learning the thai language

Thai Society and culture, Living in Thailand.
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glalt
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by glalt » May 5, 2019, 1:06 pm

While in the US military, I suffered the loss of a range of my hearing. It really has little affect on my hearing, EXCEPT, I can't hear the language tones and without hearing the Thai tones, I will never be fluent or even close to it.



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parrot
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by parrot » May 5, 2019, 1:36 pm

glalt, I wear heavy duty hearing aids.....I was able to break the code cypher because of a good teacher.....lots of headaches.....and practice. I'm comfortable with my level of learning.....but far far far from any degree of fluency.
I take comfort in being able to read a bit, and carry on conversations when I'm in control of the conversation. If I'm not, I'm pretty much lost in space.

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parrot
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by parrot » May 6, 2019, 2:52 pm

So, today over morning coffees, my wife commented that our dog was no longer a หมาหัวเน่า. She had had a small cut on top of her head....slow to heal.....but after multiple applications of peroxide bleached her black hair, my wife pronounced her 'cured'. I understood the words....หมา......หัว......เน่า.....but didn't understand them as an idiom. My wife went on to explain.....and she finished with me understanding maybe 60% of the meaning......but not enough for me to use it in a sentence myself.
To me, this is where the power of knowing a little bit of Thai (reading) can make life so much more enjoyable in Thailand. You can take most any Thai word, saying, idiom......poke it into google with the added words "หมายถึง" (which means 'meaning') and let google translate do the work for you.
In one longish explanation, a college student explained how he roomed up with 12 or so other students....everyone got along.....until, as time passed, he felt he was the 'หมาหัวเน่า' in the room.

I may never get to use the idiom myself......but I always feel a bit better about understanding the language a bit better.

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Giggle
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by Giggle » May 6, 2019, 3:25 pm

yesterday's news -- a falling star

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parrot
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by parrot » May 12, 2019, 1:52 pm

If you're here for the long haul, there're a few thousand reasons to learn to read Thai. On a trip to Bangkok many years ago by train, I plotted my chores on a map beforehand and practiced my Thai so I could navigate the city by bus/taxi. I told a taxi 'Rama See' for Rama IV Rd......and he gave me that glazed look that I immediately understood. "How could you not understand Rama See" I thought.......Only to find out later that the road isn't called Rama IV (as all the English signs say).....rather, it's Phra Ram See (พระราม สี่) which is very different.
Is it Udorn or Udon......Ubon or Uborn.....Loei or Leeuy........heaven help you if you're reading the transliterated signs.

I think I've found the champion for sign misspellings (transliterated). I pass it every time I return home from town. อ. นากลาง Na Klanf is what the sign says.....but I'll guess no taxi/van/bus driver would ever understand you if you tried the transliterated version in the sign.
A little Thai goes a long way.
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semperfiguy
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by semperfiguy » May 12, 2019, 3:46 pm

I have been here 9 years now and have totally given up on learning Thai. My wife has taught me basic phrases like how to order hot water, hot coffee, hot cocoa, eggs fried soft (sunny side up), and I have mastered those words according to her, but when I use them in a restaurant I nearly always get that deer in the headlights stare. She has also written them down so that I can show them to waitresses/waiters and they still don't get it. I have ordered hot cocoa and received instead a dinner salad at breakfast. I have ordered hot coffee and received a coke with ice, and after ordering hot water I have spoken with as many as three different servers in the same restaurant before anyone understood what I was saying. This happens on nearly a daily basis so is certainly not the exception in my case. It has become so frustrating for me that I know for sure it would never benefit me to go any further with learning Thai. I have much less difficulty getting my point across in English. As a side note I have also discovered that playing charades with a Thai in order to convey a thought is a complete waste of time and it makes me want to pull my hair out. They are totally clueless! The anxiety associated with trying to communicate with a Thai on most any level is not worth the risk of blowing my blood pressure through the roof, so I choose instead to live my life in a bubble and it suits me just fine. If others are learning to speak Thai and are pleased with that, then more power to you!
Last edited by semperfiguy on May 12, 2019, 5:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf". - George Orwell

Chuchi
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by Chuchi » May 12, 2019, 5:08 pm

parrot wrote:
May 12, 2019, 1:52 pm
If you're here for the long haul, there're a few thousand reasons to learn to read Thai. On a trip to Bangkok many years ago by train, I plotted my chores on a map beforehand and practiced my Thai so I could navigate the city by bus/taxi. I told a taxi 'Rama See' for Rama IV Rd......and he gave me that glazed look that I immediately understood. "How could you not understand Rama See" I thought.......Only to find out later that the road isn't called Rama IV (as all the English signs say).....rather, it's Phra Ram See (พระราม สี่) which is very different.
Is it Udorn or Udon......Ubon or Uborn.....Loei or Leeuy........heaven help you if you're reading the transliterated signs.

