Learning Thai for Mandarin speakers/writers

For Mandarin speakers who wished to learn Thai vocabulary and pronounciation, there are pocket books and dictionaries that can be used to aid learning.

The first step is to learn how to pronounce the Thai consonants and vowels correctly. It should be easier for those who can read and write in Chinese because Thai language also utilize the tone system. While it is not exactly the same, the principle is similar.

Note: To enlarge, click on the images.

Another interesting idea is to go to bookstores like SE-ED, Naiin and B2S in Thailand…. go over to the students section to purchase a picture book. The ones that are used by Thai students who wanted to learn Mandarin. From these books, you would be able to see the Chinese character and how the Thai speakers pronounce/pinyin the Chinese words using Thai consonants and vowels. Example is a picture book below:

Again before being able to start referring to this picture books, you would first need to be able to know how to pronounce each consonant and vowels so that when they are combined together as a word, you would be able to pronounce it. There are many videos in YouTube that teaches this. Personally, I prefer education videos for kids as it makes the learning fun and interesting for the child in me. Examples for learning the Thai consonants:

But for Thai vowels, it is a little more tricky and hard to master. For example, most Thai would assume I am a Thai person when they see me so they start conversing with me in Thai. The moment I open my mouth to speak, they could tell straight away I am not a Thai. Because I often gets the vowels and tone a little off. They can still understand me because Thai people would kinda get what a person is trying to say. I would a video below where the Thai vowels is taught from a perspective of a foreigner which I think would be quite useful:


As you get more familar with how they pronouce the words of your native language, you would start to be able to read the Thai words more proficiently.

Note: I am not that familiar with Chinese words but I apply the same principle as someone who learned Thai through English pronounciation. I would keep track like how for example common Chinese and English names are being pronounced using Thai characters. It does help to get familar with reading the Thai language in a way we can relate to.

Therefore, the next time when you are visiting Thailand, head on to the nearest SE-ED, Naiin and B2S which you can find in any shopping complex. Then go to their education or dictionary section to browse around their books tailored for Thai students to learn to speak in a language that you are familiar with. Aside from Mandarin, there are dictionaries and language learning books for other languages like Korean, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, etc. For more exotic language selections you may want to visit bookstores located in touristy areas like around Pratunam or Siam Paragon.

Let me show you an example of a picture book which is used to teach young children in schools on how to write and speak Mandarin. The book is published by Aksara for Kids (facebook: Aksara for Kids):



This publisher did other books in other series and each book cost only 35 baht.

Happy learning!

I have written further articles related to learning Thai language which you can check out from this link: Thai language main page.


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