Sample from the book:
The book is based on a core principle of memorization: find connections between the new information, and what you already know. In this book, we have created pictures that will enable you to almost instantly remember the shape and sound of the Thai letters with little effort.
Like scaffolding on a building, the system acts as a temporary support, to permit your mind to build a memory of the letters. But over time, you will automatically picture the letter, and hear the sound, without needing the stepping stone or scaffold, afforded by these images.
They enable you to surmount the primary obstacle in learning the letters - which is relating to the abstract shapes, and associating these shapes with their respective sound.
About the Thai Alphabet
There are 44 consonants in the Thai alphabet, and 32 vowels. However, some of these vowels are just long and short versions of each other, so it is actually only necessary to learn around 20 different vowel shapes. Thie may sound daunting - but carry on reading. We assure you that even the most casual of tourists will be easily able to learn these characters effortlessly.
The Thai Tones
Thai words are broken up into syllables, and each syllable has a distinct tone.
The five tones in Thai are as follows:
1. Low (said in the lower part of your voice's
How consonants affect the syllable's Tone?
Thai consonants are broken into 3 groups known as classes: called low, middle and high for convenience. These names don't mean that the syllable will be low, middle or high tone - the names of these groups might as well as be 1,2 and 3 - it's just a way of separating the consonants into three groups.
The reason you need to know the class, is because the class affects how the syllable is pronounced, so when you learn the thai consonant, you will have to recall both its sound and its class.
The rules for determining the tone of a syllable are given in the Tones Section, at the end of the book, but we'll give a quick example here, to give you an idea of why you must learn the classes:
Seems complicated, but the technique will enable you to remember these rules in seconds.
For now just be aware that you'll need to remember the class as well as the sounds of the thai letters - easy really, with the special technique you'll learn about below.
Introduction to the consonants
For now, lets just concentrate on learning the sound of each letter, and its class.
Certain Thai letters also have different sounds, depending on whether the letter appears at the start or end of the syllable.
So in summary, when you look at a Thai Letter, you must be able to recall three things:
1. its sound when its at the start
of a syllable
The memory Technique
The memory technique which we'll use to learn the alphabet, is best illustrated with an example.
Take a look at the thai letter below on the left, and notice how it resembles the image to the right:
The similarity is high-lighted, by the dashed red-line in the image.
The picture resembles a Chariot with a Traveller onboard, driving through a High Mountainous Terrain.
1. Its sound is Ch (chariot), when at the start
of a syllable
Memorising the Classes
To help you memorise the classes, we represent
the three different classes, with different backgrounds:
How it works in Practice:
1. You look at the Thai letter and automatically
think of the image.
The key to memorisation is to get a foot-hold on what you are trying to remember. The thai alphabet is something you've never seen before, and is pretty alien, so the best way to get your head around it, is to find things that it resembles, and create connections with what you know.
This book has done that already for you, so you have an automatic connection for every letter, shaving months off the learning process.
Concentrating on the letters
Concentrate on how the letter resembles the image, and how the image's title encodes the sounds of the thai letter.
Visualise the situation in your mind until you clearly see the resemblances. Remember that the background will encode the consonant's class.
There are some explanatory notes to the right of each image, which should only be necessary the first time you look at the image.
So the next time you see the Thai character, just think of the image that the letter resembles. The title and background will spring to mind without effort. Then you'll automatically know the letter's sounds, and class!
How to approach the learning process
Visualise each image in your mind, and then move on to the next one - don't sweat or worry about it.
Don't overly tax yourself, instead just spend 20 to 30 minutes looking at some images, and then take a break for around 10 mintues. Come back and cover up the images, and try to remember the image, title and background, from looking at the thai letter.
Don't worry about not memorising it perfectly first time off - just get an idea of things.
Move on, and try some new images, or take a break until the next day.The key to remembering though, is to repeat your exposure to the images often, until you remember them.
An example of a revision schedule would be something
The images are like a scaffolding that will help you to build your memory of the letters, and will fall away after, as your mind automatically recognises the sounds and class of the letters.
Low Class Consonants
The 24 Low Class Consonants are grouped together in the following pages. In each of the images, there is a seaside (low-level) background, to help you to recall that you are looking at a low class consonant.
Somebody Training with a dumbell down at Venice Beach!
So the sound is T.