Read The Forum Rules: We have a clear set of rules to keep the forum running smoothly. Click here to review them.

Post Reply 
Education Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
Author Message
Rawmeo Offline
Pelican
****
Gold Member

Posts: 1,587
Joined: Oct 2014
Reputation: 48
Post: #1
Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
People who have been following my posts know that I am very attached to Thailand. I live there full time since 3 years. Coming from a mixed French / English background, hearing people speaking an Asian language left me totally clueless. Just listening to the tones and looking at a Thai text gave me a headache, "how can people really understand that?". That is probably the reaction that most tourists get when being exposed to a language such as Thai the first time. I've lived in Thailand for nearly 2 years without speaking Thai, as I had a LTR translating the most important stuff, and I was dating bilingual girls.

However, the truth is: speaking Thai will get you A LOT farther in everything. I would say that it is a must if you plan to live in Thailand for the long term. From picking up 7-Eleven girls to dating hi-so girls whose family wouldn't accept a foreigner, but you get a free pass since you speak Thai. For business reasons, to avoid getting cheated, to talk your way out of any situation, and so on.

How hard is learning Thai? Eight months ago I couldn't speak Thai at all, and today I can write stories, write essays, and have science discussions. Now, let's move on to how it's done.

1) Getting the right environment

In order to learn the language, you will need to put a few tools at your disposal. This ensures that you will have the best learning pace and best possible acquisition.

a) I may trigger a few haters here, but you NEED a school if you goal is to achieve pseudo-fluency without taking 10 years. There are several good schools in Bangkok, I will be glad to recommend you some by PM (since I won't publicly post the shill of a school). You shouldn't pay more than 10,000 baht per month to learn.
b) Avoid private tutors. Learning in a group environment is way, way better. Move your lazy ass and go to school. Good boy.
c) Avoid bar-girls or deadbeat losers, who will make you remember bad patterns and make you sound like a clown when you try to imitate them.
d) Do not be in a LTR. Date multiple Thai girls at the same time.
e) Speak Thai whenever you are able to.
f) Watch 30 minutes of Thai TV everyday, even if you don't understand everything at first.

2) Learning converstional skills

Any good school will skip the writing system altogether for the first months, and will only focus on speaking. The teacher / tutor, when using the whiteboard, should write the phonetic of words, rather than the real Thai writing. For example, the common word for "i am good" is often described as "sabay-dee". You should learn, for now, "sabäaydii" (low tone mark on the first "aa", and mid tone on the last "ii"), rather than "สบายดี" (actual spelling).

Only and strictly stick to phonetic writing for now. If you start learning the alphabet at the same time, you will get a headache and possibly lose interest in the subject. Learn how to speak properly first. You will understand later why it was important. We are all curious to learn more, but pay attention to that.

The layout is based on the school I went to, which included 15 hours of study per week (3 hours x 5 days) in a group environment with 5 to 9 students. That's the path that I followed, but feel free to modify it according to your needs. It can be also a good indicator of whether you're falling behind or not should you choose another method of learning.

Month 1:
You should focus on learning basic conversational skills. This will include:
- First day: Practicing tones. Mandatory for all the rest.
- Greeting
- Ordering beer and food
- Giving basic directions
- Sentence structures (if, when, while, but, and, etc...)
- Name of foods, drinks, fruits / vegetables

Month 2:
You should improve your converstional skills, such as:
- Giving advanced directions
- Describing your house layout
- Talking about feelings
- Describing your home country

Month 3:
This should be the final month of speaking classes without Thai alphabet:
- Convincing someone to come to your country
- Explaining why your vacation was good
- Socializing, making wishes
- Shopping for something

It took me a total of 180 hours to do the above. I was also practicing on my own. You can't expect to simply sit there for 15 hours, go home, and remember everything.

A good method is to find a "trick" for every word. For example, car is "rôt" รถ and bus is "rôtméé" รถเมล์. Think of this: in the old times, in Thailand, the buses were used to carry mail around, rather than the postman. So "mail car", and "méé" sounds similar to "mail". Having a trick for each word will ensure that you don't forget the most important ones.

If you stop here, you will be able to communicate in many situations, and you should be all set to go on dates with Thai girls without using English. If you decide to continue, you will start seeing the Thai alphabet which goes a long way towards proficiency. It is highly recommended that you start learning the alphabet after the 3rd month, as this is a critical point in your learning curve: you can speak good, and you will start writing.

3) Learning basic writing skills

Based on the same study context described above, month 4 should be the time to start learning the Thai alphabet. All you need to remember is the data below, that you will learn through months 4 and 5. It all fits on a A4 sheet of paper, font 12. Remember the chart below, and you can correctly pronounce every single Thai word ever written.

