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long time in Thailand and my thai still sucks


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Exposed above all the well know difficulties in pronouncing tonals and let's not even get started with the writing and reading of an absurd number of symbols written without spaces, that also has irregulars, as it not even true that Thai is spelt as written. Ok, we all agree on that, hard application is needed to learn, etc. etc,

Now the real question is to find a method that works at impressing your memory, and makes things click together even when don't naturally do. Few teachers understand the utmost importance of that.

What I think is extremely important in adult learning is the mnemonics. For example there is a publicized system (I think is Australian) that use visual cues to help you remember the Thai symbol with a free mental association. And for the proper pronunciation, is widely believed that you have to learn and memorize the correct writing first, then derive the pronunciation from there. That means you will be spelling like 20 words per minute at first, but at least you will be speaking elementarily, but correctly. I'm trying to head in that direction myself.

Interesting that you stated "let's not even get started with the writing and reading" as that is precisely what you MUST DO!!!

I can read and write Thai now and know all of the tone rules and nuances within the language and I've just passed my mid-fifties which I guess is a bit old to be learning a new language.

I spend quite some time looking at books, 'English - Thai' dictionaries, signs in windows, road side signs and can even understand what they mean on occasions with place names no problem at all.

I cannot however, hold a conversation in Thai but have learnt some stock sayings to get me by.

A good way to learn to read and write Thai is to buy 'highspeedthai' (as I did) - it is not too expensive and once you purchase it, it is there for life, unlike some other language aids which are renewable every year.

They use mnenomics very well and with a bit of perseverance I mastered memorising the 44 consonants and 32 vowels (both in the reading and writing of) along with the tone marks and rules plus the three classes of consonants (which determine the tones if there are no tone marks there). Once you get into it it really isn't that difficult and you will likely surprise yourself at just how easy it is to pick it up with a little bit of effort!!!

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I felt exactly as you do and have a great deal of difficulty tuning to the tones. I just put my head down and studied, and listened and I also did formal training in a Thai language school which reall

Learning a language is mostly about memory, and its well known peoples memory isnt as good as you get older. The main issue I think for westerners is the tonal system, because we never learned to lis

You are not alone. I gave up a long time ago.

IMO you can 'get by' with a few hundred words in any language. Understanding what is being said is generally easier, as long as you are alert. When I am tired or drunk, I understand almost nothing, at other times I suddenly latch on to what is being said and can follow up to a point. From previous experience learning French and German however, this can frequently lead you up the wrong path.

I agree that being able to read is important. One guy I know still can't work out which pump is the diesel pump, could get him into trouble one day. Traffic signs, (exit, entrance...), local tourist destinations that are often written only in Thai, menus... I can read a lot more than I can write and a hell of a lot more than I can write.

My best teacher is our 7 year old little girl.

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Been here many years but can not speak the lingo.

I know a lot of words but have trouble understanding what is said to me so it deters me from speaking (tone deaf or maybe just plain deaf!).

My gripe is no matter how often you ask a Thai to speak slowly they are completely incapable of doing so.

I can and do slow my English to help non-native English speakers understand, often without being asked.

Why do Thais find this impossible?

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I'm one of those who's both gifted & cursed at the same time. Throughout my naval years, whenever my ship would pull into a foreign port, I could quickly learn up to 100-200 words almost over night. I know a lot of this had to do with my very passionate desire to communicate with the ladies & to be able to get around on my own. But even in college years later, my ability to grasp language fundamentals has always hit a brick wall -- also fairly quickly.

I lived in Thailand for seven years; I doubt I know more than 300 words unless you include numbers. Still, I can handle myself in almost any situation without much fuss. What works for me is to focus on small, specific goals. Obviously, greetings are the first phrases you learn. Then, I learn to count all the way to infinity. Monetary denominations are also important, as are days of the week & their correlating colors (a Thai thing). Next, zero in on the five W's & H of journalism, paying particular attention to the tone: who, what, when, where, why, & how. This is important; those six words have made all the difference in whether a Thai slowly nods their head when I speak or looks at me in bewilderment.

After that, I just sort of go with the flow. As things come up where I need to learn how to say something (e.g., I need to go to the bathroom, my wife or friend can't follow me, so they teach me how to ask), I commit to always saying that in Thai from then-on. Food items is another example, though it took me a long time before anyone could understand my "cowpod." Certain landmarks help for direction-asking questions, such as "ha-yek nam-poo" or "hor natikha" in Udon Thani.

