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  1. #1
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    Workshop - Learn to Read Thai, the Rapid Way

    Kickstart your journey in Thai with this remarkable Rapid Read Thai course. Using quirky, bizarre (and sometimes obscene) images and mnemonic stories, you will learn to recognize Thai words and pronounce them accurately with the correct tones.



    Workshop Dates and Locations 2011

    October 10-14 Chiang Mai Mon-Fri 10am-3pm
    October 22-23
    Ko Samui intensive weekend

    Oct 31-Nov 4
    Pattaya Mon-Fri 8am-12 - "wakeboarding week"
    Stay in a resort, learn Thai in the morning, surf all afternoon!

    (please add 6,000 baht for cost of four nights' accommodation & wakeboarding)


    November 26-27 Pattaya intensive weekend
    December 5-9 Bangkok Mon-Fri 10am-3pm

    Price: 14,000 baht for one person
    Discounts:
    15% off for two or more people; 11,000 baht for bone fide students

    Includes free access to the online Rapid Read Thai course, printed workbook and materials, meals and refreshments - and follow on 10-minute Thai readers sent daily by email.


    Please follow the post in this forum (An intelligent way to learn Thai - the 'Rapid' way)
    or visit the website for more details about the workshops.

  2. #2
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    Samui course postponed to Nov 19-20

    Due to the mid-term holidays, the intensive Read Thai in a Weekend course will now be held on Sat-Sun, November 19-20 at the International School of Samui.

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    Quite possibly the dumbest thing I have seen since I first started to learn Thai language !

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    Try it first before spitting...

    Mick, it's really frustrating when people make ignorant comments like yours. You've obviously been in Thailand a while and probably speak a smattering of Thai in a mangled farang way - but you have also probably reached a limit to what you can learn; and only those who live and work with you can understand you (sort of).

    That's the experience of many of the long-term residents who have attended my course. I've even had people who can already read and one or two Thai people attend my course; and they are impressed at how easily they can learn - and then apply their new-found literacy to understanding and speaking Thai clearly. They rapidly begin to acquire a *colloquial* knowledge of Thai through reading novels, studying songs and movies, or simply paying attention to signs, notices, menus, etc.

    Here's what some people have said recently about my course:

    You've just missed my 5 half-day course in Chiang Mai (Feb 20-24). Everybody who is attending is enjoying themselves thoroughly.

    There are two more courses planned so far, both in Bangkok.
    March 17-18 - intensive weekend course
    April 9-13 - five half-day course, Mon-Fri, 10am-3pm.

    Every year, we will also be running a residential 'activity' workshop at a wakeboarding resort in Rayong. The next one is January 13-18, 2013 (arrive Sun, start Mon-Fri, 10am-3pm).

    If you are interested in attending any future courses, or would like a private in-house course for your company or organization then please contact me via the website Learn Thai Online.

  5. #5
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    When is next one in Pattaya area and how much please?

  6. #6
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    While it is indeed an "innovative" way to remember how to pronounce the Thai characters and the tones associated with them, what it is NOT is "reading" Thai.



    I don't know if being able to read would clean up a person's spoken Thai either. Speaking and reading any language are horses of a different color entirely. One does not help the other all that much I've found. I could read and understand Thai books way before my spoken Thai was anything more than "2-word-tourist-thai" or "taxi-thai". To improve your speaking ability you need to speak as much as you can, no matter if you're vocab is limited, use it, get corrections from native speakers and keep at it..

    To read Thai with proficiency, as in with any degree of comprehension takes memorizing TONZ and TONZ of Thai words period. There's no short cut to that fact. Sorry, don't shoot the messenger, it just is what it is.

    No one reads the English word "dog" like "D-O-G"; instead a combination of letters (which are coincidentally called "words") are tied to a meaning in our heads, so that when we see a specific combination we know the meaning without actually spelling out the word.

    It's exactly the same in Thai. I don't care if you can replicate the sounds of what I call "the six cow words" เขา, เข่า, เข้า, ขาว, ข่าว, ข้าว exactly like a Thai; until you can look at those consonant, vowel, tone combinations and recognize that they are the words; he-she-mountain-animal horn, knee, enter, white, news and rice, you're NOT reading..

    Please note I am NOT downing the methodology of learning the consonants and how to pronounce Thai clearly, NOT in any way, shape or form. What I am saying is that by itself it ain't "really reading" Thai. Until you have a sufficient recognized vocab (words you see and immediately know the meaning of) in Thai you don't have the slightest idea what you're saying.

    To be completely honest, I think the methodology being taught by the creator of the program is actually even more convoluted than just learning the three consonant classes and associated tones which go with them like every Thai in this country learned how to do it. Heck if 65+ million people here learned to read Thai that way and I taught myself to read that way too, just about anyone who's got half a clue can do it.

    It's not any particular method that stops people from learning, it's their motivation to really buckle down and apply themselves which often falls short of the mark.

    I do wish the inventor of this method good luck in what they're doing, face it nothing really new concerning learning Thai has come down the pike in a long time. It's good to see people doing this, trying new things, and as I said I wish them success with it.
    "Whoever said `Money can`t buy you love or joy` obviously was not making enough money." <- quote by Gene $immon$ of the rock group KISS

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    Read+Speak Thai Bootcamp (Chiang Mai Feb 3-8)

    My next intensive six-day course is in Chiang Mai, February 3-8 (Monday to Saturday, 8am-5pm).

