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KunMatt

What Level Of Speaking And Writing Thai Are You At?

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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The school I studied at uses a very common system, called the "Union System" Some complain that their system is a bit outdated, but I really believe that anyone with 8-12 months of time will get out of there feeling fairly confident when speaking/listening to Thais, provided they do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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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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1. What level are you at?

There are no levels; there’s only your ability to understand and successfully communicate from one time to the next. Out and about, I have about a 90% success rate, but that’s because I’m rarely in situations that I haven’t already learned how to deal with. At home, where my family mostly speak Thai among themselves, I’d say I get about 30% of what’s being said. I have a couple of school age kids, and they’re forever coming out with vocab and expressions you’ll never find in any book (thai or english). Sometimes I pick these up, but I’d guess for everyone I pick up there’s ten that I don’t even notice.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yup, but I can’t always make sense of what I read even if I know all the words (or look them up). Newspapers are beyond me, and my level of reading is not as good as it once was. Regular practice is the key. Use it or lose it.

3. How long have you been learning Thai?

Learned my first Thai words in 1995, but like most others who’ve posted here, I’ve been in and out of regular use/practice ever since.

4. How did you learn?

Self study, couple of months at a union school, then not much more than passive absorption. ‘The osmosis’ method - don’t recommend it!

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

None. I think the greatest thing that Thai has taught me is that I could learn any European language fairly quicker. I’d know how to go about i and what the difficulties are.

A few miscellaneous notes:

The more Thai you learn, the more you will realise how much there is to learn. Stop striving for ‘fluency’ and strive to extend what you already know. There are some people who’ve probably mastered the language, Ricker, David Long at AuA, Andrew Biggs to throw out a couple of the more famous names, but I long ago settled to the fact that I don’t have the time or the dedication to ever hope to get to that level. Undoubtedly, I need to extend myself and break the comfort zone if I want to improve, but in my experience, most people stop learning anything when they master it at a level that meets their needs. If you have the need, you’ll get there. Mother and necessity and invention and all that.

Good luck. I don’t believe Thai is any harder or easier than any other language, but I do think living in BKK presents a peculiar challenge for most foreigners. As others have said, and I know people that have done this too, going to Laos or the outer reaches of Isaan, if circumstances should afford you the opportunity, is a real way to immerse yourself and get the learning opportunities you need. In BKK, you’ve really got to put in some extra effort to both force yourself into Thai-only situations and make a determination not to speak English even when you can.

My 2cents.

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Great thread

1.What level are you at?

Probably intermediate but used to be a bit more advanced than that. My problem is I don't spend enough time in Thailand anymore. I used to live in Asia and was regularly in Thailand but I have been in the Middle East for 12 years so it's more difficult for me in keeping my fluency up, I simply don't get the time to practice. I had a Thai girlfriend out here for a bit and its so much easier in terms of learning (without wishing to sound selfish :D) but I don't have time to hit the books ...

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yes. My reading is probably better than my speaking to be honest. Even though I rarely practice these days (:() it still comes back to me when I am in Thailand and I enjoy it, like I said, just not enough time. The listening part is very difficult for me, this is covered in another thread which I have been reading on here though, interesting.

3. How long have you been learning for?

On and off for 15 years perhaps but that said it's more like 2 or 3 years of really, really learning a lot and then 9 or 10 of kind of regressing!

4. How did you learn?

I used 'Teach yourself Thai' from David Smyth, excellent book, taught myself the writing system. I used some tape stuff but at the time I was learning the tape stuff was a lot more basic than these kinds of books. Used the Paiboon type books, short stories with vocab, excellent and worked up to advanced before, yep, regressing. Got the big 'ol stanford dictionary.

I used to carry a pen and paper with me everywhere. When I saw words I didn't know I'd write them down and check them all later in my dictionary. I'd take a few words from the dictionary and decide I would use them today. I'd sometimes get a few sentences together on a particular (simple) topic and then work the conversation around to me being able to use them each day.

I'd read through the dictionary, learn words and sentences and their origins, I had a idiomatic dictionary too, I'd cross reference between all the books I had.

I have come to the conclusion that being totally immersed for 5 or 6 months in a proper school environment is much more useful in the longer term and then building on that. Perhaps I'll do that sometime, if I'd done that back then perhaps I wouldn't have regressed as much but that said, it's amazing how much it comes back when I am back in Thailand

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

English and native speaker, a few words of Cantonese and stuff like that ... I think to be successful you really have to want to learn, not like French at school where you may feel it forced onto you. At the time I started learning I was well into it, had I been living in Thailand at the time who knows what level I'd be at as the enthusiasm and work rate was there.

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What level are you at?

Really I don't know, but I guess high, all my conversation in the past 14 years, has been only in Thai.

Not a single word in English, wife & mia noi's, they say all, very hard for them, to accept I'm farang.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

Yeah, 95% of every-day words, 90 % of sign's form's, & TV subtitle speed-catch 80%, writing forgot, never used, wasted some time on learning that.

