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What Level Of Speaking And Writing Thai Are You At?


KunMatt
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Speaking: Fluent to the point where people are shocked.

Hearing: I can follow everything except the news and "royal speak".

Reading: A wee bit. I can read road signs and warning signs.

Writing: Nope

How I got there: My mom is Thai, yet most mixed races, in fact everyone I know, don't speak Thai. Thai-Dutch: nope, Thai-Japanese: nope, Thai-Swiss: nope.

I think it's because I was raised with a close bond to momma, and a Thai maid.

When I spent a year in school here, the Thai reading and writing teacher was actually a farang.

But wait! That's not all! I did my drivers license in Bangkok. The person who taught me to drive... had one arm.

Edited by Stan42
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  • 2 months later...

1. What level am I at (speaking Thai)

I would say very basic .. Enough to have basic conversation, buy food, ask for things ect. Understand more than I can speak

Another thing: I notice is I understand Thai and speak it alot better when I'm drunk, when I went back last year I was have straight conversations about my life to strangers at the wedding I attended.

2. Read or write

Not at all.

3. How long have I been learning

Well, I never tried to learn it, this was something I needed to do to get by in Thailand while living there, I've been exposed majorly to the language for 3 years total (by that I mean, you could live anywhere but leave the country not knowing anything about it or the language, unless YOU Want to learn), but actually tried to really learn and remember words and teach myself (talk with mom (in Thai not in English) & the ex wife) PROBALLY less than 2 month total.

4. How do I learn?

Talk and listen.

I did have a phrase book those do nothing, due to the tones, so unless you talk with a local you'll never know if your saying it right.

5. Other langauges I speak.

Just English.

Edited by Skeetjones
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  • 2 months later...

1. What level are you at?

Intermediate, but with patchy fluency as I only lived in Thailand for a year and 3 months and have done most of my learning out of the country. My other-half is Thai but prefers to speak English, so I 'know' a lot more than I regularly use in proper conversation.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes, but not at any speed and with big vocabulary holes. I got my laptop in Korea, and didn't want to muck up the keys with stickers, so can actually touch type in Thai - albeit extremely slowly! The only time I type is if I'm looking up words in an online dictionary or entering new cards in Anki (a spaced repetition flash card programme, mentioned elsewhere in this thread).

I've recently been trying to read The Daily News as often as possible, but I'm still at the regular trips to the dictionary stage and only do one article a day (on the days that I even read it)! That said, I can usually skim through and get the gist fairly easily before I go back and try to understand each sentence in detail with dictionary back-up. I occasionally put the Thai subtitles on when I'm watching a film, but that sort of speed reading is beyond me at present. One day...

3. How long have you been learning for?

I started 5 years ago, have been learning in earnest for about 3, and reasonably effectively for probably the last 2. Like a lot of language learners (or learners of anything), I'd do things a lot differently if I started again. Which, of course, is all part of the 'learning'! Learning and speaking more Thai when I actually lived in Thailand would be top of the list, followed by using Anki consistently from the start.

4. How did you learn?

I picked up bits and bobs from around and about for the first 6 months, spent 20 hours having 1:1 lessons (which got me my 'letters' and made my pronunciation mostly understandable) then had probably a couple of years going at the Benjawan Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced books, plus her first couple of 'Speak Like a Thai' CDs, dabbling with the Learn Thai Podcast (LTP) videos and dipping in and out of Anki. I had a few months going at Thai kids books (the workbooks they use in Thai schools), but didn't really get on with them as the vocabulary they were teaching me didn't suit the real life context I want (although if I do need to ask for a long, tapering, black scythe to chase the field frog through the ditch, I should now be alright).

The last two years I've got into a routine of using Anki more or less daily, first with some decks which I got as part of the LTP package and then adding my own from the Benjawan CDs, the Higbie/Thinsan Grammar book (bought 2 years ago - I'm up to page 100 out of 400-odd! Although I have learned all the classifiers from the back), the LTP vids and stuff I pick up from the newspaper and soaps. I also have a little pad I jot random words down on whenever I think of something I'd like to say in Thai that I don't know, and once I've filled a page I sit down with the dictionary and stick them in Anki.

