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Learn Thai Language & Thai Culture

Tag: learn Thai (page 1 of 14)

FREE Downloads: Gla and Geo (there is life after Manee)

Manee

Download FREE Gla and Geo ebooks…

The most famous (and cherished) Ministry of Education coursebooks for kids learning how to read Thai is the Manee series. But that was many updates ago.

Thanks to Sasathorn on the FCLT FB Group, I now know about a later version called Gla and Geo. This series is also out of print but you can get pdfs online for free at e-bookfreeload or DataStudent.net.

Both sites are a pain to access (beware of porn popups) so I’ve uploaded the series to app.box.com. While I was there I also uploaded Manee.

Gla and Geo: Thai Coursebooks Grades 1-6
Manee and Friends: Thai Coursebooks Grades 1-6

Hardcopy of the latest Ministry of Education coursebooks for learning how to read Thai can be purchased online at suksapanpanit.com (ศึกษาภัณฑ์พาณิชย์) or in bookstores around Thailand (thanks Kris).

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Data Survey Part Two: Thai Schools on the Studentz-From-Hell

Say it Like a Thai Would

Thai Schools on the Studentz-From-Hell…

This is part two discussing the survey data I compiled about Thai Studentz-From-Hell. If you haven’t read the first post, go to Data Survey Part One: Thai Schools on the Studentz-From-Hell.

Below, where I talk about the data I’ve mined, I’m going to use some specific terms. I’ll use Westerners for people from the west and Asians for people from the east, okay? If I use the word students or foreigners, I’m talking about everyone learning Thai. Also, in an effort to be a kinder-gentler (not so blatantly racist) Tod Daniels, I’m not gonna use the term white people like I usually do. Honestly, I don’t like the hate mail it garners!

Btw: I’ve included a What can you do? section at the end of each category. That’s where I offer wisdom and information to hopefully help you overcome possible limitations in your learning Thai experience.

But before I get to the survey compilation, I just want to say this one thing.

The teaching Thai language to Westerners system is broken…

I know this will ruffle a lot of feathers, but the system (method, text books, etc.) used in the teach Thai to non-native speakers (and Westerners especially) is badly broken. It has stagnated for years with schools popping up all over the city using nothing more than copied textbooks from the original Union Thai Language School. Sometimes the only difference is the cover of the book!

I’m not saying the Union Method doesn’t work. Time and time again I’ve pointed out that their methodology turns out more proficient foreign speakers of Thai than any other method out there, period, end of story. Even the illustrious uni known as Chula teaches Thai that way. Sadly (for us learners of Thai) there’s been no total overhaul of the materials for years. The vocabulary is antiquated, the lessons don’t build on each other, and the advanced materials come from the Stone Age.

In saying that … I will speak up in the defence of several schools: Rak Thai Language and Duke Language especially. They took the tired material and re-worked it, putting it head and shoulders above the old stuff. But, it’s only a matter of time before contemporary Thai study material appears on the market. The new method will use the technology of today, in a way that revolutionises how Thai is taught. It’s coming soon. I know that for a fact. I’ve personally seen some of the material in the development stage.

What can you do? Unfortunately what’s out there is what’s out there and that’s that. So you’re either gonna use what’s available or you’re gonna come up with your own way to learn Thai. And that’s what some of the advice in this post is all about: Using what’s available in this day and time.

Finally, here we go!

Age and sex of students…

One of the most interesting things found in the data was that neither age nor sex seemed to play any role in a student’s ability to learn Thai. There was a good make-up of males and females and a broad age range of people from their early 20’s to their late 60’s (even older) of both Westerners and Asians. From what the teachers told me, age doesn’t affect anyone’s ability to learn the language at all. That at every school included in this data review, old people seemed to learn as easily as the younger students.

My personal experience: The b/s excuses you read on every forum concerning learning Thai where Westerners parrot out “I’m too old”, “I’m not good at languages”, “I can’t hear the tones”, blah-blah-blah were just plain and simple not represented in the feedback from teachers at ANY school.