I think I've found the champion for sign misspellings (transliterated). I pass it every time I return home from town. อ. นากลาง Na Klanf is what the sign says.....but I'll guess no taxi/van/bus driver would ever understand you if you tried the transliterated version in the sign.
A little Thai goes a long way.
I think they’ve spelt the bottom sign wrong as well :D

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parrot
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by parrot » May 12, 2019, 6:25 pm

"I think they’ve spelt the bottom sign wrong as well"

They sure did....but at least not butchered like the one above it.

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GT93
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by GT93 » May 13, 2019, 2:01 am

SFG you could take a dictionary around with you and learn to write a few Thai words such as coffee. Many books that help farang learn Thai have page after page on ordering food.

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parrot
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by parrot » June 16, 2019, 6:32 pm

Reason #4673......learning the tones and reading

When you want to know the name of something.....ask your wife......and she can't tell you in English but can tell you in Thai.
If you can get to the kindergarten level in reading/tones, you'll be able to looks Thai words up on google.
Today's word.......แมงง่วง
You can hear the ear-piecing cry of this beetle at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F7zTfrgIA3w

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Giggle
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by Giggle » June 16, 2019, 8:06 pm

semperfiguy wrote:
May 12, 2019, 3:46 pm
They are totally clueless!
Often, I believe, they simply don't want to communicate so they feign ignorance. It may well be that the thought of a farang speaking Thai short-circuits their thought process, and they shut down. Maybe 10 percent are willing to work through the process of a less-than-pitch-perfect non-native Thai speaker.

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FrazeeDK
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by FrazeeDK » June 17, 2019, 6:08 am

or, it is expectations.. I've spoken Thai in some venues and had the person look at another Thai and ask them what I'm saying.. In those situations when my wife is present I've asked her, "was I speaking correctly?" and she's told me that my pronunciation was perfect. So, I'd conclude that some Thais when dealing with a foreigner, due to their odd expectations, don't hear them speaking Thai...
Dave

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Giggle
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by Giggle » June 17, 2019, 1:20 pm

Well said. I can spot the reluctance of some Thais to respond to my communication, in Thai, before I finish the sentence/question. Never mind that it's a simple statement I've heard and repeated hundreds of times and can pronounce it properly. With some, the flight response kicks in and they are simply not prepared to take on the incoming stimuli.

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parrot
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by parrot » June 21, 2019, 5:28 pm

My wife is a fan of mix-it-yourself dish soap that's been popular in OTOP circles for a number of years. A few years ago we had a dog that had a musty smell to its fur, leash, collar......wash in all sorts of dog shampoos/laundry detergents didn't seem to help much. A friend recommended the otop soap and that settled that problem immediately.
Today my wife asked me if I'd mix the next batch while she busied herself with cooking.
Whether you're trying to read your owner's manual (in Thai) or mixing instructions for a pesticide or paint or your favorite ramen noodles.....most of the instructions are written in elementary Thai so reading them doesn't require much vocabulary.
In the case of the dish soap, the ingredients are itemized and the individual packages are marked with the corresponding number. The vocab for mix, add, stir, along with the individual ingredients tend to be repeated throughout. In the case of ramen, most everyone already knows how to make it in English....and sometimes there are photos that help you as well.
One of my early 'wanting to read' moments came after buying a new truck way back when. The English manual was on order........but there were a few things I wanted to know about before the manual arrived. Before I ever learned the alphabet (I still don't know the Thai alphabet like I know the English alphabet) I could fake my way through a Thai dictionary. It was tedious......but finding the word I was looking for was like solving the NYT crossword puzzle.
Little by little........it makes a big difference in enjoying life in Thailand
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by parrot » July 1, 2019, 5:27 pm

Signs of economic hard times for expats.......or?
I try to wear my rose-colored glasses for special occasions...today, I wasn't wearing them. I brought a pair of old but still good Vans shoes to the shoe repairers near the fountain circle for re-gluing. I yakked with the woman about whether to glue or glue/sew the seams......told her I wanted the shoes to last another few years. Then I asked the price. She told me that Thais pay 180 Baht.....but, for you, falang...........150 Baht. I asked if she was joking, but she assured me that she was giving me a good deal. I believe her. I chalk it up to reason #5991 to learn a bit of Thai.

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parrot
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Re: learning the thai language

Post by parrot » July 10, 2019, 2:32 pm

Update on the shoe lady: When I picked up my shoes.....hand-sewn all around......I asked the lady if she was serious about Thai price 180, but falang for 150. She said, "yes". After seeing the quality of her work....resurrecting a pair of shoes for another year or two.....I didn't have the heart to take her up on her offer. I paid 180.

Back on the subject of Thai language: The signs are all around....posted on telephone poles or store fronts. Sometimes they offer things you don't need....other times they offer just what you're looking for. I'd guess every year a few expats in town ask about this service:
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