KunMatt

What Level Of Speaking And Writing Thai Are You At?

118 posts in this topic

I'm not too bothered by the ones who insist on speaking Engrish at me because I make a sweeping judgement that they're generally the kind of person I wouldn't like anyway. There's one in the small town I stay in, who runs a large shop, is relatively well off and obviously thinks of himself as some sort of a local celebrity. He always greets me with this ridiculous "hello how are you thank you I am fine" then looks slightly disappointed when I walk past his shop without buying something. The last time I went in there to buy something he insisted on showing me every article he had for sale ("like this you? no? very goose") Basically his problem is he knows just enough to be a prick, he worked in Bangkok many years ago so is keen to show off how fluent he is in English, and lives in eternal hope that here, 6 hours from Bangkok in most rural Isan, some millionaire is going to be teaching English or visiting his "wife" from Pattaya, and in the market to buy the entire contents of his convenience store. It's a conversation I can do without. On the other hand sometimes speaking English with intermediate Thais can be helpful with sentence construction as they inevitably carry over Thai sentence construction. :"You go where" would be the most obvious example, "shirt colour red" "I am not fine" etc etc

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Would one of the mods please make this a sticky?

(or pinned = whatever it's called)

Great thread, great idea. Now pinned.

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Wow, i just read that thread from the start and it's quite long already. Anyhoo, here's my tuppence worth.

1. What level are you at?

I'm above beginner, but i don't really know how to classify it. I can hold a conversation in Central Thai, but those dialects really throw me. Living in a small town in Nakorn Sri Thammarat province makes life difficult as everyone speaks really fast southern Thai here. It's ok when i'm one on one, as the ones who can will speak Central Thai but other than that i can just be sitting recognizing the occasional word or phrase if we're in a group. I think i have an understandable accent, as i can conduct basic business on the phone and don't usually get questioned on being farang. I have been told a couple of times, from different people, that i sound like someone from Ratchaburi, although i don't know if that is some special joke that Thais have for people with dodgy accents. :lol: There is still a lot i don't know, and i get stuck easily on subjects that i don't have an interest in and therefore don't know any vocabulary.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

I can read and write, my reading is better than my writing because i do it more often. I will sometimes sit and watch TV, the soap operas i can follow, not every word mind but i know what's going on. The news is something i've been watching more of lately and i'll sometimes read the rolling script at the bottom for as long as i can before it disappears and then i'll start again. They have different speeds and the Channel 3 one is the only one i can keep up with. My problem is motivation, i learn at my own pace which is quite often slow :D. My hand writing is that of a primary school kid, but it's legible which is the main thing. My typing is a bit better than my writing, but sometimes i get confused and go to hit H when i mean to type ห, or M when i meant ม. I guess i'm making the sound in my head and getting mixed up. My spelling is much better than it used to be, but i still find myself looking up words that i know already but just want to be sure. The predictive text on the phone is good for that though. I'm reading my first book from another topic ฉันคืออารี่ and it's going slowly but my excuse is that i'm studying for teacher exams at the moment. :ph34r:

3. How long have you been learning for?

5 years

4. How did you learn?

Self taught, there have been a great number of helpful locals who have helped me over the years, so it's not been all by myself. I had an old phrase book that had the alphabet in it but no corresponding sounds, so i sat down with someone and got them to say the letters and i wrote down what i heard. I don't recommend that as i had to tweak quite a lot over time to get it right, but i think i'm almost there. The tones were the most difficult part for me but once i was over that stumbling block it made a massive difference in being understood. The rest i learned from books, the internet and asking people.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

English and Glaswegian both fluently. I used to speak basic conversational French and Spanish, but i have no use for them at the moment and they've withered away.

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After somebody suggested it on here I've starting using the Anki system of flash cards and so far it has greatly improved my vocab, reading and tuning my ears just after a couple of days. I find this method much better than trying to learn from a book. Even using the Anki flash cards for the Thai for Beginner's book I have is much easier than using the book itself.

Thanks to RickBradford for pointing this system out for me.

However one thing I'm having a hard time with is determining "falling" tones - sometimes I'm certain they are rising even, but I'm trying not to get frustrated with it and just put more time and effort in. Highs, rising, low and mid tones are ok and I can get them right about 90% of the time without seeing the word but the falling tones are killing me. I guess I just need to tune my ears in more and it will come later after more experience.