    This is a very intensive get-it-done-and-out-of-the-way course, by the end of the week you will be able to read Thai and pronounce the words accurately with the correct tone.

    You won't necessarily understand what you are reading at this stage, but it's the most effective way to get you started on learning to speak and understand Thai.

    It's not for everyone. Some people prefer the more "linguistic" and academically-correct way of studying a language. But for everyone else who is busy/lazy and who tends to procrastinate, it's the ideal kick-in-the-ass that gets you to the point where you can start to absorb Thai from your environment, independent of language classes and Romanized phonetic spellings of Thai words.

    If you are intrigued then start by listening to

    and then try it out ourself by signing up for the free trial of the Rapid Read Thai self-study online course.

    PS Todd, you're absolutely right in saying that "reading" Thai is just the beginning of a much longer process. But the "convoluted" approach is just scaffolding that dissolves after a few months. For people who tend to think visually or logically, it's the most effective way to get the entire system into your head without having to work through (unnecessarily complicated) tables of grammar and spelling rules and memorize them by rote.

    The Rapid Method is not for people who prefer to do things the normal, "standard" way, or who enjoy learning languages as an intellectual pursuit (and love to spend hours a day studying or reading dictionaries or memorizing word lists...)!

    Once you've learnt to read, I recommend a series of follow-on conversational courses that teach speaking-through-reading. The Rapid Method is a minimalist less-is-more approach. There's no need to rush, and in fact, spending more than 15 minutes a day is counter-productive. The secret is to focus on colloquial texts and to master a small, essential body of material a little every day.

    Most people who follow the Rapid Method can read and speak fairly fluently after three years (10-15 minutes per day self-study, plus two hours a week with a Thai tutor). Compare that with language classes: five hours a week, resulting in only a shaky grasp of Thai after 4-5 years of study.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapidll
    Most people who follow the Rapid Method can read and speak fairly fluently after three years (10-15 minutes per day self-study, plus two hours a week with a Thai tutor). Compare that with language classes: five hours a week, resulting in only a shaky grasp of Thai after 4-5 years of study.
    that sounds ridiculous

    you can teach yourself how to read thai in under a year using a few books costing no more than 1000 baht in total

  9. #9
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    get benjawan poomsan becker's thai for beginners, then thai for intermediate learners, plus a good thai-english dictionary

    then start buying thai reading books, start with kids books, then move on to readers.... then adult books that you've read before....

  10. #10
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    Learn to Read for Free

    Quote Originally Posted by NickA View Post
    that sounds ridiculous you can teach yourself how to read thai in under a year using a few books costing no more than 1000 baht in total
    Yes, you can do it for free, or for very cheap:

    Buy the dictionary Thai2English ($40) and use the "conventional" course included in the dictionary software (for Windows only).

    Another good approach is that teach reading the conventional way.

    You should also look at Jcademy. Stu Raj speaks over a dozen languages fluently, and he uses similar techniques to simplify and remember how to read and speak easily.

    Sure, you can even work through the (rather dull but very correct) Becker series of books, which covers reading & writing, along with everything else you need (and don't need) to know. I found it quite arduous, as did many expats who been in Thailand for many years and still haven't got round to learning to read, let alone speaking much.

    If you only care about doing it cheap and are happy to struggle through on your own then the above suggestions will be adequate for you. The other main advantage is that you can go to any Thai language school or tutor and they will be able to help you.

    I usually advise my student not to read children's books (they are often irrelevant and tend to use a more flowery/literary language than you'd find in everyday speech); and the (free) Manee series of stories are dull as ditchwater. Translations of well-known/classical English books also isn't helpful because the language is quite literary also. That's why I adapted the Everyday Thai for Beginners first-year university course for speaking, and a romance novel called Sydney Remember for fluent speaking; followed by an interview-based business-oriented biography about "Top", the Baht Billionaire teenager who produces the fried seaweed snacks that you can find everywhere nowadays. (Watch the movie "Top Secret".)

    The Rapid Method is designed to be an easy, logical, time-saving and relatively effortless approach for busy people who don't enjoy studying. You can work through the Rapid Read Thai course by yourself online (for much cheaper) or if you prefer the social environment and my guidance through the exercises - so that you get it all done, once and for all - then the workshop is for you.
    Last edited by rapidll; 22-01-2014 at 04:21 PM.

  11. #11
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    just doesn't seem very rapid to me

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rapidll View Post
    Another good approach is that teach reading the conventional way.
    He needs to work on his tones!

    It's a good job he's only teaching reading and writing and not speaking or pronunciation.

    3/10

    Must try harder, Ruedi.

  13. #13
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    Exclamation New intensive Learn to Read Thai six-day workshop in Chiang Mai 2015

    [I can't update my OP, so I'm posting a new reply]

    My next intensive Rapid Read Thai Bootcamp is January 19-24 (Mon-Sat, 8am-5pm).



    Please watch the video in the post above for feedback from actual participants of the course. It's even better if you sign up for the free trial course and learn to recognize hundreds of (admittedly, very simple) Thai words... in about two hours.

