The 6 shortcuts to mastering any language quickly

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How I learnt Thai

Ispent 3 years in Thailand before learning my first word (other than Hello and Thank You). I’m terrible with new languages and simply do not learn by frequent exposure to them. My memory is simply non-existent when it comes to remembering new words. You can tell me what something means 10 times in a single day and I still have to ask an 11th.

How did I then become fluent in both reading and speaking Thai?


6. Don’t Bother with Grammar & Rules!

This goes for studying any language, but rings particularly true when it comes to Thai. If you’ve heard someone from Bangkok speak English you’ve long since realized they speak pigeon English. This is by and large because their own language is extremely simple. Here’s an example:

THE PHRASE : I want to go to a restaurant 

LITERALLY BECOMES:   Want go shop-food  | yak bpai ran-ahan | อยากไปร้านอาหาร

The ‘I’, ‘to’ and ‘a’ are redundant. The 7 word English sentence becomes 3 once translated. It’s therefore a very simplistic language. Now you know why the people of Siam sound so childish when they speak English. Yes, their language has rules, like any language, but you’ll pick them up simply by doing.

No student of any language should ever bother learning rules

They confuse and complicate things. Children don’t learn to speak by envisioning a table or chart in their head before saying something. Neither should you!

I studied German for 5 years trying to learn the proper structure, endings, conjugations and so on.  With both Thai and English (I’m Norwegian), I took a completely different approach.

RESULT: I have taught classes at the University level in both Thai and English. As for German, I couldn’t string a sentence together even if my life depended on it.

So what is the fastest way to learn a new language?


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