I realised I wasn't getting enough Thai listening practice about a year ago (or that's when I first started doing something about it, anyway!) and started donwloading lakorn off youtube.They're on there in around 10 minute chunks, so I alternate with and without English subs, which works really well. I find that with the subs I can work out what they're actually saying in Thai most of the time, less so without. That said, there are 10 minute chunks where I seem to pick up nearly every word, and others where they might as well be speaking Burmese!

The regular reading of a newspaper is a newish thing, but a great vocabulary builder, and when I go from reading an article back to reading sentences, words and phrases in Anki, my improvement in reading 'fluency' is very noticable.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

School-boy French (which is now being bullied out by the Thai - anyone else finding that?). Native English.

I think the main thing I've come to appreciate through this process and would tell anyone starting out learning Thai is that you don't learn 'a language'. You learn some of it. And you should appreciate what you have achieved and can understand rather than constantly beating yourself up over what you don't know.

When I think of how far I've come, especially as someone who spent his school days and 20s horribly resistant to the idea of learning a foreign language, not least because I didn't think I'd be able to, I'm proud of the place I'm at now. Whilst remaining painfully aware of how much further I'd like to get! If my experience is anything to go by, playing around with the various different learning materials and styles until you find something that works for you is probably the best approach. And regularly ringing the changes keep things interesting. Enjoy!

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I learned from my Thai teacher about her farang student complaining the way Thais put the question word in the end of the sentence instead of in the front of the sentence like most of farang's language.

Then I realized that I was wrong when trying to learn Thai while comparing/referring it with English.

My mother tongue is Indonesia, when I start comparing Thai language structure with Indonesian, I find many similarities:

  • Question word is the end of the sentence; Most question sentences in Indonesia language have question word in the end.
  • noun-adjective instead of adjective-noun; Farangs say "dining table", Thais say "table dining", Indonesians say "table dining" too
  • Repeated word for plural; Farangs say "friends", Thais say "friend-friend", Indonesian say "friend-friend" too
  • Thai language almost have no tenses, same like Indonesia; Both languages don't change the verb when describing event of different time.

That's all, which come to my mind now, but I am pretty sure that there are more similarities.

My problem as Indonesian speaker learning Thai is:

  1. Tone
  2. Vocabulary

I believe that for farangs, the problem should be added with "grammar"

Hence, for farangs trying to learn Phasa Thai, I think that you have to stop/avoid comparing/referring Thai language to English or any farang language.

Just make yourself like a stupid guy and absorb any structure, which your Thai teacher tells you.

FYI, I also spoke a little Mandarin, but it was gone after I learned Thai for a few months;

Even I answered someone, who spoke Mandarin (I was in a Chinese restaurant in LA) to me, with Thai language crazy.gif

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  • 1 month later...

Great topic...pity it seems to have stalled. Thanks for the links and the Anki recommendations.

1.What level are you at?

Basic, very basic.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Can read parts of restaurant menus and road signs. Write like a two-year-old.

3. How long have you been learning for?

Spent two years in Bangkok during the '90s with speaking lessons once a week. Then back to Cantonese until I moved to Koh Samui three months ago. Now revising previously studied books and lessons.

4. How did you learn?

Mostly self taught.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

Native English speaker. Schoolboy French and Irish Gaelic. Studied Cantonese for 18 years on and off. Can read Chinese (traditional), enough to follow subtitles on a movie.

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I learned from my Thai teacher about her farang student complaining the way Thais put the question word in the end of the sentence instead of in the front of the sentence like most of farang's language.

As far as I know, in Thai the question word replaces the word you ask for. Which is at the end in many cases.

This is considerably easier than European languages:

in Englisch they use "do" as an auxilliary

in French there are various ways to ask questions: "est-ce que", inversion, intonation

in German, we have the question word at the beginning of the sentence and change the word order.