What can you do? Stop using your advanced age and (supposed) inability to learn languages as excuses and start learning Thai already! And of course, if you are deaf, there’s obviously going to be a problem. But for the rest of you, get off your butts and ramp up your listening time!

Hemispherical origin (a polite way of saying ethnicity!)…

What started to come to light was, hands down, Asians (Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc) learned the Thai language far better than Westerners. ANY Westerners!

On further reflection of this conundrum, in the data I did come to a conclusion of sorts. Asians as a rule are less question driven in their education systems and lean more towards rote learning. Also, Asians accept any teaching methodology without question. But, due to our question driven education system, Westerners sometimes try to buck the methods (especially rote) that are often used here to teach Thai.

What can you do? Face it. If you aren’t Asian, you’re unlikely to be able to change your learning mindset overnight. So when you do go to take in the material presented, be as open-minded as you can. Try and adopt a less question driven strategy and go for rote. Go with the flow. If just for now.

Speaking multiple languages…

Another interesting point made was that the more languages a Westerner knows that use a Latin based alphabet, the harder it is for them to get Thai to click. Now, I know some of you will come out in force against this, but again, that’s what I got from talking to the teachers. I don’t know why the data shows this but it clearly did.

I do think it’s possible that studying a multitude of Latin languages gets in the way with learning Thai somehow. It’s not so bad in the early speak via karaoke part of learning Thai (like is taught in 99.99% of the schools) because they use transliteration (karaoke), which is mostly legible to English speakers. It only becomes an impediment when a Westerner makes the leap from learning to speak Thai via karaoke, to actually reading the Thai script. The teachers mentioned that at this point Westerners come off the rails, learning far slower than their Asian counterparts.

From my study, the best Western learners are those who only speak their mother tongue, or at most another language closely related to English. The best Asian learners mostly know their mother tongue, although they oftentimes possess fairly proficient English language skills too. Compared to Westerners knowing more than one Western language, Asians who knew other Asian languages didn’t have a problem.

What can you do? Perhaps you speak more than one language that uses the Latin alphabet, and good on you if you do. BUT, do note that learning the Thai script will take a slightly different mindset than what is needed for French, Spanish, Polish, etc. So when you do enter a classroom to learn Thai, be prepared ahead of time for differences. Don’t fight it.

Impediments to learning…

The anecdotal data I gleaned in the meetings with teachers hands down showed that there were two big impediments to Westerners learning Thai. One is that Westerners often over-sold or completely overestimated their ability in Thai. Meaning, they went into the school saying, “I’m not a beginner!” “I can read Thai already!” “I want Thai script only textbooks!” Yet when the teachers tested these students, turns out the students couldn’t speak or read Thai to the level needed to keep up in their chosen class. Asians, on the other hand, had no trouble admitting they didn’t know what they didn’t know.

Also, some Westerners were adamant that they weren’t beginner level students, to the point they became confrontational, even when they could see from the informal interview they were basic Thai speakers (and that, only when under spoon-fed conditions).

The Thai teachers said that even when they tried to sell beginner courses as a refresher/review, few Westerners would go for it. Conversely, Asian beginners of Thai bought right into the premise that you start learning things at the beginning, not partway thru. When Westerners forced schools to let them into the intermediate classes, they were left in the dust because they just didn’t have the foundation they should have. Rather than suck it up and admit the truth, more than a few Western students turned the blame away from themselves by putting down the methodology, the school, the teacher, and even other students.

What can you do? Obviously, don’t overestimate your ability in Thai, period. If you can’t keep up, face the truth. Instead of pretending, start on book one page one and don’t progress into the next level until you really get it. Because believe you me, you ain’t fooling anyone!

The second really big impediment was that Westerners, to a person, thought they knew how Thai should be taught to Westerners. It is true that as adults we are fairly locked into the way we acquire new information. Some people are visual learners, some are tactile learners, some are aural learners, and some use all those avenues to learn new stuff. And equally important, rote learning goes against the Western grain.

What can you do? Sometimes the rules just plain don’t apply and this is one of those times. Attempt to be open to how the information is being presented, even if you think it’s not the right way. Give it a chance, a real chance.