I'm not sure how long you are supposed to spend with this system or how many reviews to do each day. I spent 4 hours on the first day alone as my eagerness got the better of me, it's surely better to pace yourself.

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After somebody suggested it on here I've starting using the Anki system of flash cards and so far it has greatly improved my vocab, reading and tuning my ears just after a couple of days. I find this method much better than trying to learn from a book. Even using the Anki flash cards for the Thai for Beginner's book I have is much easier than using the book itself.

Thanks to RickBradford for pointing this system out for me.

However one thing I'm having a hard time with is determining "falling" tones - sometimes I'm certain they are rising even, but I'm trying not to get frustrated with it and just put more time and effort in. Highs, rising, low and mid tones are ok and I can get them right about 90% of the time without seeing the word but the falling tones are killing me. I guess I just need to tune my ears in more and it will come later after more experience.

I'm not sure how long you are supposed to spend with this system or how many reviews to do each day. I spent 4 hours on the first day alone as my eagerness got the better of me, it's surely better to pace yourself.

It sounds like you're still in the early stages of learning tones.....don't get frustrated/give up! Here are two sites that you can use to test your ability to determine tones (add the http://www:)

seasite.niu.edu:85/thai/selfassessment/module1/tones_FS.htm

thai-language.com/id/798459

Of all my Thai lessons, the early stages of learning tones (reading/listening) was the most brain intensive activity I think I've ever done. I'm not a brain surgeon, but I'd guess that the area that helps you determine the tone is a different area than the area that helps you determine what it is you're hearing (as in the sound of the consonants/vowels). 30 minutes of tone practice with my teacher left me mentally drained......but in a short enough time, it all came together and almost becomes second nature. Stick with it.

I don't know if you're using audio with your anki flashcards.....it adds another dimension to your flashcards. You can easily record dictionary words from sources like thai-language.com into an anki card. Even if you don't understand the meaning of the word, you can use the cards to test your ability to determine tones.

Good luck!

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If I got 28 out of 30 correct on the Tone Self Test at http://www.seasite.niu.edu:85/thai/selfassessment/module1/tones_FS.htm, do you think we can definitively say that I am NOT tone deaf?

I'm in my second or third year of significant self study, and it seems that I may just be entering into a zone where I can recognize more tones than before. I am finally visiting Thailand again next week, and there will be a lot of self testing on the street. My sympathies, in advance, to all the innocent Thai citizens upon whom I am about to inflict myself.

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What I mean is, I can pass this test (which seemed to feature mostly falling versus rising tones, instead of the more-difficult-for me high/mid/low tones.) But I still feel like I"m tone deaf. I still feel like I can't distinguish tones.

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1.What level are you at?

I consider myself a beginner. I can write almost as fast as I can write in German, I can touch-type the common letters (rare letters take two or three attempts, but there are typing trainers in the internet that will help me to learn all letters and signs). I can read (i.e. voice even words I don’t know) slowly and make out the tones without much thinking about them. Speaking (and listening) is my weakest part, as I’m self-studying in Europe now I have nobody do correct me, so I focus on listening, reading and writing.

Currently I’m using books and material in the web for beginners and intermediate learners.

2. Can you read and write Thai? Yes, see 1.

3. How long have you been learning for? 4 month and a half.

4. How did you learn?

I started on 01.12.2010 with an 50h course Speaking and Listening (which in hindsight turned out to be pretty useless, as it used Romanization). Then took 8h of reading and writing and finally 20h intensive reading and writing (private tuition). Since 23.02. I’m back in Europe and now I learn alone at home, on average 2h per day, every day.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai? German (native), English (fluent, 3 years in England), French (advanced, now in working in France hoping to become fluent), Russian (intermediate).

I am very satisfied with my progress. If time permits, I will post more about whow I am learning Thai to encourage others.

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ID: 34   Posted (edited)

If I got 28 out of 30 correct on the Tone Self Test at http://www.seasite.n...e1/tones_FS.htm, do you think we can definitively say that I am NOT tone deaf?

I'm in my second or third year of significant self study, and it seems that I may just be entering into a zone where I can recognize more tones than before. I am finally visiting Thailand again next week, and there will be a lot of self testing on the street. My sympathies, in advance, to all the innocent Thai citizens upon whom I am about to inflict myself.

