Learning Thai

Anything and everything about Thailand
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Jun
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Learning Thai

Post by Jun » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:12 pm

This quote in another thread got me thinking:
Dodger wrote:
Thu Nov 28, 2019 5:58 pm
I've been procrastinating about this for years, and just recently made a commitment to start the learning process (again). I purchased a Rosetta Stone Thai Language Course several years ago which has been doing nothing but gathering dust. This Course is based on a learning process by association (sound & pictures), versus the traditional ways of memorizing word-by-word which should help, and Jai has volunteered to spend one hour/day correcting the pronunciation of the words I just learned which is the biggest challenge. Anyway, I'll let you know this time next year how it went.
Does anyone have any recommendation for phone apps, specific language tutors, you tube videos, tutors or other methods for learning the language ?

I haven't done much with Thai, but did start learning to count on the last trip. I would like to push on a little bit further during the next trip.

The things I noticed whilst studying another language were:
(i) If having lessons, twice a week is about 5 times better than once a week. Even if spending several hours studying between lessons, being challenged in the lesson more frequently is good.
(ii) A high quality teacher makes it so much easier.

Other than English, the only other language I currently have any proficiency in is another Western European one. For English speakers, learning European languages is much easier than Asian languages. I did spend some time on another Asian language and it's really hard work.

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Re: Learning Thai

Post by ceejay » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:33 pm


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Re: Learning Thai

Post by Gaybutton » Fri Nov 29, 2019 6:39 pm

I speak Thai fairly well, but I have never even tried to learn to read it. I've never had a need to read it. Plenty of written English (even the goofy English we so often see) and plenty of Thai people who speak at least a little English.

Maybe some will disagree, but I would concentrate only on trying to learn spoken Thai - every day spoken Thai, not formal Thai. Unless you have a specific need, I wouldn't even bother trying to learn written Thai. If every once in a blue moon you encounter some sort of paperwork written only in Thai, it's easy to find plenty of Thais to translate it for you.

With spoken Thai, make sure to try to get the tones right. Even though you might be saying the correct word, without getting the tone right Thais quite often won't have any idea what you are trying to say. Getting the tones right is at least as important as the words themselves.

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Re: Learning Thai

Post by ISAC69 » Sat Nov 30, 2019 1:04 am

I tried to learn Thai but with no success I know basic greetings, bargaining and numbers but no more than that it's so different from the Western languages that I found almost impossible for me to be able speak fluent Thai ever.

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Re: Learning Thai

Post by stkyricesf » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:22 am

My problem is I'm tone deaf... 555

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Re: Learning Thai

Post by ilz » Sat Nov 30, 2019 4:54 am

I began learning Thai (before internet era) with the Assimil method (book + CD) but at that time there was no Thai writing and no grammar ; however this was great for getting used to the sounds. Not sure there is an English version.

I then learnt writing and tones from a booklet (in French) named "Grapho-Thai 14" (D.K. Editions) which promised to teach reading and writing in 14 days - and the promise was held. Knowing how to read Thai is IMHO a difficult but very rewarding task as it will make your pronunciation better, and learning vocabulary easier in the long run. It also avoids having to deal with the many transliteration systems which are very confusing. Especially out of touristy places, reading makes everyday life more comfortable : taking the bus, using Thai internet (dating boys on Facebook for example), and more generally feeling that you are in control. Thai script is also very graceful.

Finally I felt I really improved my knowledge (building phrases and vocabulary) with "Fundamentals of Thai language" which many regarded as a must to lay the foundation of a good mastery of the language. The book is now out-of-print but there is an on-line version at http://www.lyndonhill.com/FunThai/CONTENTS.html - Fundamentals of Thai Language .

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Re: Learning Thai

Post by @DM » Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:28 am

I took classes in Bangkok at the Unity Thai Language School. I recommend it. I enjoyed taking the classes with other people from all over and have stayed in touch with some after many years. https://www.utl-school.com. The courses there start off using the International Phonetic Alphabet, but then later modules do start teaching Thai writing and reading.

I've found Stuart Jay Raj's Cracking Thai Fundamentals very good for providing a different and very thoughtful perspective. He has a bunch of Youtube videos under his "Thai Bites" category. I think his selling point is that he tries to gives some context to why things are the way they are - without being too academic. It's just a bit fresh, as opposed to listen-and-repeat.

"Learn Thai with Thaipod" has a bunch of enjoyable YouTube videos that I think are good. And the young woman in the video is adorable. https://www.youtube.com/user/ThaiPod101

Even if you are tone deaf you can still learn the language.

I think there is a lot of science out there that says learning a new language is great thing to help keep and our minds active and forming new neurons and connections as we get older.

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Re: Learning Thai

Post by Dodger » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:05 am

DM post_id=98127 time=1575073684 user_id=37748]


I think there is a lot of science out there that says learning a new language is great thing to help keep and our minds active and forming new neurons and connections as we get older.
This is an excellent point, and something I considered as well when deciding to break the Thai language barrier.

I've been trying to convince myself, that even if I don't master the language to the point that I can speak fluent Thai, the process of learning, in-and-by-itself, will be beneficial. It's easy for the brain to get lazy, especially during retirement.

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Re: Learning Thai

Post by lukylok » Sat Nov 30, 2019 10:10 am

I started learning thai abroad online with its4thai.com, which I found very good, avoiding reading and writing.
And I learned rather easily about 1.000 words.
But then I was confronted with the difficulties of pronunciations, remembering them, and all the phonetic system are lousy.
So I started to learn to read and write, not well but enough to get by.
Since then when in Thailand, I take lessons twice a week, which is great fun.
Outside commercial venues, and even there, thai people speak very little English.
It's very useful and gratifying to be able to communicate in their own language. You get better service and cheaper prices !

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Re: Learning Thai

Post by Trongpai » Sat Nov 30, 2019 2:32 pm

@DM wrote:
Sat Nov 30, 2019 7:28 am
I took classes in Bangkok at the Unity Thai Language School. I recommend it. I enjoyed taking the classes with other people from all over and have stayed in touch with some after many years. https://www.utl-school.com. The courses there start off using the International Phonetic Alphabet, but then later modules do start teaching Thai writing and reading.
I'm UTL alumni. I went from 2008 to 2012, off and on. I'm surprised to see Krew Polisiti (sp?) still there in the first photo. We called her the dragon lady. She was a task master and took no prisoners. Several students walked out after a few lessons. Perhaps now she's mellowed.

Still, it's an intense approach and stressful, for some. I would commute from where I was living at the time and it felt like going to work every day. There's lots of drop outs. My module 3 class started with 15 students and ended with 4. I don't know if it's the same format but Mod 3 is very useful for basic conversation and can be taken again and again and not get stale. I would like to take a refresher at UTL but I'm not going to commute from where I now live in the burbs of Bangkok.

When I started I was told they have never had anyone over the age of 60 complete the program, 6 modules, 4 weeks each. I told them I was 55 then and she said I might have a chance!

The mix between bright young language students from other countries and retired expats sometimes did not work out well. Many an ol'fellas were left in the dust of humiliation and failure.

Actually, I don't recommend UTL unless you are really serious about class room learning and have the aptitude and fortitude for a disciplined learning of a language. The fortitude part gets hard when you get up in years.

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