    This very misunderstood course is based on the Rapid Method, which simplifies the concepts, eliminates anything that is unnecessary or duplicated, and uses bizarre stories and mnemonics to help you fix the ideas and facts in your head.

    Myth: it's better to learn to speak first and not waste time on reading.

    Fact: by reading Thai, you can absorb Thai and pick up vocabulary from your environment independent of textbooks, classes and phonetic transliteration schemes. The secret is to choose to read modern, conversational material not dry academic or literary texts.

    Myth: one can learn to speak well enough with phonetics.

    Fact: the phonetic schemes are inconsistent and mostly wrong: you will learn to speak badly and it'll be almost impossible to fix this in future.

    Myth: it's easy just to learn the alphabet.

    Fact: in any language, learning the alphabet doesn't mean you can read - even knowing the names of the letters is fairly useless (especially in English where A, C, G, H, etc. don't sound at all like their names!)

    Myth: the conventional method is cheap, everyone knows the system and it's effective: you just have to put in the time and persevere.

    Fact: although it's relatively easy to learn the "classes" of letters, the conventional method is unnecessarily convoluted. There is absolutely no correspondence between high class and high tones, or mid class and mid tones, or low class and low tones; there are no "initial" and "final" sounds in Thai; many letters look identical but are completely different so you will always read like a dyslexic and you probably won't bother to spend the extra time figuring out the tones; many letters and rules are duplicated, and several are either obsolete or entirely forgettable (which means more to learn).

    Moreover: if you have more time than money then you can buy cheap books like Beginner's Thai or watch youtube videos or attend inexpensive classes at AUA, say. Keep in mind that you will spend as much if not more on travel and coffees and meals over the many months and years of "cheap" study.

    Myth: the Rapid Method isn't at all "rapid" and has a lot of extra baggage.

    Fact: there aren't quick ways to learn a language, you have to do the time. But most ways of learning require huge mental effort and hundreds of hours of practice and memorization. In the Rapid Method, I also take into account the physical mechanics of speaking and help you develop strategies - that fit into your busy/lazy lifestyle - for developing a kind of "muscle memory" and gaining fluency through repeated listening of relevant, colloquial and entertaining stories and songs and movies.

    We remember images and stories and associated facts far more readily than lists of unrelated facts.

    It's true that you need to put a lot of effort into creating images and stories and mnemonics, but the effort pays off. It may take half an hour to think up scenarios for a dozen or so words, say; but it would take several hours spread over many days to remember the same words by rote. If you have a good mnemonic then you won't ever forget. Unrelated facts or rules get forgotten over time and need constant refreshing to keep them "live". And the only way to do this is to study several hours a day.

    Most of us aren't language enthusiasts whose bedtime reading includes dictionaries or phrase books. And most of us are lazy and don't enjoy studying and would much rather spend our leisure time reading a good novel (or even non-fiction works) or playing games or chatting with friends.



    Try this Thai word as an example. Start by trying to memorize it by rote. And then see if you still remember it tomorrow. Then come back to this thread and see how I remember it (see the post below). It took me several minutes to think of a mnemonic, but I've never forgotten the word since then. I might not have got it 100% right at first, but after only a few repetitions, it's stuck perfectly.

    In Thai, January is MOKARAAKOM.

    For more details about the Rapid Method, to sign up for the free trial course, or to book please go to Learn Thai Online

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    January is MOCARAA-COM



    After the expensive month of Christmas presents and New Year partying, all one can usually afford to eat in January is MACARONI.

    (The -com or -yon endings refer to whether the month as 31 or 30 days respectively, so it's not something one needs to put any effort into remembering.)

    Okay, so this mnemonic is a bit imprecise I admit. But I chose this to illustrate a point: even a convoluted suggestion is usually enough to help you remember something... if it's bizarre enough!

    See if you still remember this tomorrow and next week...

    As I said, you might not get "mocaraa-com" precisely. It might have been better to try a mnemonic involving "mocha" (e.g. my New Year's Resolution is to reduce my caffeine intake by drinking mocha instead of coffee).


  15. #15
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    I don't mean to be a naysayer, because I feel ANY way you can learn this language is fine by me.. However some of those points are just plain wrong.

    The first two mythz I'll address at the same time:
    It's better to learn to speak first and not waste time on reading AND one can learn to speak well enough with phonetics.

    Of all the schools out there which hawk thai to foreigners, the most successful of them teach via the original Union School's methodology. (BTW: that's a school which is comin' up on it's 65 year anniversary). It was thought up to teach thai to foreign missionaries comin' here to convert the heathen buddhist thaiz to christianity. Over the years, their teachers have bailed out, opened their own schools (by copying the text books) and now there are more what I call "Union Clone Schools" out there teaching by that method than any other hands down.

    Their methodology (which has possibly cranked out THOUSANDS of competent thai speakers over the years) is; you attend 3 or 4 - sixty hour modules of ONLY conversational thai taught via karaoke. Some schools won't even let you enroll in a reading/writing thai class until you pass their conversational thai tests. I know a TON of foreigners who are super competent thai speakers yet can't tell a chicken (กอ-ไก่) from an owl (ฮอ-นกฮูก) - the first and last characters in the thai alphabet. Yet, without being able to read a single character in thai they are understood by thais and answered in kind when they interact with them

    I personally use the word "karaoke" when talkin' about that methodology. It's the representation of thai sounds using the Latin or Roman alphabet (that's engrish BTW) and diacritics (symbols) to closely approximate a word as it's pronounced.