The result? Though I may not know how to properly speak more than about 300 words, I can usually get the jist of what a Thai conversation is about. After time, you just start to grasp some of the meaning.

I actually forgot the colours for days. It's hardly important unless you work for the government.

I agree, if you learning the 'w' words is important.

300 words in 7 years! If you'd seen this thread it could have been more! http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/49903-lets-learn-one-word-a-day/

One thing I found very useful at the beginning was learning how to say, "how do you say this in Thai?", "excuse me I don't speak very clearly", "wait a minute, I can't think of the word" etc. If you think Thai is hard, what about Chinese. I'm starting to learn it and wow.

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Languages were never my strong point. I studied French at school for 5 years and can barely string a sentence together. I admit i am lazy, especially as my tgf speaks good English. I am not proud to say it but at my age am not prepared to commit thousands of hours of study for something i don't need.

I wouldn't say I committed to learn Thai as if it were a chore. It was interesting and fun.

If you live in Thailand you never know when you might need to speak Thai. It could save your life. What if you want a new gf? What if you collapse in the street and can't tell anyone what's the matter with you. I can actually think of a hundred reasons where speaking Thai in Thailand is needed unless you are a slave to a Thai girl, living in a tourist resort, or out to pasture.

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OP, there are all sorts of advice you will get here about the language issue. You seem to have tried. I'm not advising anything, just explain my position.

I am 100% bilingual (two different based languages) plus understand and can communicate in three more (grammatically incorrectly). I am a good language learner.

When I moved here about 7 years ago and had a look at Thai language I decided -- it's not for me. Too much effort and too little advantages.

I decided not to try to learn Thai.

Net result - instead of learning it I keep enjoying my own activities - reading, writing, communicating with many friends, watching movies, travelling, etc.

At some stage I stated my attitude in a post here on TV. Needless to say I got a grinding from a group of members on the basis of

- being stupid by living in Thailand and not speaking Thai;

- being not able to negotiate my way around (directions, laws, overcharging, missing out on local culture, etc.);

- being not polite, ungrateful, snobbish, etc.

I'm still here. My Thai wife speaks English. I still do not speak Thai. Her kids are on top of their class in English. I haven't been robbed blind in any market. I haven't read one book by Thai author even in translation. I didn't lose anything.

I have very little communication with most of Thais because there is very little to talk about. Those Thais I do talk to speak quite decent English.

As said above, this is not an advice. Our circumstances might be different. All I am saying - everyone must decide for himself what is right thing to do.

Good luck. coffee1.gif

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I still do not speak Thai.

I have very little communication with most of Thais because there is very little to talk about. Those Thais I do talk to speak quite decent English.

I'm confused. Obviously, the Thai you speak to speak English.

Obviously, you have very little communication with Thais if you speak different languages.

Do you mean you are happy, or pleased that you can't communicate with Thais or you don't want to communicate with them?

Have you ever thought that if you can speak Thai, you can speak about anything you want. Don't you want freedom. Don't you want to share a joke with the local somtam seller. Don't you want to chat with the taxi driver etc etc.

Does your wife allow you out by yourself? How do you manage? Are you a car/house owner?

I ask as I just bought a house and can't even begin to imagine what it would be like if I couldn't communicate with people - banks, electricians, plumbers, joiners, etc etc etc

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imagine,you can speak thai perfectly.

Now what are you going to discuss with thais?

You can only speak to them as you would speak to a 10 year old,

they dont know nothing of your culture,your music,actors...

There is not much common nowledge.

The same as you dont know any chinese or thai singer by name ,or

chinese or thai movies......it's a complete other culture and i doubt

that you as farang would ever be intrested in chinese singers ,actors,politicians.....

So thais are not intrested in our culture.

Exception exist off course.

How on earth would you know if you can't speak Thai? You really don't know any Thai singers by name? Are you a tourist?

Some of us are somewhat morre cultured than you appear to be. I know many singers from Japan, China and Thailand by name and happen to be able to at least parts of songs in all these languages that I like. I also have a collection of over 6000 Asian movies including over 1000 Thai movies ( despite being 100% English ). Whilst I do admit most of them know little of non Thai culture, why should they ?

There are apparently different definitions of 'being cultured'.

If I ever(?) split from my Thai wife it will be because of the Thai movies she watches. I'm even prepared to occasionally watch Chinese, Japanese or Korean. But Thai movies and Thai acting is too much resembling Thai shade theater with the two dimensional puppets on sticks behind the curtain. I saw similar form of art in Indonesia. It is interesting, funny and different - qualities yet to be acquired by Thai movie actors.

