We’re excited to announce we have launched a new topic for Thai language learners — the Thai alphabet!
Previously, the course began teaching Thai learners new vocabulary right away with the help of romanization. With this new addition, you can now ease into the language by learning to read and write in Thai.
The writing system is split into three lessons, and Thai learners study the system in alphabetical order.
Learning to Read & Write
When language learners first start studying a language with a writing system different from their own, one of the first questions they often ask is — “should I learn the writing system?”
While there are exceptions (if your interest is purely basic conversation), learning to read and write in your language is always advisable.
Here are just a few reasons why:
- More resources. When you learn to read and write in your language, you immediately have access to more language learning resources, books and tools. While resources with romanizations exist (the conversion of a different writing system into roman letters — those used by the English alphabet — and others), there are far more available to you when you don’t need to rely on romanization to progress in the language.
- Your pronunciation improves. When you’re reading the romanized version of a language, you’re only getting an approximation of how the language sounds. There are often sounds in languages that don’t exist in English, and so the romanized systems do what they can to represent these sounds, but don’t always do so accurately. When you learn the writing system for your language, you learn how each of the characters or letters are pronounced, and thus, are able to better pronounce the language.
- Your listening comprehension improves. Again, when you are more intimately knowledgeable about the sounds produced in a language, you are better able to process what you hear. And when you can distinguish differences in pronunciation, especially small ones, you better understand what you’re hearing.
- You can start using native material sooner. Is there a Thai TV show you’d love to watch and make part of your study routine? Having the ability to read the subtitles in Thai and write down the phrases you hear opens up this possibility sooner. This also means you can start reading in the language and begin getting comprehensible input.
The Thai Alphabet
The Thai alphabet includes 44 unique consonant letters and 15 vowel symbols. Though often referred to as an alphabet, the Thai writing system isn’t actually an alphabet. Rather, it’s an abugida. A writing system in which the consonants and vowels are a single unit rather than separate units like in English. That means along with writing systems for languages like Khmer, Tamil, and Javanese, Thai uses a system where “consonant-vowel sequences are written as a unit”.*
Considered to be the first language to use markers to indicate tone in its orthography, the Thai writing system has been used since the 1200s and its creation of the system is attributed to King Ramkhamhaeng the Great.
Don’t Let Typing Slow You Down
Learning to type in a language is a skill in and of itself. When you’re trying to learn a new writing system, the last thing you want to do is get slowed down by trying to figure out where an unfamiliar character or letter is on a keyboard. It can be extremely demotivating.
With Drops, you don’t need to worry about any of this.
Designed to create an interactive and immersive learning experience, you learn Thai through a series of intuitive swipes and taps. You’ll quickly gain the ability to read and write in Thai, without the frustration of having to figure out where ฎ or ศ is on your keyboard.
We’ve designed Drops so that you can focus on what’s important — the language.
If you’re ready to begin your Thai learning journey, we’re here to support you drop by drop. Are you ready to play with your words? Or in this case, letters?
Drops: the new way to easily learn a language that combines engaging and fun word games with beautiful design. Learn up to 30 languages with fun, visual games. Try the fastest-growing language app in the world for free on iOS or Android.
This post originally appeared on the Drops blog on Medium.