    The most famous of these is International Phonetic Alphabet which is used the world over so cunning linguistics and other smart people who can read IPA can pronounce ANY word in any language with a very high degree of accuracy.

    Now the most famous regarding thai (as in the one with the most stuff in print) hands down is Benjawan Poomsan Becker's Paiboon Plus version. Even Chula, Ramkhamhaeng, Chiang Mai U and other institutes of higher learning use karaoke to teach spoken thai to foreigners. It is sadly true that there is no "standard karaoke" in regards to thai, and there is quite a lot of difference in the various schools versions of it. Even with that being the case, the schools do a good job drilling the pronunciation into your headz.

    This Rapid Read Thai may indeed work, then again, so does Stu Jay Raj's "Jcademy", Brett Whiteside's "Learn Thai from a White Guy", Vincent's "High Speed Thai" and other methods too.

    I firmly believe that as non-native adult learners of this language we're NEVER EVER gonna sound like a native born-bred-rice fed thai speaker. It just ain't gonna happen. We're ALWAYZ gonna sound like a foreigner speaking thai, especially to real thaiz.. I'm not sayin' we can't speak clear, concise, well enunciated thai I'm sayin' we're gonna sound exactly like what we are..

    I already pointed out, being able to pronounce a word by looking at the thai script AIN'T reading, because to read you need to memorize hundreds and hundreds of thai words.. NOR will learning how to 'read' (pronounce) thai words by sight make you a better thai speaker. It would appear from research that reading and speaking are done by different parts of your brain entirely. No one thinks of how a word is pronounced before they say it (even in your native language). Sheesh if someone tried to do that as a non-native adult speaker of thai, they'd be a goddamned slow speaker indeed!

    I agree 100%; there is no quick, rapid, ultra fast, super speed or short cut to learning this language! Those terms are just catch phrases because human beans want short cuts to stuff. However in the same breath, there are some methodologies which do work better than others. My advice, find one which works for you, and then you either put in the time using that methodology or you don't.

    It's more motivation than methodology..

    You're either in for a penny, in for a pound OR you're goin' thru the motions pretending to learn thai, all the while parroting the same beat to death excuses; I'm old, I don't have a knack for languages, I can't hear the tones, My thai wife she speak engrish good, blah-blah-blah...

    Now in reality, I don't know shit from Shinola about this Rapid Read Thai, other than what I've read about it. It could be the cat's meow, it could be a silk purse made out of a sow's ear, I dunno.. I think it's good the O/P mentioned there's a work shop comin' up, and that there's a way to see the methodology in action via videos..

    Good Luck,

    Tod Daniels <- NOT affiliated with ANY thai language school or program. He's just a dumb hillbilly from Ohio who can speak/understand, read/type thai...

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    Reply to Tod

    Quote Originally Posted by toddaniels View Post
    While it is indeed an "innovative" way to remember how to pronounce the Thai characters and the tones associated with them, what it is NOT is "reading" Thai. Speaking and reading any language are horses of a different color entirely. One does not help the other all that much I've found.
    Tod made some very valid points, but I'm afraid he's in many ways wrong. He's a classic example of someone who's worked through the conventional process and attended hundreds of hours of classes at various language schools - after all, he has written many excellent reviews on the subject.

    I'd like to address the more salient points:

    "Speaking and reading [in] any language ... does not help the other".

    Yes, in general this is true. The reason is that most people read the wrong material when studying a new language. It's no good reading children's stories because 1) they are not necessarily easier to read than adult material and 2) they are usually not relevant to an adult language learner (being mostly about animals, monsters, magic or days in school). It's also no good reading famous literary works because the writing style is formal, flowery and literary - and usually totally useless for learning to speak the language. Reading translated works of stories you already know (such as those of Roald Dahl or Agatha Christie, the Harry Potter series, etc.) is just as useless because you're getting a translation - you won't be exposed to how native people think in their own language and how they express culturally-specific ideas.

    It is, however, very effective to read material about everyday life that is written in a plain, colloquial and conversational style. Romance novels are usually best.

    "I could read and understand Thai books way before my spoken Thai was anything more than ... 'taxi-thai'".

    Tod obviously read the wrong books (with not so many words and sentence patterns that are used in everyday conversations); and he probably never practiced reading the texts out loud over and over again until he could say them quickly and clearly.

    "To improve your speaking ability you need to speak as much as you can., no matter if your vocab is limited, use it, get corrections from native speakers and keep at it.."

    Yes, right in a way, but also wrong. How can you speak if you don't have enough of the stuff for making sentences? But as I said above it's important to have words and patterns used in everyday conversations, not "academic" schoolroom vocabulary.

    In my research, I've discovered that we can't really hear what people say if we don't already know what they are saying. (WTF!?) Strange, but true. This means that getting corrections from native speakers just won't help because we can't hear how to correct our internal representation of the language.

    "To read Thai with proficiency, as in with any degree of comprehension takes memorizing TONZ and TONZ of Thai words period."