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  • 2 months later...

1. What level are you at?

Pretty much at a beginners level, I can speak enough that I can usually communicate and make myself understood (Grammer, vocab and tones are shocking though). I know that first conversation / introduction you have when you first meet people, as well as basic vocab/verbs/conjunctions (I mostly learnt from a talking dictionary on my phone when I needed to say a word in a sentence). The words I know, I'm pretty confident with, but my listening is terrible (Mostly listen to Lao rather than Thai which is a lot of the problem I think)

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes, but my vocab is very low so I don't understand the words I'm reading and often mispronounce them since I'm not good with the tone markers etc and how they change the words. Likewise my writing is just a phonetic writing, without the tones, and in general my spelling is terrible

3. How long have you been learning Thai?

I came to Thailand to live in Oct 2010, I started learning on and off then. So roughly 1 1/2 years.

4. How did you learn?

I had a teacher at my school teach me the constants and then we were starting on the vowels, when she had to leave. Just by living here though, I learnt to use a lot of words/sentences which were constantly asked of me etc, as well as a lot of the words from the alphabet song. I learnt a lot of other words from other songs which I heard, liked and then translated (often just translated the title though), as well as from friends teaching me a few words here and there while drinking. Otherwise the rest I just learnt from the dictionary on my phone while I was out and about (Since I'd go into a shop, and if I wanted a banana I'd learn the word banana before I went in kinda thing)

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

Only English. I had to study a Maori, French, Japanese and Latin in school at various times, but I'm terrible at languages so none of them really stuck, and I dropped each as soon as the opportunity presented itself

I'm hoping to increase my Thai once I start teaching next term though and can get into a routine of learning a few words every day :) Although we'll see what happens with that, might get put in the same basket as running and swimming every day did last term lol.

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  • 2 months later...

1. What level are you at?

Can have a conversation, follow some TV programs, read basic signs etc

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes, learnt that 10 years ago but slow at reading and my spelling for writing isn't great

3. How long have you been learning for?

on and off for 10 years, though I now have a private teacher to improve my reading and writing to keep up with the kids.

4. How did you learn?

Out of a book at first, took a few short courses, then left it for 5 years while getting by, then started with a private teacher 2 years ago.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

Only English.

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Good thread and really interesting reading. Helping motivate me as well!

1. What level are you at?

I would say beginner / intermediate. Primarily based on the fact I've moved on from Thai for Beginners book to Thai for Intermediate Learners! Probably around 1000+ word vocabulary so still not enough to have more than fairly basic conversations and can speak much better than I can understand.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

I can read it really quite well... but honestly don't know a lot of the words (but I know how to say and pronounce them). I can write all the letters but I need to practice much more and work on my spelling.

3. How long have you been learning for?

Picked up bits and pieces and the basics over the last few years, but have started studying really hard this year. Based on a trip to Thailand at the beginning of the year where I realised I knew much more than I thought. This really motivated me!

4. How did you learn?

Thai for Beginners and Thai for Intermediate Learners books and audio. Recently purchased a grammar book, Thai Reference Grammar. Use Anki for flashcards (inputting my vocabulary). Reading Thai children's books my wife downloaded for me. Speaking with my wife and chatting with her family on Facebook.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

Only English. Always been one of my biggest regrets that I can't speak another language, so now's my chance!

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1. What level are you at?

Intermediate-advanced

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes, I read the Daily News every day at Starbucks, and with a Thai teacher 3 times a wwek. ( http://www.dailynews.co.th)

3. How long have you been learning for?

about 12 years.

4. How did you learn?

Thai for Beginners and Thai for Intermediate Learners books and audio before moving to Thailand.

Moved to Thailand in 2006, since then I've had a private teacher take me to a 6th grade level. Since then, I've been using Thai newspapers with the teacher to improve my vocabulary. I have Thai tv on all the time, to improve my listening skill. I especially like channel 5 in the morning. I live in a mostly Thai building, I can practice using Thai a lot.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

I'm a retired Spanish teacher.

