Learn Thai Language & Culture

A Woman Learning Thai... and some men too ;)

Successful Thai Language Learner: Jeff Volling

Successful Thai Language Learner

Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

Name: Jeff Volling
Nationality: American
Age: 31
Sex: Male 
Location: The Philippines
Profession: Translator/Content Creator
Website: 24translate.de

What is your Thai level?

I’d have to go with a combo of all three. It really depends on the topic of discussion. I would say that for my daily needs and what I needed language for while I lived in Thailand, I was fluent.

Do you speak more street Thai, Issan Thai, or professional Thai? 

What I speak probably leans more towards professional Thai, but there are elements of street Thai as well. I can only string together a few sentences/phrases in Issan.

What were your reasons for learning Thai? 

My main reason for learning was survival. I didn’t have the patience to try explaining things to Thais who can’t understand English (and where I lived, nobody spoke English ). I realize the irony in learning an entire language because of not wanting to constantly make hand gestures.

Do you live in Thailand? If so, when did you arrive? 

No. I was in Thailand from 2009-2015.

How long have you been a student of the Thai language? 

2009-2015

Did you learn Thai right away, or was it a many-pronged approach?

I dove right in after an initial period (maybe a couple weeks or so) of traveling. There were some periods during my 6 years in Thailand when I would study for several hours in a day and times when I wouldn’t study at all of weeks (even months) on end.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?

No, I did not.

What Thai language learning methods did you try?

I combined textbook study with full-on immersion. When I was first starting out, I was more or less a hermit, studying Thai via various books – in particular, the Thai for __ series by Benjawan Poomsan Becker. I’d then use whatever I learned in real life situations whenever the opportunity arose. I also learned Thai by “necessity.” If there was a particular phrase I needed to say and couldn’t – I’d learn it.

Did one method stand out over all others? 

For me, all the methods worked well. However, I do like the “needs-based” learning approach in that it is a good way to quickly learn what is most important.

How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai? 

Immediately. I don’t believe in being illiterate.

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult? 

Yes. I’m probably a bit slower than some others in this series in that it took me about 2 solid months of studying at least 2 hours per day to come to terms with it.

What was your first ‘ah hah!’ moment? 

Realizing that I could say just about anything in Thai that I’d normally talk about in English.

How do you learn languages? 

Textbook study combined with immersion (actual or virtual). If the immersion option is not available, I talk to myself.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

Strengths: grammar and vocabulary; weakness: not sure, but I found pronunciation and tones quite difficult.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai? 

Tones matter. I realize a lot of people will disagree with me here – but the fact is that in 6 years of living in Thailand, if I got a tone wrong, I never had any problem being understood and conversation was never halted. More important than tones is stress. Besides, in conversation, words often just carry the middle tone anyhow, with the most important word(s) getting their natural tone.

Can you make your way around any other languages? 

English (native speaker)
German (fluent; near-native fluency in reading)
French (upper-intermediate/advanced)
Tagalog (advanced basic/low intermediate)
Norwegian – an online test said I read it at a B2 level, but I would say basic. It is rather easy to read, though.
Spanish – a bit rusty, but I’m conversational enough and can read with little problem
Croatian – just enough to get by if I ever get there.

Were you learning another language at the same time as Thai? 

Yes, several. I dabble a lot – but was focused mainly on Tagalog, Norwegian, and Croatian.

What advice would you give to students of the Thai language?

Find what works for you. Use the language as often as possible and try to not think of it as studying. Language is a vehicle for communicating ideas – so just talk about whatever you like. Being “fluent” isn’t knowing every word or being able to talk about anything – it’s being able to comfortably express your own thoughts and ideas and to understand others in the topics that are relevant to you.

The Series: Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

If you’d like to read more interviews the entire series is here: Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners.

If you are a successful Thai language learner and would like to share your experiences, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

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Cat Cartoons Episode Seventeen: Learn and Love the Thai Language

รู้รักภาษาไทย: Cat Cartoons: Episode Seventeen…

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language.

ผู้บรรยาย: ตอน เสี้ยววินาที
Narrator: Episode ‘Sieow wi-naa-tee’

เสียงนักพากย์: เข้าเส้นชัยไปแล้วครับ นักว่ายน้ำของไทยชนะแค่เสี้ยววินาทีเท่านั้นเอง
Sound of commentator: (He has) crossed the finish line! The Thai swimmer has won by only a ‘sieow wi-naa-tee’.

เก่ง: โอโฮ้ โอ้โห ชนะกันแค่เสี้ยววินาทีเองอะ
Geng: Oho! Oho! Winning by only a ‘sieow wi-naa-tee’.

วิเชียรมาศ: เสี้ยววินาที เป็นยังไงเหรอ แล้วทำไมต้องชนะกันแค่เสี้ยววินาทีด้วยล่ะ
Wi-chian maat: What is ‘sieow wi-naa-tee’? How can one win by only a ‘sieow wi-naa-tee’?

