Learn Thai from Brett - aka the White Guy

About Brett

picture of Brett on top of Island in the Sky Canyonlands i Utah

Take your Thai to new heights

Learn Thai from a White Guy

Hi, my name is Brett. I’ve been based out of Thailand for over 10 years and I’ve come a long way in Thai. I had no idea how to learn a language when I started and I felt like I was just banging my head against the wall for the first year or so.

My Thai ability skyrocketed as soon as I mastered the script and tone rules.   I studied the hell out of that terrible text for maybe 5 or 6 weeks.  Not long after, I taught it to a friend who was struggling with Thai.  It worked so well that his friends started contacting me and pretty soon it became clear that I should document the process .  That’s how this site started.  Things have evolved quite a bit since then. You can check out more of my story below.

Interviews with Brett:

Everything changed once I stumbled upon an old book that explained the consonant classes, tone rules and gave suggestions on how to drill them. I spent a month or so drilling the rules 5-10 minutes/day. Within 5 or 6 weeks I felt like the door had blown open on Thai and a light shone inside my brain. I found that once I learned to differentiate the vowels and pronounce them myself, I could hear them easily when other people said them. And since I had been drilling the tone rules, and I was no longer mixing up words like เคย and ค่อย or บ้า (crazy) and ป้า (aunt). The tones just fell into place really quickly at that point. I didn’t always say them right at first, but I started to match up the way Thai people said words with the tone rules and it just clicked.

Not long after that, I started teaching friends how to read Thai and work through all the tone rules. The first couple of people took 2-3 months to get it down, but I’ve improved on the system dramatically and have cut it down to about 10 hours spread out over 2 weeks or 5-6 hours if you manage to get me to sit down next to you. It does require a bit of a commitment to push through all the content and you need to spend a bare minimum of 20 minutes a day, but the payoff is massive.

Languages are what I do. I can hold a conversation in 5 languages and get a smile out of people in many more, but I’m no super genius – I just have methods that work and I keep plugging away. Since I’ve been in Thailand, I spent a few years each taking classes or private lessons in Japanese, Chinese and Korean, but all the while it was my Thai that developed while I was actually “studying” the other 3.

If you are looking to get good in any language, I strongly suggest spending some time getting familiar with the sound system. It may seem boring or not useful, but it will save you so much time and frustration later.