ThaiPod101 Review - Live Fluent

ThaiPod101 Review

Review of: Thaipod101

Use: Learn Thai through podcast based lessons. Use features like flashcards and wordlists to review what you’ve learned.

Effectives

Engaging podcasts help you learn words in context. But you'll have to practice speaking on your own

Price

Free content and monthly plans at $4 to $47 per month

Time Commitment

Each podcast is around 15 minutes long.

Ease of Use

Digital immersion without the tedious work

Structure

Podcasts are sorted by level of difficulty and subject.

I Like

  • Over 1,200 podcast lessons
  • Free content and affordable price
  • Lessons are fun and interesting
  • Built in flashcard system

I Don't Like

  • No speaking required
  • Limited community features

Summary: Thaipod101 is a go to learning tool for Thai, especially for beginner and intermediate learners. For a monthly subscription you can access to a full on Thai course centered around audio lessons (aka podcasts). You can work through each podcast in order according to difficulty, or you can browse through all the levels and listen to any lesson you want.

Subscriptions run from about $4 to $47 per month. The higher the price of the subscription the more features come with it. I think the highest subscription level is a bit over priced, but the two lower levels are a good deal.

As far as courses go Thaipod101 is a great way to engage with the language and listen to native speakers. The lessons are also good for picking up vocabulary and grammar as well. There is also a slow playback feature which allows you to compare your pronunciation to the speaker, a feature not available in most Thai courses.  

Thaipod101 is available online and mobile via their app. With a free limited account and free 7 day full trial I recommend you test the site yourself before signing up for a subscription. There’s no payment info required so it’s pretty easy to do.

Subscription plans starting at $4 per month (Free plan available too)

Is Thaipod101 right for you?

Novices and mid level learners will probably enjoy Thaipod101 the most. They offer content to more proficient students but the bulk of it is for intermediates and beginners.

Good audio resources for Thai can be hard to come by. Thaipod101 is one of the rare audio type courses that you can use to practice listening to native Thai speakers. Each podcast episode features a conversation between two speakers, and you can use the lesson script and slow play to develop your “Thai ear".

Thaipod101 is also a great option if you want a new and novel way of learning grammar and vocabulary. The lessons typically do a good job of keeping things interesting.

The site is also an ideal option if you’re looking for a way to study Thai throughout the day. All site content can be accessed through Thaipod101’s mobile app (for Iphone, Ipad, and Android).

Features​

Podcast episodes

Thaipod101, more than anything, is a Thai learning podcast. Each episode is built around a Thai conversation that incorporates a specific aspect of Thai grammar, a cultural insight, and or useful Thai phrase. The episode can be anywhere from 5 to 15+ minutes long.  

Thaipod101 provides well structured lessons around difficulty level and subject

Lifelike situations

The Thai conversations featured in the podcast are always centered in some sort of daily situation. This helps keep the vocabulary relevant so that you learn words and phrases you could really use if you went Thailand.

Episodes are personal & interesting

Every episode has two hosts who introduce and explain the lesson. They’ll typically dissect the Thai conversation and explain what’s going on behind the scenes be it grammatically or culturally. They also put their personality into the mix by occasionally sharing stories and fun facts.

​Tools & Resources

Thaipod101 also includes a group of additional tools and resources to help you learn Thai. Some are more general like a dictionary, word lists, grammar charts, etc. It’s certainly convenient to have these all in one place. There are three tools are especially worth noting: The flashcards, playback, and lesson transcripts. Note: you can only access these if you have a premium or premium plus subscription. 

Flashcards

Thaipod101 uses spaced repetition flashcards to help you review what you’ve learned. You can create your own review deck from the words of each lesson. It’s a quick painless process. It’s not hard to build a good sized deck in a minute or two.

Playback

One of the challenges of Thai is being able to hear and understand words in the context of a full sentence or conversation. Thaipod101’s playback feature lets you isolate each word from the conversation and play it back at a slower speed. This will help you stitch the sounds of each word together and develop your listening and pronunciation abilities.

Transcripts

Thaipod101 provides full transcripts of their podcast so that you can read along with the dialogues or use them to review and create your own phrase lists.You can also use the transcripts to check the spelling and script of the spoken Thai you hear. 

Price

Subscriptions​

There are 3 monthly subscription options for Thaipod101: a basic level, a premium level, and a premium plus level. The more months you purchase upfront the less you pay per month.

The basic level costs $8 for a single month ($4 per month for 24 months). With basic you receive every podcast episode. This is the bare bones plan. 

The premium level is next at $25 for a single month ($10 per month at 24 months). If you decide to buy premium you will get podcast and the tool and resource features. The valuable advantage here is the lesson transcripts.

Premium plus is last at $47 for a single month ($22.88 a month for 24 months). If you purchase premium plus you will get everything from the premium level as well as advice and help from a Thai tutor. 

Which subscription is better?

The basic if the safest bet. The price is pretty good considering the quality of the podcast lessons (remember you get all of them). The premium subscription is notable too. The tools and resources are useful if you think you’ll use them. The premium plus is the last pick of the three. The price is pretty high considering what you get. For the same cost you could get the basic subscription as well as two lessons with a Thai tutor on Italki.

The limitations of Thaipod101

Speaking Thai isn’t necessary

Thaipod101 is best used as tool and not a full on language learning method. Using the podcast will improve your Thai but if you want to be fluent you will have to put the podcast down and venture to speak with actual Thai speakers. Learn all you can from Thaipod101, just don’t forget to apply what you learn. 

Best way to use Thaipod101​

Study & review

Thaipod101 is a great way to practice your Thai everyday. By itself it’s not enough to bring you to fluency, but it does go well alongside other courses and classes. Try listening to an episode everyday, taking a few moments to make and review flashcards. If you do you’re likely to see your skills the Thai language improve. 

Listening & pronunciation​

Use the slow playback and lesson transcriptions to demystify spoken Thai and its pronunciation. Take the words you find difficult to hear or understand and play them back slowly and try to distinguish each individual sound and then do your best to copy the accent when you speak. 

Learn Thai anywhere

Because Thaipod101 is essentially a podcast, you can take listen to it anywhere and practice Thai. This is nice for when you find yourself driving to work, in line at the bank, or on your lunch break. ​

Conclusion

Thai isn’t the most popular language to learn so resources for it can be scant. Thaipod101 stands as a solid tool to help your learn the language and improve your skills. Whether you want to learn pronunciation, vocabulary, or grammar Thaipod101 has got you covered. Don’t forget that you will need to practice with native speakers because Thaipod101 doesn’t require you to speak any Thai. We also recommend that you use Thaipod101 along with a course or Thai class because the site isn’t strong on structure. 

There are a lot of subscription options for Thaipod101 and at the basic level it’s a great deal. They offer a free 7 day trial of the site (no credit card necessary), so go try it out for yourself!

About the Author Chris J

I'm definitely an unlikely language learner. I failed Spanish in high school. I started learning German as a hobby while studying abroad. Long story short...and a couple languages later...I love language learning!

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