สีสวาด: คำว่า เสี้ยว หมายถึง ส่วนหนึ่งในสี่ส่วน ใช้ ส เสือ และมีไม้โทด้วย เช่น เค้า(เขา)ผ่าแตงโมออกเป็นสี่เสี้ยว ทีนี้ในหนึ่งนาทีมีหกสิบวินาที เธอลองมาคิดดูสิว่าถ้าชนะกันแค่เสี้ยววินาทีจะเป็นเวลาเท่าไหร่
Si Sawat: The word ‘sieow’ means ‘(a) quarter i.e. one of four equal parts’, spelt with a ‘s seua’ and there’s a ‘maai toh’ in it as well. For example, “he / she cut the watermelon into four quarters”. Now, one minute has sixty seconds. Think of winning by only a ‘sieow’ of a second: how long is that?

วิเชียรมาศ: ก็เวลานิดเดียวเท่านั้นเองซี่(สิ)
Wi-chian maat: A tiny period time.

สีสวาด: ถูกต้อง เก่งมากจ้ะ
Si Sawat: That’s right! That’s very clever of you!

ผู้บรรยาย: เสี้ยววินาที เป็นสำนวนที่ใช้เปรียบเทียบเวลา หมายความว่า เวลาน้อยนิดเดียว เช่น อุบัติเหตุอาจเกิดขึ้นได้หากเราประมาทแม้เสี้ยววินาที
Narrator: ‘Sieow wi-naa-tee’ is an expression used to refer to a relative duration of time. It means a tiny period of time, for example “an accident can happen if we are negligent even for a ‘sieow wi-naa-tee’.

แมวทั้งสามตัว: แล้วพบกันใหม่นะครับบบ (ครับ)
All Three Cats: See you again next time!

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language.

Comments…

The closest English equivalent for ‘sieow wi-naa-tee’ would probably be ‘(a) split second’. A ‘split second’ however is not a quarter of a second. Here is the entry on ‘split second’ in The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms (by Christine Ammer):

An instant, a fraction of a second, as in “Our swimmer came in a split second before theirs”. This expression alludes to a stop watch that has two second hands, one above the other, for timing more than one athlete or intervals of a race by a single athlete. Each hand can be stopped independently of the other, so a second can be ‘split’ when one second hand stops a fraction of a second after the other. [c. 1880]

PDF Downloads…

Below are two pdf downloads (created by Catherine) to help with your studies. Both have Thai script, transliteration, and English. Suggestion: Print out the conversation file to read along with the videos – use the vocabulary file to locate any words you don’t know.

The vocabulary file is on the way…

Disclaimer: The study pdfs are Catherine’s baby. If you notice any mistakes she’d love for you to drop her a line via the contact form.

The Cat Cartoon Series…

Original transcript and translation provided by Sean Harley. Transliterations via T2E (thai2english.com).

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Using Praat for Pitch Analysis of the Thai Language

Praat

What is “Praat”?…

Praat is Dutch for “talk”. It’s a program used for voice analysis. It’s very powerful and has a lot of very advanced functions of which I will I will only discuss the most basic function: obtaining the pitch from an audio fragment.

What is the “Pitch”?…

First I would like to talk about “pure tones”. A “pure tone” is a sound wave that is consist of found of one single frequency. It’s the kind of sound you hear from a tuning fork. If you would display the wave as a graphs in time and in place, both graphs would be a sine wave.

Praat

Our voice is not a pure tone. If you would analyse our voice you would see it consists of several sine waves, with different frequencies (tone heights). Each frequency has a different amplitude (strength) and phase (starting point). All these waves are produced by our voice at the same time.

Praat

The “pitch” in phonetics is the frequency (or tone height) of the lowest frequency tone wave in our voice. It’s like the basic “hum” of our voice. It is the pitch what we would define as the “tone” in Thai.

The purpose of this document is to show you how you can visualize the pitch. It can help you to analyze and improve your own pronunciation or it can help you to recognize the tone in case you wouldn’t recognize it by listening.

The program we’re going to use can display the pitch of the audio (in time). The result will look like this. The blue line represents the pitch.

Praat

How do the tones in Thai look like?…

Basically they look like this:

  • The mid tone is constant (there might be a slight drop on the end).
  • The low tone start low and might even go a little bit lower.
  • The falling tone starts high and drops significantly.
  • The tone start high and goes even higher.
  • The rising to starts low and rises significantly.

Praat

Installing Praat…

You can download and install praat from Praat: doing phonetics by computer. It’s available for Linux 32/64bit, for MAC OSX, for FreeBSD and for Windows.

Using Praat…

Once you start Praat you get two windows: the Objects window and Picture window. You’ll only need the Objects window. The pictures window is a window that allows you to draw on and manipulate the pictures Praat generates.

From the Objects windows menu choose “Open – Open long sound file …” and select the audio fragment you want to analyse. This can be any file, just a recording you want to analyse or a recording of your own voice. If possible save your audio fragment always as “.wav” file and not as “.mp3” because a “.mp3” file can cause a tiny time offset between the graphs and the actual audio.

In the Objects window, select your audio fragment (1. LongSound tones in this case) and click on “View”.

Praat

Now a new window will appear.

When you click at the play buttons directly under the spectrogram/pitch part you can play the audio left or right of the cursor. When you make a selection the audio will be split into 3 parts : one part before the beginning of your selection, then your selection, and finally a part after your selection and there will be 3 play buttons.

Praat

You can use the “in”-button (zooms in), “out”-button (zooms out), “sel”-button (zoom to selection) and “all”-button (zooms to all) below the spectrogram , together with the play buttons and the scroll-bar below the spectrogram to go to any part that might interest you.

