KunMatt

What Level Of Speaking And Writing Thai Are You At?

118 posts in this topic

I have read all the Harry Potter books in Thai but i cant follow a Thai soap on the TV. I prefer reading.

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ID: 103   Posted (edited)

1. What level are you at?

Can get by in a market or shop or restaurant. Can chat with the girls next to my GF's shop enough to make jokes they laugh at. I get nervous when a Thai I don't know speaks to me so my trick is to eavesdrop on Thais in conversation and try to discern what they are talking about. Takes the pressure off of me.

2. Can you read and write Thai?
Can read. Was the first hing I taught myself but as you stated reading and understanding the actual vocabulary of what you have read takes time. I can write but often choose the wrong "s" or wrong "f" letter as in Thai there are many to choose from. I read the school books of my GF's kid who is 9 but he reads it faster than I do.

3. How long have you been learning for?
4 years. 1.5 focused self training before I got here, .5 working with GF and the last 2 just picking up what I can in real life situations. Really need to focus my efforts more.

4. How did you learn?
Rapidthai for writing/reading. Its4Thai app for vocabulary. Thaipodcast for sentence structure. Tried an online tutor and hated her. GF helps me when I want it but does not force it down my throat.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?
Native language English. Learned a little Japanese but when I went to Japan and realized Japanese people hate foreigners so I let it slip from memory. Speak a little Spanish as well. What is very interesting to me and confirms that all foreign language is located in the same location in the brain is that when I try to speak Spanish, Thai words slip into the sentences. Its like my foreign languages are all jumbled together in one area of my head.

I have always been interested in learning languages and when I am out with foreigners and Thais together spend most of my time speaking to the Thais in Thai. I get horribly embarrassed for my friends who have lived here longer than me when I here them say things like "SweatyCop" instead of "Sawasdikrap". It makes my skin crawl. I have one friend who offers a hearty "HELLOOOO"..""HOW ARE YOUUUU" when he sees a Thai he recognizes and then the conversation comes to a screeching halt as he speaks not one word or Thai and is to foolish to realize the people he is talking to do not speak a word of English. I dive under the table at these moments. Also, as Thai is not my first language it takes effort to speak it. After a while it becomes tiring to think of the right words before saying them. When you are talking to someone and your 2 friends are asking you to translate for them as well it really becomes exhausting. For that reason I often socialize with Thais on my own as the mixing becomes tiresome.

Edited by csabo
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1. What level are you at?
Intermediate. common phrasing

2. Can you read and write Thai?
เรียนเขียนอ่านพูดสองปีที่แล้วครับ

3. How long have you been learning for?
about 2 years.

4. How did you learn?
lessons with teacher every week

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?
english, level toeic 800

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ID: 105   Posted (edited)

I'm perfectly contented to be an American who happens to be able to speak something which passes for Thai (with an American accent) wink.gif.

A lot changed for me when I bought a smartphone with a good connection. I started playing with Siri and advised my students to start doing the same...

Later on, I realised that I can do the same in Thai. As with English, initially the phone seems rather stupid until you learn the weaknesses and adjust pronunciation to be clearer.

Improved phonics awareness helps (as with Thai's, if you want them to say a name like 'James' you must teach them 'J-air-ee-m-z' sounds, as they are totally unaware of many sounds, like 'ai' in 'rain' and 'oa' in boat).

Now, when I chat in LINE with my wife, I change to Thai keyboard, speak Thai, and read back what I've saie... so my reading and speaking abilities have increased a good deal.

If I'm feeling mean, when some stupid Thai refuses to hear or understand, I talk into my phone and offer it for them to read wink.png making a comment that if my phone can understand me better than a Thai... All Thai's in the vicinity start nodding and looking down on the perpetrator at this point...

Using the phone's cool. I ask my wife 'what's this plant' and she tells my phone, so now I can read it, search for it, and undertand it in Thai - but also in English. Sometimes we learn words in Thai that we can't translate to English. It feels funny when some Thai asks me 'what's English for....' and I have to say 'sorry, I don't know!' and get the answer from my phone.