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You should have clarified that by saying that they say "you speak very good Thai" in English! Like most people who speak reasonable Thai I almost give up speaking the language. Certainly in places like decent hotels and with airline staff, they really hate you to speak thai with them. Black canyon and the likes is usually ok though! I can read and write and have been able to speak thai for well over 12 years and yet I never get fluent. I can understand almost anything but not if they speak fast. Ask them to repeat a sentence is like asking them to fart. Just so frustrating.

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You should have clarified that by saying that they say "you speak very good Thai" in English! Like most people who speak reasonable Thai I almost give up speaking the language. Certainly in places like decent hotels and with airline staff, they really hate you to speak thai with them. Black canyon and the likes is usually ok though! I can read and write and have been able to speak thai for well over 12 years and yet I never get fluent. I can understand almost anything but not if they speak fast. Ask them to repeat a sentence is like asking them to fart. Just so frustrating.

I think it depends on your Thai ability whether or not Thai people in good hotels etc want to speak with you. I agree they want to show off their English skills if they have them. I am the same with Thais who want to speak English but they can't speak well, I'd rather talk in Thai. I got security cameras in my house yesterday and the guy who installing them was determined to explain things to me in English. I had to tell him to stop and speak Thai as I couldn't understand him.

Doctors are the worst at speaking Thai to foreigners who can speak Thai. It's a face or ego thing. Once at Bamrungrad before my wife was giving birth, the doctor spoke to me in English and I translated to Thai for my wife. My wife spoke to the doctor in Thai and the doctor translated for me in English. The doctor spoke Thai to my wife then I'd say something in Thai to him and he'd reply in ENglish then have to translate for my wife, I spoke to the doctor in English and Thai, I spoke only Thai to my wife, man was it frustrating.

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I still do not speak Thai.

I have very little communication with most of Thais because there is very little to talk about. Those Thais I do talk to speak quite decent English.

I'm confused. Obviously, the Thai you speak to speak English.

Obviously, you have very little communication with Thais if you speak different languages.

Do you mean you are happy, or pleased that you can't communicate with Thais or you don't want to communicate with them?

Have you ever thought that if you can speak Thai, you can speak about anything you want. Don't you want freedom. Don't you want to share a joke with the local somtam seller. Don't you want to chat with the taxi driver etc etc.

Does your wife allow you out by yourself? How do you manage? Are you a car/house owner?

I ask as I just bought a house and can't even begin to imagine what it would be like if I couldn't communicate with people - banks, electricians, plumbers, joiners, etc etc etc

Neeranam, going over your questions line by line.

Yes, Thais I speak to do speak English. Including my wife.

Yes, I have very limited comm with Thais who do not speak English. This does not include sellers at markets or in the shops - I like the price or I do not buy.

I'm neither pleased nor happy by limited comm with Thais per se. It is also not a case of not wanting to comm with them. We are so different, I am an Alien and they are Alien to me. Our cultures and education are very different. Thus, - not much common topics. Talking about anything I want isn't good enough. They have to want and be interested in the same. Those who are - usually happen to be speaking English. Do not eat somtam. Occasional bowl of soup at MK Restaurant or at Ramen 8 or at any Food Court does not make it justified to learn as difficult tonal language as Thai. I assure you I am free. I have been all over Thailand from Chiang Rai to Samui, Phuket and Coh Chang (except Isaan). Both with and without my wife. BTW she works at BKK Uni and only comes to my place for 3 weekend days. Obviously I am allowed out by myself and I manage.

Yes, I'm the sole owner of my car and my Condo apartment. Banks, shop assistants etc. understand English. When it comes to doing business - half of Pattaya and BKK people in service industries understand and comm not only in English but in Russian as well.

Instead of 'wai', capun kap and sawadi kap I always say hello, thank you, yes or no. And everybody seems to be happy.

I simply do not see why at my age with my head full of knowledge from all the cultural baggage I carry I have to learn a new, difficult alien language. Just to joke with a street vendor? Sorry... I prefer just to smile and always get a smile back. smile.png

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I still do not speak Thai.

I have very little communication with most of Thais because there is very little to talk about. Those Thais I do talk to speak quite decent English.

I'm confused. Obviously, the Thai you speak to speak English.

Obviously, you have very little communication with Thais if you speak different languages.

Do you mean you are happy, or pleased that you can't communicate with Thais or you don't want to communicate with them?

