How to learn Thai

Why study Thai? where can I learn the Thai language proficiently, effectively and cheaply? This is my personal account written and added to as and when I get the time and inspiration! [email protected] 


Why study Thai?

Learning any new language is fraught with pitfalls. Learning Thai or any other 'minor' language has to be the linguistic achievement of climbing a pretty tall mountain. I would like to explore this challenge in a little depth to try to show those who wish to start on this language adventure that although one may not reach the peak, and become fluent - many don't, that at least one can pause at different vantage points up the mountain, enjoy the view and at least converse with your fellow adventurers even if the locals don't seem to understand a word you utter.

Why are you studying Thai? That question has been tossesd at me often. As a student of Thai my ears are finely tuned to the nuances of tone. It is the tone of this question which is often more interesting than the question itself. Tones that range from bewilderment to complete incredulity, admiration to simply derision. Motivation however is paramount. Defining, quantifying sorting out the real reason for studying this exquisite oriental language and then admitting it. If not to others then at least to oneself. Often there are a multitude of reasons for studying Thai: I need to learn Thai for my job; I need to learn Thai to understand my wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/friends/boss or combination of the aforementioned; I need to learn Thai for my holiday; I want to do something really different!

Once you have settled on the main reason then you are well ensconced at base camp. The view to the top of the mountain is pretty clear. Oh dear! you forgot your equipment and supplies. Do I trudge on in my t-shirt and sneakers? or do I go home and plan this all out a little better and return better equipped for the climbing season? The answer is obvious. The view however is overwhelming so why not wander about on the lower slopes, get acclimatized, enhance your motivation before returning home to plan your foray to reach the summit.

I have never been a mountaineer. I met Chris Bonnington a couple of times. That was in Yorkshire though and not on the slopes of Anapurna or Everest. I feel though that the example of climbing a mountain is relevant to learning Thai. I am proud to say I have stood on the top and looked out a few times. I have bivouacked for short periods but always retreated to the comfort of base camp. Ok let's forget all this mountaineering jargon. Bivouacked indeed!! There are plenty of new words to learn. I will explore learning Thai vocabulary later. added 19th January

To be continued..............




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