    Completely wrong. You need to know the right words, and there aren't so many that you need to know. The romance novel Sydney Remember that I've adapted for the fluency course consists of around 3,000 words - and only half of these are important for speaking in everyday situations like greetings and getting to know someone socially, getting around, buying stuff, ordering food, dealing with money or minor ailments at the doctors, etc. In a full-length novel such as Sydney Remember only about half (of the 3,000 words) are used more than once or twice. So you could easily understand the entire novel with a vocabulary of only 1,500 words. However, the other hardly-used 1,500 words are very commonly used in conversation - so I've included them in the vocabulary list to memorize.

    It doesn't take all that long to learn 1,500 (or 3,000) words - especially if you use mnemonics and spaced repetition. I've combined both approaches by designing electronic flashcards for use in the "Anki" system. Anki can be installed on any computer or device. You only need to spend about 5-10 minutes a day working through about 30 "Rapid/Anki" cards in order to acquire a vocabulary of 1,500 words in under 6 months. Even at this slow pace, you can learn enough words to be able to speak relatively fluently (with 3,000 words) within a year.

    "No one reads the English word 'dog' like 'D-O-G'"

    Right and wrong. When you come across a word that you aren't familiar with then you have to read it this way (try "confabulate" or "mimsy borogoves"), but as you build up your vocabulary and a sense of the meaning of a phrase then you tend to read the shapes of words and anticipate many words without even bothering to read them. That's why it's so hard to proof-read text with typos: most of the time we don't see them.

    NB. In the Rapid Read Thai course, I cover everything you need to know to be able to sound out a word accurately and with the correct tone. No more. No less.

    You can probably read "unjani", but you won't know that it means "How are you?" (in Zulu).

    This means that you won't necessarily understand what you are reading unless you can guess it from the context...



    or already know the word.

    I have a very nice (weird) story to help you remember all the various "cow" words in Thai; and once you've worked through the story a few times you will be able to read - and understand - the very many "cow" words when you come across them in Thai.



    And, anyway, most of the time in Thai these words are seldom mentioned in isolation. You won't just get "white" ("cow"), it will be "color-white" ("see-cow"); and it won't just be "mountain" ("cow"), it will be "mass-mountain" ("poo-cow"); or the word for "rice" ("cow") is usually "eat-rice" ("gkin-cow") or "with-rice" ("gkub-cow"), etc.

    "... the methodology ... is actually even more convoluted than just learning the three consonant classes and associated tones which go with them like every Thai in this country learned how to do it. Heck if 65+ million people here learned to read Thai that way and I taught myself to read that way too, just about anyone who's got half a clue can do it."

    True, in a way. Some people prefer to learn by focusing on nothing-but-the-facts. It takes a lot longer, but it also requires much less mental effort (other than countless hours of repetition). It's why most of us prefer to be salaried employees for a lower income than to be entrepreneurs or consultants or business owners. The Rapid Method is not for you if you don't like to think much. The Rapid Method mostly appeals to artistic, creative people or those with an engineering or logical or inquisitive mind.

    It's not true that Thai people learnt to read this way. Most Thais think that Thai is an atonal language! (You'll be surprised to learn that we use tones continuously in English, French, German, Spanish, etc.)

    The Thais do, however, start to learn to read by learning the alphabet. It takes 3-year-olds about a year of reciting the alphabet repeatedly for 20 minutes every weekday morning! But after that they still can't read. It takes maybe another 4-5 years before they master the basics of reading, and many of them (especially if they don't complete high school) aren't really sure about reading the more complex words that are derived from Pali or Sanskrit. Words like: "theory" or "calendar" or "civilization". They might know words like "economics" and "agriculture" of course, but many Thais won't be able to read these words, despite ten years of schooling.

    On the other hand, if you've worked through the Rapid Read Thai course (about 18 hours over a month working alone or intensively over six days if you attend the workshop), you will be able to read these words, but not understand them.

    But then, it only takes another month of working through the Anki flashcards, and you will.

    "It's not any particular method that stops people from learning, it's their motivation to really buckle down and apply themselves which often falls short of the mark."

    I beg to differ. Many people have tried to "buckle down and apply themselves", despite living in Thailand for many years - some with Thai children and therefore every motivation to learn to read and speak Thai.

    But the prevailing methods are so arduous and arbitrary that it just doesn't work for most (Western) people; and most of us eventually give up.

    We are not like you, Tod. You love to learn Thai. It's kinda your full-time hobby (or at least you're not busy on a multitude of other projects). If you're a missionary and can dedicate a year or two of your life to learning Thai 6-8 hours a day, or if you're the kind of person who can devote 2 (or even 4) hours a day to memorizing lists of words, working through text books or audio/video clips and attending hundreds of hours of language classes - then you'll become conversant in Thai eventually.

    But then even you learnt to read first before edging slowly into speaking to people!

    The path you chose is a good path: if you have the time and determination then you'll get there in the end. You won't be able to read the Rapid way, however, because it's a completely opposite approach to the conventional ("missionary") way.

    You may also be the kind of person who likes to read a lot and watch tons of movies and TV and listen to radio programs and podcasts - with a dictionary at hand to look up all the unfamiliar words.

    The Rapid Method, on the other hand, is minimalistic. I believe it's more effective to master a small body of essential works (a romance novel, a business biography, a movie about family life). It might take about the same time in calendar terms, but the amount of time-at-the-coalface actually spent studying is much, much less.

    "...nothing really new..."