Have you ever thought that if you can speak Thai, you can speak about anything you want. Don't you want freedom. Don't you want to share a joke with the local somtam seller. Don't you want to chat with the taxi driver etc etc.

Does your wife allow you out by yourself? How do you manage? Are you a car/house owner?

I ask as I just bought a house and can't even begin to imagine what it would be like if I couldn't communicate with people - banks, electricians, plumbers, joiners, etc etc etc

Neeranam, going over your questions line by line.

Yes, Thais I speak to do speak English. Including my wife.

Yes, I have very limited comm with Thais who do not speak English. This does not include sellers at markets or in the shops - I like the price or I do not buy.

I'm neither pleased nor happy by limited comm with Thais per se. It is also not a case of not wanting to comm with them. We are so different, I am an Alien and they are Alien to me. Our cultures and education are very different. Thus, - not much common topics. Talking about anything I want isn't good enough. They have to want and be interested in the same. Those who are - usually happen to be speaking English. Do not eat somtam. Occasional bowl of soup at MK Restaurant or at Ramen 8 or at any Food Court does not make it justified to learn as difficult tonal language as Thai. I assure you I am free. I have been all over Thailand from Chiang Rai to Samui, Phuket and Coh Chang (except Isaan). Both with and without my wife. BTW she works at BKK Uni and only comes to my place for 3 weekend days. Obviously I am allowed out by myself and I manage.

Yes, I'm the sole owner of my car and my Condo apartment. Banks, shop assistants etc. understand English. When it comes to doing business - half of Pattaya and BKK people in service industries understand and comm not only in English but in Russian as well.

Instead of 'wai', capun kap and sawadi kap I always say hello, thank you, yes or no. And everybody seems to be happy.

I simply do not see why at my age with my head full of knowledge from all the cultural baggage I carry I have to learn a new, difficult alien language. Just to joke with a street vendor? Sorry... I prefer just to smile and always get a smile back. smile.png

Fair enough if you live in a tourist place like Pattaya, although you probably pay more, thanks for the reply.

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I still do not speak Thai.

I have very little communication with most of Thais because there is very little to talk about. Those Thais I do talk to speak quite decent English.

I'm confused. Obviously, the Thai you speak to speak English.

Obviously, you have very little communication with Thais if you speak different languages.

Do you mean you are happy, or pleased that you can't communicate with Thais or you don't want to communicate with them?

Have you ever thought that if you can speak Thai, you can speak about anything you want. Don't you want freedom. Don't you want to share a joke with the local somtam seller. Don't you want to chat with the taxi driver etc etc.

Does your wife allow you out by yourself? How do you manage? Are you a car/house owner?

I ask as I just bought a house and can't even begin to imagine what it would be like if I couldn't communicate with people - banks, electricians, plumbers, joiners, etc etc etc

Neeranam, going over your questions line by line.

Yes, Thais I speak to do speak English. Including my wife.

Yes, I have very limited comm with Thais who do not speak English. This does not include sellers at markets or in the shops - I like the price or I do not buy.

I'm neither pleased nor happy by limited comm with Thais per se. It is also not a case of not wanting to comm with them. We are so different, I am an Alien and they are Alien to me. Our cultures and education are very different. Thus, - not much common topics. Talking about anything I want isn't good enough. They have to want and be interested in the same. Those who are - usually happen to be speaking English. Do not eat somtam. Occasional bowl of soup at MK Restaurant or at Ramen 8 or at any Food Court does not make it justified to learn as difficult tonal language as Thai. I assure you I am free. I have been all over Thailand from Chiang Rai to Samui, Phuket and Coh Chang (except Isaan). Both with and without my wife. BTW she works at BKK Uni and only comes to my place for 3 weekend days. Obviously I am allowed out by myself and I manage.

Yes, I'm the sole owner of my car and my Condo apartment. Banks, shop assistants etc. understand English. When it comes to doing business - half of Pattaya and BKK people in service industries understand and comm not only in English but in Russian as well.

Instead of 'wai', capun kap and sawadi kap I always say hello, thank you, yes or no. And everybody seems to be happy.

I simply do not see why at my age with my head full of knowledge from all the cultural baggage I carry I have to learn a new, difficult alien language. Just to joke with a street vendor? Sorry... I prefer just to smile and always get a smile back. smile.png

Fair enough if you live in a tourist place like Pattaya, although you probably pay more, thanks for the reply.

No, no, no. I only brought in BKK and Pattaya as an example. I am about 100 km from Pattaya, about 200 km from BKK and about 35 km from Rayong.