I’m NOT saying to sign up at the first Thai language school you wander into. As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the teaching Thai as a second language system is broken, or at least in a terrible state of disrepair and neglect. What I am saying is be open to the methodology used at a particular school and see if it jibes enough with the way you learn things. Do your due diligence, but don’t discount a school’s methodology right outta the gate. Well, you can discount one school’s methodology as total b/s, but at least give the rest of the schools out there a decent chance. Because seriously, until the changes come, that’s all there is.

Education level…

In regards to Westerners and their ability to get Thai to click, education levels seem to play a VERY important role. The reverse doesn’t appear to be true for Asians because no matter what education Asians have acquired, they learn Thai just fine. The data shows that where Westerners are concerned it’s almost an inverse proportion. The more education a person from the West has had, the less they take to Thai as it’s taught in schools. Westerners with a high school education or a bachelor’s degree learn Thai far easier than those with a Master’s or PhD. It also appears that foreigners with a ‘teaching anything’ background have more difficulties with learning Thai via the methodology available in today’s marketplace, than Westerners with degrees in non-teaching fields.

My personal experience: On the topic of education and Westerners learning Thai I have to agree with the teacher’s perceptions. I’ve ran into more than my fair share of Westerners with a high level of edu-ma-cation. In talking to some (not all of course) it’s clear they think they know best on how Thai should be taught to Westerners. And rather than taking personal responsibility for their failures, that it’s possible to be their own worst enemy, they instead blame the school, the teacher, the methodology, other students, or any distraction they can think up on why they can’t learn Thai. They even meet with the teacher or manager of the school between classes to offer suggestions on how teachers can improve how they teach. They also whine and cry about this or that on breaks with other students. Now, it’s fine for students to commiserate with one another on the difficulty of learning Thai, because for one, it can build classroom cohesiveness. It’s just that this particular demographic of student has often tried many schools, all the while not learning Thai. These kinda people are the bouncers I mentioned in Part One of Studentz-From-Hell.

What can you do? As with the discussion about Impediments to Learning listed above, even if you think it’s not the right way to learn, be open to how the information is being presented. Give it a chance. Remember, if you aim to learn Thai in a classroom setting, what other choice do you have?

Group versus private…

I looked at the subject of private versus group lessons using the same methodology, but there just wasn’t a big enough sampling of annoying students in the private section. This is because at most schools, in private classes students can tailor the lessons to the way they learn. While in groups, students are dragged along with the rest of the class and are more likely to kick up a fuss.

What can you do? If you do find yourself failing in a classroom setting, then do give everyone a rest (yourself included) by signing up for one-on-one lessons. The solution can’t get simpler than that.

Thai teachers…

Another complaint from the Thai teachers (ALL of them) was that some foreigners think that the reason they weren’t learning Thai is the teacher’s fault. There certainly are marginal and even extremely poor Thai teachers out there. But clearly, not every single foreigner who fails to learn Thai can point their finger at their teacher’s lack of skills.

What can you do? If you gave it the old college try with a teacher and it just plain ain’t working, switch teachers or schools even! You’ll certainly find out right away if your problem was the teacher, or you. Either way, a change of scenery is better than sitting thru an entire module seething.

Class size…

One thing I tried to pin the teachers down on was class size versus efficacy in their methodology. This was a touchy subject, especially when talking to the owners of the schools. Most schools employ teachers on a fixed monthly salary so whether they’re teaching a handful of foreigners or a group of 15, the hard cost to the school is the same. It was no surprise to me that the owners thought there was nothing wrong with cramming in as many students as there were chairs in every classroom. Because face it, the more students per class, the more their profit margin.

The teachers, on the other hand, totally disagreed with this premise. It had nothing to do with what the teachers are being paid and everything to do with the pride they take having students become proficient in the language. They all said that the best size for a group of students (Westerners and Asians) was between six to eight people at most. Group lessons are conversation or dialog based and they incorporate practice with other students or with teachers, and large classes fall way short of the mark as far as having enough useful practice time for each student.