Doing this also reveals to them the fact that - if they weren't so set against learning - they could just do the same thing themselves... talk to their phone in Thai and get help online!

So my votes:

My Thai 45% offline, 85% with broadband connected phone. Partly because if I can't hear, and the phone cannot write correctly, Thai's can adjust their pronunciation to be clearer for the phone (and that also helps it become clearer for me).

My writing: 15% My writing in Facebook/Line/Messenger 85%

Edited by ben2talk

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I don't think I am also fluent in Thai, in fact I'm very terrible when it comes to speaking the Thai language. I would like to really be good at it since I'm currently living in Bangkok. I feel like my life will be a lot easier if I can get along with my Thai colleagues, though they understand me well  using a foreign language I still want to walking down the street and speak the language without hesitation. 

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I guess intermediate speaking. I can talk to anyone in Thai and have an endless conversation but I know my vocab is limited. I'm lazy to learn. I learned a lot the first 8 years here then my work changed and I didn't need to use much Thai. I can read but again I am lazy. I mostly read the things around me like menus, billboards, adverts, newspapers headlines and explanations under the pictures. I often read when I try to understand the political stuff on twitter. I could/should be much better as I have been here for a couple decades. I'm just lazy. I think in recent years I got bored with Thailand and Thais but I am tied to this place now. I spend my days in two worlds of news: Thai and the US. Both nations are in disturbing states.

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I've learned a few different european languages, but Thai really is so so different. Thx for the great recommendations here, very useful for a newbie in Thailand. 

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ID: 109   Posted (edited)

On 5/31/2016 at 11:58 AM, csabo said:

.... Speak a little Spanish as well. What is very interesting to me and confirms that all foreign language is located in the same location in the brain is that when I try to speak Spanish, Thai words slip into the sentences. Its like my foreign languages are all jumbled together in one area of my head...

I suppose I'm about where you are spoken-wise.  Haven't had a need for reading/writing for 30+ years, so it's poor.  Besides, the written and everyday spoken vocabulary seems so different.

 

On a trip to Mexico years ago, my remaining high school and a bit of college Spanish seamlessly blended with Thai words.  I couldn't help it and the locals were surely perplexed. 

 

I had about 6 weeks in-country language training from the Peace Corps. They used what was called the "Silent Way".  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Way

 

It was amazingly effective.  Learn a few words and concepts and you could put them together in different ways and be understood.  No translation, no particular thought. It's like playing with LEGOS - just put them together where they fit.  Tones and the lengths of vowels are tricky, but if you have good hearing and can carry a tune, then not too much of a problem.

 

In my 2 years in Peace Corps and a year with the U.S. refugee program (1977-1980), I've encountered maybe 4 people who became amazingly fluent in just a few years. One guy could write a 2 page essay in Thai in about 15 minutes after a few weeks or reading.writing training.  He called me years later and was jabbering Thai at 90 miles an hour.  I tried to understand and make excuses and find out who he was.  Then he said, "It's Larry". SOB.  :)  Another guy fooled my landlady on the phone.  He was so polite and used such proper Thai, she insisted that he was Thai.  And she was a Khun Ying คุณหญิง .  Same guy could hold his own when discussing Buddhism and philosophy.

 

Me, I just chat with merchants, order food the way I want it, complain and annoy my wife.  And come up with smart remarks when my wife gives it right back to me.

 

Edited by Damrongsak

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 I’m just awful at Thai!

So, knowing that I can’t live here without speaking the language, I had to figure out how I could approach it my way.

Researching everything I can about the subject is one way that's why I write short essay https://essmart.org/cause-effect-essay/

No promises on the quality of my Thai when I get done, just the promise that I will struggle through :-)

 And that’s why short stories are so important. And why I’m looking forward to reading the Thai and English translation of stories. It will be a great help for those  who are determined to learn to read and write Thai.

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Speaking and Listening skill are at basic level.  A question of need is the motivating factor for higher level.. back in the day, it was a  blast to speak with villagers and shoot the breeze...Taxi drivers sometimes were very cool, but not now..