Take into account that the pitch and spectrogram will only be displayed when the audio fragment that is visible is less than 10 seconds.

By clicking on the frequency number of the right side of the spectrogram you can zoom-in and zoom-out the frequency scale.

Praat

The first part of the picture above looks like a mid-tone. After that we see a low tone, a falling tone, a high tone and a rising tone.

Praat

The yellow curve in the diagram represents the intensity.

The high tone might look a bit strange to you. That’s because the big jump at the end has a very low intensity or volume and can be ignored. To show the intensity choose “Intensity-Show Intensity” from the menu. The yellow curve represents the intensity.

How to see the difference between aspirated and unaspirated sounds?…

The difference between aspirated sounds such as พ in พา and an unaspirated sound like the ป in ปา is the voice onset time (VOT). That is the time between the start of the syllable and the first occurrence of the voiced vowel. For aspirated sounds the VOT is much bigger. Usually the start of the blue pitch line indicates the start of the voicing, while the rising part of the yellow intensity line indicates the beginning of the syllable. Voicing is a vibration of the vocal cords. It’s much easier to recognize a pitch in those sounds than in sounds that are made with the mouth. That’s why the blue pitch line starts at the voiced vowel า. The next picture shows the voice onset time in the word ปา. It’s only about 18ms.

Praat

This picture shows the voice onset time in the word พา. พ is aspirated consonant. The voice onset time here is 78 ms, which is significantly more than that of the unaspirated consonant. You should play and listen to the selections to make they don’t include any part of the vowel.

Praat

PS. Take into account that the time scales of both pictures are not the same.

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Cat Cartoons Episode Sixteen: Learn and Love the Thai Language

รู้รักภาษาไทย: Cat Cartoons: Episode Sixteen…

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language

ผู้บรรยาย: ตอน กำไร – กำไล
Narrator: Episode ‘Gam-rai’ – ‘Gam-lai’

เก้าแต้ม: เมื่อกี๊(เมื่อกี้)นะ ได้ยินป้าทองดีบ่น ขายของไม่เห็นกำไลเลย
Kao Taem: Just now, I heard Bpaa Tong-dee grumbling about sales and not seeing any ‘gam-lai’ at all.

วิเชียรมาศ: คนซื้อของ เค้าชอบใส่กำไลมาซื้อของกันเหรอ
Wi-chian maat: Do buyers like wearing ‘gam-lai’-s when they come to buy something?

สีสวาด: กำไร ที่ป้าทองดีพูดน่ะ หมายถึง กำไรที่เป็นรายได้จากการค้าขาย สะกดด้วย ร เรือ เวลาอ่านต้องออกเสียง รอ เรือ ให้ถูกต้องว่า กำไร แต่ถ้าออกเสียงว่า กำไล เขียน ล ลิง จะหมายถึงเครื่องประดับข้อมือข้อเท้าที่พวกผู้หญิงนิยมใส่จ้ะ เวลาพูดเธอต้องออกเสียง ร เรือ ให้ชัด ทีนี้ลองพูดตามชั้น(ฉัน)นะ โรงเรียน ราบรื่น เรียบร้อย
Si Sawat: The ‘gam-rai’ that Bpaa Tong-dee was talking about, means the profit that’s part of the revenue derived from vending. It’s spelled with a ‘r reua’, so when you read it out you must pronounce the ‘ror reua’ sound properly, as ‘gam-rai’. If however, it is pronounced as ‘gam-lai’, which is written with a ‘l ling’, then it means a piece of jewellery that women like to wear around the wrist or ankle. When you’re speaking, you must pronounce the ‘r reua’ sound clearly. Now, try pronouncing these words after me: ‘rong rian’, ‘raap reun’, ‘riap roi’.

เก้าแต้ม: ได้เลยยยย (เลย) โรงเรียน ราบรื่น เรียบร้อย
Kao Taem: You got it! ‘Rong rian’, ‘raap reun’ ‘riap roi’.

ผู้บรรยาย: การพูดภาษาไทย ต้องระมัดระวังออกเสียง ร เรือ ให้ถูกต้อง มิฉะนั้นจะผิดความหมายได้ กำไร ร เรือ หมายถึง ผลที่ได้เกินต้นทุน ส่วน กำไล ล ลิง หมายถึงเครื่องประดับข้อมือข้อเท้า
Narrator: In speaking Thai, you must be careful when it comes to pronouncing the ‘r reua’ sound; you must do it properly. Otherwise you will get a word with a meaning different from that originally envisaged. ‘Gam-rai’ with a ‘r reua’ means profit, that is the excess over the capital outlay. ‘Gam-lai’ with a ‘l ling’ on the other hand, means a piece of jewellery worn around the wrist or ankle.

แมวทั้งสามตัว: แล้วพบกันใหม่นะครับบบ (ครับ)
All Three Cats: See you again next time!

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language

Comments…

In Thai, it’s common for a kinship term such as ‘bpaa’ (ป้า) (basically meaning ‘aunt’ but limited to the elder sister or one’s father or mother) to be used as an honorific before the name of a woman older than our parents. We use it to show respect so the addressee need not be related to us, in fact the addressee may even be a total stranger. The term may also be used as a personal pronoun.

‘Gam-lai’ (กำไล) means a piece of jewellery worn around the wrist or ankle. When we’re talking about a ‘gam-lai’ (กำไล) worn around the wrist, the closest English equivalent would be ‘bangle’.

