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BANGKOK 25 March 2019 20:35


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About KunMatt

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  1. I would love nothing more than to be fluent in Thai, it would greatly improve my life in Thailand, especially with my future in-laws and family. I'm usually pretty good at learning new languages; I've lived all over Asia for the last 10 years and always picked up the language in the place I stayed without trying too hard; I could speak enough Mandarin in a supermarket after only being in China for 2 weeks to help out another farang who was having trouble at the till; after a year I could speak good basic Mandarin just from living there. I learnt enough Finnish to be able to converse with my Finnish gf's father after we had stayed with them in Finland for a few months. I could speak enough Russian to get by with my employees when I worked there for a couple of years. All of these are difficult languages for someone who's first language is English but they all came quite easy to me to get to a basic level. For some reason Thai is just not sticking in the same way. After trying hard to learn Thai for a year I still cannot speak as much Thai as I could Mandarin just after being in China for just 2 weeks. I don't know why. The reason for this thread is basically a confidence boost and to find out what level I can realistically believe to attain by comparing to other members who are going and gone through the same thing I am. When I first started reading this forum I was amazed and impressed by all of the fluent Thai speakers who were writing and translating in Thai script, it still impresses me when members post Thai sayings or poems that they know, and I thought that with enough studying and effort I could be that. However my confidence was rocked when another member in here said he had actively been trying to learn Thai for 30 odd years and after many attempts at lessons and different methods he still couldn't even hold a basic conversation with the 7/11 cashier, at the moment I can imagine I could be that! That almost made me give up and killed off a lot of my motivation. What's worrying is a lot of people agreeing in that thread that Thai is basically an impossible language to be learn for some people. So, for anyone who is learning Thai or is fluent, 1. What level are you at? 2. Can you read and write Thai? 3. How long have you been learning for? 4. How did you learn? 5. What other languages could you speak before Thai? For me; 1. My Thai is terrible. Still not even basic Thai. I can ask simple questions and if I'm lucky understand the answer. People are starting to be nice and tell me my Thai is great but I have zero confidence in it right now. I'm starting to be able to understand a couple of words per sentence when other Thais are talking to each so occasionally I can get the context of a conversation but there are times when I just sit there clueless not understanding even one word. Sometimes when I learn a new word and use it all day, a couple of days later it's gone. I never had this problem with any other languages before so my vocab is increasing very, very slowly. 2. I found it relaively easy to learn the Thai alphabet so I can read Thai script but apart from very common words I usually don't know the words that I am reading out. If I'm lucky when reading out the words I will hear and recognise them and then understand the sentence. I have some Thai friends on Facebook so I try to understand their updates and correctly contribute every day, but even words I wrote out a hundred times can still look new to me in the middle of a sentence. 3. Actively just under 1 year. I live in Bangkok most of the time and my Thai hardly improves at all when I am there so it wasn't until I went to stay with my gf's parents in Isaan that I started to really learn any Thai. When I go to Isaan with my gf I pick up 10 times more Thai than in BKK. 4. I have Benjawan Poomsan's "Thai for Beginner's" but I've mostly only been using it as a reference. I used it to learn the Thai alphabet. The bulk of my Thai (which is not much) comes from being in a place where nobody speaks any English, unfortunately they all speak Isaan to each other, but they talk Thai to me. I also have Thai2English software on my laptop which I think is awesome and teaches me a lot as a live dictionary. 5. First language is English. Did advanced French at Uni. Picked up basic Finnish, Madarin and Russian along the way. Can still remember everything I learned about them. Would give up all my knowledge of them all if I could convert it into Thai. So please, any success stories or failures, at least I can get an idea of what to expect. Any tips would be appreciated too. I know I'm not putting the effort in that I should, I should study my book and CD properly, and I would like to do some real lessons in BKK, I just didn't expect Thai to be so much harder than the other languages I learnt.
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