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1. What level are you at?

I can express and say whatever I want to like a native.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes, it's not as hard as everyone thinks it is. The trick to mastering Thai is to also be able to read and write it.

3. How long have you been learning for?

Since I was young...yea I'm cheating, but hey, you asked wink.png

4. How did you learn?

I don't memorize what I learn. I understand it like a child would when they learn another language. I also use this technique with Chinese and French.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

English

If you want me to teach you, I'd be more than happy to...

http://www.thaitumdai.co.nr

Edited by thaitumdai
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  • 1 month later...

1. What level are you at? still beginner after ... almost 6 years

2. Can you read and write Thai? Yes, i got a real pleasur to learn thai alphabet. Il you give me 10 mn, i maybe can read the big title in the newspaper ...

3. How long have you been learning for? 6 Years !!! :).

4. How did you learn? First 40 privat lessons with a perfect bilingual thai-french teacher. than 5 sessions to the AUA (Burapha-american-University) in Pattaya. Than the computer method HighSpeedThai. very good until the lesson "Vocabulary lesson" which are to long and difficult for me. Than "Learn Thai Podcast" with pc. Good but not good enough to pay the fees for the 2nd year (lol). I continue , very disappointed, to order food in the restaurant and my golf club to the caddy ...

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai? French (native), German, Italian, English (??) and a bit spannish.

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  • 1 month later...

1. What level are you at?

I'm nearly fluent in a taxi cab, advanced in the market, and at a beginner's level if I'm trying to chat with Thai friends at a restaurant.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes, but I don't understand every word and spelling words that have a galang pose difficulties for me.

3. How long have you been learning for?

Since I arrived in April 2009.

4. How did you learn?

Benjawan Poomsan Becker's series and living the language every day

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

Other than English: German, French, and Spanish (which I can only read now with some duress)

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  • 4 weeks later...

1. What level are you at?

I'm just 4 months old here in Thailand & started speaking few words & phrases.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

No, I can't!

3. How long have you been learning for?

4 months only.

4. How did you learn?

Joined classes now.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

Other than English & my own Indian languages. Little bit Arabic.

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1. What level are you at?

Levels are hard to measure. What are we measuring it up against? Thais? Foreigners? I agree with one of the posters above that said, the more you learn about Thai, the more your realize just how much there is to learn. I never feel satisfied at the level I am at. I'd say I'm somewhere around 5000 word vocab, can converse in Thai throughout the entire day, am easily understood when I speak, can understand common topics (food, life, etc.) I can watch a Thai movie with subtitles and follow adequately, without subtitles and I have many issues.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes. I learned Thai through a formal setting and reading / writing are my better skills. I often read Thai forums and websites like sanook.com or kapook.com. All my Facebook, Google, etc. are switched to Thai. I chat with Thais every chance I get online and have good flow to the conversations. I have read through some childrens books, many short stories, but never finished a novel yet. I'm thinking of attempting the final Harry Potter book as a New Years Resolution for the beginning of 2013.

3. How long have you been learning for?

3 years. I moved here about 3 years ago and have been studying since I got here.

4. How did you learn?

Studyed 1 year and CMU, 2 years at Pro langauge, and 2 years with a private tutor off and on during that time. I went through Thai books like Thai for Beginners/Thai for Intermediate, etc. I use Gflash+ for new vocabulary which is similar to Anki but free on your ipod. I will add in every word I come across that I couldn't come up with the definition for on the spot. I watch a lot of Youtube Thai videos, started with Thai songs, then shows like Farang Pok Pok, now I'm watching the comedy show เป็นต่อ and Chris Delivery. I watch Thai movies from time to time and some Thai stand-up comedy. I read the news on voathai.com which has articles and sound from the reporter so you can follow along. I will usually read the article, then listen to the reporter read the article while I follow along, then listen a 3rd time with no visual aid.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

English, I learned Spanish for 5 years in school, but it has deteriorated and my Thai ability has quickly surpassed it.

