I think music is a useful and fun way to become familiar with a new language and that’s why I try to listen to Thai online radio as much as possible. I find that listening to Thai radio is an easy way of staying in touch with the language, especially on days when I don’t feel like studying Thai.
I’ve mainly been listening to COOL fahrenheit 93 – a pop radio station based in Bangkok. The reason I keep returning to this station is that they only play Thai music and they talk some, but not too much. Like most mainstream radio stations, COOL farenheit tends to play hits on a loop and, of course, have a lot of ads.
While I usually would try to avoid radio stations with these characteristics, I now find them useful for my learning. For a beginner learner like me, repetition is helpful. Hearing the same lyrics and ads over and over again helps me get used to the rhythm of the language and gradually understand a bit more of what they say. Understanding a word or a sentence on the radio gives me a buzz and it keeps me motivated to learn more.
While passive learning (like listening to the radio) I useful to a degree, it needs to be complemented with more formal studying. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be boring.
The other day I was looking for good online Thai resources and I came across this great website called Duengdutjai. It’s a website dedicated to promoting Thai music internationally and it’s a real gem for Thai learners.
On the website you can find, among other things, info about Thai artists and music videos. The main feature of the site, however, is that it gives you the lyrics for Thai music videos in Thai (both Thai script and romanized spelling) with the English translation underneath.
From a learner’s perspective, it’s very helpful to have the audio, the Thai script and the English translation all on the same page. This means that one can learn new vocabulary and practice reading and listening skills, while learning the lyrics for one’s favorite songs and getting an insight into the Thai culture.
At the moment, my favorite page of the website is the “Top Charts” page, where you can find videos and lyrics of current Thai hits. So far, all the songs that I’ve looked at have been familiar to me thanks to the hours I’ve spent listening to Cool fahrenheit.
There’s no doubt it will take me quite a while to be able to sing along to those tunes given my limited vocabulary and basic Thai reading skills. Nevertheless, I’ll be adding Duengdutjai to my Thai study routine from now on and I think I won’t be procrastinating as much as usual when it comes to starting my daily study sessions.
Have you used music as a resource when studying Thai? Are there any radio stations or other resources that you could recommend? I’d love to hear from you!