3. How long have you been learning for?

Abt 15 yrs, quit learning 10 yrs ago, enough Thai capabilities for a comfortable living.

4. How did you learn?

Self-learning, 30- 15 yrs ago, AUA 9 books done

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

English, Swedish.

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1.What level are you at?

I would say very basic.

2. Can you read and write Thai?

I have just started learning to read and write. I have managed to learn the first 10 letters in 2 days (writing them as well). About 5 hrs. Only due to the fact I couldn't pronounce The snake one. Sorry haven't got a Thai keyboard. My goal is to learn all the consonants by the end of the month. Maybe a bit ambitious.

3. How long have you been learning for?

On and off for the last 3 years. Meaning, if you added all the time together, it would add to about 72 hrs.

4. How did you learn?

I have books that I have read through. Didn't really pick up on much because I was worried I would start to pronounce things wrong. It's hard to get out of bad habits.

I tried to find someone to teach me, on a one to one basis but struggled because of where I was located in the UK. Now I have finally got my wife living with me, she is teaching me. Learning has become easier and least I know I'm pronouncing words and letters correctly.

5. What other languages could you speak before Thai?

Native English.

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...........edited for essentials...

It's got nothing to do with the fact you're speaking Thai with a foreign accent.

Believe me, no matter what you think or how many compliments you've gotten from these totally over complimentary people about your Thai language ability........

The real reason they didn't understand you is because they saw you as a foreigner, made a judgment call that you most likely can't speak Thai .......

I've NEVER EVER had a problem speaking with and being understood by a 'strange Thai' (one I've never met before B) ), even up-country in a "one buffalo village". Rather than just approaching 'em and asking in Thai what ever it is I wanna know, I do what I mentioned on the forum before and what I call "the-thai-language-dance".

What is the 'thai-language-dance'? It's where you approach a strange Thai and say stuff IN Thai like; "Hello, how are you?", "I'm a foreigner, but I can speak Thai." "Can you understand me?" Other mindless and equally meaningless pleasantries can be exchanged before you jump into the topic of what you really want.

I've found slightly self-deprecating stuff plays well with Thais and can 'break the ice', which is why I always tell them I speak with a strange accent.

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

Agree fully with this, most of the time things just turn out to be exactly like this, some strange class thinking is one major point too (see the wai)!

But hey, I am quite content with being understood where it is needed, welcomed and maybe sometimes wanted... the rest, ah' well.. you know... who get's off on such Kindergarden play and behavior.. isn't far of it him/herself I think it's big BS!

the rest is easy going!

And yes, I would say after about 2 decades here, I speak rudmentary thai, but alwaysgot what I wanted and where I wanted to go, so what?

Good and deeper conversations I usually have with non-thai people, does anyone ever has discussed Politics, Economics, Plato, Aristotle or even Buddha's teachings with a thai?

I hate if a conversation is all about "stripping" you: "Income, Wife, Spouse, how many others beside her.. like to go "massage", how mant times a day... children, position... drinking... socker.." well and this is exactly not my piece of pie!

And if somenone praises your "beautiful thai language skills" then one can be sure it's no praise at all! I hate this too.... it's back stabbing at it's finest, subtle intrigue thai style... telling everyone around you what an idiot you are with a smile in their face and dare of the Farang nod's, smiles back and underlines what just has been said about him - if this happens I let the people instantaneously know that "my thai is just "cr_p" or just walk off.... yeah' different folks, thats for sure, and of course not ALL but many!

Edited by Samuian
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<snip!>

Agree fully with this, most of the time things just turn out to be exactly like this, some strange class thinking is one major point too (see the wai)!

But hey, I am quite content with being understood where it is needed, welcomed and maybe sometimes wanted... the rest, ah' well.. you know... who get's off on such Kindergarden play and behavior.. isn't far of it him/herself I think it's big BS!

the rest is easy going!

And yes, I would say after about 2 decades here, I speak rudmentary thai, but alwaysgot what I wanted and where I wanted to go, so what?

Good and deeper conversations I usually have with non-thai people, does anyone ever has discussed Politics, Economics, Plato, Aristotle or even Buddha's teachings with a thai?

I hate if a conversation is all about "stripping" you: "Income, Wife, Spouse, how many others beside her.. like to go "massage", how mant times a day... children, position... drinking... socker.." well and this is exactly not my piece of pie!

And if somenone praises your "beautiful thai language skills" then one can be sure it's no praise at all! I hate this too.... it's back stabbing at it's finest, subtle intrigue thai style... telling everyone around you what an idiot you are with a smile in their face and dare of the Farang nod's, smiles back and underlines what just has been said about him - if this happens I let the people instantaneously know that "my thai is just "cr_p" or just walk off.... yeah' different folks, thats for sure, and of course not ALL but many!

Sounds like Thailand has natured the best of you and made you a truely happy and content person for all your time here! Just kidding, you are pretty much the image of the long term farang I strive not to become when I grow up!!

