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When Are You Too Old To Learn Thai?


SpiceMan
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There are lots of sounds in Thai that we just don`t have in English - " eu-a " as in " Beua " is one..... thats why its so unsatisfactory to use transliteration into English....I like the " Or " sound ( short vowel ),I would write it in Thai but don`t have a keyboard at the moment ....my favourite in every sense ,is in the word " or-or " or " Dek or-or " :grinyes::hubbahubba:

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That incessant overuse of the polite ending particle for male speakers ครับ but nowadays said as คับ drives me right up the wall.. :shocked:

 

In almost all my day to day interactions with these people in their language I never ever ครับ/คับ. I don't seem to be the worse for wear nor does it appear that these people respect me any less or more because of the lack of using it either. :wink:

 

I take that back, when I use the phrase; hello สวัสดีครับ which has now morphed in colloquial speech to just หวัดดีคับ, I do คับ, but that's about it.

 

Oh that phrase "Mekong" mentions ครับผม as an "abridged version" of the standard ขอบคุณครับ. . Actually it's a higher register version (more polite). It came from the phrase ขอรับà¸à¸£à¸°à¸œà¸¡ which over time got "blurred" or "worn down" to just ครับผม. .

 

 

Sorry, I can't represent "Karaoke Thai" on this keyboard because I don't know where the diacritics are. They're labeled on the keyboard at my office but I'm at home. :shocked: .

 

"Dexi" there aren't a LOT of sounds in Thai that we don't have in English (seeing as you only listed one!). Even though English has a-e-i-o-u-y as vowels we can make close to 20-27 different sounds by combining them. Thai has 32 different vowels (14 long and 18 short) although some have the same sound. It's not that much of a leap to learn 'em. Sounds a lot to me like another excuse not to learn Thai.. :surprised:

 

Granted how to represent thai sounds in "karaoke Thai" (thai written in English) is a total crap shoot because of different accents when speaking/reading English.

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Oh that phrase "Mekong" mentions ครับผม as an "abridged version" of the standard ขอบคุณครับ. . Actually it's a higher register version (more polite). It came from the phrase ขอรับà¸à¸£à¸°à¸œà¸¡ which over time got "blurred" or "worn down" to just ครับผม. .

 

 

 

OMG I am being polite without even realising it, I actually use ครับผม quite often I find it rolls of the tongue far easier than ขอบคุณครับ and use it out of laziness more than anything without ever realising its true context. I first heard it being used about 8 years ago when working in an office of over 500 Thais and about 50 Non-Thais and started copying the folk I was working with and it just sort of stuck with me. I knew it wasn't a bad saying since I had picked up on it in a professional environment and everybody was minimum of University graduate level apart from the cleaners and tea ladies.

 

Now you have just shattered my ego haha, I thought the reason why waitresses etc in restaurants and non-p4p bars were being more attentive to me was down to my devilish good looks but now I realise it is because when out with a group I probably come across as more polite than the company I am with, amazing how one little phrase can change the way people look at you.

 

As for your previous comment about "My Wife / Girlfriend speaks English why should I learn Thai" Guilty as charged, since 2000 I have only been involved with Thai females who were either educated overseas or have spent a considerable amount of time overseas and do have a good understanding of English, don't get me wrong I can go to a restaurant, to the shopping mall, tell a taxi driver where I want to go, complain to AIS and TRUE Vision on the phone and also have a polite conversation in Thai etc but that is about it. I like to watch my TV and Movies in English, majority of the music I listen to is sung in English but at home it's a 50-50 split between English and Thai between the wife and I. Basic day to day conversations are in Thai but serious discussions are always in English.

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That incessant overuse of the polite ending particle for male speakers ครับ but nowadays said as คับ drives me right up the wall.. :shocked:

 

In almost all my day to day interactions with these people in their language I never ever ครับ/คับ. I don't seem to be the worse for wear nor does it appear that these people respect me any less or more because of the lack of using it either. :wink:

 

 

First - with the disclaimer that I've been in country 10 months, less than the majority on this board - I will say that I couldn't disagree more. Granted, though my Thai 'friends' are old folks - they constantly remind me to be cautious and not too familiar with strangers by omitting kap in conversation (nobody says krap).

 

Ps. I value TD's opinion and his input helped me find a good teacher. That said...

 

Disagree.

