Jump to content
BANGKOK
JohnBarleycorn

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

Recommended Posts

Depends on your brain’s capabilities,mines <deleted> so it’s a big no for me. Left school at 15 because of learning capabilities,mainly retaining information. But got a job and busted my ass my whole life to get where I am today. Some are quick learners and can retain information at the drop of a hat. Some are not so lucky,but life is what you make of it,and mine has been great so far. Yes I would love to be able to speak Thai,especially with my partners mom and dad. But that ain’t going to happen,most places a frequent here in Thailand have staff that can understand basic English so all’s good with a bit of finger pointing and smiles. The other places like fresh fruit and veg markets,the partner does the talking. 
I can speak the absolute basic stuff like a tourist and that’s about it. But I do understand how much easier life would be if I could speak Thai, but still happy and living the dream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most illiterate Thai experts I meet are the first to complain about immigrants to their home country who cant speak read and write their language. 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

For those who can afford it, a private online tutor makes for opportunities to learn the concepts important to your own life. Works better for me than a structured course. My own tutor has taught kids of eight and retirees of 80!

Edited by unblocktheplanet
addition

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/3/2020 at 5:25 AM, bkk6060 said:

No.

Waste of time especially if you travel around the country.  The dialects are different Thais lets say in the north, cannot understand everthing a Bangkok Thai says.

Then why do they spend so much time watching television.

 

I have enconter nowhere in thailand where central thai is not understood.

 

Come to think of it, my central thai is also understood very well in the parts of laos that I have visited.

 

To say it is pointless to lean english due to differnces in dialects is like saying it is pointless to learn bbc or even american english because of regional differences in that language 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, phantomfiddler said:

If I know that I am going to be in one place for a few months or longer I will make sure to learn the basics, ie How much is this ? how do I get to ? etc, but one very sad aspect of learning Thai (and I have not experienced this phenomenon in other languages) is that you will pick up many disparaging things they will say about you, thinking that you know not one word of Thai. Many Thais are taught at school from a very early age that they are the world,s superior race (honestly, not joking) and many of them actually believe it, even though the educational standard here is extremely poor. Yet an uneducated Thai will think nothing of calling you stupid because they can speak Thai and you cannot ! Also on many occasions a Farang will go into a shop and order something. The sales girl/waitress then calls the cashier and say "IT wants a cup of coffee" ! Using a term normally used for dogs ! Mun ow cafe ! Whenever this happens I just say change of mind and leave 🙂 I know many people who deliberately do not learn Thai because of this.

This happens quite often for sure. I push back, "Which dog are you talking about?" "Maybe you like dogs as you have the manners of one." That usually puts them on the back-foot and depending on the mood I am in I will let them know how disappointed their fellow Thais are at their lack of respect.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/3/2020 at 5:25 AM, bkk6060 said:

No.

Waste of time especially if you travel around the country.  The dialects are different Thais lets say in the north, cannot understand everthing a Bangkok Thai says.

Utter twaddle. I've ridden around the entire country multiple times. I have never had a problem making myself understood anywhere with my perfunctory Thai skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2020 at 11:25 PM, bkk6060 said:

No.

Waste of time especially if you travel around the country.  The dialects are different Thais lets say in the north, cannot understand everthing a Bangkok Thai says.

Here is a very good reason to learn Thai - it would prevent believing such nonsense as this.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/2/2020 at 9:20 PM, GinBoy2 said:

I think a lot depends on how your brain is wired, whether or not as you get older you even can pick up another language.

 

I grew up bilingual, so could swap between English and Spanish without even thinking.

 

My first tonal language was Mandarin, which was tough  I think enabled me to get my head around Thai and Lao fairly easily. Curiously Lao came to be easier than Thai, somehow I found it easier to hear the words. 

Somewhat similar to Spanish, where obviously I understand everything in Spain, but the Spanish lisp makes the words sound less clipped to me, which is how I find Thai & Lao

 

Now was understanding Thai & Lao worth it?

 

Well, obviously it made life easier, but it also makes the absurdities more evident.

Just simple act of watching Thai TV 'news' can leave me shaking my head in despair.

 

Oh I forgot to add, the writing bit.

 

Mandarin was really hard to master, and even today after all these years I'm OK in simplified Mandarin, but I really struggle like a small kid with Traditional Mandarin. Thai was OK, it's a alphabet after all

Then you get to the tricky one, Isaan Lao.

This is basically a transliteration of the Lao language using Thai characters, there ain't no dictionary for that, and I can read it when I see it by sounding it out but it's dodgy at best

Great to have this explained in such a clear manner solving several mysteries i.e why Facebook & Google cant seem to translate Issan |-Thai properly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I came in my early 50s now mid 60s and still adding to my Thai speech repotoire.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Understanding the lingo spoils the fun

for Thai gals.

My mate said everytime he walked past a

particular group of gals the say 'moo'. and

giggle.

I told him that's good, means they like you.

  • Confused 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Slain said:

Great to have this explained in such a clear manner solving several mysteries i.e why Facebook & Google cant seem to translate Issan |-Thai properly

Don't even try to use Google translate for Isaan Lao it'll come out as gobbledygook.

 

You need to be able to read Thai to understand the letters and tones to even come close to being able to read Isaan Thai/Lao

Edited by GinBoy2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think if one is going to live and make a life here in Thailand, it makes absolute sense to learn Thai. I've lived in Thailand now for almost 17 years and I now live in rural Thailand where no one speaks English. I took some lessons in Thai while I lived In Bangkok some 15 years ago - took lessons in speaking, reading and writing Thai but I only took it for 5 months before I had to give it up. It was a good enough start to be able to read simple signs and have simple conversations in shops, markets, taxis etc. It was good enough I guess to able to live here. Then I moved to rural Thailand 6 years ago and where I live now, no one speaks English. I finally decided last year to properly learn the language. I have a stepson who is enrolled in Kumon and it has benefitted him tremendously in improving his math and english skills. Last year, the Kumon center here introduced Thai as an additional subject. By that time, I had gotten to know the center's staff quite well and I asked if I could learn Thai at Kumon. They were willing to let me give it a try. When I first started, I asked they start me at ground zero i.e. not knowing a single thing in Thai. I have spent about an hour each day, every day for the last one year and I have progressed through 4 levels now. They start you off with the alphabet, then simple words and sounds, then the tones and more complex words, then sentences and more words. A year later, I am much more fluent in Thai than I ever expected to be. With the Kumon system, it kind of slowly builds the knowledge up. When I first started, the tones were the hardest part to understand. It actually takes a long time before it kind of clicks in but it eventually does. A year later, I am much more confident in reading and speaking and my vocabulary is much more extensive. I can know listen to the radio or TV and actually understand a lot of what is being said - I could never do this a year ago. It's made a huge difference to me in how I live my life since I now actually understand a lot of what is being said around me now at home, in shops, markets etc and the ability to be able to respond and have a dialogue is priceless. More than anything, the Thai people you interact with respond to you so much more personally when you speak with them in Thai. Is Thai easy ? No and it will take me a few more years at Kumon before I can speak like a native. But I think it's worth the effort especially if one is making a life here.  My 2 cents.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, unblocktheplanet said:

For those who can afford it, a private online tutor makes for opportunities to learn the concepts important to your own life. Works better for me than a structured course. My own tutor has taught kids of eight and retirees of 80!

There are two ways to hardly learn any Thai... expensive ways and cheap ways. I know the one I am choosing. 

 

The success stories who do learn Thai would have learned anyway, they are good with languages. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...