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JohnBarleycorn

After Age 60: Is it possible to learn to Read and Speak Thai? And, Is it Worth the Effort?

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Most certainly. At 59 I came here and went to a Thai Language School for 3 months. I went on to manage a resort and then teach for 7 years. Do it. 

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37 minutes ago, thaibeachlovers said:

Agree. Anyone can learn basic Thai to get by, but why anyone would want to converse about food or Thai tv soaps is beyond me.

Why learn to read it? Do you want to read Thai books? Might help when the divorce comes though, so one can know if the wife is screwing one in the divorce documents.

Some truth there. But You dont divorce here, just wander off  like her Ex Husband did.🦊

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16 minutes ago, Orton Rd said:

Many do not like foreigners, in Bangkok at least.

I'm not that keen on foreigners either.

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Actually, no matter who you are, how you are built and what your inclination/preferences are there is one battle you ultimately can't win (well, at the moment anyway)...ageing. But you can slow it down a bit here and there.  Learning another language is good way way to keep the 'old grey matter' working. In fact many see Thai as being easier than English because of its definite grammar rules. The way English words can be turned around etc and still mean the same thing is often a stumbling block. Thai, like Chinese, is a static language which again is opposite to English which is not.

In fact learning a new topic whatever it might be when age starts to creep is a good thing. But unlike younger people who perhaps can take on multiple tasks, JohnBarleycorn find your limitations and organise yourself around that and you'll give yourself a chance to enjoy the experience too.

Best of luck to you.

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Posted (edited)

I am pretty sure age plays a big part in language abilities.

 

65 now but when I was at school in the UK I was an A student in French and Russian. I could get by today with a little French, but have forgotten most of the Russian, although I can still read/write the alphabet and sound words.

 

Other than holidays in France I never really got to use my languages, then in 2002 at about 50 years old, moved to Wuhan, China for a new job. I tried really hard to learn Mandarin but found the tones and some new sounds very difficult. Anyway I met my second wife there 2 weeks after arrival and she was an A student in English so I got lazy. We spent 7 years in Scotland after that so it was English all the way. I was disappointed in myself as I had thought it would be a piece of pi$$ to learn Chinese!

 

Moving on my next attempt at learning the local language was Khmer. After 5 years in SIem Reap I could get by, I found this non-tonal language a bit easier to learn. However even then at the OP age question of hitting 60, it was no way easy. My short term memory is shocking now and to learn anything I have to go down the repetition method.

 

Now 3 years in a small Thai village in rural Kanchanaburi and I would say while it is very slow, I have made good progress, helped by being the only farang in the village and the wife the only other English speaker. It is not helped by the fact thet, being close to the Myanmar border, the village is populated by 70% non-Thai. The wife switches from Thai, to Issan, to Laos and Myanmar with ease. Unless I can pick out a few Thai words I have no clue what they are saying.

 

Short term memory loss is a definite hindrance, even with the enforced immersion. For example I know numbers and days of the week well, but have given up trying to remember months of the year.

 

Even if I don't improve much I will continue to try to improve, even if it is only to try and keep my brain active.

 

I'd like to have a go at reading and writing one day but I fear it would be beyond me.

 

 

Edited by Saltire
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5 minutes ago, BritManToo said:

Having an IQ of 140+, it's fair to assume most people around me are stupid ........ comparatively speaking.

It's lonely at the top!

I don't understand but I know what you mensa.

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In a bar one night and the girl said my Thai is s#it, listen when Im pi$$ed my English is s#it

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You should learn about 100 words and be done with it. Of course you will always be naturally learning and building on those first 100 phrases/words. 

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Many years ago I did go to school and then I also worked what I used to do was write down 5 words a day would be to do with what I was doing everyday I found I picked up very quickly lots of sayings and started to expand on them and it all started to fall into place the only problem you have is Thais dont speak properly and cut words short

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1 minute ago, ChipButty said:

Many years ago I did go to school and then I also worked what I used to do was write down 5 words a day would be to do with what I was doing everyday I found I picked up very quickly lots of sayings and started to expand on them and it all started to fall into place the only problem you have is Thais dont speak properly and cut words short

Learn to read and write first, then that problem goes away.

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On 6/3/2020 at 5:03 AM, JohnBarleycorn said:

More importantly:  Your mother may not feel comfortable or qualified to teach Thai.  And, if this is the case, then please don't press the issue.  Instead, if you wish to learn Thai, then take advantage of the many resources on the internet.

Good point John.  She may have little or no skills in the Central Thai Language, instead she speaks one of the regional dialects.  Also even if she has the knowledge and does not feel like teaching, do not press the issue.  A lot of times somebody close is not the best teacher and trying a teacher-student relationship does not work.

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You laughed at Ello Ello, Faulty Towers, and think Thais dont do the same with You.🙈

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Just now, DUNROAMIN said:

For me no chance, at 67 have memory of a sieve and have problem with hearing certain tones, which is important in Thai language. Can remember the basics. 

Honesty beets Ego.!

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