My personal experience: I have witnessed the detriment a large class size (more than 10 people) can be to students. There’s just not enough of the teacher to go around and they’re pulled six ways from Sunday. In those early levels of learning it is crucial that the teacher has adequate coverage to correct pronunciation and structural errors EVERY time! With too many students in a class they just can’t do it. The teachers also can’t effectively keep that many students on topic either, so it becomes more like herding cats than teaching Thai.

What can you do? If you enrol in a group class (especially an intensive one) and there’s more than seven or eight people in the class, bail out! DON’T waste your money and your time! March right up to the front desk and inform them you’ll wait until either a new class starts or the next term rolls around. Again, stand up for yourself in this regard because it’s way important early on.

In summary…

I’ve tried to present the information from the data and the feedback I got from the teachers as accurately as I could. However, as is my penchant to do, I did ride some of my hobby horses as far as what I think works acquiring the Thai language. I am nothing if not opinionated, and that my opinion differs from yours is fine by me. I had more fun going to the schools, interacting with the staff, getting this information than I’ve had here in Thailand in ages!

Remember, Tod Daniels is NOT affiliated with ANY Thai language school. I’m about learning Thai by whatever means works for you.

Good Luck,
Tod Daniels | toddaniels at gmail dot com

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Adam and Ben Bradshaw: Farang Rian Thai ฝรั่งเรียนไทย

Farang Rian Thai ฝรั่งเรียนไทย

Adam and Ben Bradshaw: Farang Rian Thai…

Being a fan of Adam Bradshaw for years, I finally interviewed him in 2011. When it comes to speaking Thai, Adam is one of the best out of the many talented expats I’ve come across.

Since breaking into the business, Adam has been involved in many projects involving the English and Thai languages. His most recent (and my favs) are The Breakdown and Talking Thailand. Both are quality shows (and I believe Adam’s drive for perfectionism has something to do with it).

When Adam’s brother Ben (also talented in languages) showed up in Thailand last year they teamed up to produce Farang Rian Thai (ฝรั่งเรียนไทย). During each show Ben shares his progress with learning Thai. That’s awfully brave of him!

At the moment there’s only three episodes but there’s sure to be more soon.

Farang Rian Thai (ฝรั่งเรียนไทย): Episode 1…

Farang Rian Thai (ฝรั่งเรียนไทย): Episode 2…

Farang Rian Thai (ฝรั่งเรียนไทย): Episode 3…

Where to find Adam and Ben Bradshaw…

ajarnadam.tv: Farang Rian Thai
Facebook: AjarnAdamBradshaw
Facebook: Ben Bradshaw
Facebook: AdamBreakdown
YouTube: jadambrad
Twitter: @AjarnAdam

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Kru CAN: Going Beyond Basic Thai

Kru Can

Kru CAN: For those who want to go beyond the basics…

Kru CAN is a Thai Skype teacher with three years experience under his belt. And while I do promote Thai teachers on WLT (one-on-one and Skype) that’s not why I’m sharing his site. I’m doing so because of his growing collection of posts to help students learn how to read Thai.

The posts on Kru CAN’s site teaches Thai from Level 1 (beginner) to Level 5 (advanced). The subject matter is: Thai Vocabulary, Grammar Usage, Easy Story in Thai, Easy-to-read Articles in Thai, Easy-to-read Articles in Thai with Audio, Easy-to-read News in Thai, Thai Language Exercises, and Conversations in Thai.

Note: All posts have pdf downloads but only the audio post has audio. Some posts have keywords/vocabulary to learn, and most posts have transliteration.

Thai Vocabulary: A list of words with Thai script, transliteration, and English translation. Each lesson has an animated banner to help you learn the words. Each word has three cards: Thai script, Thai script + transliteration, Thai script + transliteration + English translation.

Grammar Usage: Grammar samples with Thai script, transliteration, translation, and a vocabulary list.

Easy Story in Thai: Short lessons with three or four sentences. Each lesson has Thai script with spaces between words and English translation. There is no transliteration.

Easy-to-read Articles in Thai: Thai script with no spaces between words, transliteration (IPA I believe), English translation, and a vocabulary list to learn.