I share your empathy with those subjected to my attempts at their language!

What I mean is, I can pass this test (which seemed to feature mostly falling versus rising tones, instead of the more-difficult-for me high/mid/low tones.) But I still feel like I"m tone deaf. I still feel like I can't distinguish tones.

I feel the same as you sometimes! I think it's because I'm self-studying away from Thailand so I'm not exposed to much of the language in it's natural habitat, if you like. :)

I also think that tones are relative to the speaker's natural 'mid' tone, so for instance, if someone's voice is naturally high, and, in short examples that may be heard whilst self-studying, they don't display the full range of words, it's hard to place where a low tone would be on the audible spectrum.

I know for a fact that my French improves exponentially when I'm in France, as my German does in Germany. If I try to construct correct French sentences whilst here in London, I struggle.

I'm sure you'll find that, once in Thailand, all you've learned will start to come to the fore. I certainly hope this is the case as I'm heading there next week too! I currently waver from being reasonably confident that I've made progress, to despair that I'll never get the hang of it at all! :lol:

I hope we both benefit from some 'immersion' :)

Edited by bifftastic

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ID: 35   Posted (edited)

While only slightly related to the title of the thread, this is related to discerning the tones.

I sat a class at a private Thai language school early last week, (in fact the school was kind enough to allow me to sit 3 different classes for almost 5 hours all told)..

The one class which sticks in my mind was allegedly an "intermediate reading-conversation" course. I say allegedly, because if the teachers or the school believed the students in that class were reading and conversing at an intermediate level IMHO they were sorely mistaken or possibly they ‘grade on a curve’. Using that system of ranking, I’d probably be rated an effluent, <sic> :whistling: errr fluent speaker, although the first word I used is probably closer to the truth, lol.. ..

Not a single student (and there were 8 in this class) could get thru a story about Manaa/Manee/Mali and their extended family or fill out the accompanying worksheet with the family member's names, ages, etc. Even when the teacher broke us down into groups, they struggled with it. In fact a lot of students were really frustrated and voiced this when we went on break. I think it was more a case of the school teaching material beyond the students’ current level of comprehension than the students not being motivated, because there were some REALLY motivated people in the class although to call it an intermediate level class was taking some creative license. :lol: ...

However, I digress, and that wasn't the point I was tryin to make. :o

At the end of the class they had a 'tone-test' of single syllable Thai words. There were 35 words in the test. The teacher handed out a sheet with the words written in Thai; then she pronounced them. In reality what she did was really OVER enunciate the pronunciation & toning of the words. She said the word three times and then used it in a sentence. From this the students had to write down the corresponding tone using; L, M, H, R, F in the blank following the word. Needless to say EVERY student did really well on this.

Sheesh even I did really well on this, yet I totally suck at differentiating tones in stand alone words; although I’m just slightly better with risng falling tones when I see or hear them in context. I thought the test was skewed in favor of the students and did them a disservice as I've never ever heard a Thai in casual conversation drag out the toning/pronunciation of words like that. Still, at least students ARE being exposed to tone differentiation in some schools. So that's a plus. :) ..

As an aside;

When I started learning Thai I just learned either the rising or falling tones of high frequency words I was likely to use in day to day conversation. FWIW; I still don't know consonant class or what mark means what tone for what class of consonant (other than ไม้จัตวา) 555+. I've tried over and over, but can't get them to 'stick' inside my thick skull. :blink:

Early on, before I could read Thai and learned to differentiate words by sight recognition, memorization and context alone; I taught myself some toning by just association.

Kinda sorta like this;

ขาว - clouds are white and they are in the sky so the thai word for white is a rising tone

ข้าว - rice grows outta the ground so the thai word for rice is a falling tone

เสือ - tigers jump at you when they attack so the thai word for tiger is a rising tone

เสื้อ - t-shirts are pulled down over your head so the thai word for shirt is a falling tone

เสื่อ -mats lie on the floor so the thai word for mat is a low tone.

ชี้ - pointing with your fingers is done with your arm outstretched so the thai word for point is a high tone.

