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BANGKOK 21 April 2019 09:25
Brewster67

Will My Thai Kid Speak English Naturally?

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Posted (edited)

I suppose this one goes out to all the farang out there who have had half Thai kids here.

 

I have been here a few years yet I only have a smattering of the Thai language, I can get by, but I am in no way fluent, I have problems with the tones and the fact one word has many meanings depending on the tone. My wife hasn't been much help because she likes to speak English whenever she can...

 

We had a child about 5 months ago and I am a bit concerned that I am going to have trouble communicating with him... I speak pure English to him all the time and everyone else uses Thai. How did other farang get around this?... Do you have to sit them down and give them intensive English language lessons or does it just come naturally to them?

Edited by Brewster67
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Interestingly it seems to vary from kid to kid. I'd say that my older daughter (8 soon) has English as first language, she can read, write and speak better than I, english being my third language which I learnt when I was in my late twenties. Second daughter (3) speaks a lot of Thai and good english with me, reckon Thai will be her first language but this may change. The little one interacts a lot with Granma, the older one hardly.

I think the key is to have a proper Farang style family life, share a lot, and expose our kids to a lot of Mum/Dad interaction. I have also taken some risk in giving them a lot (???) of Youtube access where they get exposure to better phonetics. There is hardly any Thai content watched in our home.

Now of course there is the question of how you see (dream ?) the future of your kids, as far as I am concerned I'd prefer they settle in AU/NZ or EU for their working lives, as they have the right passports. The work/life balance/limit doesn't seem right to me here.

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Just wait until your child is old enough to listen to Youtube and play video games. All the good content is in English. My kids, despite going to school in Thai and speaking Thai to their mother, only want to speak and communicate in English. Their entire online existence revolves around English speaking content, so for them that is their native tongue. Few of their peers in school speak English.

 

I think you have to actively try to prevent children from falling into English today if there is even a hint of English around the house.  Once they become comfortable with it, they will prefer it to Thai.  The online content is just so much richer.

 

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I have not done anything special for my son to learn English I talk in English his mother in Thai now at 10 years old he talks both fluently but I am with him whenever he not at school so I think that must of help him in speaking English

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"I speak pure English to him all the time and everyone else uses Thai. How did other farang get around this?"

 

Do exactly as you and your wife are doing and your son will be bilingual in english and thai.

 

My kids at an early age (they attend bilingual  school) were mainly in a thai-speaking world with the exception of me. My wife speaks to them in english and thai. 

 

Based on my kids and the luuk khrung kids of friends, these luuk khruengs speak or become proficient  in languages later than kids who just speak in one language, i guess because their brain as a baby / toddler has more of a language-jigsaw to piece together. I also base my comment on observing all the thai kids in our extended family who spoke earlier.

 

Interestingly my kids have never picked up my wife's  isaan from her even though she talks in isaan to her family members who are often around our place. 

 

My kids talk to each other in thai. They have always preferred to watch tv and movies in english. They seem to like thai and western music in equal  measures. Based on their English you wouldn't think they'd be raised in a thai-speaking world.

 

So you and your wife just talk normally to your son in your own language and he will be bilingual.

 

 

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Neighbours (thai wife / english husband) chose not to speak to their first kid in english and he went from an early age to english  school. Result is he couldn't speak thai.

 

2nd kid was looked after by thai maid, parents again spoke only english and he went from an early age to english  school. Result is he could speak a little thai.

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