This past weekend Su and I had some friends over to hang out. The wife is originally from Thailand and the husband is a farang with excellent Thai language skills. I always enjoy spending time with them, certainly because they are cool people but also because I know I am going to walk away with some good Thai language learning advice and skills.

Our friends introduced us to a game designed to help me with vocabulary and basic sentence structure/grammar. We all thought it was a lot of fun and I thought it would be good to share with you as well.

I should tell you up front that the game is going to require at least two people, although having three or four people makes it much more interesting. I can understand that being difficult for some as it seems that most of us language learners do so alone. But if you have a few friends also learning Thai or, better yet, have some Thai language speakers that like games, you’ll dig this.

The game is quite similar to the old game show called The $10,000 Pyramid or the Taboo board game. If you have ever seen this show you have a pretty good idea of how the game is played.

So here we go. One person writes down five words in Thai, but make sure the third person does not see them! These words should be commensurate with your Thai skill level. If necessary, the person can also write down the English translation for each word.

It is your job to provide clues to your partner – in Thai – to help them guess what word you are looking at. You can’t use the word itself, but you can use other words and or phrases/sentences to help them guess. For example:

If the word is รถ /rót/ you might want to use clues like this:

  • vehicle
  • bus
  • taxi
  • “You sit in it and use it as transportation when you want to go somewhere.”
  • tuk-tuk

You get the idea. You can’t say the word รถ, so it can get tricky. It’s certainly a great way to see exactly how much you know and how much you don’t. For me, it showed me exactly how bad my vocabulary is and how much more I really need to learn words and their meanings. It’s also great in that it forces you to try and explain concepts and words in ways that you normally would not do.

I’m sure someone out there could probably turn this into a drinking game, too, if that’s what motivates you.