ฉี่ - urine ends up on the ground so the thai word for urinate is a low tone

ขี่ -when riding motos, bikes, etc those things sit on the ground so the thai word for ride is a low tone

ขี้ - when you defecate it falls to the ground so the thai word for shit is falling

I know it's stupid, but stuff like that got me thru until I could actually memorize how a word looks when it's written in Thai. Then know the meaning and if it was a rising or falling tone. I still pretty much blur the L, M, H toned words when I speak, but for the most part the Thais seem okay with it :huh: . It's those rising falling tones that send you off script when you mix 'em up. ;)

Anyway sorry for the long post, keep at it! I’ll say it again; if I can learn to read Thai and speak something which resembles Thai, anyone out there can... :D

Edited by tod-daniels

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ID: 36   Posted (edited)

Nice suggestion Tod :) As always :P

What I did for memorizing tones was the following;

just make a recording on your phone of มา หม่า ม่า ม้า หมา

and repeat this every morning until you feel confident.

Then let somebody do the same with another word per example กา

so:

กา ก่า ก้า ก๊า ก๋า

do this with a different word at every time you feel confident.

Then switch to

มาๆ มาหม่า มาม่า มาม้า มาหมา

then

หม่ามา หม่าๆ หม่าม่า หม่าม้า หม่าหมา

etc etc

then go to another word until you feel confident again

You SHOULD be able to hear tones soon enough.. at least this worked for me. Everytime I went to my work or something I just stuck with my cellphone and repeat what I heard basically...

I hope you catch my drift. (let recordings be done by a native speaker :P )

Edited by FireInTheSky

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Thanks Tod and FITS :)

I think you (Tod) mentioned the 'mat shirt tiger' thing in another thread somewhere and it certainly stuck with me!

I'm hoping the whole consonant class concept ends up lodging in my brain at some point, although I'm not holding my breath :)

I'm encouraged by the way word shapes, as opposed to individual letters, are beginning to make themselves known to me and looking forward to immersing myself in the Thai language next week :D

Then I'll know for sure just how much, or how little progress I've actually made!

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I have c/d’s with literally hours of audio similar to that. The way Thai children ‘conjugate’ <-(I guess that’s the word ;) ) toning in words, like your examples. They didn’t provide me a good bang-4-the-baht. Most of the words you end up saying aren’t words at all just sounds which carry that particular tone. :(

I’ve got so much Thai vocab floating around in my head, I don’t need to clutter it up learning sounds that don’t have any meaning in Thai.. :D

I explained to my old Thai language teacher that my English vocab is kept in a “filing cabinet” in my head; all the words are alphabetized, in order and high usage ones are in the front. I went on to tell her my Thai vocab seems to be stored in a big “plastic bin”; where I hafta sort thru the words sometimes one by one to find the particular word I need, when I need to use it. :whistling: She got the analogy, but didn’t quite believe me, lol..

(My brain could possibly be running on an old AMD Athlon processor and outdated OS too. :lol: Although I am looking for an up-grade! :blink: )

Just as an aside;

I know there are more than a few words in Thai which can carry 3 of the 5 tones without changing the consonant/vowel order and each of those words has a different meaning.

Does anyone know if there is ANY Thai word “spelled the same” (except for tone marks) which carry 4 different meanings? I looked briefly last nite after “FireInTheSky” posted their suggestion but couldn’t find one.

Thanx for the suggestions, I’ll keep at it. B)

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I have c/d’s with literally hours of audio similar to that. The way Thai children ‘conjugate’ <-(I guess that’s the word ;) ) toning in words, like your examples. They didn’t provide me a good bang-4-the-baht. Most of the words you end up saying aren’t words at all just sounds which carry that particular tone. :(

I’ve got so much Thai vocab floating around in my head, I don’t need to clutter it up learning sounds that don’t have any meaning in Thai.. :D

I explained to my old Thai language teacher that my English vocab is kept in a “filing cabinet” in my head; all the words are alphabetized, in order and high usage ones are in the front. I went on to tell her my Thai vocab seems to be stored in a big “plastic bin”; where I hafta sort thru the words sometimes one by one to find the particular word I need, when I need to use it. :whistling: She got the analogy, but didn’t quite believe me, lol..

(My brain could possibly be running on an old AMD Athlon processor and outdated OS too. :lol: Although I am looking for an up-grade! :blink: )

Just as an aside;

I know there are more than a few words in Thai which can carry 3 of the 5 tones without changing the consonant/vowel order and each of those words has a different meaning.