Anyways, back to the topic. It's been 3 months since I started this thread after I had what can only be described as a crisis of confidence and was about to give up with the Thai language after I felt I wasn't getting anywhere and was considering that it may be impossible for certain people, such as myself. From the support and help given in this thread I adopted some different techniques and tried some things I didn't know about and honestly my Thai is probably 50x better than it was when I started this thread. I would now say I am finally at beginner level!

I found using Anki flash cards improved my vocab a LOT in the beginning, it's probably the best system if you are going to do a test on something, after several sessions with the same deck I kinda felt like I was just learning the questions more and anticipating what was in the deck more than I was learning any real Thai but it was a definitely help to start off with.

I also started listening to a lot of Thai rock music and watching concerts in my spare time (at work!). Having an interest like this meant I was thinking about the language a lot more than just during my own lessons and study times, it's also given me another thing about Thailand which I now love.

I finally finished "Thai for Beginners" more than a year after buying it, I tried several times in the last year but always gave up after the first couple of lessons as nothing was getting in. Looking back I wasn't ready to start that book from fresh and I feel that I needed more of a base for the language before I could even start that book. Once I had a bit more of the basics behind me and tried to do the book in a more academic method I got much more out of it than I did the other 5 times I tried to get through it. I also brought the "Intermediate Thai" book and CD beforehand so it would pressure myself into finishing the beginner course, it seemed to work. I put some hard study in for each lesson followed up with a revision session so the whole book took me more than 20 hours of serious study, I never tried as hard as I did this time to study Thai, or any language for that matter.

I went through the whole beginner book using Thai script only and ignoring their system of phonetics and, it wasn't easy towards the end, I got through it fine. I remember when I first listened to the first 3 chapter CDs without the book I was struggling to keep up with the conversations or follow what was going on and the people talking were so fast that it was frustrating but after going back and re-listening to them today I could understand and keep up with every single word. The conversations in lesson 10 are still my limit and I get lost and have to pause to catch up in my head but I'm sure I will progress and look back on them with the same ease I now do with the first few chapters.

So in conclusion to my original post and for anyone who is feeling like I was feeling when I felt the need to start this thread, I'm glad I never gave up on the Thai language as I am now at a point where things start to be sticking and making sense. I'm still just book taught with the basics and it will take much longer to be able to tune my ears into real conversations or be able to pronounce anything properly or, hopefully, even fluently but the whole point of this thread was to be able to find out how everyone else is trying to learn in their own ways and how much progress they are making with it.

So thanks again to all for the replies and help, I'm disappointed the member tod-daniels got banned (for what?) as he was a great help to me in this thread. Keep the info coming everyone as I'm sure it will help other disillusioned starters too. :jap:

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I'm disappointed the member tod-daniels got banned (for what?) as he was a great help to me in this thread.

I don't expect this post will survive for long...and in the same vein I expect it to be my last contribution (and visit) to this site.

I was once a regular contributor to this the lang' forum, but voluntarily 'banned myself' after being read the riot act by an overzealous moderator.

Well, I kind of sneaked back under a new name as I missed the place, but can't help noticing that what was previously a vibrant forum for Thal lang' learners has turned into a ghost town. Learning that they banned tod-daniels — one of the most helpful, amusing, and genuinely colorful characters that made the forum what it was — just shows admin has lost its way. Maybe time the site admin looked at what happened to Friendster...a once vibrant site that died a death when the mods and owners pissed off all the contributors that made the place worth visiting.

Over and out. Don't bother to ban me, I'm banning myself — for good this time. I have a feeling I know where all the decent members have gone to.

CU all there.

Edited by badmedicine
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I'm disappointed the member tod-daniels got banned (for what?) as he was a great help to me in this thread.

I don't expect this post will survive for long...and in the same vein I expect it to be my last contribution (and visit) to this site.

I was once a regular contributor to this the lang' forum, but voluntarily 'banned myself' after being read the riot act by an overzealous moderator.

Tod was banned for writing excellent reviews - but - not having anything good to say about the School he attended for a year - when he still needed an Ed Visa.

Edited by Parvis

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Tod was banned for writing excellent reviews - but - not having anything good to say about the School he attended for a year - when he still needed an Ed Visa.

I'm more confused than ever! :ermm:

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Tod was banned for writing excellent reviews - but - not having anything good to say about the School he attended for a year - when he still needed an Ed Visa.

I'm more confused than ever! :ermm:

Yeah, me too! Tod was an excellent member of this forum. He helped me a lot, whether he knew it or not, I'm not sure!

And thanks to KunMatt for starting this thread, it too has encouraged me with my learning.

Which has improved, somewhat. I can now read Thai script reasonably well, there are still many many words that I don't understand, but I can read them! :lol:

I must admit that this language forum has lost something of it's vibrancy recently. I hardly ever read it now, there's nothing to read really other than the occasional request from someone to translate what their g/f wrote on Facebook!

Shame really, I used to enjoy it

Bring back Tod Daniels!

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