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While I disagree with Tod-Daniels that there is no evidence of diminished language acquisition capacity as one ages (my understanding is that there's quite a bit, but it's not important and I'm not going to look for it), I agree that age and innate capacity, and even difficulty of the language in question (how many vowels, tones, etc) are far less important than the key element: are you motivated to learn the language? Are you committed enough to work at it?

 

For those learning Thai chances are it's about social interactions - not many foreigner jobs require Thai, not many academics and so on required to learn Thai, but lots and lots and lots of men in remarkably intimate social interactions with Thai speakers... plus, there's the taxi drive to the 'intimate social interaction'... the maid at the hotel... and that lady who sells khao mun gai at the corner. To learn Thai in order to enhance the rewards of interacting with Thai people, you've got to feel and believe that those rewards are there - that there's a point to communicating better. You've got to be optimistic about your relationship with the country, and the people, at least a little bit. When you have some kind of future in mind, much easier to learn - in the past few years or so, I've really fallen out of love with Thailand and Thai society in a way, or really, more like I've turned out to be a shitty partner in my relationship with the country... Just another drunk sleazy farang slurping down the country's low-hanging fruits and windfall...

 

Whatever the reasons, the honeymoon is over, and we're well on our way to divorce. And my language acquisition has come to a screetching halt. I don't take joy in new phrases the way I did, and I'm sick of trotting out the same stale lines to earn my applause from bargirls and taxi drivers. And definitely I don't lay in bed weekends-long drawing out life stories and language instructions from Nong Khai and Sarakham transplants anymore!

 

Capacity may diminish, but that's just a hurdle to cross - if you have the context and motivation, you can learn, no matter what. Resolve to learn *something* at least, get in some classes or find a tutor, and start building.

 

On tones - I can't tell one tone from the other frankly, I'm just garbage at hearing them. But here's a tip: listen to Thais when you speak to them, because the helpful Thai character can't avoid but to give you free language lessons almost every time you speak! You know how Thais are always repeating back to you the words you just said, like they're too dumb to have understood or something? They're not too dumb - they're correcting and modelling back the proper tones for you, and they do it constantly, even if they don't consciously know they are doing it. Speak, listen carefully when a Thai repeats, and then repeat back what you hear. That kind of helps. Then just keep muddling along, til you fall out of love with your Thai future....

 

YimSiam

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Even back in my Peace Corps days, we realised in our second year that our Thai had reached a plateau. As you say, it was from speaking Thai in limited situations. The solution was 1) start reading in Thai (best way to increase vocabulary) and 2) spend more time with people who couldn't speak a word of English!

 

My Thai was probably at its most fluent during the two semesters I actually taught at a primary school. No one spoke much English, including the English teachers. I was forced to speak Thai almost exclusively. (Ironically, the only fluent English speaker I encountered was an elderly monk at the nearby temple. He was a retired executive of the Bangkok Bank!)

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" Listen carefully when a Thai speaks,then repeat back what you hear ".......good advice :up: ......a couple of years ago I was eating at a small roadside place where they had a parrot in a cage - it came out with some interesting phrases ( in Thai obviously )it had learnt from its owner....so it can`t be that difficult if even a bird can do it :grinyes:

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  • 2 weeks later...

Then just keep muddling along, til you fall out of love with your Thai future....

 

YimSiam

 

"I don't fuck much with the past, but I fuck plenty with the future." - Patty Smith

 

My own assessment after a year here, and this is separate from the language conversation, is this: if you're a person on a mission, if you have some distinct structure or goal or end you're seeking to attain -- Thailand, and especially Bangkok, probably isn't the best place. But, if you're a person who has no idea just what the fuck he's doing in this life -- Bangkok can be a beautiful stop.

 

One thing I forgot earlier - Krap-pom or Kap-pom, I thought that was something service people said to be courteous and acknowledge you, kind of like 'yes sir.'

 

I've heard Khorap a few times since I've been here, all on TV (one someone talking with royalty, the other times on some historic Thai show), and I know that krap/kap is the shorthand modern version of khorap. But am now curious for clarification on kap-pom.

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When I first came to LOS, I taught at a university that was near a major army base. I often had a few soldiers in my evening classes, and the only time I heard khap-pom was from them. Thus I presumed it was a military thing. Since then I hear it much more, especially from taxi drivers who have spent a couple of years in the army.

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