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BananaBandit

is hearing the hardest thing?

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20 hours 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 !!
 

When looking at your transliteration "peuhhhuuk" (which is way off), i guess you just say it wrong (not just the tone, but the syllables as well)

 

 

Of course hearing is more difficult, because it has countless of variations, reading is always the same.

But i like talking with people much more than reading a book, so learning to speak / listen is easy for me.

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I think the hardest thing is it gets taught improperly. Evidence being how few people can speak after semesters of college classes. This is not exclusive to Thai of course. People waste time learning ridiculous words they will never use, like engineer, and of course they will forget them. Reading and writing is taught way way to early in the process. There is so much bias in that regard because of course a Thai teacher cannot tell students not to learn to read and write, even though that is the way we should be taught initially. The list could go on and on. 

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6 hours ago, illiterate said:

People waste time learning ridiculous words they will never use, like engineer, and of course they will forget them. 

If you want to learn a language to a reasonable level and be able to converse well you will soon realise that many words you thought you would never use infact will need to use.

Engineer is not a rarely spoken word in English so why do you assume that it is a word in Thai that you do not need to learn.

My Father was an engineer so when Thai people ask me what he did for a living how would I reply to them if I had your attitude and simply did not bother to learn words that I thought were ridiculous ?

Many years ago when using the Becker , Thai for Advanced Readers I thought it a waste of time learning the chapter on religion.

However now living in Thailand and going to the local temple ,I wish I had spent more time with that chapter.

It depends on your goals ,maybe you are happy just to order a beer and some fried rice or maybe you want to have the same level of conversation as you do in your native language.

 

Edited by mlkik

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10 hours ago, illiterate said:

I think the hardest thing is it gets taught improperly. Evidence being how few people can speak after semesters of college classes. This is not exclusive to Thai of course. People waste time learning ridiculous words they will never use, like engineer, and of course they will forget them.

In my opinion, the function of an academic class is to give the student a solid foundation in the language. It is then up to the student to go out and fill in the gaps until they can understand and converse in the daily use of the language. If students still can't converse after semesters of college classes, it's because they failed to apply themselves outside of the classroom. It's easy to 'pass' a college language class without really learning to speak the language. Many people take foreign language courses as a requirement or prerequisite, not because they are actually motivated to learn the language.

 

Learning vocabulary, like 'engineer', is not just about you being able to say it. It's also about you understanding if someone else happens to say it, or if you hear it on the news or some TV program. I don't want to be limited to picking up bits and pieces of what I hear because there are certain words I didn't think I need to learn.

 

If the student's goal is to converse with locals in the daily language, then taking a course billed as a 'conversational' class might be helpful. IMO, the academic classes should be taken to build a strong foundation, then the conversational classes to improve upon that, and finally the student needs to supplement that formal learning with as many outside sources as possible. There's nothing easy about it, the teacher can't force it to happen, the brunt of the work lies on the student's back.

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14 minutes ago, ColeBOzbourne said:

There's nothing easy about it, the teacher can't force it to happen, the brunt of the work lies on the student's back.

+1

 

I've sat in a few classes now but the way I see it they just enable you to go out and learn. The actual learning mostly happens out of class.

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Those who have never learned a second language to a high level underestimate how much time and effort are necessary to achieve moderate fluency, especially in listening comprehension which is the hardest skill to master.  This is all the more so with a language like Thai that is so distantly related to English.  

 

I notice that most Thai speakers do not know how to slow down their speech and to simplify it to help a foreigner understand.  I assume that's because they are not used to foreigners trying to communicate in Thai.  Not surprisingly, those Thai speakers who have learned English fairly well do a lot better at this than the average Thai.  By contrast those of us from immigrant cities like New York are more accustomed to speaking with foreigners whose grasp of English is tenuous and adapting our speech accordingly.

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