Just wanna say good luck to everyone else out there studying!

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1. What level are you at?

I am able to make myself understood in most everyday situation, like shopping, home repairs, request for things, ordering food in restaurants, fist introduction to family and new people, everyday chit chat. But I can not talk about complicated things like governments, environmental problems, economy etc.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

I can read Thai very well now - but not always understand what its talking about! Writing is OK, but my spelling is bad - both in English and Thai!

3. How long have you been learning for?

About 5 years, but not full time. In the early years it was just using phrase books when I came here on holiday.

4. How did you learn?

I tried CDs, books, private teacher. In the end the thing that really helped and sped up my learning was going the a proper language school. I tried several, some were pretty bad, others boring, and I finally settled on one in Chiang Mai called Pro Language (I can really recommend this one - been there nearly 3 years).

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

NONE!!!!

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  • 3 months later...

Hi good morning! This is actually my first time here :) I was looking for Thai forum I could join if ever I need to ask questions about the Thai language since I'm currently studing basic Thai here. So to answer the TS' questions:

1. What level are you at?

Just the basic. I'm currently studying basic Thai, reading, writing and speaking.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

I'm still memorizing the alphabet as we speak :D

3. How long have you been learning for?

5 weeks >_<

4. How did you learn?

I found out that the college I graduated from was offering language classes to working individuals (extramural classes). So I went for it :)

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

I'm Filipino, born and raised in the Philippines. I can speak English, and I'm also studying French on the side. So if I become fluent with Thai and French, I'd be able to speak 4 languages :D :D

---

I wanted to learn Thai because I feel like Thailand's my second home. If ever I get a chance to work there, I would do it in a heartbeat :) :)

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Is this question for expatriates only? I lived in Thailand as an exchange student when I was 18. I've been back once for a month but I plan on going back very soon. I joined the forum to ask and answer question about Thai.

1. What level are you at? What levels are there? I am pretty advanced. When In Thailand, I understand 95 percent of everything I hear. About 75 percent of what I speak is understood on a first try, but I know enough Thai to always get what I want to say across, However I am still learning the news paper and philosophy talk. Anything I buy for Farang is always way too basic for me. I would describe my self as advanced-advanced, but how can you tell? I found my best learning resources in Thailand for Thai speakers. I think taking anything lightly can harm the learning process.

2. Can you read and write Thai? I can read and write and a moderate level. In between beginner and advanced. My reading is better than my righting but I started studying the alphabet and tones again this week and it is all coming back very easily.

3. How long have you been learning for? This is another hard question. I was immersed for a year and month considering my second visit. The first visit was now 12 years ago, and the last visit 3. For the first 3 years after my trip i kept in touch over phone and email but lost touch after that. I really never spoke Thai unless I saw Thai people and that was rarely.

4. How did you learn? it may sound like I am bragging but this is the point I want to make about what I have found about learning a language. Immersion is necessary. Language is formed in a culture and being immersed in the culture puts you in the same web that the language grew from. Also I learned by falling in love with the time I had there, the culture and the people. If anyone wants advice on learning I would tell you, to immerse yourself and make sure the people you like the most do not speak english with you, because it will be your interaction with them, and the memories attached that make you remember. It has to be very personal.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai? Only English.

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  • 7 months later...
  1. My Thai is quite good enough for any talk, never mind if it is a 7/11 cashier, police, or in a business meeting. Sometime Thai are surprised about it.
  2. I can read Thai Language, but I still struggling with writing. To be honest I am not trying hard to write Thai Language. I was always thinking the few word I know are enough, but now I changed my mind and learn with my son. biggrin.png
  3. It took me not very long, already in the first year my thai speaking was very good, reading and writing I started to learn later, but also with the reading I had not so much problems.
  4. My native Language is German and off course I know English too.
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  • 1 month later...

1. What level are you at?
I would say intermediate to upper intermediate.

My vocabulary should be around 4000-5000. The biggest problem is with listening comprehension and with construction of grammatically correct sentences. Speaking is an easier part for me. Almost always can explain to Thais what I want.