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For 15 years in Thailand, my life has revolved around English: teaching English, judging English debates and speaking competitions, all English-speaking Thai friends, etc.

Thai? Not much. Until...

I bit the bullet and hired full-time house help who spoke not a word of English.

Necessity is the Mother of Progress.

In one short year, I learned about a thousand Thai words, can write a few hundred, and can painstakingly read a bit. I can be understood in general conversation around town.

Now I'm trying to make more non-English speaking Thai friends to keep up the momentum.


Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect

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I used to walk around, observe and say uuh, or uoom.  Then "pasa Thai, waa arai"  What do you call it in Thai? You learn if you get out in the street and observe people. 

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Some Ferangs have Chalk on Blackboard effect on my ears..older ones are OK but those 30 " Something " Teachers in 7/11 cap caping like Chicken makes me wince for the Cashiers.


Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect

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ID: 118   Posted (edited)

1. What level are you at ?

 

Beginning Thai. I'm trying to relearn the alphabet,vowel and consonant sounds that I  learned before by using a private Thai teacher supplemented with Thai early grade school teaching materials . I used to know common everyday phrases in order to take a taxi or eat in a restaurant and had a vocabulary of at least three or four hundred words. I never went beyond this low level because when in Thailand my Thai friends spoke English. My Thai wife of 15 years is fluent in English having earned post graduate degrees in the US and resided there  for over ten years. We converse in English.

 

My two children are fluent in Thai having learned it before English. They can read and write Thai. They speak with my wife and others using Thai. I thought that I would learn Thai as they grew up but that didn't occur since as they were learning I was busy with my profession.

 

I know and have met many foreigners who are fluent in Thai of varying degrees over the last 35 -40 years.  

 

Total immersion and a Thai teacher preferably one with skills as teacher of Thai as a second language or else a very dedicated Thai educated teacher in my opinion is needed if one wants to really learn the language.

 

Knowing the alphabet is of cause a necessity.

 

Fluency is of varying degrees with every language. My wife speaks Thai fluently with foreigners and says that their Thai is perfect. They usually tell me that they have been speaking for 15 to 20 years and have no problems with speaking Thai except for speaking at a higher level of intellectual discourse which they usually say is not possible.

 

Looking at my bilingual children aged 11 and 13 who have been speaking Thai since having learnt to speak ,have learned the alphabet at an age appropriate level ,read and write and have been speaking Thai their entire lives-without question  they are 100 %  capable of living here without speaking other languages and excepting at International school that's what they do.

 

When tested using a Thai language aptitude test their Thai lags behind their English by two to three years. In conversation my daughter is thought to have learned Thai as her native language in Thailand by most Thais. My son although fluent is assumed to be a native Thai who may have lived in Singapore in his early years.

 

My wife whom studied education among other fields tells me that our children would not be able to compete at a Thai University because as she states the language then is at a much higher level for example when writing poetry.

 

Learn Thai as early as you can. Other variables exist other then learning skills. Everyone who has been exposed to noise will have varying degrees of high frequency hearing deficits by age 45 -50 making learning more challenging especially with a tonal language. If you are having real difficulties have an audiometric exam. You may require a hearing aid and be unaware.

 

From what I read it seems that you know that you need to speak with native speakers. Try to learn from a central Thai speaker if at all possible. You will be speaking like my friends who are fluent soon. I might need a second lifetime. 

 

2. Can you read and write ? 

 

No

 

3. How long have you been learning for ?

 

At least 25 years.

 

4. How did you learn ?

Native Thai teacher. Basic Thai early grade school material. Multiple Leaning Thai books which for me are useless trying to learn Thai because the sounds and tones can not be transliterated using the Greek Roman alphabet .A few courses using DVDs such as Rossetta Stone which I thought were next to useless for me.

 

5.  What other languages could you speak before Thai ?

 

English fluently. Beginning Dutch with ability of verbal conversational communication skills and the ability to read Dutch much more easily and at a more advanced level then speaking. Beginning Greman ;one year of University study. Beginning French ; one year one on one teaching by a native French university French language  professor.

Edited by drbill

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BANGKOK 29 March 2017 02:43
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