PDF Downloads…

Below are two pdf downloads (created by Catherine) to help with your studies. Both have Thai script, transliteration, and English. Suggestion: Print out the conversation file to read along with the videos – use the vocabulary file to locate any words you don’t know.

The vocabulary file is on the way…

Disclaimer: The study pdfs are Catherine’s baby. If you notice any mistakes she’d love for you to drop her a line via the contact form.

The Cat Cartoon Series…

Original transcript and translation provided by Sean Harley. Transliterations via T2E (thai2english.com).

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Successful Thai Language Learner: Joshua Hyland

Successful Thai Language Learner

Name: Joshua Hyland
Nationality: Australian
Age range: 20-30
Sex: Male
Location: Bangkok
Profession: Business consultant
Facebook: JustJoshTH

What is your Thai level?

Fluent in speaking, advanced in reading and intermediate in writing.

Do you speak more street Thai, Issan Thai, or professional Thai? 

I speak conversational Thai and have learned a lot of slang from my student days and office colleagues.

What were your reasons for learning Thai? 

I first came to Thailand on an exchange program to Mahidol University and had Elementary Thai as a compulsory subject. I fell in love with the language and wanted to improve. For my degree I undertook a work placement in a hotel in Phuket shortly after the tsunami. I was in a kitchen with 15 Thais who spoke little English and obviously enjoyed talking about me. My main motivation to learn Thai at this time was so that I could communicate with them.

Do you live in Thailand? If so, when did you arrive? 

I first arrived in 2005 and still live here.

How long have you been a student of the Thai language? 

I have been studying Thai in some way ever I came here: 2005-ongoing.

Did you learn Thai right away, or was it a many-pronged approach? 

I personally learn fastest in real-life situations. When I first came over I had lots of opportunity to use my Thai at markets, in taxis and with friends, but also had classes which provided theory which was essential in getting me to where I am now.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?

After my study at Mahidol was complete it was up to me to further my learning. During my work placement at a resort in Phuket, I studied after work religiously almost every day and practiced in the kitchen during work hours. Since then, my learning has been less formal and consists mainly of speaking Thai with friends and work colleagues.

What Thai language learning methods did you try? 

My teacher at Mahidol created course material herself which I think was very good. I had several books which were the only ones available in bookstores back then however can’t recall the names as it was over ten years ago.

Did one method stand out over all others? 

Practical use of Thai language accelerated my learning more than anything else. Watching movies with subtitles is also great in developing a better understanding of how the language is used. The five tones and ต, ง and ป are some of the major differences to the English language. I learned to pronounce these correctly through painful drilling exercises which were executed by one of my first Thai friends. To encourage others that have been frustrated in learning thai – I was almost brought to tears one day when I couldn’t differentiate บ, พ and ป!

How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai? 

This was a part of my learning from day 1. I believe it really helps improve your speaking ability and wish I was better at reading and writing.

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult? 

Yes. The ending consonants and class of characters particularly confused me! After long enough, I found that I forgot the rules and reading became more instinctive.

What was your first ‘ah hah!’ moment? 

For me learning Thai definitely improved in leaps after long periods of no development. I recall having an ‘ah hah!’ moment when I realised that I could carry on substantially-long (albeit not very meaningful) conversations by speaking the few sentences I’d learned clearly and then saying ครับ a lot. This can get you into all sorts of trouble but can also be useful while you’re getting to the next level.

How do you learn languages? 

For me I would say initially at least 50% theory and the rest forcing yourself to use what you have learned in real life situations. Later I reduced the amount of theory I was doing, though I think it’s always good to jot down questions that you have and find the answers to them. Immersion learning is fantastic if you’re lucky enough to be able to be in such a situation.

What are your strengths and weaknesses? 

My best strength is definitely my pronunciation. Second to that would be my ability in conversational Thai. Reading and writing are definitely my weaknesses. I am also finding that as I pass the 30-years-old mark, my vocabulary of new words is slowing.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai? 

I believe that there is often not enough emphasis put on pronunciation. When I was able to differentiate between the five tones it greatly improved my overall ability to communicate in Thai. It’s one of the more difficult lessons to learn but I think very worthwhile.

Can you make your way around any other languages? 

I studied Japanese for seven years in primary and secondary school. I can still read two of the three alphabets, but can barely string the most simple sentence together! I sometimes imagine what life would have been like if I had gone on exchange to Japan instead of Thailand.

Were you learning another language at the same time as Thai? 

I was only studying Thai when I came to Thailand. When I went home after nine months here, I had to re-learn English though! My grammar was shot and I had great difficulty communicating for some time!

What advice would you give to students of the Thai language?

There is no one-way that works best for everyone to learn a second language. If you’re able to figure out what works best for you, that will really help you along. Try different classes, studying with movies, find some good friends to help you, shop at the markets, read lots of books and try the various mobile apps. Keep going until you find something that really works for you!

The Series: Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

If you’d like to read more interviews the entire series is here: Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners.

If you are a successful Thai language learner and would like to share your experiences, please contact me. I’d love to hear from you.

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Cat Cartoons Episode Fifteen: Learn and Love the Thai Language

รู้รักภาษาไทย: Cat Cartoons: Episode Fifteen…

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language.