2. Can you read and write Thai?
Yes, I can read and write Thai.

3. How long have you been learning for?
2 years and 4 months to be exact.

4. How did you learn?
For the first 6 months I studied how to speak only. All materials provided by school used transliteration. Although many would say that you should learn how to read first I would argue that it might not be true for everyone and certainly not for me. There were lots of mistakes and lots of fun in the first year. Almost all my friends were victims of my experiments with all 5 tones, occasionally calling them either dogs or horses or even worse... But interaction even on a simplistic level kept me motivated.

Learning how to read didn't take long. Around 1.5 months to get most of the rules ingrained in my mind.

After that studied 1 time per week with a tutor for a year or so.

Currently I mostly learn on my own. Spend around 1 hour in the morning reading and learning vocab. In the evening watch some drama or listen to the text that I read in the morning.

Favorite learning resources: Talking Thai Dictionary by Paiboon Publishing, anki (absolutely must!), Benjawan Poomsan (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced), Practical Situational Thai, Manee Mana, Thai Reference Grammar by Helen James, Pimsleur. Although not a Thai language book it taught me how to memorize any word: Vocabulary Cartoons (SAT word power). "Mnemonics+anki" is the best method I have found to date to learn new words.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?
English! )) Seriously. English is my second language. I am Russian native speaker.

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1. What level are you at?

Just leaving beginner level.
2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes, but i don't understand most of what i read and write cos my vocab is low.
3. How long have you been learning for?

Really only two years of actual study, but started four years ago (for two years a did nothing at all).
4. How did you learn?

Self study. For the past two months i have been studying with a tutor.
5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

Only my native language.

Edited by Water Buffalo
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1. What level are you at?

Can order food from menus at Thai for Thai and know what I'm getting, buy groceries at markets and ask questions, know weights and names of fruit, vegetables, fish and meats, taxis no problem for a few simple requests and questions, basic conversation- not anything deep mind you- hard to talk about anything other than what's immediately in front of you, can read all the signs in Thailand and Laos and make pretty much the proper sound, know the name of the character and can write it as it's spoken to me, can write swear words in Thai script and can get non-English speaking Thai's to sound like Richard Pryor, or all words for that matter. It's quite fun actually as it operates like a phonetic code rather than the mixed spelling habits of English and produces the sound you write consistently if you understand what you're writing. Best way to describe the level of understanding for me, I still go to the consulate and write the form in my mother language. Be nice to have a separate queue with a sneaky sign for the ones that love it...

2. Can you read and write Thai?

I know the vowel sounds off by heart and what all the consonants represent as English letters when I read the script, you have such a fantastic array of D and T sounds, three P's, a Pb for fish, many S's, a pair of Ch's and a proper Sh sound that most Thai's refuse to pronounce when used in English-speaking context as it's an uncommon sight to be used in their language. The person and the bottle are obsolete. In Lao the Ch for elephant is an X. I know there are classes within the alphabet that add to the tonal range but have not taken the time to remember what they do to the language when it's spoken. The three Mai's (1,2 and 3 to be formal) I know pretty much what they do, the little eight is easy and jattawa is odd. I can write only Thai words from memory and could not write an unknown Thai word from listening, I'd be just guessing but could make it sound close to what I'd heard.

3. How long have you been learning for?

Came here six years ago as a backpacker and ended up with a job in the city of angels, started to memorise characters from number plates and street signs, which are great to try and read because they have the English underneath. Probably took two and a half to three years to consume it all and really memorise the full alphabet, obsolete and rarely used characters and get it right every time.

4. How did you learn?

I really annoyed a lot of women with questions after the inital 'show-off' factor wore off (although this opens up a world of answers in another arena of your life here), work colleagues no shortage of tutorage, A,B,C's, a lot of giggling and fascination to see me want them to correct me so I actually knew what I was doing. Learned from a crumpled dictionary by the legendary author with the German tennis-playing namesake Boris, at home by myself for the most part.

