Language Centre

Thai Beginners Course

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Key information

1 term per sub-level; 10 weeks per term
Attendance mode
Part-time, online/blended learning

Course overview

Course aim

This course introduces basic grammatical concepts, essential vocabulary and key aspects of pronunciation, with a particular focus on being able to work out the correct tones and pronounce them accurately. You will have opportunities to practise communicating in Thai on daily topics (see course content below), listen for the gist of a short conversation, write in Thai and read basic passages in Thai script. As the course progresses, it aims to provide you with further confidence and vocabulary to discuss more complex topics, write and read more challenging texts in the language. This course is delivered by the Language Centre.


The course covers the four skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing. The reading and writing exercises are designed to fast-track students to being able to read Thai script accurately. Students will also get to practise conversational skills by acting out pre-written dialogues and customising them. You are expected to attend regularly, participate in class and complete homework regularly to ensure learning progress. 

This will be achieved through 20 hours of blended learning: this is composed of 15 hours of online structured lessons with the teacher. This is supplemented by a minimum of 5 hours of guided independent learning supported by complementary material. The course objective will be achieved within the 10-week course.


Beginners 1-3 has a compulsory textbook: Complete Thai: Teach Yourself David Smyth (2017)
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1444101911.

Course materials are not included in the course fee and can be purchased from the SOAS bookshop
We strongly recommend waiting until your course is confirmed before purchasing the textbook.

Entry requirements and progression route

For the first stage of Thai Beginners (i.e. Beginners 1), no previous knowledge is required. To be able to join Beginners 2 or 3 you should have completed Beginners 1 and 2 respectively at SOAS Language Centre or have an equivalent knowledge of guided learning hours (20 hours per each sub-level). The progression route from Thai Beginners 1 is to Thai Beginners 2; from Beginners 2 to Beginners 3. Upon successful completion of Thai Beginners 3 you will be able to progress to the Elementary level course in Thai.

Please note, that each term, courses are subject to quorum requirements.

For course dates and information, please see our timetables


Thai Beginners 1

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • use greetings and farewells
  • introduce yourself
  • ask yes/no questions
  • talk about work and study
  • deal with numbers in Thai
  • ask polite questions
  • ask for and give directions
  • talk to a taxi driver
  • ask about prices
  • shop at a market
  • buy food from street vendors
  • go clothes shopping
  • bargain with vendors

Thai Beginners 2

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • order food and drink in restaurants
  • describe where things are located
  • ask other people where things are located
  • describe your food preferences and requirements
  • express your opinions about food (e.g. too sweet/too spicy)
  • politely decline things such as offers of food or cigarettes
  • ask if things have happened yet and respond to such questions
  • talk about things you do and do not want to do
  • talk about what you are and are not able to do
  • talk about your ability to speak languages
  • respond to ‘why’ questions
  • talk about your experience learning Thai
  • talk about your siblings and family members
  • ask other people about their siblings and family members
  • talk about marriage

Thai Beginners 3

By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • tell people you do or do not understand
  • ask other people what things mean
  • understand negative commands
  • talk about things in the past
  • talk about past experiences
  • talk about the city you live in
  • talk about travel arrangements
  • ask about time
  • book train tickets
  • book a hotel room
  • talk about days of the week
  • politely ask someone to do something for you
  • rent an apartment
  • describe actions that will take place in the near future
  • talk about months, seasons and specific dates

The above is an indication of content that may be covered over the duration of the course but it could vary depending on the level and progress of students in the class.

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Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules

See the full list of Language Centre short courses in Thai on the Thai homepage

Related information

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