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BananaBandit

is hearing the hardest thing?

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I can read & write basic Thai. 

 

My accent is probably quite goofy, but I can make myself understood most of the time. 

 

Problem is:    I can't hear this language to save my life.  (for what it's worth, i'm a pretty young guy and my hearing is not impaired)

 

Is hearing Thai more difficult than speaking, reading, or writing for you guys ?

 

I've found that when farlang speak Thai on TV or YouTube, I can understand them much better than when Thai speak Thai... This might sound a bit silly, but I'm just being honest....  Do others have a similar viewpoint ?
 

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9 hours ago, tgeezer said:

eg. วนมาวนไป to a picture of นำ้อุ่น (name) pacing up and down after ‘dumping’ ร่างลัลลาเบล (name) on the โซฟา (sofa) . 

yeah, i remember those exact subtitles from the broadcast !  (largely because I was wondering what "wohn mah, wohn bpai" meant)    

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9 hours ago, tgeezer said:

I have ‘got by’ with speaking for years but still can’t understand what I am hearing much of the time. 

for me, trying to hear Thai is like trying to translate an alien language into a foreign language into English

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I hate to break this to you.

 

Listening is always easier than speaking because the right tones, right grammar is spoken by native Thai.

 

What we learn in Thai schools are mainly formal words that is not used in spoken Thai and there are many informal words.

 

You think speaking is easier because you are speaking at a very basic level like ordering food, how much, where is toilet, what time etc. 

 

When a Thai person answers, he goes up to lower and higher intermediate level.

 

That is the sad reality of Thai teaching in Thailand, they don't teach 'much' informal words and the way that Thai actually speak.

 

Moreover, when foreigners speak Thai , they usually ignore the tones, uses formal words, uses English grammar so there is a mismatch here if you think Thai people speak like you.

 

Thai has many layers of languages, the formal words come from Sanskrit/Pali.

 

http://eastasiaorigin.blogspot.com/2017/08/origin-of-thai-language.html

Edited by EricTh
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Listening is one of the four language skills and often, in all languages, the most difficult to learn and teach. Try watching short chunks of movies, TV programmes and you tube videos. Also try and find same with subtitles in Thai.

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14 hours ago, BananaBandit said:

yeah, i remember those exact subtitles from the broadcast !  (largely because I was wondering what "wohn mah, wohn bpai" meant)    

That is the sort of thing which interests me. I have just noted วนไปวนมา in my notebook and wondered how it was in the subtitles. I looked for วนมาวนไป in Longdo (my on line dictionary) and found that I got it wrong in my original post, it is วนไปวนมา. We can deduce a meaning for it in the context we see on the video and I found numerous examples of its use in translating English. ฟังเพลงเดิมวนไปวนมา probably comes from playing a record on a gramophone! I have been riding around for hours- ฉันเดินวนไปวนมาเกือบชั่วโมงแล้ว The word walk used but the reader knows the cont text. 

It is logical that the verb is seen from the subjects point of view so ไปมา and is food for thought.  

If I remember rightly เป็ยศบ was used to say that she was dead and ไม่มีสติ unconscious? 

If you can still find the clip perhaps you can confirm or refute that. 

 

 On the subject of why verbs are in a certain order, how about อยากรู้อยากเห็น from my earliest encounter with this phrase I used to think that to be wrong because I took เห็น as seeing in the physical sense, See first, then through seeing know.  I thought later that it was; know then through knowing understand, I now think that it means: like to know and รู้เห็น could just as well be, เห็นรู้ but it just isn’t. 

 

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Listening - or to be more precise, being able to discern the difference in sound (among similar sounding words) - is half of the task. For example, one (of the "easier") example : "(feeling) tired" vs. "butter." The other half is pronouncing - ie able to replicate the sound/difference in sound (among similar sounding words) that you heard. If you could do both then you're getting on. I have listened or tried to, to many farangs on youtube living in the provinces with thai wives, who proclaimed themselves to be able to speak thai. No, they don't, not when they speak to other folks outside of their in-laws circle. Looking back to the many thai courses offered along the Sukkhumvit corridor that I have gone to, they are really money mills for the teachers - who can't possibly teach the language to the number of students in each class, unless they go one on one, then they're getting somewhere.