Does anyone know if there is ANY Thai word “spelled the same” (except for tone marks) which carry 4 different meanings? I looked briefly last nite after “FireInTheSky” posted their suggestion but couldn’t find one.

Thanx for the suggestions, I’ll keep at it. B)

I like your analogy Todd, it gave me a wee giggle this afternoon.

I know what you mean about those non-words that are used for practicing the tones. I have previously bought kids books for practicing the short vowels, but i end up not using them cos there are so many non-words in them. I mean if i wanted to do it that way, i could just write my own book.

Same spelling + different meaning - ปา ป่า ป้า ป๋า

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<SNIP>

I like your analogy Todd, it gave me a wee giggle this afternoon.

I know what you mean about those non-words that are used for practicing the tones. I have previously bought kids books for practicing the short vowels, but i end up not using them cos there are so many non-words in them. I mean if i wanted to do it that way, i could just write my own book.

Same spelling + different meaning - ปา ป่า ป้า ป๋า

'bhoydy', glad I could make you giggle, if not guffaw ;) .

Also a good one on the Thai word which carries 4 of the tones. Didn't know that, but now I do! I'll toss those words into my plastic storage bin of Thai vocab in my head, lol.

Isn't the Thai idiom for 'in one ear out the other"; เข้าหูซ้ายทะลุหูขวา. At my advanced age I seem to experience it quite a lot. Hear a good word, and the next minute can't even come close to remembering it. :o

Okay, are there any Thai words which can carry ALL 5 possible tones with different meanings and the same spelling other than tone marks?

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I have c/d's with literally hours of audio similar to that. The way Thai children 'conjugate' <-(I guess that's the word ;) ) toning in words, like your examples. They didn't provide me a good bang-4-the-baht. Most of the words you end up saying aren't words at all just sounds which carry that particular tone. :(

I've got so much Thai vocab floating around in my head, I don't need to clutter it up learning sounds that don't have any meaning in Thai.. :D

I explained to my old Thai language teacher that my English vocab is kept in a "filing cabinet" in my head; all the words are alphabetized, in order and high usage ones are in the front. I went on to tell her my Thai vocab seems to be stored in a big "plastic bin"; where I hafta sort thru the words sometimes one by one to find the particular word I need, when I need to use it. :whistling: She got the analogy, but didn't quite believe me, lol..

(My brain could possibly be running on an old AMD Athlon processor and outdated OS too. :lol: Although I am looking for an up-grade! :blink: )

Just as an aside;

I know there are more than a few words in Thai which can carry 3 of the 5 tones without changing the consonant/vowel order and each of those words has a different meaning.

Does anyone know if there is ANY Thai word "spelled the same" (except for tone marks) which carry 4 different meanings? I looked briefly last nite after "FireInTheSky" posted their suggestion but couldn't find one.

Thanx for the suggestions, I'll keep at it. B)

Yeh well, you are right but the point of the drill was to "learn to hear tones" not to learn new vocab.

It worked for me, but yeh it doesnt mean it works for others ofcourse :) They are just some silly tonedrills, nothing more and nothing less :P

You don't really memorize the words (cuz they arent words really) but more the way tones sounds etc. I did this well before learning my loads of vocabulary so it didn't

cause me any trouble, thank god

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1.What level are you at?

I think I'm a beginner at speaking and listening. I can pick out a few words during a normal Thai-to-Thai conversation, but I can't really follow the conversation. I have a fairly good-sized vocabulary of Thai words, but I don't always get the tones right.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

I have the vowels and consonants down pretty good. I have learned the tone rules and tone marks. I can read words and some sentences without too much trouble.

3. How long have you been learning for?

Off and on about two years.

4. How did you learn?

First by listening to Thais and memoring the words. For about a year I have been studying "Teach Your Thai", by Smith (I think). I also have a Thai Dictionary software and have downloaded a "Voice Viewer". Together, I can select a Thai word and see the tone the dictionary uses and repeat the word myself, comparing my tone with the dictionary's tone. Very helpful, but also very discouraging.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

A smattering of French, Spanish, Mandarin, Arabic, Korean, and basic converstation in Italian.

I spent over two hours trying to get the falling tone right for the Thai word "Wai" (the greeting). No matter how hard I listened and tried to emulate, I could not faithfully reproduce the tone correctly.