ผู้บรรยาย: ตอน ขอผัด – ผลัด
Narrator: Episode ‘Kor pat’ – ‘Plat’.

สีสวาด: เก้าแต้ม เธอไปตรวจดูใต้ถุนรึยัง ว่ามีหนูมาแอบอยู่บ้างมั้ย
Si Sawat: Kao Taem, have you checked under the house to see whether or not there are mice living there?

เก้าแต้ม: เย็น ๆ ค่อยไปก็ได้
Kao Taem: Later this evening, OK?!

สีสวาด: เธอชอบผัดเวลาอยู่เรื่อย
Si Sawat: You just love ‘pat’-ing things off, don’t you?!

เก้าแต้ม: น่าาาา ขอผลัดแป๊บเดียว
Kao Taem: Come onnnn! Please let me ‘plat’ it for a while.

สีสวาด: ผัดจ้ะ ไม่ใช่ผลัด
Si Sawat: It should be ‘pat’, not ‘plat’.

เก้าแต้ม: ผัดหรือผลัดก็เหมือนกันแหละ
Kao Taem: ‘Pat’ and ‘plat’ are the same.

สีสวาด: ไม่ใช่ ฟังนะ ผัดกับผลัดความหมายต่างกัน ผัด หมายถึง ขอเลื่อนเวลา เช่นผัดวันประกันพรุ่ง หมายถึง ขอเลื่อนเวลาครั้งแล้วครั้งเล่า ส่วน ผลัด หมายถึง
เปลี่ยน หรือผลัดเสื้อผ้า ผลัดเวร
Si Sawat: No, they’re not. Listen here. ‘Pat’ means ‘(to) keep asking for a postponement’ for example ‘pat wan bpra-gan prung’ which means ‘(to) keep asking for a postponement’ while ‘plat’ means ‘(to) change for example “plat” clothes’ or ‘(to) change shifts’.

ผู้บรรยาย: ผัด หมายถึง ขอเลื่อนเวลาครั้งแล้วครั้งเล่า เช่น ผัดเวลา ผัดผ่อน ผลัด หมาย ถึงเปลี่ยน เช่น ต้นไม้ผลัดใบ นกผลัดขน นักเรียนผลัดเวรทำความสะอาด
Narrator: ‘Pat’ means ‘(to) keep asking for a postponement’ for example ‘postponement’, ‘deferment’, ‘plat’ means ‘(to) change’ for example ‘trees “changing” (replacing) their leaves” and ‘birds “changing” (replacing) their feathers’.

แมวทั้งสามตัว: แล้วพบกันใหม่นะครับบบ (ครับ)
All Three Cats: See you again next time!

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language

Comments…

‘Pat wan bpra-gan prung’ (ผัดวันประกันพรุ่ง) is a saying that basically means ‘(to) procrastinate’.

PDF Downloads…

Below are two pdf downloads (created by Catherine) to help with your studies. Both have Thai script, transliteration, and English. Suggestion: Print out the conversation file to read along with the videos – use the vocabulary file to locate any words you don’t know.

The vocabulary file is on the way…

Disclaimer: The study pdfs are Catherine’s baby. If you notice any mistakes she’d love for you to drop her a line via the contact form.

The Cat Cartoon Series…

Original transcript and translation provided by Sean Harley. Transliterations via T2E (thai2english.com).

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Listening & Vocabulary Building using Hormones (Thai Drama): Final Season Episode 2 Part 1/6


Hormones 3, The Final Season Episode 2 Part 1/6
…

Main characters: Jane, Ms. Ying

Segment Time: 9:34—12:20

Background: Jane, a high school student, has recently returned to Bangkok after having studied abroad (in New York) for two years. This scene takes place in her English class.

Note: This clip has English subtitles, which you should turn off, at least for the first few viewings. I have put my own English translation at the end of the dialog below so that the exercise is not too easy. Try not to look at the English until you have tried to study the text on your own.

Answers: The answers can be found at the very bottom of this page.
Transliteration: Download the pdf to get both Thai script and transliteration.

Procedure:

  1. Learn the vocabulary below.
  2. Watch the scene 2-3 times with subtitles covered.
  3. Read the script and try to fill in the missing words without using the video.
  4. Watch the video again to check your answers.
  5. Next, read the English translation towards the end of this post to help you.
  6. Check your answers (found at the bottom of this post).
  7. Try shadowing a few of the easy phrases and short sentences from the video. Shadowing is simply pausing the video after you hear a target phrase and then repeating it. For example, stop the video after you hear “นั่งลง (sit down)” and say it out loud.

Important Vocabulary:

แบบฝึกหัด: exercise (homework or in-class assignment)
แปล: translate; mean (something)
ตัวอย่าง: an example; a model
สัมภาษณ์(งาน): (job) interview
เสนอตำแหน่ง: offer a position/job
โมโหร้าย: hot-tempered
อนุญาต: permit; allow; excuse
เมืองนอก: abroad; foreign country
พิจารณา: consider; take into account
บริบท: context
ใหญ่หลวง: huge; enormous; big; big time
กิริยามารยาท: manners; etiquette; politeness; decorum
สัมมาคารวะ: respect; esteem; politeness (to one’s elders)


Conversation:

ครูหญิง: แบบฝึกหัดที่ครูเพิ่งจะแจกพวกเธอไป
ครูต้องการ ____ (1) เธอแปลประโยคสั้นๆจำนวนห้าสิบ
ประโยค ครูจะแปลข้อหนึ่งเป็นตัวอย่าง จด ____ (2)
 ทัน ถ้าพวกเธออยากมีงานทำน้อยลงหนึ่งข้อ
(reads out #1 in English first)

ริชาร์ดไปสัมภาษณ์งานเพราะบริษัทบอก ____ (3) จะสามารถเสนอตำแหน่งดีๆ ____ (4) กับเขาได้ แต่ระหว่างสัมภาษณ์งานเขารู้ตัว ____ (5) มีโอกาสไม่มากนัก 
ผู้จัดการ…ผู้จัดการ…full of hot air…ผู้จัดการเป็นพวกโมโหร้าย

เจน: ขออนุญาตค่ะ

ครูหญิง: มีอะไรนางสาวเจน ลุกขึ้นพูด


เจน: หนู ____ (6) ครูแปล ____ (7) นะค่ะ


ครูหญิง: ฉันเป็นครูสอนภาษาอังกฤษมายี่สิบปี
เธอน่ะยังเกิดมา ____ (8) นานเท่านั้นเลย อย่าคิด ____ (9) เรียนเมืองนอก
มาแล้วจะมาทำฉลาดกว่าคนที่นี่

เจน: หนู ____ (10) บอกว่าตัวเองฉลาดค่ะ หนูแค่บอก ____ (11) ครูแปล ____ (12) ถ้าครูแปลผิดแล้วปล่อยไปแบบนี้เนี่ยคนอื่นก็ต้องจำผิดสิค่ะ

ครูหญิง: ในการแปลประโยคจะต้องพิจารณาจากบริบท ‘hot air’ ในที่นี่หมายถึง
การโมโหร้าย

เจน: หนูเซิร์ชแล้วค่ะ ‘full of hot air’ เป็นสำนวน แปล ____ (13) ‘talking nonsense’ ค่ะ

ครูหญิง: ยังไงก็แล้วแต่ ปัญหาอันใหญ่หลวงของเธอก็คือเรื่องกิริยามารยาท ถ้าจะ ____ (14) มีสัมมาคารวะแบบนี้เธอก็คงอยู่ที่นี่ ____ (15) หรอก กลับเมืองนอก 
(?can’t catch this word) ของเธอไปเถอะ นั่งลง คุยอะไรกัน ทำงานไป

English Translation:

Ms. Ying: The assignment (exercise) I just passed out to you — I’d like you to translate fifty short paragraphs (sentences). I’ll translate #1 for you as an example. If you want one less to do, (keep up with me and) write this (one) down.

“Richard went on (sic=to) the job interview because the company said they would be able to offer him a good position. But during the interview, he realized there is not much opportunity. The manager was just full of hot air.”

Jane: Excuse me.

Ms. Ying: What is it Jane? Stand up and speak.

Jane: I think you translated it incorrectly.

Ms. Ying: I’ve been an English teacher for 20 years. You weren’t even born yet (when I started teaching). Don’t think that (just) because you studied abroad, you can come here and act like you are smarter than people here.

Jane: I didn’t say that I’m smart. I just said that you translated (it) wrong. If you translate it wrong, and then just let it go, then others will remember what’s incorrect.

Ms. Ying: When translating a sentence, you must take into account (consider) the context. In this context, ‘hot air’ means being ‘hot-tempered’.

Jane: I googled it already. ’Full of hot air’ is an idiom which means ‘talk nonsense’.

Ms. Ying: In any event, your huge problem is your manners. If you show no respect like this, you surely can’t fit in here. Go back to your country. Sit down. What are you talking about?! Do your work!

Answers: 1. ให้ 2. ให้ 3. ว่า 4. ให้ 5. ว่า 6. ว่า 7. ผิด 8. ไม่ 9. ว่า 10. ไม่ได้ 11. ว่า 12. ผิด 13. ว่า 14. ไม่ 15. ไม่ได้

REMINDER: Download the pdf to get both Thai script and transliteration.

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Chiang mai Burning: A Crisis in Northern Thailand (video)

SMOKE: A Crisis in Northern Thailand, the Health Effects and a Solution…

This film was presented as a work in progress at Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Agriculture on January 8th, 2016 to create awareness and begin a dialogue about the yearly smoke crisis in Northern Thailand.

Note: There are subtitles for people who don’t speak Thai and/or those studying the language.

Burning in Chiang mai…

When I arrived back in Thailand after the Xmas holidays this year, the Chiang mai air already had the telltale signs of burning. One day the smoke was so strong we walked around to the backyard to see what was on fire (nothing – just another day in paradise?)

It’s not even February (typical burning season) yet I’m already housebound due to coughing. When I checked on Asian air quality forecast to see about any possiblities of escaping the boredom, it was quite apparent what with all the oranges and reds, it’s not looking good for me.

A Crisis in Northern Thailand

Orange: 101-150 Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups
Red: 151-200 Unhealthy

For 2016 the powers that be ‘officially’ started the burning in early January. The changes were announced in the New Burning Schedule Ordered in an Attempt to Tackle Smoke Issue.