Easy-to-read Articles in Thai with Audio: Audio spoken in an easygoing manner, Thai script (separated by word for lower levels only), transliteration and translation.

Easy-to-read News in Thai: Consists of paragraphs with Thai script and English translation. Some have transliteration and vocabulary lists.

Thai Language Exercises: A selection of sentences in Thai script with missing words. Answers appear in the comments several days after the post goes live.

Conversations in Thai: Some have Thai script with English translation, while others also have transliteration.

Personally, I’d love to see audio in all posts. If you too would like to hear Thai spoken, perhaps this will help: Does your computer speak Thai.

Where you can find Kru CAN:

Web: Kru CAN
Facebook: Kru CAN
YouTube: Kru CAN

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Discount: Learn Thai Style’s Speak, Read & Write Thai Course

Thai Style

Discount: Learn Thai Style…

Before Xmas, Tom Lane from Learn Thai Style and I got into a discussion about LTS offering specials to the Farang Can Learn Thai Facebook group and readers of WLT.

The below offer is just one of several to come. Enjoy!

Get 50% off the Speak, Read & Write Thai Course at Learn Thai Style. You’ll receive lifetime access to over 700 trained teachers, structured, written, audio, video and self study learning materials and learner support.

To get the discount, use this promo code: I will learn thai 2015

Web: Learn Thai Style
YouTube: Learn Thai Style
Twitter: @LearnThaiStyle

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So You Want to Learn a Language

Learn a language

The Mother of all Language Learning Resources…

When I started researching on the Internet for Thai learning resources, I found more than a few sites with broken links. So instead of collecting sites with resources, I created a page of my own and called it Learn Thai for FREE.

After all these years it continues to be a work in process, but the point is that I can lay my hands on links I found ages ago.

Awhile back I came across So you want to learn a language, a treasure trove of language learning links. I have most (but not all) of the Thai resources covered on WLT.

For Thai, go straight to >> Specific languages >> Thai.

The rest (like Italian) are going to take me a good long while to wade through.

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Memorize Thai Tones With Five Simple Rules

Memorize Tones With Five Simple Rules

The five simple rules of Thai tones…

I just made big strides with reading tones/ tone markers and would like to share my findings with anyone interested. I’ve been a successful Piano and Music teacher and pride myself on finding how humans learn, and unveiling easier ways to understand concepts. The parallels of learning music and languages are staggering, so I’ve been reworking my approach of learning Thai from my musical practices.

I would first like to say that, initially, I tried to just memorize tone rules from the gate. I found that it got me nowhere fast. What works for me is reading Manee books (which thanks to Kruu Mia – Learn2SpeakThai – she has provided them WITH slow and fast audio… yes, amazing) and just jumped right in. After a few times recognizing a certain consonant with a tone marker (or lacking), it starts becoming ingrained without having to “memorize” any rules. It just becomes intuitive (which seems more along the natural path of how Thais learn it, and quite frankly, being a Piano teacher, is how most students of all ages learn).

So now that I’m revisiting “memorizing” a few of the rules, something really obvious stands out to me. I’m having flashbacks of resentment that I had when I grew up classically trained playing piano, and then found Jazz and Jazz theory. “Why were these extremely simple concepts left out of classical curriculum?” In other words, now that I see tone rules are easy, I am wondering why no one has explained it in any simple manner in all the teachings I find. So here is my attempt at making it easy!

Out of 15 possible scenarios of tone rules, you really only need to memorize only a handful.

High and Rising tone markers will always produce high and rising tones, respectively. So you do NOT need to worry about them, or memorize anything. If you see them, you know the tone no matter what.

So now that leaves only Low and Falling tone markers to worry about. Low and Falling tone markers will always create Low and Falling tones respectively, except when they appear with… LOW CLASS.

I will count this as the first two tone rules you have to memorize, even though you only need to memorize only low class consonants.

[So Low Class with Low Tone Marker creates Falling tone, and Low Class with Falling Marker creates High tone]

Now that we’ve covered the tone markers, it leaves us with what to do in the absence of tone markers.