I guess I will never be able to speak Thai very well, but I hope to be able to read and write Thai fluidly some day.

Rick

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Early on, before I could read Thai and learned to differentiate words by sight recognition, memorization and context alone; I taught myself some toning by just association.

Kinda sorta like this; .......

ขาว - clouds are white and they are in the sky so the thai word for white is a rising tone

ข้าว - rice grows outta the ground so the thai word for rice is a falling tone

เสือ - tigers jump at you when they attack so the thai word for tiger is a rising tone

เสื้อ - t-shirts are pulled down over your head so the thai word for shirt is a falling tone

เสื่อ -mats lie on the floor so the thai word for mat is a low tone.

ชี้ - pointing with your fingers is done with your arm outstretched so the thai word for point is a high tone.

ฉี่ - urine ends up on the ground so the thai word for urinate is a low tone

ขี่ -when riding motos, bikes, etc those things sit on the ground so the thai word for ride is a low tone

ขี้ - when you defecate it falls to the ground so the thai word for shit is falling

That's a good personal method, Tod (especially ชี้ vs. ฉี่)

You neglected to mention ชี, which may or may not be important. But I recall once ringing up a friend over a crackling phone line, and thought I heard her say that she ปวดฉี่... It took a moment to realize that she had actually said บวชชี.

Quite different things, surely... biggrin.gif

Come to think of it, those two terms may be good pronunciation practice for some learners.

Also, just for fun, the colloquial term for "bananas in coconut milk" is กล้วยบวชชี

Cheers.

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ID: 44   Posted (edited)

Good one mangkorn! :D

I swear sometimes when Im out and about listening to Thais; the things I think I hear them say make me as "confused as a broken eyed chicken; งงเป็นไก่ตาแตก.:P While that may be the literal translation, I think the real meaning is "totally stupified". However a broken eyed chicken works for me too :)

Its only later on that I'm actually able work out what was really said. Many times I'm thankful I DIDN'T respond to what I'd mis-heard!! :whistling:

Edited by tod-daniels

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While off topic to some degree; interestingly enough when I taught myself to read thai I skipped anything to do with the toning or the consonant class of the characters :o . I taught myself like;

Thai has:

6-"T's"; ฐ, ฑ, ฒ, ท, ธ, ถ

5-"K's"; ข, ฃ, ค, ฅ, ฆ

4-"S's"; ซ, ศ, ษ, ส

3-"P's"; ผ, พ, ภ

3-"Ch's"; ฉ, ช, ฌ

And so on. ..

I did that until I had the 21 basic sounds 'mapped out' in my head when I saw the corresponding characters. Then I learned all the vowels. When I finally did get around to concentrating on the tones I only cared about either the Falling or Rising ones and then ONLY in high frequency words I might say in casual conversation. I can't look at a word and make out its tone, unless I know the word from memory. I either know how to say it or I don't.

All excellent advice. I did what you said and it helps what I had already learned a lot. It sounded quite daunting when I first found out there were 44 Thai consonants, but in reality there are only 21.

For anyone else wanting to do the same here are the 21 different consonants:

6x T ; ฐ, ฑ, ฒ, ท, ธ, ถ

5x K ; ข, ฃ, ค, ฅ, ฆ

4x S ; ซ, ศ, ษ, ส

3x P ; ผ, พ, ภ

3x Ch ; ฉ, ช, ฌ

2x D ; ฎ ด

2x Y ; ญ ย

2x N ; ฌ น

2x H ; ห ฮ

2x L ; ล ฬ

2x F ; ฟ ฝ

2x dt ; ต ฏ

1x G ; ก

1x ng ; ง

1x J ; จ

1x B ; บ

1x bp ; ป

1x M ; ม

1x R ; ร

1x W ;

1x Silent ; อ

I also found it easy to learn the consonant classes using the method someone else suggested here:

There are only 9 middle consonants; ก จ ด ฎ ต ฏ บ ป อ. These are very easy to remember as it's all of the G's, J's, D's, dt's, B's and P's, plus the silent consonant. I already had the relationships between the G and J, the D's and dt's, the B's and P's in my head so I only had to remember 4 important points to learn all 9 middle consonants.