The writing system has 3 things that you need to be aware of:
1) Consonants
2) Vowels
3) Tone marks

---- Consonants ----

The alphabet has 44 consonants, and a few vowels (depending on what "shape" you consider being a vowel). The 44 consonants are split in 4 categories: Low-class pair (LCP), Low-class single (LCS), High-class (HC), Mid-class (MC). The table belows shows them all:

PHP Code:
"Low-class Pair (LCP)"
พ () - ท (ฑฒธ) - ช () - ค (*) - ฟ ซ ฮ  

"Low-class Single (LCS)"
ม น () - ง ว ล () - ร ย ()

"High-class (HC)"
ผ ถ () - ฉ ข (*) - ฝ ส (ศษ) - 

"Mid-class (MC)"
บ ป ด () - ต () - จ ก อ 

That's all the Thai consonants in the language. I won't write their sounds, as it can be easily found out, but the table was there to show the simplicity.

Each of the classes illustrates the 7 characters + their less-common form (such as used in proper nouns) in paranthesis. If you are not sure which one to use, use the common one and you are right 85% of the time. Consonants marked with * are not used anymore, but are still present in the original alphabet.

To remember the table above, "low-class PAIR" and "high class" are like husband and wife: the first sound "p" is the same, the second sound "t" is the same, and it goes on for all seven.

---- Vowels ----

A vowel must be placed on a consonant at all times. The consonant is always pronounced first, followed by the vowel. If the word starts by a vowel, such as "ari", the letter อ will be used as a silent vowel carrier. Here are all those babies, but they can be agruingly more since some forms are more used than others. I will list the long form, short form, and form having a final consonent, if applicable, otherwise the standard form applies:

PHP Code:
Vowel "a"นา (naaนะ (naนัน (nan)
Vowel "è"แน (nèèแน็ ()
Vowel "é"เน (nééเน็ ()
Vowel "ë"เนอ (nëëเนอะ (เนิม (nën)
Vowel "i"นี (niiนิ (ni)
Vowel "open o"นอ (noo)
Vowel "closed o"โน (nooโนะ (noนม (nomunwritten vowel)
Vowel "u"นู (nuuนุ (nu)
Special vowel "am"นำ (nam)
Vowel "ay"ไน (nayใน (nayonly 20 words use this alternate vowel)
Special vowel "aw"เนา (naawเนาะ (naw

---- Tone Marks ----

There are 4 tone marks, which indicate the 5 tones: low, mid (no mark), high, rising, falling. I won't go in much details, but they are very easy to understand.

A good teacher will make you practice reading some sounds like in elementary school. 60 hours is way enough to read the full alphabet, vowels, and tone marks. It goes very fast, as each character is a sound rather than a word (like Chinese, for example). You will also need to practice writing on your own, around 20 - 30 minutes per day.

This is what months 4 and 5 should be about. You will be reading sounds, and gradually, you will start to meet the words you learned in the first 3 months. The phonetic writing will then start to make sense, and the great revelation will appear before your eyes: you can now read, write, speak, and listen to Thai.

At this point, you can chat in Thai with girls. Use a Thai keyboard and practice your writing everyday. Chat only in Thai with the girls. This takes some time, as even today, I'm slightly under 50 WPM when typing in Thai. At many times through your journey, you will realize how a teacher was an important asset.

Remember: All consonant / vowel / tone mark data fits on a single sheet of paper. Only one data page to remember and you can pronounce every single word in the Thai alphabet. That's why you shouldn't spend more than a total of 100 hours on learning the writing system.

That's not all. This is the end of month 5, let's move on!

4) Reading texts

After the 5th month, you will be at the level of writing simple dictations. You will also be able to write texts describing your holiday, etc. and you will be able to read one-page Thai texts talking about various subjects.

Months 6 and 7 should be dedicated to that. Write texts, read texts, go on dates with girls, fuck only in Thai (speaking Thai doesn't defeat LMR faster, unfortunately), watch TV, practice typing. It's not time to stop studying yet, as you are in the best part: you are actually able to write your thoughts in Thai without any problem, and you are just improving.

If you are studying in a government-approved school, your teacher should ask you to write texts as homework (normally 1 page is the norm, I've got comments from various students from different schools), and evaluate your spelling / tone marks / etc. If you are studying on your own, then you should try to write things by yourself and ask a Thai person to correct you. When I used to do my homework, I sent a picture of my page to 3-4 girls to make sure that no mistake was left uncorrected.

So moving forward in time: month 7 is over. You've been studying for more than half a year, and seeing tremendous results. You are technically able to stop studying, but if you plan on living here in the long term, there is one final step.