  • 1–10 Jan: 9.00am – 3.00pm: Doi Tao, Mae Taeng, Mae Wang, Doi Saket, Hod
  • 5–15 Jan: 9.00am – 3.00pm: San Pa Tong, Chom Thong, Sameng, Wiang Haeng
  • 11–20 Jan: 9.00am – 3.00pm: Mae Jam, Mae On, Phrao, Fang
  • 16–23 Jan: 9.00am – 3.00pm: Om Koi, Chia Prakarn, Kanlayaniwattana
  • 26 Jan– 5 Feb: 9.00am – 3.00pm: Doi Lo, San Sai, Muang Chiang Mai, Chiang Dao
  • 6–16 Feb: 9.00am – 3.00pm: Hang Dong, Saraphi, Sankampaeng, Mae Rim, Mae Ai

From what I’ve know, not many are following the schedule set out by the governor. But if caught will any be prosecuted? Only a handful were charged during the recent disaster in 2015.

Here are two posts on the subject from last season. One by me (where I was still struggling to keep a positive outlook), and one by Hugh Leong walking you through useful vocabulary.

Chiang mai Burning: Could You Survive Thailand’s Polluted North?
Thai Language Thai Culture: Breathing in Chiang Mai

Chiang mai smog

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Cat Cartoons Episode Fourteen: Learn and Love the Thai Language

รู้รักภาษาไทย: Cat Cartoons: Episode Fourteen…

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language.

ผู้บรรยาย: ตอน บุบ – บุ๋ม
Narrator: Episode ‘Bup’ – ‘Bum’

สีสวาด: เก้าแต้ม ทำกระป๋องออมสินของพี่ก้อยตกลงไป แตกหรือเปล่าก็ไม่รู้
Si Sawat: Kao Taem, you’ve made P’ Goi’s savings can fall to the floor. I wonder if it’s broken.

เก้าแต้ม: ไม่แตกหรอก มันเป็นกระป๋องสังกะสีอะ
Kao Taem: It’s not broken. It’s a galvanized (zinc-coated) iron can, you know?!

สีสวาด: ถ้าอย่างนั้นก็คงจะบุบเสียรูป
Si Sawat: If that’s the case, then it’s probably just ‘bup’-ed

เก้าแต้ม: ค่อยยังชั่วหน่อย บุ๋มไปหน่อยเดียว
Kao Taem: Whew! That sounds much better! Just a little ‘bum’-ed.

สีสวาด: บุบจ้ะ ไม่ใช่บุ๋ม
Si Sawat: It should be ‘bup’-ed, not ‘bum’-ed.

เก้าแต้ม: แล้วบุ๋มเป็นอย่างไงล่ะ
Kao Taem: What’s wrong with ‘bum’-ed?

สีสวาด: บุ๋มก็แปลว่ายุบลงไปเป็นรอยลึก ๆ ใช้กับของนิ่ม ๆ อย่างเนื้อบุ๋ม แก้มบุ๋มเพราะมีลักยิ้มล่ะสิ
Si Sawat: ‘Bum’-ed means a ‘caving in’ that forms a deep mark, used in respect of things that are soft for example an indent in the flesh. A cheek gets indented because a dimple forms.

ผู้บรรยาย: บุบแปลว่ายุบเป็นบริเวณกว้างกว่า ใช้กับของแข็งหรือค่อนข้างแข็งเช่นกระป๋องสังกะสีบุบ กล่องบุบ ส่วนบุ๋มแปลว่ายุบเป็นบริเวณเล็ก ๆ ใช้กับของนิ่ม ๆ เช่นแก้มบุ๋ม คางบุ๋ม
Narrator: ‘Bup’-ed means a depression covering a wider area, used in respect of things that are hard or rather hard for example a galvanized (zinc-coated) iron can is ‘bup’-ed, a box is ‘bup’-ed. As for ‘bum’-ed, it means a depression covering a small area, used in respect of things that are soft for example a cheek is ‘bum’-ed, a chin is ‘bum’-ed.

แมวทั้งสามตัว: แล้วพบกันใหม่นะครับบบ (ครับ)
All Three Cats: See you again next time!

เสียงเด็ก ๆ ร้องเพลง: รู้รักภาษาไทย
Sound of children singing: Learn and Love the Thai Language

Comments…

In English, ‘dent’ can be used in relation to anything whether it be hard or soft. In Thai however, while both ‘bup’ (บุบ) and ‘bum’ (บุ๋ม) appear to be close equivalents of ‘dent’, they are supposed to be used in respect of things that are hard and soft respectively.

PDF Downloads…

Below are two pdf downloads (created by Catherine) to help with your studies. Both have Thai script, transliteration, and English. Suggestion: Print out the conversation file to read along with the videos – use the vocabulary file to locate any words you don’t know.

The vocabulary file is on the way…

Disclaimer: The study pdfs are Catherine’s baby. If you notice any mistakes she’d love for you to drop her a line via the contact form.

The Cat Cartoon Series…

Original transcript and translation provided by Sean Harley. Transliterations via T2E (thai2english.com).

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TPR: Total Physical Response Explained

TPR

Total Physical Response (TPR) is a language teaching method developed by James Asher and has been in use for several decades. There’s a large amount of information, including sample curricula, on the web, and Asher and his colleagues have also published various books, available for instance from tpr-world.

The main idea of TPR is to teach comprehension through actions: the instructor gives commands, and the student carries them out. It is mostly used with beginners. Usually, the student doesn’t speak during TPR sessions, but speaking can be integrated later by having students take on the role of the instructor.

