Isaan is a variety of Lao spoken in North-Eastern Thailand. It is primarily a spoken language. There are various dialects and no universally accepted standard. This website is concerned with the variety spoken in Khon Kaen province.
On this page, I share recordings and other documents which I use to learn Isaan. It goes without saying that these materials are somewhat artificial and leave many areas of real communication uncovered. They are tailored towards my own needs and interests. While I try to be accurate, transcripts and vocabulary glosses are constantly evolving and should be taken as indicative only. Nevertheless, I hope that learners interested in Isaan will find these materials useful.
There's a tone guide with recordings explaining the tones and the spelling system used on these pages. There's also an illustration for Gedney words which can be used with other Tai varities. Then there's a dictionary with the words of the published recordings; as I publish more recordings, the dictionary will grow.
The first category of recordings are stories — unscripted narratives of memories or other experiences; stories are usually difficult and can be fast-paced. Then there are vocabulary recordings explaining or exemplifying specific words. These recordings seem to be less difficult but aren't easy either. Next are question and answer style recordings based on a set of 800 illustrations — basic vocabulary. These recordings are relatively easy, highly repetitive and a good starting point for beginners. Finally, there are recordings of communicative functions, also based on a set of illustrations and of medium difficulty.
Currently, I'm working with one speaker, Ton (M, Khon Kaen). For a brief description see the Native Speakers page.
- 2017-04-16: Basic vocabulary — laundry, smile/cry/angry, road, notebook, doctor
- 2017-04-24: Basic vocabulary — smile/cry/angry, coconut, island, house, petrol station, finger
- 2017-05-01: Basic vocabulary — taste, short/long, to pray, calendar, house/village/town, no
- 2017-05-08: Basic vocabulary — to pull, to sing, tree, sister, dead, blood, school