Live Syllables and Dead Syllables are easy to distinguish. If you assume all dead syllables with no tone markers create a low tone, you then only need to worry about dead syllables with short or long vowels when they’re….You guessed it: LOW CLASS.

[Low Class Dead Short Vowel is high and Low Class Long Vowel is Falling]

So now, with only memorizing LOW CLASS consonants, you have already learned 12 of the 15 tone scenarios.

That leaves us with only Live Syllables with no tone markers. If you assume all Live Syllables with no tone markers create a Mid tone, you’ll probably be correct most of the time. The only rule you need to remember is that High Class Live Syllables create a rising tone.

So with only memorizing Low Class Consonants, and realizing their rules change with Low Tone and Falling Tone Markers, you’ve almost mastered all the rules. Then you just realize that a High Class Live Syllable creates a rising tone, you’ve finished all the rules.

It’s worthy to point out that you never need to memorize Mid Class consonants, as when live, they’re mid, when dead, they’re low and with markers, follow the rules of the names of tone markers.

And you only need to memorize High Class for the purpose of the absence of tone markers.

It’s really the Low Class you need to memorize as Low Tone Marker changes it’s sound to Falling, and Falling Tone Marker changes it to High Tone. And of course with no Tone Marker, Dead Short Vowels are High Tones and Dead Long Vowels are Falling Tones. That’s a total of what? Five rules you need!?

That’s basically only memorizing five things, and (providing you can create the correct tones, with the correct vowel/consonant sounds) you’re on your way to mastering reading/speaking Thai!

With all that said, I encourage reading (especially the Manee books with audio method) and just trying to assimilate these “rules” in actual situations. Then use these simple five rules for reminders and verification.

As you can see, I’m very encouraged and inspired and hope that anything I provided can give you similar inspiration.

Note: My five tone rules were introduced and refined at the Farang Can Learn Thai Facebook Group.

โชคดี,
Ryan Hickey
Ryan Hickey Live Music

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Jonas Anderson’s Tongue-twister: กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา

กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา

Jonas’s Tongue-twister: กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา…

Jonas Anderson’s new song, กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา, is a hilarious hit. The lyrics tell a story about a western English teacher who falls in love with a Thai lass and asks her to check his Thai. And what Thai it is! The song is a mix of tongue-twisters and nonsense verse, and in places, sung at high-speed.

Backing video: กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา…

Jonas (joking I’m sure) asked if I would record myself singing the song, but no way can I pull that off. I tried! Besides, I’m still (slooooowly) working on กรุณาฟังให้จบ. Instead, I’ve asked others if they would upload a video to YouTube (no luck so far).

If you’d like to try your hand at recording yourself singing กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา, here’s the backing video without voice. The Thai lyrics, with English translations, follow.

Note: For this song I won’t add transliteration – there’s enough distraction as is. Those who prefer transliteration can just drag the Thai script into Thai2English.com.

Lyrics and English translation: กวางขาวอยู่กลางเขา…

คนน่ารักเขาว่ามักจะใจดี จะมีเวลาให้พี่คนนี้สักนิดไหม อยากจะรบกวน ชวนมาทำอะไร ที่พี่ยังสงสัยอยู่ตั้งนาน

Nice people are said to be kind hearted. Would you have a little time for me? Can I bother you with a request to do something that has confused me for a long time?

อยากสบตา อยากเห็นหน้า อยากศึกษาภาษาใจ อยากให้เธอ มาเป็นครู อยากจะรู้พูดแบบนี้ ถูกต้องไหม

I’d like to meet your eyes, see your face and study your heart language. I want you to be my teacher. I want to know if I am saying this right…

กวางขาว อยู่กลางเขา ไปกลางเขา กวางขาวเดินมา ยายกินน้ำลำใย น้ำลายยาย ไหลย้อยรดย่า

The white deer lives in the middle of the mountains. I walked there and the deer walked towards me.

ยะลา มาระยอง แล้วขึ้นล่อง ระหว่าง ระยอง ยะลา

I travelled from Yala to Rayong and went up and down between the two provinces.

