being here.... with the TV outcasts

    "It's a small place so don't tell porkies"

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pseudolus View Post
    Well as we are all friends here, and you are only here for free advertising (when you could get an advert probably VERY cheaply), why not post up some of your stuff and we can all learn together? Bet Thia Visa wouldn't let you plug your APP this easily .... hence being here.... with the TV outcasts

    What do you want me to post? I'm happy to share some Thai learning materials here but I'm not sure what would be of interest.

    Also, like I said in my original post I've been browsing the home building threads here for years, I just never posted or made an account so there's no way to prove it (but that's how I know about the forum in the first place). It's not *really* fair to say that I'm only here for free advertising since I've been reading here for years.

    I admit that this post is obviously an advertisement for my app, but I also believe it's of interest to some people here that might be looking for a good way to learn Thai. And I did make a post on the Thai Visa Thai language forum around the time that I made this post and they didn't seem to mind at all, so your dig at TV isn't really accurate.


    Lastly, for something to share, here's a Thai reading tone rule flow chart that I created to figure out the tone of a Thai syllable:


    If you're interested in anything else just let me know and I'm happy to make some contributions - just try not to be so confident in your assumptions about me. It's OK to ask whether or not I'm here for free advertising or whether or not Thai Visa allowed a post like this, but you shouldn't state with certainty either of those things without checking, since you're wrong on both accounts in your quoted post.
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  9. #9
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    FWBears, pay no attention to the grumpy old git. Free advertising or not (and there's no rule against that here if it's done right) this still looks worthwhile. Hope you stay around, God knows we could do someone who's interested in helping others to learn Thai and if you make some money in the process that'll only upset hard-core Stalinists like Pseudo - nobody else will mind.
    The Above Post May Contain Strong Language, Flashing Lights, or Violent Scenes.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrB0b View Post
    FWBears, pay no attention to the grumpy old git. Free advertising or not (and there's no rule against that here if it's done right) this still looks worthwhile. Hope you stay around, God knows we could do someone who's interested in helping others to learn Thai and if you make some money in the process that'll only upset hard-core Stalinists like Pseudo - nobody else will mind.
    Thanks Dr. Bob - I'm happy to stick around and respond to any Thai language posts on this sub-forum but it doesn't seem very active right now. I'm pretty active on the /r/LearnThai subreddit and answer a lot of questions about everything from Thai language history to small translation requests, etc.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuriramSteve View Post
    pay no attention to the grumpy old git
    Heh come on now, I was not being Grumpy, nor anything other than trying to get what could be a good useful thread going.

    Quote Originally Posted by EWBears View Post
    I'm happy to stick around
    Might I point you towards the Travel in Thailand area and suggest you might like to show us all where you live, the area etc? Always well appreciated.

  12. #12
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    As I wrote above, I think it's a good app. It's great to be able to carry this on my phone and learn a little Thai while I'm waiting for a train or on the grocery line. I'm at the stage of learning Thai where I think it's actually fun, especially when I learn a new word and understand the linkages to other words I've learned. Like rot-fai = vehicle+fire = train. Chek-fai = lighter because "chek" is the sound of a lighter. Etc.

    The only "bug" I noticed was swiping left on the TOC brings up a quiz, not a vocabulary list like you claim somewhere else in the app.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryGee View Post
    As I wrote above, I think it's a good app. It's great to be able to carry this on my phone and learn a little Thai while I'm waiting for a train or on the grocery line. I'm at the stage of learning Thai where I think it's actually fun, especially when I learn a new word and understand the linkages to other words I've learned. Like rot-fai = vehicle+fire = train. Chek-fai = lighter because "chek" is the sound of a lighter. Etc.

    The only "bug" I noticed was swiping left on the TOC brings up a quiz, not a vocabulary list like you claim somewhere else in the app.

    Yeah one of the best things about Thai is the large number of common sense word combinations to create new meanings.

    Thanks for the heads up about the vocab list bug/typo - at one point I did play around with vocab lists but I removed them from the current version so I’ll make sure to remove that bit of text.

    —-

    pseudolus - I’m actually living back home in the US now but I spent about a month in Northern Thailand last year and I’ll hopefully be back for another month this year. I’ll check out the travel forum and help out where I can. Thanks for pointing me that direction.

