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long time in Thailand and my thai still sucks


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open to kind advice and suggestions
some of the problems issues:
language arts dont come easy
it is very difficult to hear the tones
they speak so quickly
laziness, it takes hard work to master a language
not a spring chicken anymore, easier when you are younger?
the thais even if they speak English are not much help, not that i blame them

there is a rumor they dont like us to know the language though this is moot
even when i do speak it, i wish i had a baht for every time i heard 'huh?'

dont even start about on the telephone

i know these are mostly if not all excuses

how have you learned to speak it well?

i would especially like to hear from those who find/found it very difficult

i know the grammar is easier but just as english is for them the proper pronunciation is extremely difficult

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I felt exactly as you do and have a great deal of difficulty tuning to the tones. I just put my head down and studied, and listened and I also did formal training in a Thai language school which reall

Learning a language is mostly about memory, and its well known peoples memory isnt as good as you get older. The main issue I think for westerners is the tonal system, because we never learned to lis

You are not alone. I gave up a long time ago.

I know a guy who has studied two hours everyday, minimum, for three years now. He hangs mostly with Thais and insists they speak Thai. He's 60, an ex-exec of Fortune 100 company, sharp, nobody's fool.

He will be the first to admit his Thai sucks.

Some people just aren't good at languages. Especially tonal languages.

Me.................laugh.png

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It's easier to learn a new language from young, but once you hit 20s or 30s, it's very difficult. Personally I only know a few basic conversational sentences such as 'Hello', 'good morning/afternnoon/evening', 'where is the toilet?' and 'thank you'. Most of the time, I have to rely on English which I think very few Thai people can speak except for those at city areas.

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Exposed above all the well know difficulties in pronouncing tonals and let's not even get started with the writing and reading of an absurd number of symbols written without spaces, that also has irregulars, as it not even true that Thai is spelt as written. Ok, we all agree on that, hard application is needed to learn, etc. etc,

Now the real question is to find a method that works at impressing your memory, and makes things click together even when don't naturally do. Few teachers understand the utmost importance of that.

What I think is extremely important in adult learning is the mnemonics. For example there is a publicized system (I think is Australian) that use visual cues to help you remember the Thai symbol with a free mental association. And for the proper pronunciation, is widely believed that you have to learn and memorize the correct writing first, then derive the pronunciation from there. That means you will be spelling like 20 words per minute at first, but at least you will be speaking elementarily, but correctly. I'm trying to head in that direction myself.

Edited by paz
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Being an old man, having spoken a little French, Italian an Spanish when I was young....I now realize, from this post and the replies That I'm

Tone Deaf....

Been here 10 years and maybe can speak a couple of hundred words and I still (as said by one poster before) get the "Huh?"

Oh well....Anybody know a cure for "tone deafness"?

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I feel the southern Thai is easier to learn. They speak it stronger. But maybe that is only for German speaker.

I also have the impression that French learn Thai faster than Germans.

But I might be wrong on both things

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First comment is about learning different languages. Some people have a natural ability to do this others don't. I've worked with some very clever people, well educated and qualified, but who still found it impossible to learn and communicate in another language. I've met some very basically educated people, particularly in Asia, who pick up languages very easily and can communicate in several, switching with ease.

I have reasonable English, German, French and Chinese (Mandarin). However, when it comes to Thai I struggle, and Mrs. BB is a teacher with a Masters in Education! It seems that some Thais understand what I say first time, others apparently cannot understand a word. My wife shrugs and says it must be me, but I know I always pronounce the same. I know several really good Thai speaking farangs, who read and write Thai and have been here a long time. They say similar things happen to them too. Very strange.

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Try highspeedthai (google it) if you are prepared to learn the Thai letters and tone rules etc. With the use of ANKI cards for memory it is the best for self study, in my opinion.

That is the method I waw referring to above, stress on mnemonic tricks.

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Example, you ask a Thai or someone to say "no new wood" in Thai and I"ll guarantee that most will hear the same word repeated 3 times,

And a tongue twister taught to me by a grade school girl - who sells chicken eggs (in Thai). Say it 10 times fast and you'll break something. biggrin.png

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How old are you?

I have the same problems you do'

I am 60.

I read recently that the older you are, the more difficult it is to learn Thai.

From what I read, this is due to the fact that after age 40 your ear progressively becomes less and less sensitive to differences in tones.

To me, loam and loam sound alike..and I pronounce them alike too!

Choke dee!

Edited by willyumiii
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First comment is about learning different languages. Some people have a natural ability to do this others don't. I've worked with some very clever people, well educated and qualified, but who still found it impossible to learn and communicate in another language. I've met some very basically educated people, particularly in Asia, who pick up languages very easily and can communicate in several, switching with ease.

I have reasonable English, German, French and Chinese (Mandarin). However, when it comes to Thai I struggle, and Mrs. BB is a teacher with a Masters in Education! It seems that some Thais understand what I say first time, others apparently cannot understand a word. My wife shrugs and says it must be me, but I know I always pronounce the same. I know several really good Thai speaking farangs, who read and write Thai and have been here a long time. They say similar things happen to them too. Very strange.

Is not strange, as discussed many time. At first they will think you are speaking english and have their mindset prepared to understand that, remember is not easy for them, because English has many different accents and of course is often spoken poorly. At the time they realize you are trying to speak Thai, the recollection of the sounds you uttered is gone, also because the pronunciation or choice of words was, at least, questionable.

So you start again, but slightly annoyed by the situation, loose focus and keep repeating what you just said possibly with the wrong tone, there is nothing worst than that in Thai.

At that point even if they got to understand you by the context, some will pretend they did not and will answer in English if they know it, otherwise will just close their brain and loose interest. These situation s shave a positive outcome only when both sides are friendly and willing, otherwise is better to move on and avoid frustration.

Edited by paz
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you go to school?

try to self study 1-2 hours everyday and it will take you a year and you fluent speaking..

BS, he might be able to make himself understood BUT he will never be fluent (not as an ethnic)

I was in a restaurant one night with my bird and a very long term resident was speaking (out of her sight) and she thought it was a Thai. That is an exception to the rule.

Perhaps 1 case in a 100,000 could claim to be fluent or ever hope to become fluent.

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