Beautiful beaches, local markets, good produce, nice local people, no traffic jams, easy drive to shopping centres and practically no tourists in sight. The best (to me) place in Thailand.

I am happy and consider myself a lucky man. biggrin.png

Edited by ABCer
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My wife is a long time Thai language teacher-but I still cannot speak Thai after 20 years. Oh I can do the basics of ordering food and giving directions but as far as conversations are concerned never. I gave up a long time ago mainly due to the attitude of Thais, they are generally not happy when you talk to them in Thai, usually it's lights out shutters down and most make no effort at all to understand you. The mrs and family understand me so why not the rest of them? Anyway from what I gather from the conversations I do hear it's always the same, gossip about food, the neighbours and what was on the tv last night, I can do without that. As others have said tones are the most difficult thing, I can never hear them when listening, even to announcers on the tv. Pretty crude and limited language anyway so I don't think I have missed much.

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imagine,you can speak thai perfectly.

Now what are you going to discuss with thais?

You can only speak to them as you would speak to a 10 year old,

they dont know nothing of your culture,your music,actors...

There is not much common nowledge.

The same as you dont know any chinese or thai singer by name ,or

chinese or thai movies......it's a complete other culture and i doubt

that you as farang would ever be intrested in chinese singers ,actors,politicians.....

So thais are not intrested in our culture.

Exception exist off course.

You probably don't live here so you're forgiven for what may turn out to be then most idiotic post of the week.

So Thais know nothing of the likes of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Coldplay right?

They know nothing of Clooney, Pitt, Hanks, Cruise, Winslett, Theron, right?

Unfortunately or fortunately, even as a life long American, I know little or nothing of Beyoncé, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Coldplay (although I do remember Lady Gaga once wearing a meat dress that I thought was pretty cool).

I do, however, consider myself an expert on late 60s rock and roll and the like, if that is worth anything.

I am doing my best with my remaining 60 years plus old guy brain cells to learn to speak, read and write Thai. The jury is still out on the success of the endeavor.

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The problem is that it is so useless to learn Thai and people are so kind that they never get mad if you don't speak or understand...

if u plan to stay in thailand on a long term basis, it's still a friendly gesture to at least know the language, regardless of whether they are angry or not.

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My ex-wife used to say she loved hearing English people speak because she liked their accent but she did not like talking to Americans with strong accents because "it hurts my ears".

No need to make excuses for not being able to learn the language, you either can or you can't. thumbsup.gif

You will be an American then, they are such clever people aren't they, some might call them arrogant. Various reasons, not excuses have been mentioned for not being good at languages, if you can speak decent Thai then they don't apply to you.

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Go to a school to get the basics and then learn phrases that you use often, like buying something, ordering food etc. Watch TV with a Thai person and listen to them talk, the TV Thai is the correct lingo. By listening you get used to the sound of Thai. There is also a great app for learning Thai but cost about B900. It shows the English to transliteration and Thai but also pronounce the word. I love the app and use it when waiting for someone being late or when I have time on hand.

Can you give us the name of that app?

Called talking Thai-English-Thai dictionary from Paiboon publishing and word in the hand, bought it for an Android device.

Sent from my GT-N8000 using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

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I've got a friend with a master's degree in Thai. Usually, he speaks three times before they will answer him back in Thai. I find there to be no exact science. I have had two dentists recently, who have both spoken to me in nice clear Thai. On the other hand, you have the taxi drivers who insist using their three words in English in every sentence, substituting the likes of "pom" and "khun" with "I" and "you", but the rest is all Thai. That is more amusing than frustrating.

You should have clarified that by saying that they say "you speak very good Thai" in English! Like most people who speak reasonable Thai I almost give up speaking the language. Certainly in places like decent hotels and with airline staff, they really hate you to speak thai with them. Black canyon and the likes is usually ok though! I can read and write and have been able to speak thai for well over 12 years and yet I never get fluent. I can understand almost anything but not if they speak fast. Ask them to repeat a sentence is like asking them to fart. Just so frustrating.


I think it depends on your Thai ability whether or not Thai people in good hotels etc want to speak with you. I agree they want to show off their English skills if they have them. I am the same with Thais who want to speak English but they can't speak well, I'd rather talk in Thai. I got security cameras in my house yesterday and the guy who installing them was determined to explain things to me in English. I had to tell him to stop and speak Thai as I couldn't understand him.