    I've been very surprised that my approach to learning languages - or something similar - isn't already mainstream, despite decades of research into linguistics and language learning. Some aspects of it (like the use of mnemonics and learning high-frequency vocabulary and "comprehensive input") aren't new, but other aspects and the overall process is unique, specifically:

    • focusing on and mastering a minimalist body of essential material (not exposure to mountains of arbitrary material)
    • disregarding the unnecessary (like writing and the alphabet and grammar and linguistic terminology, etc.)
    • learning and understanding conversational sentence patterns not phrases
    • a tight integration between speaking and reading, viz. reading colloquial texts, out loud, distinctly and repeatedly until fluent (muscle training)
    • then listening to your reading texts repeatedly until crystal clear (ear training)


    In other fields - like dance or sports or music training - the "Rapid" techniques are commonplace, so why not in language?

    Last edited by rapidll; 02-01-2015 at 06:57 PM. Reason: I didn't read Tod's latest post until after I had posted this one. But I think I've covered everything (new) he had to say already.

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    Why don't you just buy a fucking advert.......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Necron99 View Post
    Why don't you just buy a fucking advert.......
    Yes, thank you for the suggestion. I'm doing that, but I can't cover my entire treatise (above) on a half-banner ad.

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    You do bring up some valid points and certainly have a high opinion of both yourself and your method to teach "reading" thai.

    Still, in all my travels around Bangkok, in all my conversations with possible hundreds and hundreds of thai students over the years, I've never met a single person who went thru your method! Not even one! Now, it could be the people who attend your workshops run in different circles than I do, but even a semi-intelligent person might ask, if this method was so great why aren't people comin' outta the woodwork beating the drum, singing its praises?

    From what you wrote about me, you clearly have me confused with some other 'legend in his own mind' Tod Daniels. Contrary to your belief almost every bit of thai I have is self taught.

    True, I did go, talk to, sit a sample lesson (50 minutes) at the schools I reviewed. Observing a class is NOT the same as participating in one. Now in thinking back, during the last 5+ years I've only been in one 60 hour course at a school. That was a couple years ago.

    All the rest of the many hundreds of hours I've put into learning this language I've done on my own. The point I was trying to make was; Union Clone Schools have most successful methodology to teach thai to non-native adult speakers, period, end of story. There are just too many schools out there which teach via that format. It's a numbers game and those schools have been cranking out proficient speakers of thai, month after month, year after year, for eons! Now could the method be improved, yes certainly, and there are a few schools doing exactly that!

    As far as the reason I learned to read before I could speak much thai; I got sick of every Tom, Dick & Somchai the thai correcting my errant pronunciation, even when they understood what I'd said to them! It drove me right up a frickin' wall. That's when I went into an extended "silent period", focused on learning to read thai AND started listening to how thaiz said things to each other.

    Now on this I am tooting my own horn (which BTW; takes a flexible spine), I KILL at reading thai, especially anything I have even a remote interest in.

    Being a guy and liking gurlz, I buy the thai versions of; Penthouse, Playboy, Maxim, FHM, Rush, Mix, Zoo, etc. I also buy Science Illustrated, National Geographic and others. I read Pantip, DekD, Sanook, Lady Inter and other thai language only forums every day. I read what I call "trash teen romance novels" (raunchy love stories), I read books about thaiz learning engrish, magazines on technology. I read regulations about visas for foreigners in thai because that's the version they follow.
    Like I said, if I have even a remote interest in the subject, I read about it in thai.

    Now even though I can read, understand thai to a fairly high degree, my spoken thai didn't get that much clearer. I still speak thai with an Ohio hillbilly accent. That's mostly because I am, a hillbilly from Ohio.

    I will say you're passionate about your methodology, I admire that, even if as I said, I don't know shit from Shinola about the efficacy of your method. Testimonials don't cut it for me. Sheesh, every thai school that has a website has a place where students can beat the drum about the school. No one is gonna put up something where someone writes; "I paid for it, went and thought it sucked."

    Just so you know, I'm not picking on you personally. I don't know you from Somchai the fruit seller; although I did see you at a thai school near Asok a long time ago..

    I am an equal opportunity denigrater/disparager. I criticize people without regard to race, creed or color.

    Good Luck man...

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddaniels
    Brett Whiteside's "Learn Thai from a White Guy"
    Is this not Rapid?

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    Exclamation Learn Thai from a White Guy is not Rapid!

    Quote Originally Posted by 9999 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by toddaniels
    Brett Whiteside's "Learn Thai from a White Guy"
    Is this not Rapid?
    No, Brett Whiteside is a competitor who advertises aggressively and targets my members when he can. No doubt he would love to confuse you into thinking his method is the Rapid Method.

    He follows a fairly similar approach to the Rapid Method (mnemonics, simplification, etc.) but he still teaches the "missionary" or "Union" method - which I believe is unnecessarily complicated and a little flawed.

    Many of my students have already tried Learn Thai from a White Guy, not to mention HighSpeedThai and Thai Podcast and various language schools. You can hear for yourself (see my youtube channel) about how the workshop participants made real progress for the first time, despite months or years of attempting to learn Thai by other means.

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    I bought Brett's online thing for $97 with the spaced repetition Anki system and all. He sounds just like yourself. Please elaborate on the flaws in LTFAWG that make it inferior to what you are (quite aggressively) trying to sell here?

