A practice of "Love Thai language" Club at the Dien Bien Boarding High School. (photo: baodantoc.vn)
Lo Thi Kim of the Dien Bien Boarding High School has dreamed of developing a software program for the self-study of Thai since she entered the 10th grade. When she was at grade 12, Kim and her schoolmates organized a “Love Thai language” club. Two years later their teachers worked with them to build a website called "hocchuthai.com" for the self-study of Thai.
With the support of some Thai culture researchers, they developed a lively website. Lo Thi Kim said: “Our learners are mainly Thai people, who can speak the Thai language well. Now they are learning to read and write, and translate between Vietnamese and Thai. For other learners, we have lessons on pronunciation and writing from basic to advanced level.”
The website "hocchuthai.com" teaches pronunciation phonetically. In the first year, it has attracted about 100 users, some Thai and some from other ethnic groups. They can study anytime from anywhere via a computer or smart phone.
Le Thanh Long, an IT and Thai language teacher said: “The project has limited funding from the school and a few donors. We hope to receive more donations and feedback to help us develop the website and promote it to Thai people in other provinces.”
In the 2019-2020 academic year, Dien Bien Boarding High School has 590 pupils of 17 ethnic groups. Nearly half of them are Thai.
Pham Le Thanh, the school’s Rector, said Thai pupils can speak the Thai language very well but 95% of them can’t read or write. The website helps them enlarge their languages skills: “At first the website was just a club for a few pupils. They started getting other schoolmates to join. We hope to get more funding to maintain the website.”
The Thai language is difficult to read and write. Thai people use the spoken language much more than writing. The pupils say they would be illiterate if they didn’t practice writing.