The High consonants are these 11; ข ฃ ฉ ฐ ถ ผ ฝ ส ษ ศ ห. These are much trickier to learn but once you have done then by deduction you already know that whatever is left after this are the 24 low consonants.

I have to say that since starting this thread and using the advice given, especially since I started using Anki flash cards after someone's suggestion, my Thai vocab and reading has improved greatly, it really has come on in leaps and bounds after just a few weeks. In fact, based on my previous efforts I don't even consider that I started to learn Thai until I starting to use the methods advised in this thread.

Thanks to all for you help and suggestions. I'm sure a lot of other beginners are also finding it very useful. Please keep it coming!

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1. What level are you at?

I would say advance. I can understand most conversations I engage or listen to. My goal is to be able to understand the news and read the newspaper. I would say that I am able to grasp about 50-70% of it depending on the topic.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

I can read Thai fluently and at a good speed. I only have trouble with Thai names and big words. I can write just as well, although I haven't done any writing in the last 5 months so I'm probably a bit rusty. I think that, like most people learning Thai, I struggle with words that use special/uncommon stop consonants.

3. How long have you been learning for?

I studied for 1 year at Piammitr Language school(which I highly recommend).

4. How did you learn?

The school I studied at uses a very common system, called the "Union System" Some complain that their system is a bit outdated, but I really believe that anyone with 8-12 months of time will get out of there feeling fairly confident when speaking/listening to Thais, provided they do the homework and follow the teacher's advice. I say this because I have met quite a few students who struggled throughout the course, only to find out they weren't putting much effort into learning once they were outside the classroom. I did try to self-learn using material I found off the internet and a book written by Poomsan Becker(sorry for spelling). I really liked the book, but I found that they way the book teaches Thai writing just didn't work for me.

I stopped after 1 year because I went through just about the whole course, minus the business and Thai history course. Right now I am reading Thai books translated from English novels. I find myself understanding 80%+ at first read. The most difficult thing is the amount of new words I see all the time. So what I do is have a dictionary besides me and just check up the words that I don't know. I found this to be a great way to learn new words.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

My first language is Cantonese which I can still understand fairly fluently. The next would be english obviously.

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1. What level are you at? I can speak Thai very well but It can get mixed up every now and then, since I'm mostly speaking English around my friends (Currently living in the US, Moving back after Graduation in 1 month! :D) But at home, I'm always speaking Thai. I gotta admit, I can understand Thai more then English for some reason. Because the things you can you can make it sound more fun, manly or whatever you want. Plus I think that writing in Thai is a lot easier when you know and can write in Thai. IMO.

2. Can you read and write Thai? I could read and write a little bit. I'm still trying to learn on how to read and write Thai. So I plan to continue my education in Thailand, So I can be closer to my Family and finally learn how to write and read Thai.

3. How long have you been learning for? I used to go to school in Thailand when I was little (That's where I can write and read a little bit in Thai) for 1 year.

4. How did you learn? Family and School.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai? I think Thai was my first languages then English.

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Hello. Your post is very interesting as I can identify with what you are saying. I thought of a few things you might be interested in.

I have been learning Thai for over 2 years. At first I found it very difficult. I was teaching myself from books and my Thai friends. I live in Chiang Mai. My Thai was not really improving and so I got some private tutors at my house, but all of them were not very good and just confused me more, and my motivation decreased!

Then I started a language school called Pro Language. They have one in BKK too. I really recommend you start a school. My Thai increased quickly and I could ask any questions to the teacher about anything I was not sure about. I was luck in my choice of schools, they had good course material and friendly teachers.

However, when I used to go out to the markets or visit friends houses, I was surprised how little I understood. They seemed to understand most of what I said thought. This went on for a while. I had done so much study and was doing well at Pro Language School, but outside I was struggling to understand people. Then I realised the local people were all talking the Northern Language of Lanna!!!!!!! I felt so stupid lol.

Because I had many Thai friends from Chiang Mai I was picking up the Northern Language without realising it, thinking it was Thai. When I went to Bangkok people could not understand me lol. My teacher was very good and helped me with the correct words. We thought it was very funny and the other students used to look at me like I was mad when I spoke some sentence in Lanna language by mistake.

Perhaps you have picked up a lot of Issan Language from your time there and that is confusing people? Also may words might be the same as Thai, but the tones different. This is the case in Lanna, language. I am sure I speak with a Chaing Mai accent now.