 

I've been learning, however very slowly, nah, minutely (unless I get more motivated than usual) within the thai community that I live among. If you're lucky you can find one that possesses pronunciation that is palatable to your ears, and also the patience and time to sit with you. My teachers are a middle-aged couple selling chicken rice in the university canteen across the street. I would plop down at one of the tables in front of their stand in the afternoon when they are cleaning up or just wanting to chill out. Then I would open my books and start "reading," then they would join in and so forth. The husband's pronunciation is priceless, I can hear every syllable he utters (think of Whitney Houston, I could hear every LETTER when she sang.) Still there are words/sound that I would never in my life be able to produce correctly, for example (in Thai) "plain/bland (soup)" and "taro", unless I have my voice box totally redone.

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I taught Thai for decades including to many foreign adults. 

 

For me personally I realized from the get go that focusing on tones and accuracy of pronunciation was key. But it took me years of listening to train myself in truly understanding the sound I was hearing and how to physically produce it. 

 

As a Thai teacher I figured that most people could not and would not have the time to be able to do this so I concentrated on the general cadence of sentences to help them speak with relative clarity. 

 

For others who couldn't trust their ears but who had more time to devote to learning Thai I advised learning written Thai and especially its rules. The learning of the spelling of a word thus became a help in its pronunciation. The learner could - with the help of a native speaker - hear its pronunciation then figure out how words of a similar tonal value would sound. I always said that the around a dozen central rules or items of knowledge for figuring out Thai tones were the most important things to learn as a gateway for good pronunciation for people from a non-tonal language background. 

 

Incidentally those commenting on วนไปวนมา would see a version of that in today's story on TV about sharks "circling" at an island in Krabi. 

 

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On 9/23/2019 at 3:12 PM, Jane Dough said:

I taught Thai for decades including to many foreign adults. 

 

 

 

 

As far as I know, Thailand usually don't hire foreigners to teach Thai language. How did you manage to get that position?

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46 minutes ago, EricTh said:

As far as I know, Thailand usually don't hire foreigners to teach Thai language. How did you manage to get that position?

Because I was the best.

 

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On 9/23/2019 at 3:34 AM, smo said:

Still there are words/sound that I would never in my life be able to produce correctly, for example (in Thai) "plain/bland (soup)" and "taro", unless I have my voice box totally redone.


I've probably spent a total of 3 hours just trying to practice my pronunciation of "peuhhhuuk"  (taro)....still, nobody understands me......i can write it. i can read it. i can't speak it......  by the way, i highly recommend the taro icecream at 7-11 ....  i-sah-greem peuhhuuk zaaaaapp !!
 

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17 minutes ago, BananaBandit said:


I've probably spent a total of 3 hours just trying to practice my pronunciation of "peuhhhuuk"  (taro)....still, nobody understands me......i can write it. i can read it. i can't speak it......  by the way, i highly recommend the taro icecream at 7-11 ....  i-sah-greem peuhhuuk zaaaaapp !!
 

I have heard many foreigners speaking Thai and they usually just ignore the tones. So it's not just the pronunciation that you have to practise but also the tones.

 

That's why I said listening skill is easier than speaking if you want to speak correctly. 

 

If Thai people speak slowly then it's not a problem understanding them but most speak too fast. 


Most Thai people have trouble understanding native English speakers too because most foreigners speak too fast. Thai people have been learning English for 11 years (if I am not mistaken) in government schools.

Edited by EricTh

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20 minutes ago, BananaBandit said:


I've probably spent a total of 3 hours just trying to practice my pronunciation of "peuhhhuuk"  (taro)....still, nobody understands me......i can write it. i can read it. i can't speak it......  by the way, i highly recommend the taro icecream at 7-11 ....  i-sah-greem peuhhuuk zaaaaapp !!
 

 

Why so hhh in your transliteration, maybe if you are trying to say those nobody is likely to understand!  

เผือก two vowels combined eu+a should be simple enough.   

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I find identifying the English meaning of one word can cause so much delay that the rest is lost. Better not to try to translate what you hear. 

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