Using Mnemonics To Learn The Thai Alphabet

You might be wondering what mnemonics are and why they are important for learning a language.  Let’s go ahead and break down how and why you should use mnemonics to learn the Thai script.


The Old Way To Learn Thai Reading

Let’s consider how most people learn the Thai alphabet:

  1. Get a chart with all of the consonants (divided into their classes) and the various long vowels and short vowels
  2. Read over all 70+ letters and do their best to remember the sounds, classes, and lengths
  3. Repeat daily
  4. Eventually remember most of the letters

This is a really inefficient way to learn how to read and doesn’t take advantage of our current knowledge about how we memorize information.


The New Way To Learn Using Mnemonics

Mnemonics are devices that are used to improve learning and memory by associating new information with something meaningful that we’ve already encoded in memory.  We will memorize the entire Thai alphabet much faster if we can take each new bit of information and associate it with something that we already know.

In the table below we can see a few of the Thai middle class consonants and quickly memorize their pronunciation by pairing them with an object that we already know.  The Thai alphabet does have a few odd letters, so sometimes the associated object might require you to use your imagination.  If some or all of my mnemonics don’t work for you, you’re welcome to come up with your own associations.

Thai LetterPronunciationMnemonic
gGoose looking to the left
dDoor on a hobbit house
bBucket that you use to carry water

Now if you just tried to memorize these three letters without associating them with any item from your memory it probably wouldn’t be too difficult.  It gets hard when you try to learn an entire new alphabet full of strange symbols including some that are quite similar to each other.

Pairing a real item from your life with each new letter is a great way to quickly and easily commit them to long term memory.  If you don’t want to write your own mnemonics, I’ve included them for all of the Thai letters in both Pocket Thai Master and Pocket Thai Reading which you can check out on the download page.

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