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    Replying to Tod Daniels

    Quote Originally Posted by toddaniels View Post
    I've never met a single person who went thru your method!

    ... you clearly have me confused with some other Tod Daniels. I [am] self taught.

    Union Clone Schools have most successful methodology...

    ...the reason I learned to read before I could speak... correcting my errant pronunciation

    I don't know ... about the efficacy of your method.
    (Sigh...)

    Tod, I'm afraid there's very little I can do or say if you are so blind yet sure of yourself. You obviously don't need my course and have no interest in it, yet you've written about it quite extensively in your various posts over the years.

    You're at least pleasant and gentlemanly about it. On some websites, people have accused me of scamming or spamming or outright dishonesty. Yet not one of them bothered to watch the introductory video(s) on youtube or sign up for my free trial course (to learn the top 30 letters, and recognize hundreds of very simple Thai words, in about two hours).

    Some of your comments need a reply because so many people think the same as you do out of a kind of studied ignorance. In fact, I nearly gave up developing my courses because I felt that hardly anyone had any interest in learning Thai at all. And then, out of the blue, hundreds of people bought my course and attended my workshop and all of them gushed with enthusiastic praise. I felt motivated to complete the series of conversational courses that follow on directly from the reading course.

    I think what had happened is that they started out with the more traditional courses or language schools - perhaps because they were cheaper, or simply because they seemed to be tried-and-tested. Once they realized their mistake, after many months of wasted effort, they decided to try the Rapid Method. Ironically, some of the worst-run courses, with the most arcane material, are at the top universities.

    I'm surprised that you haven't met anyone who has followed the Rapid Method, but as you say: different social circles. The students I've met or have corresponded with tend to be highly-motivated individuals, entrepreneurial, artistic or imaginative, open-minded - and usually leading successful and healthy lives. Very few "sexpats" have shown interest in my course, nor the crowd who spend their time at the bars cavorting with the girls there. Surprisingly, very few teachers (esp. ESL teachers) seem to be interested in my method either - with the exception of the head teacher at Samui International School and a group of teachers from KIS.

    Many of my students have been living in Thailand for more than ten years and have a Thai wife or husband and Thai children. They feel embarrassed admitting to how long they've lived here and still not able to speak - let alone read - Thai.

    Some can speak Thai fluently, but are illiterate, and they come to my workshop to fix that. They acquire literacy almost instantly because they can already understand what they are reading; but nearly all of them to a man (or woman) are shocked to discover how incorrectly they've been speaking all these years.

    So as you say, learning to read first is paramount. It won't make you speak like a native, but it's almost impossible to adjust and improve your pronunciation if you cannot read because all the correcting in the world by well-meaning Thais will fall on "deaf" ears.

    The other group of "Rapid" students tend to be those who want to get the right foundation from the start. They've read about my course or about the importance of learning to read first or one of my other students has personally recommended the Rapid Method. They come to my workshop knowing absolutely nothing, but by the end of the week they can read Thai... in the same way as I can read Italian. I won't understand it, but I can read it - and I can even say it with an Italian accent (capish?)

    It still takes another year, studying a few hours per week, to be able to hold a simple conversation - but their progress is astounding. With relatively little effort, they're speaking distinctly and confidently after about a year. I'm now working with my "advanced" students who want to gain fluency in Thai, which can be very effectively achieved by studying the romance novel Sydney Remember. I've produced an interactive audio-ebook with karaoke ear-training audio tracks and a set of over 2,000 Anki flashcards with sample sentences from the book for each word.

    It transformed my ability to speak and understand Thai when I read the book and acquired the vocabulary. Except for the roughly three hours per week altogether that I spent on the book, I don't think I did any other kind of studying. And, unlike you, I'm very lazy when it comes to learning languages. I hate to study languages! I have a very busy life, playing music, playing sport, reading books and watching movies, building my house, and looking after my family and friends in general (not to mention actually researching and developing the Rapid courses).

    So the Rapid Method works for people like me. The "Union" approach is completely useless for me. It's exactly how I tried (and failed) to learn German at school.

    I've learnt several other languages since then, and each time, I've tried to find a quick, easy and lazy way to do it. I think I've succeeded with Thai.

    I wouldn't use the word "successful" to describe the "Union" approach. I would say that it's "pervasive" and only those people who have persevered and sweated through the course materials (for perhaps a thousand or two thousand hours) have succeeded in being able to read and speak and understand Thai.

    Moreover, I think the "Union" approach has been responsible for the relatively few people who have any inclination in learning Thai: it's just too hard! There are enough Thais who speak English, the menus are nearly always in English, and one can easily get by on "Taxi Thai".

    For those people who would like to learn Thai but can't stomach the idea of actually studying it - there's the Rapid Method.


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    Well, at least we're talkin' about learnin' thai and that appears to be the name of this particular sub-forum.. There are a couple points you are correct about.

    Brett does aggressively advertise his course and sells it as a "rapid" one too.

    I will agree that Union method works one way and one way only; if you're in 100% to learning this language. Otherwise goin' 3 hours a day, 5 days a week for 4 weeks will suck the will to live right out of your body. God forbid you miss a day, because you'll NEVER catch back up to the class.

