Basic words in a new language

Inge Wallin inge at
Sun Aug 4 11:36:26 UTC 2013


As some of you may know I am trying to learn to speak Thai right now.  I have 
used a number of apps on my Android phone to learn the alphabet and to be able 
to read. I also have some vocabulary (flashcard) apps that I downloaded for 
free.  But to get from the starting point to the serious word lists I need to 
pay for the full versions.

I have nothing against that in principle but I thought why not use the great 
tools from KDE instead?  So I started to compile a list of the 500 most 
important words that you need in order to function in a foreign society and be 
able to comment on matters in your daily life.  I have attached a kvtml file 
with the current selection of words.  I am working with my fiancee, who is 
thai, to fill in the thai side of the file so don't comment on that (if you 
don't want to add translations of course).

This list of words could also be used for other languages, perhaps with some 
minor changes. For instance, Thai differs between "I" spoken as a male (phom) 
and "I" spoken by anybody else (chan). Most other languages don't do that but 
they have other peculiarities instead.

But I worry that I am missing some categories of words that are necessary, 
such as common verbs or small interjections or things like that.  I would be 
very grateful for feedback from people who have recently learnt a new 

I am aware that vocabulary alone is not enough and that you need grammar and 
common phrases too.  But that is not the issue that I try to address with this 
vocabulary file.  Maybe I should create one with phrases too which complements 
the words alone.

When I am done with this, I will donate the file to KDE or upload it to GHNS 
and continue with step 2, the next 500 words.

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