A typical first TPR session…

The instructor and the student sit on a chair. The instructor says “stand up” (in the target language) and stands up, then “sit down” and sits down. He repeats this one or two more times and then invites the student to do the action with him (for instance, using a hand gesture) – “stand up” – both stand up, “sit down” – both sit down. This is repeated a few times. Finally, the instructor stays on his chair and just says the commands, and the student performs the actions. This is again repeated a few times.

Now the instructor adds a new phrase, for instance “point to the door”. In order to introduce the new phrase, the instructor demonstrates it a couple of times alone and then does it together with the student a few more times before the student does it alone. Such a sequence could look as follows:

Instructor demonstrates the new phrase alone: stand up – point to the door – sit down – point to the door – stand up – sit down – point to the door – stand up – point to the door.

Instructor and student together: stand up – point to the door – sit down – point to the door – stand up – sit down – stand up – point to the door – sit down – point to the door – point to the door.

Student alone: (random mix of commands).

After “point to the door”, the instructor could introduce “point to the window”, “point to the table”, “point to the ceiling” one by one. After having introduced the verb “to point” and the nouns “door”, “window”, “table”, “ceiling”, the instructor could teach a new verb, ”to go”, with the same nouns: “go to the door”, “go to the window”, “go to the table”. Next, this could be expanded with “look at”, “run to”, and other objects available in that particular room.

In TPR, it should be avoided to “test” the student, the goal is always to have 100% success with any command. If the student can’t respond correctly, then the instructor has made a mistake. There are three basic rules for the instructor to make this fun and help the student learn:

  1. New phrases need to be introduced one by one.
  2. New and old phrases need to be mixed in an unpredictable, random way, and.
  3. Newly introduced phrases need to be practiced until the student is really confident before moving on.

Another important rule, especially in the beginning, is to keep the form of the command and the introduced phrases fixed. Even small changes to familiar phrases are likely to cause confusion, and with confusion learning breaks down.

Nothing is translated in TPR – students learn to understand the new language through actions. Associating sounds and actions is a powerful and efficient way of learning, and it can also be a lot of fun for both sides. TPR in its basic form can be used to teach a lot of concrete vocabulary by making creative use of the objects available in the house or class room. Advanced TPR phrases could be “put the red pen next to the book… now take the cup and hold it for a moment… now put the cup on the plate… now take the blue pen and put it in the cup…”, or you could even teach advanced sentence structures like “if the blue pen is in the cup, then take the bottle” or “shut the door after you’ve put the book on the table”.

My own experience with TPR…

Earlier last year I did a few TPR sessions with three different instructors as a beginner student of Khmer. I prepared my own curriculum, and instead of the instructor demonstrating a new action, I did it myself and had the instructor say the corresponding Khmer command. After a few rounds of eliciting the new command, we would do the normal sequence: the instructor giving commands, I performing the action. It was an interesting and fun experience, and I certainly would have continued if I had stayed in the area.

In the very beginning, I couldn’t distinguish individual words, but as soon as several commands of the same type were introduced (“go to the door”, “go to the window”, “go to the chair”), some words became clear (“go to”). Later more and more words became clear (“door”: “go to the door”, “point to the door”, “open the door”, “close the door”), until full phrases were transparent. I struggled when I went too quickly with new words, or sometimes with words that sounded similar (I remember mixing up table and cupboard), but otherwise it was surprisingly efficient. It was an amazing feeling to see myself respond correctly to that alien new language almost from the get-go.

At the end of this post, I would like to suggest two TPR-inspired techniques which can be used with a (trained) native speaker friend: Dirty Dozen, and TPR with objects. Similar to TPR, these two techniques are based on the idea that comprehension comes first, speaking later. One night’s sleep before activating the new vocabulary seems to be a good general guidance.

Dirty Dozen…

Dirty Dozen is a stripped down version of TPR aimed at learning a set of new words (a dozen seems to be a good number, not too few and not too many). These words can be names of objects, but also verbs or other words shown in pictures. Instead of doing some action, the learner (and the instructor during the training phase) just points to the correct object or part of a picture. As in TPR, one starts with two or three words and then adds one after the other. Supporting phrases in Dirty Dozen are usually “This is X” – “Where is X?” or “Show me X!”. 

As an example, you could go with your instructor to a motorbike parked on the street and start learning the parts it’s made of.

TPR with objects…

This works with almost any object – chopsticks, a jar, your purse, a notepad etc. Take the object and start manipulating it Dirty Dozen style. There’s an amazing amount of language which can be practiced with simple objects. For example, with a paper cup you could learn: take, give, turn upside down, push, drop, fill, empty, drink, sip, hold, crush, perforate, put in, take out, stack (if you have more than one), spin, roll, balance on two fingers, etc etc. For a buck or two, you can buy bits and pieces to practice colors, comparisons, shapes etc. There are many, many possibilities.

The process is always the same: the instructor says the new phrase and demonstrates it a few times, and then lets you do it. New phrases are introduced one by one, and new and old phrases are mixed randomly. In the initial session, the student just does the action and doesn’t speak, but student and instructor can switch roles the next day if the student wants to activate the new vocabulary.

NOTE: Stay tuned for the Total Physical Response 500+ words/phrases list translated into Thai (and if we are lucky, the sound files will be ready at the same time).

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