By western standards, the Thai alphabet isn’t easy. Actually, by anyone’s standards, it’s tough. We here at WoWasis found learning the Arabic alphabet comparatively easy. But not Thai, with its 44 consonants, and 32 vowels and vowel combinations. That’s why we love the “Learn Thai” flashcards made by Lanna Innovation Company, Ltd. You can buy them at virtually every Thai bookstore.
They come in two card decks, purchased separately. ‘44 Thai Consonant Cards’ come in a green pack, and ’43 Thai Vowel Cards’ is purchased in an orange pack. They’re terrific.
Each plasticized card is the size of a standard playing card has two sides. The “gau-gai” consonant card is a great example of how the system works. One side is in Thai, showing the written form of the letter, with arrows showing how to write it properly. “Gau” and “gai” are written in Thai script, along with a “break box” showing the movement of the tone, along with the graphic of the chicken, with the letter represents in the alphabet. On the reverse side of the card, “gau,” “gai,” and “chicken” are all written in English, as is the term ”mid-consonant,” indicating its tonal value. There are also two boxes showing proper tongue placement and tone production and aspiration.
Immediately into the consonant deck, we were rewarded with cards describing the five Thai consonants that correspond to the English “K” sound. Three were listed in the dictionary we use, Mike Simpson’s terrific “3-in-1” English-Thai dictionary. Two variations weren’t in the dictionary, though, and the tiny script in the dictionary makes it difficult to recognize the slight variation in the written form. So these cards are comprehensive.
The cards are not sold on-line (don’t use the shopping cart on the website: it doesn’t work), so you have to buy this great card set in Thailand. Each pack is 250 baht, so 500 baht for the set, about $15 USD. So buy these in Thailand, take them home, and put them on your coffee table. They’re wonderful to shuffle through at random, and a great way to stay in touch with the Thai alphabet when you’re away from the country.