Doctors are the worst at speaking Thai to foreigners who can speak Thai. It's a face or ego thing. Once at Bamrungrad before my wife was giving birth, the doctor spoke to me in English and I translated to Thai for my wife. My wife spoke to the doctor in Thai and the doctor translated for me in English. The doctor spoke Thai to my wife then I'd say something in Thai to him and he'd reply in ENglish then have to translate for my wife, I spoke to the doctor in English and Thai, I spoke only Thai to my wife, man was it frustrating.
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I've got a friend with a master's degree in Thai. Usually, he speaks three times before they will answer him back in Thai. I find there to be no exact science. I have had two dentists recently, who have both spoken to me in nice clear Thai. On the other hand, you have the taxi drivers who insist using their three words in English in every sentence, substituting the likes of "pom" and "khun" with "I" and "you", but the rest is all Thai. That is more amusing than frustrating.

You should have clarified that by saying that they say "you speak very good Thai" in English! Like most people who speak reasonable Thai I almost give up speaking the language. Certainly in places like decent hotels and with airline staff, they really hate you to speak thai with them. Black canyon and the likes is usually ok though! I can read and write and have been able to speak thai for well over 12 years and yet I never get fluent. I can understand almost anything but not if they speak fast. Ask them to repeat a sentence is like asking them to fart. Just so frustrating.

I think it depends on your Thai ability whether or not Thai people in good hotels etc want to speak with you. I agree they want to show off their English skills if they have them. I am the same with Thais who want to speak English but they can't speak well, I'd rather talk in Thai. I got security cameras in my house yesterday and the guy who installing them was determined to explain things to me in English. I had to tell him to stop and speak Thai as I couldn't understand him.

Doctors are the worst at speaking Thai to foreigners who can speak Thai. It's a face or ego thing. Once at Bamrungrad before my wife was giving birth, the doctor spoke to me in English and I translated to Thai for my wife. My wife spoke to the doctor in Thai and the doctor translated for me in English. The doctor spoke Thai to my wife then I'd say something in Thai to him and he'd reply in ENglish then have to translate for my wife, I spoke to the doctor in English and Thai, I spoke only Thai to my wife, man was it frustrating.

Once I went to Major Cineplex at Ekamai with my buddy who speaks fluent Thai. At a restaurant he asked in Thai if they had any free tables. Blank stares from 2 Isarn waitresses. I then asked and again blank stares. They went and got another waitress who spoke English who came and we spoke English to her. Once they get it into their minds that you are speaking a foreign language it's very hard to convince them otherwise.

A trick I have used is to say something that you can say very well. In my first year here it was "another bottle of Singha", which had mastered in a few weeks. Then I used to say, "the weathers very hot/cold for the particular season" as a kinda icebreaker- then they realize that you are in fact speaking Thai so even if it's not perfect they will make an effort to understand.

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The problem is that it is so useless to learn Thai and people are so kind that they never get mad if you don't speak or understand...

Please explain why it is useless to speak Thai. I am baffled.

I'm on my way out to buy wood for my garden shed and I want advice about how to treat it - how on earth could I do this if I was linguistically challenged.

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Dear OP, Transam and others. Indeed you are not alone. I should be throughly ashamed of myself. I too, should be far better than I am. During my youth I was busy trying to learn the basics of a few Asian Languages of the countries I was regulary visiting. Japanese, Cantonese, Tagalog. The different mix of Singaporean or Malaysian languages I never worried about as there was no real need. So I was just learning enough to get by in each, never stopping to fully learn just one. Which, as it turned out, should have been Thai.

After marrying a Thai and then going to live in Australia, as daily English increased in the household, Thai useage decreased. So we settled into a comfortable form of 'Thaiglish'. Which is what Educators will tell you is the worst possible scenario for learning a foreign language. Then came our Thai Restaurant Days where you would have thought my Thai would have improved. It did, but only marginally. After all the Restaurants were in Melbourne catering to farangs.

There are many things I can say in Thai, that astounds them. Sounding almost like a native. But this has been achieved through mimmicking, parroting, Thais who I lived and worked with, not by any formal 'learning'. I jump into a cab and open with a few lines to the cabbie and sometimes they almost spin off the road, exclaiming 'Shit! How long have you been in Thailand'. But don't be fooled mate, if you want to have an in depth conversation, I can't do it.

Hehehe alot of my old Aussie mates think I am a bloody genius, where, if they only knew.

But I do get by enough to have a good, daily life and good relations here. And that is most likely the problem, having reached my own 'comfort zone'.

So don't feel bad mate. You are NOT alone.

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