5. What other languages can you speak other than Thai?

Just this one. Colonial Australian.

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  • 4 weeks later...

My problem is that I seem to have hit a plateau; I don't feel like I am learning nearly as much as I used to and it is depressing to be 50 years old and watch my look kreung daughter fly right past me, ridiculing me for mistakes...I think I learn more Thai from watching lakhon these days from any other resource -- but I am not sure if that is a good thing overall.

That said I have spent almost my entire adult life studying Thai and the pursuit has been far more satisfying than when I tried to learn French (six years in junior and senior high, one year in university Quebec where one real douchebag of a teacher from Paris ridiculed me in class and put me off it forever).

Anyway, I think the Thais in general tend to be fantastic teachers and really love it when you can speak Thai well or even just show some effort. I can't count the number of times I have gone into a little shop and you can feel the tension rise as they realize there is a farang in their midst, then it is smiles and relief all around when you say something in fluent Thai.

It is a great feeling and, like just about everything in life, the result is directly dependent on the effort you put into it.

There are so many foreigners in Phuket now who make little or no effort to learn Thai, and I think that is a shame.

I should note that I later found out that most Francophones (outside Quebec and Paris, at least in my experience) are also very appreciative of efforts to learn their language, but whenever I try to speak French now Thai words come out of my mouth. Talk about confusion and embarrassment.

1. What level are you at? Fluent, but far from perfect.

2. Can you read and write Thai? Yes, I can read a menu, newspaper and things like that without much difficulty, but if I venture into other literary realms I find it difficult...like my wife's novels or stuff related to Buddhism, or phasa rajasamnak. I didn't get the tone rules down from the beginning and now suffer as a result. My reading is far better than my writing.

3. How long have you been learning for? 27 years, started a year before I moved over here using an AUA coursebook, some audio tapes and a Mary Haas dictionary (which I still have).

4. How did you learn? I studied at AUA (listening, natural approach) in Bangkok for almost a year until my funds ran out, then started teaching Thai kids English, which I still maintain is the best way to learn by listening.

However, through AUA I also learned a lot of reading phonetically and it wasn't until I was already quite fluent that I started to seriously study reading Thai script. I wish I had begun a lot sooner; I am familiar with the tone rules, but have not mastered them in a practical sense. I think I learned a lot of reading skills just sitting on buses in Bangkok back during the horrible traffic jams of the 90s, just trying to read signs.

When I taught English, and other methods failed, I often tried to write the Thai words that were the equivalents of English words I was trying to get across. I know this is not "Toefl Kosher" (I don't remember Tefl existing back then), but it is a good way to learn spelling, having 20 kids scream at you when you make a mistake can emblazon the correct spelling in your memory.

My big problem now is that I am terrible at typing in Thai, and my Thai handwriting still looks like that of a seven year old, but at least it is legible.

I also learned a lot from former girlfriends, and I had always made it a point never to date girls who insisted on speaking "bar English". It wasn't just out of a desire to learn Thai, but also because listening to pidgin English really grates my nerves.

For my daughter's sake we now have to maintain English as the language of the household, which I think explains in part why I have hit this plateau -- the rest, I am sad to say, is just laziness.

5. What other languages can you speak other than Thai? I can still understand a good deal of French, but when I try to speak it Thai words come out (see above). I would love to learn Patani Malay and improve my understanding of the Southern Thai dialect. Sadly, you don't need it to live in Phuket, which, linguistically, is now more of a colony of Bangkok than part of the South.

I also love it when I get a chance to hear some of the old-timers on the island who still speak the unique Phuket dialect, which is strongly influenced by Chinese, but is rapidly dying out.

Anyway, I will keep trying and it is a lifetime effort for me. Sometimes I have to do public speaking in Thai, so that is a real impetus to keep improving too.

Best of luck to the OP and anyone embarking on this journey; your efforts will be well rewarded.

