1. You will learn all the sounds of the Thai alphabet
Roman alphabet based languages don’t cover all the sounds we have in Thai.
Especially the vowels. They sound very familiar to one another and some of them are even impossible to actually write phonetically.
Learning how to read is the best way to learn and interpret all the Thai sounds.
Further, as Thai script is based on tones, you will be forced to work on them closely and that will help improve your pronunciation.
It is possible to speak Thai fluently without knowing how to read. However, it is very hard to speak Thai like a native speaker without reading.
2. You will know exactly how to pronounce each word
Thai is a phonetic language which means there is a direct relationship between the spelling and the sound.
You can look at a written word and know how to pronounce it exactly, or hear a word and know how to spell it.
So when you read Thai you will never have to guess at words and their tones again. You can work it all out in your head!
3. You will expand your vocabulary enormously
If you’re living in Thailand and learn to read and write Thai then your daily environment becomes a language lesson.
Every sign you see, menu or advertising billboard can teach you new things.
You will begin to learn new words just by reading for yourself.
The more interactions you have with a word then the easier they are to remember.
If you write it, read it and speak it you will more likely remember it whenever you hear it spoken.
And remember – increasing your vocabulary by reading and writing will cause an increase in your ability to communicate in spoken Thai.
4. You will be more independent in Thailand
This one is simple.
When you can read everything it’s easy to work out the menu in restaurants and help yourself with it, order what you want, do what you want and communicate with whoever you need to.
In day to day life you can read your housing contracts, bills and receipts to check you’re not being overcharged or something is wrong.
If you do any business in Thailand then speaking the language, being able to read emails and knowing what’s going on around you is essential.
5. You will feel more part of Thailand
If you live in Thailand and can’t read and write Thai then you’re illiterate and that’s not something you’d ever want in your own country!
But think about it this way – you can’t read the local news, you can’t interpret social media, read up on events, get the true facts and form an opinion.
If you can’t read and write then you’ll always be relying on the opinions of others.
And let’s be honest… Many Thai people can be quite shy to speak and write English. How great would it be to communicate with your Thai friends in person or other Facebook or Line in their own language?
You will suddenly find you are more involved with your Thai friends and feel more included.