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The Essentials


  • The course uses an IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) based transcription scheme. If you're not familiar with the scheme you can read about it here.
  • If you want to hide the IPA, you can click on the checkbox labelled "Show IPA" on the top right of each page.


  • To play sound requires a modern browser (Internet Explorer 9 or later, Opera 10 or later).
  • Opera users may find that the sound doesn't work. This is because not all Opera installations can play .mp3 sound files. The easiest solution is to switch to a different browser.


  • The website relies very heavily upon Javascript (a programming language). If your browser doesn't support Javascript (which is unlikely), or you have Javascript switched off, you will be directed to a non-Javascript version of the same content but with more limited functionality.

The Course's Origins

The FSI Thai Basic Course, Volumes I and II, provides introductory materials in modern spoken Thai for the student who wants to learn to speak and understand the language used by an estimated 20 to 22 million people in Thailand.

The programmed introduction to the Thai phonology which comprises the first 25 pages of Volume I is the work of Warren G. Yates, chairman of the Department of East Asian Languages at the Foreign Service Institute. Dr. Yates and Absorn Tryon, Thai language instructor at FSI, are co-authors of the 40 lessons comprising the core of the course.

In the early stages of the project Richard B. Noss, then chairman of the FSI Department of East Asian Languages made valuable suggestions. The authors have made extensive use of Dr. Noss’s Thai Reference Grammar in the preparation of these volumes, and users will find that they are often referred to for fuller explanations.

Mr. Prapas Kanchanandul contributed drills and assisted in matters of Thai language usage. Mrs. Tryon re-read the entire text of both volumes in Thailand in late 1969 and suggested changes to make the materials current.

Mrs. Phongchan Nabangchang collected and organized the items in the glossaries which appear at the end of each lesson and the comprehensive glossary for both volumes which appears at the end of Volume I. Irma C. Ponce typed the camera copy of the entire text while Miss Chotchai Kambhu, Mr. Prasert Crupiti and Mr. Thaworn Jimreivat assisted in proofreading, having previously participated in the classroom trials of the new materials in pre-publication form. Thai language textual material was tape recorded in the FSI Language Laboratory under the direction of Gary Alley with technical assistance from Jose M. Ramirez and Arthur Young.

The Foreign Service Institute gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the U.S. Office of Education which has made the preparation and publication of these volumes possible.

James R. Frith, Dean
School of Language Studies
Foreign Services Institute
Department of State

About the Project

This online course started as the "Thai Language Wiki" project. Its first goal was to convert the FSI (Foreign Service Institute) Thai language course into text, add Thai language for all transliterations/phonetics script, and link in the sound files (FSI Thai is a high-quality language course in the public domain).

We are convinced that the result will be a language course that can augment, and might be even better than some (rather expensive) commercial products.

At this moment not many people are using this course for several reasons:

  • Created on a typewriter, the layout is old fashioned.
  • It contains no Thai script.
  • Some dialogues are outdated.
  • It is not being actively promoted.

The FSI Language course has several strong points:

  • It uses a very systematic way of teaching.
  • There are hundreds of exercises in the course.
  • The course book is perfect for classroom use, but also for individual use.
  • There is a lot of audio material available.

How do we work?

  • Our working platform is a "wiki". This is a kind of web-site that can be edited by many people at the same time. You don't need to be a computer expert to use it.
  • We might convert the information into other electronics formats, like PDF later.

What do you get from helping?

  • The opportunity to practise your Thai.
  • The opportunity to work with new technologies (wiki).
  • The opportunity to give something to something back to the Thai learners community.
  • A free high quality language course.
  • Eternal fame!

Who can help?

  • Anyone with a bit a free time and an interest in Thai language.
  • You don't need to be able to type Thai. You can work on the English part.
  • If you don't know how to use a wiki, you can use the templates we prepared for you.

The project is now hosted here, at

The editing contributors have been:

Ana Kravitz:
Rick B:
Kris Willems:
David Rubin:
Magnoy S: [1] (dead link)
Rikker Dockum: [2]
Stuart G Towns: [3]
Catherine Wentworth: [4]

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