Be a Cheater

Be a Cheater

Language learning shouldn’t be a competition and you shouldn’t be graded on the rate at which you progress based on someone else’s program or book.  There are no levels in life.  Words like beginner and advanced are relative.

Learning a language isn’t (rather it shouldn’t be) difficult.  It doesn’t take a genius to speak a language.  You can go outside and hear stupid people talk everywhere you go.  A very common problem which stops most people from getting good at something are the preconceived notions about how things are.  You say it’s hard because you’ve heard people say a language is difficult to learn, but you’ve never even tried.
People say silly stuff all the time like
  • Ooh, you must have a special gift because you are good at _________
  • I’m too old/young to start doing that…..
  • I can’t learn tonal languages because I’m tone deaf
  • I like chocolate
  • Oi, that is a really hard language because blahblahblah
  • I can’t read/watch/listen to that because it’s too hard

The bottom line is you can learn to do anything you want.  It takes time and loads of practice and even more than that it takes discipline and dedication.  There is no secret method or hack that is going to make you a master of something overnight.  It’s just like exercise or playing a musical instrument you gotta keep going.  There is no end.

Cheat.  It doesn’t matter what you do to get there.  You don’t have to read those boring ass Manee books.  Read stuff that you like. Watch movies or tv shows that you like.  If you don’t know what’s good then ask someone else for recommendations.  If you hate Thai movies, then watch Western movies dubbed in Thai (or whatever language).  Keep plugging away.  If you don’t dig it then toss it and find something else.   Just don’t stop and do it every day.  You’ll get better.  I promise.

You will never understand tv/movies/news if you never watch them.

You will never be able to read a book if you don’t actually ever try and read one.

Here’s how to learn Thai or any language:

  1. Learn the Thai script and sounds
  2. When you are comfortable with the sounds, start drilling short high frequency sentences (ไปไหน, กินข้าวรึยัง, ทำอะไรอยู่)
  3. Once you have about 20 or 30 short sentences in your head, start trying to use them on people.  You may want to start practicing short dialogues at this stage.
  4. When you get to a point where you can handle 50-100 short sentences and you know around 500-1000 words, you should start spending a little bit of your study time attempting to read.  Try to find interesting content.  This could be attempting to read the first (or random) sentence in a Thai wikipedia article on a topic you are interested in every day.  It will be really hard at first, but if you do it every day for a month, you will learn so many new words and before you know it, you’ll be reading 1 paragraph per day.


  1. At the moment I’m wondering how do I start speaking and reading with the correct tones.I already speak read/write pretty well except for the fact that its all monotone,and it bothers me alot.

    Thanks alot!

    I look forward to a vdo of ur Korean.

  2. Rather than forming the sentences yourself and then saying them, you could try watching a movie or something and occasionally trying to mimic phrases that people say on TV.

    Have you mastered the tone rules? That is crucial.

    Are you in Thailand? That tends to help, but isn’t necessary.

    I’ll be doing a post or 2 in the next day which will offer some more suggestions. I have been doing something new for the past 2 months and it is working extremely well.

  3. At the moment all I can think of is to just mimic lakorns/songs.Of course it would be alot easier if I was in Thailand.How did u develop such good pronounciation?

    I know the tone rules but haven’t mastered them yet and still need to work alot more on that for it to become more natural.I can’t really imagine applying tone rules to every word when reading a whole page or more.

    No,I’m not in Thailand yet.I’m still trying to decide if I can continue to improve by myself or maybe I need to study at a school/university to get to the level that I want to be at.

    I’ll be looking forward to any updates.

    Thank U for the fast reply.

  4. gwindarr says


    Once you master the rules, you no longer need to think about what tone a word is supposed to be, you just know. When you are there, everything starts to click.

    You can improve by yourself, but you can do it a lot faster if you have some help. I wouldn’t waste your time or money at a school. People who study at schools rarely get good at languages and when they do has nothing to do with the school. What matters is what you put into it and what/who you surrounds you in your daily life.

    I can help you get there if you’d like.

  5. I agree with u as I’ve never studied before and didn’t have any friends who spoke English when I was in Bangkok and Korat.Thats how I learnt what I know already.Although like u said Its important to have somebody to guide u and offer help.

    I’ll just have to drill the tones rules as often as possible.

    We will have to organize something when I get back.

  6. hehe, I tottally agree with the ‘read what you want’ thing.

    I have zero interest in reading harry potter in english let alone thai, I don’t care for reading kids books etc so as an alternative I read thai message boards, thai wikipedia.

    I also pump in questions into google ala “ทำไมคนไทย…” etc

  7. Right – It really all comes down to what you are in to. You can’t force yourself to read stuff that you don’t like. It doesn’t work. These days there are so many options. You just need to look around a bit.

  8. James Verner says

    It is necessary to learn the tone rules for Thai and it is important to practice hitting the tone properly in order to enable your sentence to flow. Therefore it is important to speak slowly and accurately at first so as to be clear sounding. Speed comes later. James

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