Learn Thai Podcast is the best home learning Thai language course I have found yet. You can download a free demo from their website www.learn-thai-podcast.com to try it out. It costs $197 to downoad all the content and have a years support from the staff atLearn Thai Podcast. Although it states on the website that $197 is their current promotional price, don’t feel like you need to hurry up and buy it before the offer ends – it has been $197 for at least the last two years ;p
What you get:
There really are enough lessons with Learn Thai Podcast to keep you occupied for years: The beginners section contains an ever-growing selection of 300+ vocabulary lessons, 40+ of each Grammar, Review and Conversation lessons. The vocabulary lessons only last a few minutes, while the grammar, review and conversation lessons can last between 10 and 20 minutes.
In the Intermediate section of Learn Thai Podcast, there are 70+ lessons of each Vocabulary, Grammar, Review and conversation lessons. And then there are even more lessons in the advanced section which I can’t comment on so much as I haven’t got there yet! As well as these lessons there are also some writing theory lessons. Altogether, there are something like 800+ video and audio lessons on Learn Thai Podcast, all of a reasonable length.
Is Learn Thai Podcast any good? Review:
The downside of Learn Thai Podcast
The vocabulary lessons in Learn Thai Podcast tend to cover a group of about 8 – 10 new words from a specific topic. I found I never really used these lessons so much as they tend to be quite boring and repetitve… literally just one word repeated after another, and I personally find that kind of learning to be a complete waste of time as my brain does not associate the words with the meanings if I just learn them from a meaningless list.
The conversation lessons on Learn Thai Podcast, I also found to be a little useless. Conversation lesson 1 for example, was a clip from a Thai movie; the dialogue was very complex and the speakers talked very fast and slurred. It was not a good lesson for a complete beginner let alone someone with a reasonably good understanding of Thai! I found all of the conversations to be like this – too fast and of low quality recording. Jo, the speaker in all the other lesson recordings, consistently spoke very clearly and concisely, so it was just way too big a jump in speed to be able to understand. They also just seemed haphazardly slapped on the end of the other lessons, completely unrelated in content. It would have been so much better if they had been in some way connected to the other lessons and vocabulary to reinforce everything already learned, but instead I found these Learn Thai Podcast lessons to be quite frustrating and demoralizing.
Last but not least, the monotonous tone of the Learn Thai Podcast speaker, and the methodical sometimes soulless approach did get a bit much sometimes and I got really quite bored with it. Sometimes I needed to take a break for a few weeks before I could go back to it. My boyfriend couldnt even cope with 1 lesson, he found it to be so dull. So if you need something a little more fun and colourful to help keep you motivated, Learn Thai Podcast might not be for you.
The pros of Learn Thai Podcast
Well despite the vocabulary and conversation lessons being a wee bit useless to me, the other lessons of Learn Thai Podcast were so useful to me and so plentiful that it totally made up for this! The grammar lessons introduce grammar rules and put them into example sentences, breaking down each sentence structure word by word. They are very in depth and cover a wide range of useful words and sentences. The review lessons are basically just a recap of the grammar lessons. The first half, you will hear sentences and be given a chance to translate what was said. The second half, you will be given a sentence in English and then be given the chance to say it in Thai.
What I love the most about Learn Thai Podcast is the structured and thoroughness of it’s syllabus. No details are left out of the grammar lessons and everything is explained from scratch. If you are a methodical and structured learner, these lessons will be great for you. I find other courses and books to just gloss over some rules and leave you scratching your head wondering why it is the way it is. Even going to my Thai school, I found Learn Thai Podcast was much more useful and in depth than my lessons there and I see a lot of other students becoming frustrated at that sort of thing all the time.
Although I could not understand much of the conversation lessons from Learn Thai Podcast, the ones I did do were actually quite useful in that they focused on real Thai speech – slang and casual speech patterns, ending particles and that sort of thing. Most learning materials don’t seem to cover this. Lastly, for tones, it is also incredibly useful. There are just 2 x 20 minute lessons at the start which cover the tones, but I listened to them and practised them over and over again until I could recognize them and they really did help a lot. In fact, I get told quite often that my pronounciation of the tones is very clear! I still can’t hold a conversation in Thai but I can pronounce my tones that’s for sure!
$197? Best $197 I ever spent. I’m still not great at Thai, I’ll be honest… but that’s mainly down to my own personal problems with my squirrel-like brain… I would no way have come as far as I have with my studies if it was not for Learn Thai Podcast. If you can do a Learn Thai Podcast lesson everyday or as often as you can, it will help reinforce your understanding of Thai so much that it will become more natural and ingrained into your mind. So unless you are the kind of person who easily loses enthusiasm and interest (especially if you don’t have pretty pictures and colours to mix things up a bit), then go for it. I think Learn Thai Podcast is the best course out there by far.