  14. #14
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    A couple of observations on that tone chart:

    If a syllable has a mai ek and starts with a low class consonant, then it’s always a falling tone. You don’t have to figure out the vowel length like the chart suggests.

    Also, it’s a bit strange that when a syllable ends with a short vowel and has a low class consonant, then according to the chart you have to figure out again if the vowel is short or long (which you already did 2 steps earlier).

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PorYai View Post
    A couple of observations on that tone chart:

    If a syllable has a mai ek and starts with a low class consonant, then it’s always a falling tone. You don’t have to figure out the vowel length like the chart suggests.
    While technically true, I don’t think that there are many syllables with a low class consonant + mai ek + short vowel. There’s the polite particle ค่ะ and a few syllables with implied short vowels that come to mind, but it's fairly rare. Maybe I could address this with a footnote or something. I was trying to keep the chart as simple as possible, but obviously I went too far and sacrificed some accuracy so I'll have to address that.

    Quote Originally Posted by PorYai View Post
    Also, it’s a bit strange that when a syllable ends with a short vowel and has a low class consonant, then according to the chart you have to figure out again if the vowel is short or long (which you already did 2 steps earlier).
    Thats my fault and really related to ‘dead closed’ consonants with a low class consonant + k/p/t ending, which makes different tones depending on the vowel length. I’ll have to figure out a way to separate out dead open and dead closed syllables for the low class consonants.

    Thanks for for the heads up - I’ll make a few fixes and upload a new one based on the changes!


    ---

    Edit: Here's a version that I quickly updated with the changes to address the two issues that you pointed out. It's rather short and wide now, but I'll take a good look at it this weekend and see if there's any way to combine different elements.


    Edit 2: Looks like the forum image upload compressed the image so it's hard to read. Here's a link to a full res copy https://imgur.com/UpesIYj
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    Last edited by EWBears; 03-02-2018 at 07:30 AM. Reason: Added updated flow chart

  16. #16
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    Another bug I noticed on the app is that it does not save your place when you close it. You need to renavigate every time you return to the app. Just a nitpick; don’t want to get too critical.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LarryGee View Post
    Another bug I noticed on the app is that it does not save your place when you close it. You need to renavigate every time you return to the app. Just a nitpick; don’t want to get too critical.

    It should remember your place if it just keep it in the background but if your device runs out of RAM then it will return to the Table of Contents when you re-open it.

    I can look into possible solutions to have it remember more permanently, but I’ve got some other features that I’d like to add a little higher on the priority list. It’s on the list now though!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by EWBears View Post
    I also wanted to make a quick post here and let you know about a Thai language app that I’ve been working on for the past 1.5-2 years and see if anyone wanted to give it a try. It’s called Pocket Thai and it’s available to try for free on the App Store and Google Play.
    This is great to know, thanks. I'll download it now.


    --
    I often use Google Translate here in China. You can also use Google Translate to translate English to Thai.

  19. #19
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    Apps are not that helpful. The best You can do is find a Russian friend and talk to him via Facebook or something. The other way, the fastest one is travelling in Russia and learn in some language school. I studied in this one Russian language school Moscow and get more knowledge than from two semesters of Russian in the college.

  20. #20
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    Why would anyone learn from a non native teacher or pay for an app that could be provided for free

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by david44 View Post
    Why would anyone learn from a non native teacher or pay for an app that could be provided for free
    I’m not forcing anyone to download or buy my app, but I think the fact that I’m a native English speaker is an advantage in 2 key ways: I can explain grammar and vocab usage fluently in English & I know the common difficulties learning Thai since I went through it myself.

    As to your second point, there are good free Thai learning options and I even mention some from my website where I link to Women Learning Thai and Thai-Language.com. Some people are willing to pay $10 for the convenience of an offline program with structure and quizzes, and others would rather use free resources and that’s fine. I’m just offering an alternative for people who might want one. It’s not like I’m asking for $1000 for the app, it’s the cost of a dinner at a decent sit down restaurant in the sticks...

  22. #22
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    And I would even recommend it one more time russian language course Moscow. These guys are very good.

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