I guess I cannot not
react to this post… so let me quickly explain the idea.
Thai Recordings is a niche product aimed at higher intermediate learners of Thai. I hired a student to do recordings, and I also got audio donations from two online teachers. I provided these people with a long list of everyday topics, e.g., ‘cats’, ‘giving a present’, ‘cleaning the house’, ‘going to the dentist’, ’diarrhea’, ‘learning to swim’, ‘ghosts’ etc., and let them choose freely. My only request was to produce sets of three recordings of about 5 minutes each on the same topic. Otherwise there was no further guidance.
It turned out that all three were very good story tellers who frequently talked about funny or interesting experiences. Sometimes the three recordings were part of a larger story, but often they were unrelated and focused on different aspects of the given topic.
Then I passed the recordings on to a fourth person to do the transcripts. I tried to get very accurate transcripts capturing the spoken nature of the recordings as closely as possible. I also did a lot of proof-reading myself to ensure that everything was ok (and learned a lot about Thai spelling this way
). Finally I put all of that on a website for others to download. I don’t have many visitors, but of the few I have a surprisingly large percentage contact me to tell me how they use the recordings.
The target audience are higher intermediate learners who want to bridge the gap between learners’ materials and native media. Thai Recordings is natural spoken Thai without any regards to teaching the language, but the fact that there are relatively accurate transcripts and clearly defined topics helps a lot to ease the transition to native media.
I had the idea a bit earlier in my studies. Initially, I commissioned similar recordings - without the copyright agreement and without transcripts - from one of the online teachers. I used the material to improve my listening comprehension. Incidentally, I also learned a lot about Thai culture and how Thais think. Only at a later point it occurred to me that others might be interested as well, so I started the project, this time with the appropriate copyright agreement, and I added transcription so that people who aren’t as comfortable with a spoken-language approach would find the project useful as well. This triggered a second and very intense phase of learning because now I had to check and correct the transcripts carefully. This forced me to listen very closely and also to learn Thai spelling which is fairly conservative and can be complex.
In total, there are about 10 hours of recordings with transcripts online. From what I hear, there still seems to be the need for material like this; Thai is a shamefully underserved when it comes to material for intermediate learners. Other people have used the material already, for instance for a corpus analysis, and to provide something like listening-reading with translations.