ยายกินน้ำลำใย น้ำลายยาย ไหลย้อยรดย่า

Grandma (mom’s mom) is drinking lamyai juice and her drool is dripping on another grandma (dad’s mom).

กล้วยตานีปลายหวีเหี่ยว เหลือหวีเดียวหิ้วห­วีเหี่ยวไปหิ้วหวีเหี่ยวมา

Grandpa’s bunch of Nee bananas is withering. There is only one withered bunch left that he is carrying here and there.

Jonas: The following parts are a bit nonsensical since the main point is just putting words together that are similar yet different to make it easy to trip over them.

เช้าฟาดผัดฟัก 

Had gourd stir-fry in the morning.

เย็นฟาดฟักผัด 

Had stir-fried gourd in the evening.

ผัดผักฟักขาว
Vegetable stir-fry with white gourd.

ชามเขียวข้างขวาคว่ำเช้า 
The green bowl on the right is overturned in the morning.


ชามขาวคว่ำค่ำ 
ควานคลำ ชามขาว
The white bowl is overturned in the evening. Groping about for the white bowl.

Yuki: ฟาด is an impolite term for “to eat”. And the guy had the same thing both in the morning and in the evening but used two different ways to express the same dish :D

Are you up for the challenge?…

If you do take up the challenge, after uploading your video to YouTube, please post the link in Jonas’ Facebook page: Jonas Thailand.

Hugh and I would like to thank Jonas for his help and permission, and Yuki (Pick up Thai) for assisting with the translations. You guys are great!

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Thai Bites Live Event: Road to Fluency

Thai Bites Live Event

Thai Bites Live Event: Road to Fluency…

On the Sixth of August, Stuart Jay Raj from Jcademy, along with Arthit Juyaso (Duke Language School) and Mike Campbell (Glossika Language Training), will hold a Thai Bites Live Event at the Aloft Hotel, Sukhumvit Soi 11, Bangkok.

Admission and drinks are free – reserve early as there are only 80 seats available.

To reserve a seat: Jcademy Facebook

Please click ‘attending’ via facebook. You will then be asked to re-confirm via email with the number of required reserved seats. Mail enquiries and bookings to info@jcademy.com.

The event will be broadcast live on Google Hangouts on Air. Online viewers will have a chance to join the Question & Answer session with the speakers.

Event Lineup:

Arthit Juyaso (Duke Language School): Why do I still Speak Like a Farang?
Stuart Jay Raj (Jcademy): Six months to Fluency – Paul Garrigan’s Story
Mike Campbell (Glossika): Building Fluency through GMS and GSR methods

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Thai Language Thai Culture: Non-Synonymous Synonyms

Thai Language

Non-Synonymous Synonyms…

As often happens, a mistake I made in speaking Thai has led me to thinking about things to share with our readers. In this case it’s where a Thai word has a certain English translation in one situation, but another Thai word, often with the same English translation, needs to be used in different situation.

Case in point: The other day while I was out shopping a clerk was quite helpful, so when the bill came to 90 baht I gave her a 100 baht bill and wanted to say, “keep the change”.

Here is what I said: “ไม่ต้องคืนเงิน” /mâi dtông keun ngern/

I wanted to say “no need to return (the change)”. But as soon as I said it, and saw the expression on the clerk’s face, I knew I had made another of my infamous Spoken Thai blunders.

Here is the problem: The Thai word คืน /keun/ means “to return” (in that I am returning money I borrowed from you). So I told the clerk, “you don’t have to return my money.” She was probably wondering when I had lent her any money.

What I should have used was: ทอน /​ton/, which means to “return” (money, as in change – like, I give you 100 baht for a 90 baht bill and the “change” or เงินทอน /ngern ​ton/ is 10 baht).

So, I should have said: “ไม่ต้องทอนเงิน” /mâi dtông ton ngern/, which means, “no need to return the change”. Or more loosely translated, “keep the change”.

I know, it’s a little thing but many of the blank expressions we receive come from saying the wrong thing in Thai. Inexperienced learners of Thai think it is because Thais don’t want us to learn Thai, which is ludicrous. Usually, and in my case almost always, it is because I have said something incomprehensible.

