Jump to content

Thai - How difficult?


Recommended Posts

20 hours ago, Crossy said:

I'll spash out for an aid one day

Similar to me!  I did get an aid in the good ol’ NHS but found it helped very little, but your mileage may vary.

 

On tones, I treat them like stress/emphasis in English, seems to work well (I was taught Mandarin this way, no idea what they recommend for Cantonese with7? tones!).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 81
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

My opinion after 30 years of Thai study.   To learn Thai presents many challenges to a speaker of a Western language beyond simply hearing and making the correct tones.   The five "tones"  b

Of the two foreign languages I’ve studied extensively, French and Thai, I’d say that for me at least, Thai’s around 20 times harder than French - ie for every hour of study to improve my French, 20 ho

My biggest issue is actually hearing the tones, I'm deaf in one ear and pretty crumby in the other (I'll spash out for an aid one day). Of course when speaking I invariably get the tones wrong and (li

Thai is relatively easy, even for people coming from European languages and even more so for people coming from Asian languages.

It doesn't matter much if you get the tones right, usually the context gives away what word you wanted to say and you will be understood.

Edited by jackdd
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, jackdd said:

from Asian languages.

From where in Asia, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkestan, Turkey.

Please be more specific.  (Oh, I know, you meant Laos:-).

Link to post
Share on other sites
58 minutes ago, uptome1946 said:

Here is a gloss of a sentence I just heard an hour ago.

 

"He do same not hear I speak".

 

Meaning "he is acting as if he didn't hear what I just said"

That’s a great example of the grammatical difficulty of Thai (for native English speakers, that is, native Mandarin speakers may well find Thai grammar easy). Translate some random bit of a French newspaper very literally, and although this will result in some highly stilted and ungrammatical English, your translation will still be mostly understandable. Perform the same kind of literal translation from a Thai newspaper and the result will generally be incomprehensible.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 minutes ago, PGSan said:

From where in Asia, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkestan, Turkey.

Please be more specific.  (Oh, I know, you meant Laos:-).

Tonal languages, like Chinese, Vietnamese, Burmese, Laos ...

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, zyphodb said:

Unless you have an ear for tones virtually impossible beyond simple question and answer I'd say, that's after several years of pretty well total immersion, of course it doesn't help each region speaking their own version, Thais from different regions often seem to have trouble understanding each other so how can we?

I agree but there are people who have a talent for languages just like some are good at music or painting. Mrs had one student who mastered not only speaking and reading but also writing in 3 years of lessons once a week. She wrote Mrs a long thank you letter in perfect Thai when she went back home. Then there is me who gave up years ago, they even have difficulty understanding the numbers I give them at the Big C till 🙄

Edited by Orton Rd
  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I really believe that it varies from individual to individual and the older you are the harder it is.

In support of that look how easily kids pick up languages.

My problem is that I don’t seem to retain what I learn although my French is not  too bad and that was fifty odd years ago.

However hard Thai may be I am glad that English is my first language too many words meaning the same thing and conceptual issues as well.

I agree with Crossy having the long haired dictionary is a great advantage and the translation facility on the phone helps.

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, andre47 said:

Are you joking? Maybe you are very capable in learning languages....

No, I'm not joking.

Thai has only very limited grammar, basically you just put the words in order.

Thai uses vowels, consonants to form syllables, which form words, same as for example English.

The only thing odd are the tones, but if you get them wrong you will usually still be understood.

 

8 minutes ago, Orton Rd said:

Then there is me who gave up years ago, they even have difficulty understanding the numbers I give then at the Big C till

Because they expect that you speak English and their brain is trying to interpret what you say as English numbers and they get confused. When you are at the fourth number they finally realize that you speak Thai, but then they didn't get the first few numbers already.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I took advice before beginning study here. One fellow was a Vietnam vet been here since 1968. He told me to learn to read and write first, because the tones are incorporated into the written language.

 

I took private lessons three times a week for about 8 months. I could read reasonably well and write OK.....but no one could understand anything I said and I could understand nobody apart from the teacher or my wife's family. 

 

I gave up. I can speak French, Italian, English and Japanese. The tones and perhaps more difficult are the vowel lengths in Thai. I feel totally stupid as most Germans I meet can speak Thai reasonably well, but Imperial US/UK expect everybody to speak English to save them having to learn any languages.

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, jackdd said:

Because they expect that you speak English and their brain is trying to interpret what you say as English numbers and they get confused. When you are at the fourth number they finally realize that you speak Thai, but then they didn't get the first few numbers already.

Yes, I experienced the same. Many Thais don't understand your Thai because they think you talk English 555

Edited by andre47
typo
Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, kenk24 said:

Yes. I find this too - I can know every word in the sentence and not know what the sentence means... though I guess English can be idiomatic like that too... 

That's how thais are. They tell you something but you never understand what they really mean.

  • Haha 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Tones are very hard for me. When I started to learn Thai, I kept lifting my head and chin as I'd say a word with a higher tone; like I was singing. It was completely unnatural for me. 

 

The best way to learn is just immerse yourself with the language. No English. It's amazing how quickly you can learn when you have to. 

 

Also, be careful when getting into small talk with people. I did it at the beginning and and thought I was going mad. Language isn't just words it's also culture. Last bizarre conversation I had was with the new laundry lady who told me in perfect Thai that her Thai isn't very good 'cos she's Burmese. She told me when to collect my shirts and I left confused. My missus later told me that she isn't Burmese, but she lived near the border so often had to speak a different language there.

 

I've found in small talk many people will tell me things that I don't need to know and have no meaning within the context of the conversation. It's not a knock on Thais, it's just a cultural thing. In any culture, you'll always get people who love to talk. 

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...