5) Final step: getting your Ministry of Education language proficiency certificate

Many schools offer a government exam preparation class. This is seriously a big step ahead, and I recommend you take some other advances classed (business, culture, politics, etc.) for 2-3 months before you attempt to grab the bull by the horns and take the final class. At my school, this is an intensive 3-month course that aims to prepare us for the final exam (this year, it will be on November 28th, and I will be taking it). The final exam is in 4 parts:
- Speaking: You have to make a 10-minute monologue in front of an examinator
- Listening: You listen to a "story" on the radio, and get questioned on it
- Writing: You have to write an essay about whatever subject the examinator chooses
- Reading: You read various texts, and have to answer questions

I am currently in month 9 of my studies. I am able to write essays, describe various religions ceremonies, explain science facts, read texts related to history and various topics. That's only 9 months, and every student who followed the same path was able to do it, so I have nothing special. I just followed the system in place.

The exam will give you a grade from 1 (kid level) to 6 (doctorate level) on each of the 4 disciplines. You need a total of 12 points to pass. Those 12 points can be split any way you want. You can get 6 in writing and 2 everywhere else, and still pass, but the chances of scoring 5 and above on a given discipline are extremely low. Focus on getting 3-4 everywhere.

Let's say that you passed the exam: you get your official certification. Go ahead and apply for a job, work permit, show, or anything that requires you to speak Thai, and you're automatically ahead 90% of other applicants.

Hope that helps! Any feedback is welcome.

Optimist: "The glass is half full." Pessimist: "The glass is half empty." Feminist: "The glass has been raped."
Flags: 5

Team Appetizers | Team Numerical Scale

Living in Thailand, enjoying life, making money, not interested in Western woman, not giving a fuck about millenial problems, addicted to rawdogging.
#NoHymenNoDiamond #PoppedCherryDontMarry #RealMenDontDateSingleMoms
10-26-2015 05:23 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 20 users Like Rawmeo's post:
saraiva77, ball dont lie, Mentavious, Teekay, RagnarLothbrok, CleanSlate, Belgrano, 262, AWright, Soma, PolymathGuru, Renzy, yellowfever, Bazzwaldo, Balkan, Ali, Enigma, Swell, Geomann180, RatInTheWoods
anotherblond Offline
Pigeon

Posts: 41
Joined: Apr 2014
Reputation: 5
Post: #2
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
Great post rawmeo.
You make an impressive case for learning the language. Breaking it down into manageable chunks.

From what I have learned in Thai, you're right with the schooling being necessary. Unlike similar languages to English (like Spanish), it feels near impossible to pick up Thai from just immersing yourself. It really is a unique language. That first barrier is a tough one to break.
If I liked Thailand more, I'd be very motivated to learn. I think your love of Thailand really helps you master a language.

Great resource.

If you can't do any better, you've settled. --me--
10-26-2015 04:57 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Mr. Brightside Offline
Robin
*
Gold Member

Posts: 158
Joined: Oct 2015
Reputation: 2
Post: #3
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
Very intriguing stuff. As somebody who has just begun learning another Asian language (Mandarin), I'm impressed by the optimistic dedication you've put into this endeavor. After attaining a competent level in Spanish, the jump in difficulty up to a language like Thai is about as large as you can get.

Five tones? That's rough.
10-26-2015 10:27 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Rawmeo Offline
Pelican
****
Gold Member

Posts: 1,587
Joined: Oct 2014
Reputation: 48
Post: #4
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
The 5 tones aren't that hard, takes a day or 2 to get, and then you're good to go. The only downside is that, unlike English, native Thai speakers don't expect foreigners to speak their language. I still have situations where, although I say something in perfect Thai, the employee just does "huh?" and looks at the closest Thai person. But I've asked all my girls, in such a situation, to stay silent, point at me, and let me repeat until they listen. Get a tone wrong, and they don't have the capability to use logic to understand, unlike when someone speaks broken English. I coudl wrieit lkie tath adn oyu guuys sltil uerndstnad. It's not the case for Thai.

If you don't get understood, it's not because they don't understand. It's because they don't listen. It's frustrating, but just repeat it. As strange as it may seem, Thai people are not ready to listen to Thai when they see you coming.

Optimist: "The glass is half full." Pessimist: "The glass is half empty." Feminist: "The glass has been raped."
Flags: 5

Team Appetizers | Team Numerical Scale

Living in Thailand, enjoying life, making money, not interested in Western woman, not giving a fuck about millenial problems, addicted to rawdogging.
#NoHymenNoDiamond #PoppedCherryDontMarry #RealMenDontDateSingleMoms
10-27-2015 01:01 AM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 3 users Like Rawmeo's post:
yellowfever, ElFlaco, Swell
PolymathGuru Offline
Kingfisher
***

Posts: 758
Joined: Jul 2015
Reputation: 15
Post: #5
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
Congratulations, but this doesn't surprise me at all. I did a lot of research on learning languages before I started my one year revolution.