Here are more Thai words that can be translated as synonymous but will get us blank expressions if we don’t use them in the correct context.

Steal, Rob, Hold up, Cheat, Break into…

There are lots of words for thievery, or the breaking of the second Buddhist precept. Some of these are interchangeable and some are quite specific in how they are used.

ขโมย /kà~​moi/ – thief (n); to steal (v)

คนขโมยมอเตอร์ไซค์ /kon kà~​moi mor-​dter-​sai/
Someone stole my motorcycle.

คอมโดนขโมย /kom dohn kà~​moi/
The computer was stolen.

เขาเป็นขโมย /kăo bpen kà~​moi/
He’s a thief.

จี้ /jêe/ – to rob

เขาโดนจี้ที่ถนน /kăo dohn jêe têe tà-nŏn/
He was robbed on the street (mugged).

ปล้น /bplôn/ – hold up; plunder

โจรปล้นธนาคาร /john bplôn tá~​naa-​kaan/
The thief held up (robbed) the bank.

โกง /gohng/ – defraud, cheat, swindle

พี่เขยโกงเงินผม /pêe kŏie gohng ngern pŏm/
My brother-in-law cheated (swindled) me out of my money.

งัด /ngát/ – break in (force or break open)

บ้านโดนงัด /bâan dohn ngát/
The house was broken into.

Doctor words…

Thai is full of words that are specific to the people we are talking to (peers, elders, juniors, etc.). There are some words we should have at the ready when we are going to talk to a doctor to explain specific symptoms. They may or may not be the same words we use with our drinking buddies.

Head
Common word: หัว /hŭa/; headache – ปวดหัว /bpùat-​hŭa/
Doctor word: ศีรษะ ​/sĕe-sà/; headache – ปวดศีรษะ /bpùat-​sĕe-sà/

Buttocks (bottom, butt)
Common word: ก้น /gôn/; My butt hurts. – ปวดก้น /bpùat gôn/
Doctor word: ตะโพก /dtà~​pôhk/; I have a pain in my bottom. – ปวดตะโพก /bpùat dtà~​pôhk/

Urinate (Note: There are many, many words for this in Thai. The most polite are used here).
Common word: ฉี่ /chèe/; Urin – น้ำฉี่ /náam chèe/; Trouble peeing – มีปัญหาฉี่ /mee bpan-hăa chèe/
Doctor word: ปัสสาวะ /bpàt-săa-wá/; Urin – น้ำปัสสาวะ /nám bpàt-săa-wá/; Trouble urinating – มีปัญหาปัสสาวะ /mee bpan-hăa bpàt-săa-wá/

Blood
Common word: เลือด /lêuat/; Blood pressure – ความดันเลือด /kwaam-​dan-​lêuat/
Doctor word: โลหิต /loh-​hìt/; Blood pressure – ความดันโลหิต /kwaam-​dan-​loh-​hìt/

To return…

As illustrated above there are lots of words that mean “return”.

กลับคืน /​glàp-​keun/ – to return (turn back, come back)
กลับมา /​glàp-​maa/ – to return (from somewhere)
ผลตอบแทน /pŏn dtòp taen/ – a return (on an investment); yield
ผลกำไร /pŏn gam-rai/ – profitable return
คืน /keun/ – to return (give something back)
ทอนเงิน /ton ngern/ – to return money (to give change)

Change (exchange)…

And “change” has many Thai translations too.

เปลี่ยนแปลง /bplìan-​bplaeng/ – to change (an action, do something differently)
แลกเปลี่ยน /lâek-​bplìan/ – to exchange something (with)
อัตราแลกเปลี่ยน /àt-​dtraa-​lâek-​bplìan/ – exchange rate (foreign exchange)
แบ็งค์ย่อย /báeng-​yôi/ – change (as in small bank notes)
เงินทอน /ngern-​ton/ – change (money returned)

Hugh Leong
Retire 2 Thailand
Retire 2 Thailand: Blog
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