    Now I don't know about sweating thru a thousand hours, because the people that come out of most union clone schools 4 conversational modules (60X4=240hourz) can pretty much hold their own speaking very coherent thai without too much effort. Still what they haven't learned to do at that point is read a character of it.

    I like that term "pervasive"! Is it okay if I use it? Even though they (Union Clone Schools) have a proven, albeit antiquated method; I was looking for a term which was slightly a put down in reference to it. Sort of like it might not be the best thing since sliced bread but it's out there in the most schools in one form or another. Pervasive fits the bill totally..

    "Fluent" in thai means exactly what to you? Can a person fluent go into a court room and argue a case, can they go to the doctor and talk about an upcoming brain surgery?

    Fluent is a word that is beat to death in language circles. It is an imaginary bar of achievement in the minds of people who can't speak thai when they hear other people speak thai with thaiz just fine.

    Go for fluid, smooth, what ever adjective you wanna use, just don't say, "fluent", because I've never met an adult non-native learner of thai I thought was "fluent" or a "near native" speaker of thai. Most foreigners who can speak thai totally overestimate their ability at it. At least I always say my thai "ain't all that", so if it's better than that I mean that's a plus right? What are people gonna say, that I brag about NOT being good at thai?

    Still good luck man, you have found a niche market, developed a product and are hawking it. Good on you. It's far better than being a "legend in my own mind" like I am, lol...

    Take care, do good

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    Learn Thai from a White Guy vs. Rapid

    Quote Originally Posted by 9999 View Post
    I bought Brett's online thing for $97 with the spaced repetition Anki system and all. He sounds just like yourself. Please elaborate on the flaws in LTFAWG that make it inferior to what you are (quite aggressively) trying to sell here?
    Let me start with the unimportant point you make about aggressive selling. Yes, I am trying to sell my course, I don't make a fortune out of it as I did in my previous job in consultancy; but it's how I and my family survive in Thailand. My marketing is somewhat low-key (many people, like all of Tod Daniel's friends for instance, have never even heard of my course). I think Brett does a very good job of aggressively marketing his product, however. He's also cleverly piggy-backed on the "Rapid" name to try to fool people.

    Brett Whiteside's mnemonic system (Learn Thai From A White Guy) is similar to mine, except that he teaches you the conventional “Thai school” way, using the Thai names for the alphabet letters and the Thai classification of consonants and tones. He has an online self-study course (which he calls an e-book) and he also gives one-on-one lessons via Skype. As a beginner, it’s usually better to learn with a native English speaker (preferably a native speaker of whatever your mother tongue is) because he will understand what the difficulties are and what’s important to know.

    Brett's course is arguably cheaper than mine, but in the long run it's about the same price because he charges about 3-4 times more than a Thai person would for hourly lessons.

    I usually tell people about his course (as well as Stu Raj's Jcademy) as an alternative to the Rapid Method because some people just want a cheaper course, while others would prefer not to stray too far from the conventional approach.

    Stu's course is phenomenal, by the way, because it's very thorough and "linguistic" in its approach; plus it incorporates mnemonics and focuses on meanings. If you can't already read then all the sounds are spelled out using the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet). Stu's course isn't better or worse; it's different. And I recommend that you should subscribe to Jcademy anyway as a complement to any other course you buy.

    Back to Brett. His simplification of the tone system is very good - reducing around 30 rules to about 15. The main difference with the Rapid way of figuring out tones is the starting point. I've analyzed the two simplifications: mine consists of slightly fewer rules - but either approach is equally valid. I've tested a number of different "tone process flows" from different starting points and pathways; and the one that I've settled on now seems to be the easiest to remember and the quickest to apply when reading text.

    Some of Brett's mnemonics are also very good, as good as if not better than the ones I came up with. Mnemonics are very personal. I've tried to come up with universal ones, but they don't always work for everyone. Sometimes I change a mnemonic or encourage a student to devise a new one that works better for him or her. I've changed several mnemonics over the years when I noticed that they weren't so memorable. And I've made a few mnemonics for German and Russian speakers because the English ones are too, well, English.

    I cover all the letters you need to know in my course (pictures and mnemonics and a carefully selected list of practice words for every one). I ignore the obsolete ones and the duplicates. Brett doesn't bother with several of the obscure letters, other than just list them; and that's probably a valid approach... .

    Brett's course kind of stops at this point; there's very little in the way of drills and exercises. You are then you are encouraged to sign up with him for Skype lessons and/or start reading texts and sort of figure things out as you go along.

    The Rapid Method is, IMHO, more comprehensive and tightly integrated. I also cover the mechanics of speaking so that you get exactly the right pronunciation and develop a "muscle memory" so that you can speak clearly automatically. All the 600 words used in the reading exercises have been compiled into a set of Anki flash cards with audio and mnemonics, so that once you can read, you can immediately acquire a basic vocabulary.

    Then the follow-on courses are designed to get you speaking and understanding Thai as quickly as possible. Although all the courses are designed for self-study, I strongly recommend working with a private Thai teacher, twice a week for an hour, so that she can check your pronunciation, explain nuances and the cultural references in everyday conversation, and help you with controlled conversation practice.

    And each of the conversational courses come with complementary decks of Anki flash cards, 1100 words for Everyday Thai for Beginners and a little over 2000 for Sydney Remember (for friends and lovers) and Top Story (for business) respectively.

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