The one thing everyone tries to focus on is learning everything. Reading, Writing Listening and speaking are difference skills. I know this from how I use English, my native tongue. For some strange reason, I always misspell a word such as beautiful and I always have to rewrite/retype the word until it looks right. Yet I recognize it in spoken speech and read it without problems. Then words like artisanal I can recognize without a problem in reading and write it correctly. However, I've never heard it so I may or may not understood what is being said in a sentence.

Also, people need to accept they make mistakes when speaking. This is the weird thing that is reinforced in school(regarding schools as structured grading institutions). Where errors can cost you points on your GPA, in real life people make mistakes all the time. I notice when listening to others in Spanish. The rule of thumb is to focus on comprehension. If you can understand the error being made and have it corrected easily, your skill in the language is on the right path.

It always better to start with speaking and listening. You can only get a sense for sentence structure from speech itself and using it. It is very different to know the rules and to apply the rules. The only benefit from reading and writing for language learning is building vocabulary. But people try to make vocabulary the most intensive part of learning a language when they are having problems creating a sentence.

Anyways, congratulations again. I a lot people don't understand why should learn a foreign language but they don't seem to understand the benefits of opening yourself to new communities. How can liberals claim they are multicultural when they don't even know a second language?

A Guide to Exploring and Relocating within the United States.

A Guide for Creating a Burner Laptop and installing TAILS OS for RVF and ROK security and anonymity

The four Multipliers of wealth and Income
10-29-2015 11:30 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 1 user Likes PolymathGuru's post:
ElFlaco
Mr.GoodThread Offline
Robin
*

Posts: 214
Joined: Feb 2013
Reputation: 0
Post: #6
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
I don't think Mr. Rawmeo is active on this site currently, but did anyone happen to ever ask him for a Thai school recommendation?
04-20-2018 05:00 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Captain Gh Offline
Ostrich
****
Gold Member

Posts: 1,882
Joined: Feb 2013
Reputation: 16
Post: #7
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
(04-20-2018 05:00 PM)Mr.GoodThread Wrote:  I don't think Mr. Rawmeo is active on this site currently, but did anyone happen to ever ask him for a Thai school recommendation?

Well... Unfortunately Rawmeo definitely won't be able to fallow up since he's dead. Still can't understand how legit geniuses bother with being criminals! He could've made 2x less legit... and still swimming in millions. But Hey!
(This post was last modified: 04-20-2018 05:27 PM by Captain Gh.)
04-20-2018 05:25 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Mr.GoodThread Offline
Robin
*

Posts: 214
Joined: Feb 2013
Reputation: 0
Post: #8
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
Yes, my question was serious and my bad for not realizing that he had passed away. I think I read something about it on this forum once, but I wasn't putting two and two together that he was the one that had passed away.

I'll Google what happened to him...in the meantime, if anyone has a recommendation for a school in BKK or Chiang Mai, myself and others reading would like that info. Thanks.
04-20-2018 05:43 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
RagnarLothbrok Offline
Kingfisher
***
Gold Member

Posts: 549
Joined: Feb 2015
Reputation: 55
Post: #9
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
I asked him for recommendations. He said AAA Thai Language school
04-20-2018 10:53 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[-] The following 2 users Like RagnarLothbrok's post:
Swell, MongolianAbroad
Mr.GoodThread Offline
Robin
*

Posts: 214
Joined: Feb 2013
Reputation: 0
Post: #10
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
Thank you Ragnar
04-20-2018 11:42 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
RatInTheWoods Offline
Hummingbird
*****
Gold Member

Posts: 3,344
Joined: Jul 2015
Reputation: 33
Post: #11
RE: Datasheet: Learning Thai is Not as Hard as it Seems
I prefer learning a smattering of useful words whilst half drunk off my "black haired dictionary"

Am I am bad man?
04-21-2018 06:31 PM
Find all posts by this user Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 


Possibly Related Threads...
Thread: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
  Considering moving to Thailand or Cambodia to train Muay Thai / Khun Khmer Moto 12 6,003 11-03-2019 10:58 AM
Last Post: Dr Mantis Toboggan
  How hard is it to get into the stock market? TheDuncan 33 14,127 01-10-2019 04:18 PM
Last Post: TheInternationalPersian
  Krav Maga, Jujitsu or Muay Thai AlbertoDelMuerto 36 32,613 11-12-2018 05:01 PM
Last Post: JackinMelbourne

Forum Jump:


User(s) browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)

Contact Us | RooshV.com | Return to Top | Return to Content | Mobile Version | RSS Syndication