KunMatt

What Level Of Speaking And Writing Thai Are You At?

119 posts in this topic

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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What level are you at ?

I can say the most common things, and also, can speak my mind most of the time. Nevertheless I am a perfectionist, and even if I'm average in Thai I, all the time want (wish) to learn new words or to speak a word the right way. Yes, I make many mistakes on the tones and still can't say horse without feeling stupid. Often I speak with my wife's niece who's 4 years old and speaks Thai but with a narrow vocabulary, and can hold the conversation with her most of the time. She speaks it better than me.

So I am just average or below.

 

Can you read and write ?

 

I can read, slowly, not fast enough to read the signs on the edge of the road though. I can read my wife's Facebook.

I can't write at all .

 

How long have you been learning ?

 

My first year in Thailand I didn't care about the language, so that's 3 years.

 

How did you learn ?

 

I had an ED visa for 2 years but went to 15 classes, maybe 20. That taught me a bit of the alphabet.

 

What other languages did you speak before Thai ?

 

French is my mother tongue, then at the age of 12 I could speak Spanish thanks to two years in Chile, then I went to stay in Canada for a couple of years and learned English, later at university I learned Italian, and the first time I opened a Portuguese novel, I could read it, that was like magic :sleepy: , then I opened the news papers and was able to understand everything too, but can't understand people speak or speak it myself.

So that makes 4 languages, plus read Portuguese and a fourth to third of the way in Thai.

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BANGKOK 28 June 2017 11:02
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