Anyway I really recommend you join a school like mine for sure. Also just listen to people and conversations going on around you. Watch Thai TV and listen to the radio. I learnt lots form songs on the radio.

Keep going! I got to a point when I nearly gave up, then suddenly if all started falling into place. Sometimes, when I am relaxed with my friends I can understand about 90 per cent of the conversations and can speak to them in Thai with no difficulty and be understood (although I sometimes mix a sentence up a bit). Other times if I meet a stranger or am in a stressful situation like immigration (which I hate) I panic and forget everything!!!!!!

So don’t worry, just keep going and defiantly join a good language school.

Jason.

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ID: 49   Posted (edited)

1. What level are you at?

I can't say what level but I can converse very well in everyday thai....I could not discuss highly technical matters or political juidicial matters though. I feel I lack in vocabulary of words like production, persistence, you know words that are not in everyday common use.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes I can and there is no substitute for practice. The best way is to read thai magazines and try to read over stuff again and agin till you understand what it means. The language in pop magazines is not too hard. Don't try to read political and legal thai....That is hard.

3. How long have you been learning for?

6-7 years

4. How did you learn?

Conversing with my thai wife, listening and watching luk thung music, thai lakhon, thai movies, dictionaries, and magazines. You love thai and thailand, then you should find it entertaining to learn thai. Also, ask your thai partner to explain to you.. I ask my wife at least once a day and she teaches me something...Also, never use roman alphabet to write thai. Use the thai characters. Send SMS to your wife in thai daily and reply to hers...Always USE THAI CHARACTERS...This cannot be stressed enough...Also remember the thai grammar is easy compared to english, french greek and german...

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

English Greek a little german a little arabic and a little tagalog

Edited by Debothai

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1. What level are you at? I'm told that I speak at an advanced level. I have a pretty good vocab with various topics, those that interest me. So, I can have a pretty good conversation about Buddhism, agriculture, health, and detailed matters regarding food. I suppose I wouldn't have the basics to speak in an office. I usually pronounce words clearly and don't usually have difficulty with tones or the the various letters that trip people up like ง and ร.

I can hold conversations with people using Central Thai one on one but have much more difficulty when Thais speak with each other. That's partly due to my tendency to pay less attention in groups, especially when I have to make an effort to understand. Also, I have a hard time with people who speak fast, because they often don't speak clearly.

2. Can you read and write Thai? Yes, though I am not solid with ฏฌฦ - I'm not sure how to pronounce them. And, in addition to these, there are a couple of other not so common letters that I'm not certain I could write properly. Also, when I write on paper, my writing is often UGLYYYY, while when I write on a chalkboard or whiteboard, I often write very nicely. Funny how just the size of the letters would make a difference.

3. How long have you been learning Thai? Since 1998.

4. How did you learn? I lived in Thailand from December 1999 to August 2006 and most of the time I learned "naturally". In 1998, before coming to live, I was a student at University of California and came to Thailand as one of a group of nine students to study for one term at Chiang Mai University. We all studied various subjects, Thai language being one of them. I had already studied a bit of Thai beforehand so I would know some language before arriving. I was the only one who had studied any Thai at all so I was put in the intermediate class, alone! I was HARDLY at an intermediate level, but I had the teachers to myself for several weeks before someone else (outside of the program) came to improve his Thai. So, I got a big boost by being alone in class (then with one other person about the same level), with teachers who insisted that they teach me in Thai! Actually, it was a great experience ... though daunting at the time.

From Jan 2000 until Feb 2004 I lived with the Santi Asoke people at two temples, where not that many people speak English. So, I got a lot more practice with the language there too. They're a fabulous group of folks so I just have to plug them here ... and everywhere!

I'm back now and still learn "naturally" but have been considering going to a school, and just picked up Benjawan Becker's intermediate book. Very easy but there are things in it that I don't know.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai? Japanese and Korean. Funny ... I lived in Japan for a few years between 1988 and 1994, then in Korea from 2006 to 2009 but even now, I remember so much more Japanese than Korean. Even right after leaving Korea, it was like the language disappeared for the most part. I never learned much northern Thai during nearly three years in Chiang Mai.

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BANGKOK 25 March 2017 10:53
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