Edited by phuketsub
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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone

For my opinion, the best and fast way to speak thai fluent is spending lot of time with thai people they you would learn thai quick smile.png

Right now, I am looking for part-time english teacher for a small group of thai teenager. If anyone is willing to teach and no need to have any experience of teaching before, please contact me via PM

This way , you would learn thai in the same time.

Thank you

Edited by SlyAnimal
Edited out contact details, as per board rules. You may contact the poster via PM
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  • 1 month later...

After one week, I would say I fluently know about 20 words, but it seems to work for baisc things enough to get by. If all else fails, hand gestures and facial expressions seem to get me by. If nothing works, a smile does the trick biggrin.png

Edited by dude123
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  • 4 weeks later...

What level? - Beginner and can't really put sentences together yet

Read/Write Thai - Still trying to cement the alphabet into my brain

How long learning for? - 3 months sporadic bursts at home

How did you learn?

- was just using downloaded Alpabets, Consonants, and Vowels charts.

- I really wanted my wife to be a little supportative, but she's too gigiyat to help.

What other Languages?

- just English fluent, and just enough Bahasa and Tagalog, to allow me to drive in Malaysia and the Philippines

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Recently married, and have returned to Thailand a few times with Thai wife.

I'm only beginning the basics of Thai speak, and wonder that if I can't beat them, will I instead join them in using the Farang word myself, when I eventualy become effectively a Thai speaking farang?

I sit day in and day out hearing wife and family/friends chatting on in Thai, the Farang word popping up multiple time every minute.

I'm told it's not me they are talikng about. I reckon it's regular usage may be related also to that there are many words/terms/sayings/names/places etc that the Thai language hasn't a translation for. They therefore name drop the western word, and drop the Farang word in there at the time - a sort of "of it's a falang thing", much like a westerner could say 'oh that's very White of you' when someone shows a bit of courtesy towards you.

I am, like all of you aware that Thais have had the Farang word drilled into them since childhood. I am amazed that a language such as Thai, with its 44 consonants, and so many vowels and tones, and the multitude of words to descibe every different thing under the sun, are so unable to use more than just the one word 'farang' to generalise everything under the sun that is related to westerners/western culture/western everything.

So, here I am, starting to learn Thai by myself. Wife won't help as she is gigiyat to help me.

With a name something like Ross, I am used to being called something like Loss all the time by wife. Though in front of a specific person or two she'll only ever refer to me as the farang.

Even queried why she doesn't help them out by teaching them my name. as she did herself.

"why should I when here Thailand I am powerful and call you what I want - farang farang"

Going back to the reference about thai conversations around me. I try to ask what things are being talked about at the time (not to find out if they are talking about me, to try to associate why the farang word is being slipped into almost every sentence).

Like - say they were talking about kitchenware - in the Philippines all refrigerators are known by the U.S.commercial word 'frigidaire', which is the accepted general word for fridges there. So they might be talking Tagalog "blaa blaa blaa - oh that 'merican word frigidaire blaa blaa etc".

Maybe the same equivalent thing is also occuring in the Thai speak too? almost everything in living modern Thai culture, except for Temple life, has been modernised/altered etc to be more westernised (farangised)

I've lived in Malaysia and noticed similar, that when Malays speak, there are many western terms adopted in their bahasa language, as it is known as a non-technical language.

Anyhow,with all the Thai around me, I am currently enjoying throwing back a lot of farang, farang ba at every chance I get. It is my petty little way of demonstrating to them how silly it is to use the 'one' word 'farang' to describe half of everything under the sun.

Walking down Walkng Street the other day, when I called out a lot louder than usual:

"Farang Farang"

Wife jumps up, luckily, as it has again saved her from being runover by a farang speeding towards her on a motor scooter.

I got scolded for scaring her &lt;deleted&gt;...

...but I saved her skin, and that is all that mattered.

I am yet to hear a westerner fully conversing in Thai.

Can a convert please tell me - If he/she were talking on for the next half hour - is the Farang word used continually by the westerner, or is whatever spoken more articulated to use what ever word should have been used in the first place, had it been a natural Thai speaking the same content?

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