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Khmer Influence in Thai

Khmer Influence in Thai

Face it. Khmer influenced the Thai language…

“The Siamese language began its formation not only from its original elements but also from a foreign root, the Khmer language to be specific.” Saveros Pou.

This kind of statement might be taken as an insult by some Thais. This is a sensitive issue, especially since this ridiculous clash about Preah Vihear temple. (A good adage in politics: to divert people from real problems, make up a good old chauvinist crisis).

Note that curiously the fact that ราชาศัพท์ comes from Khmer will be better accepted.

Khmer is a language of the Mon-Khmer family, Thai is a language of the Tai-Kadai family.

I don’t need to teach you this: The Khmer people had lived in peninsular southeast Asia long before the Tai people came from Yunnan.

But now take a look at the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, “About Thailand”:

This theory has been altered by the discovery of prehistoric artifacts in Ban Chiang. It now appears that the Thais might have originated here in Thailand and latter scattered to various parts of Asia, including some parts of China.

Nice shortcut: A settlement from the bronze age has been found in Ban Chiang (the oldest one in the world it seems), so they were Thai people, the Thais come from Ban Chiang !!

Note that the more historically convincing (to say the least) theory of the Yunnan origin is used by some Chinese to assert that southeast Asia belong to the people’s republic of China…

So if you want to calm down a staunch partisan of the “Thai language doesn’t owe anything to those bumpkin เขมร“, here are a few facts.

Many borrowed words trace back to the สุโขทัย era. They are everyday words still in use today: for instance เดิน, “to walk”.

ราชดำเนิน means the king passage.

ดำเนิน is “the walking”. It comes from ดำเนิน, “to walk”. This is not a Thai way of coining words, this is a typical Khmer way of coining words (which is called infixation). Because เดิน is a Khmer word (today pronounced daoe (diphthong xะ เxอ) in Khmer).

We can find the original Thai word for “to walk” still in use today in Lao: ย่าง. Lao has been a little less influenced by Khmer than Siamese (or at least Lao has retained more original Thai words in parallel).

As for ราช, “the king” of course it’s an Indian word (maharajah), but it must be stressed that all the Sanskrit and Prakrit words you can find in Siamese (that makes a real big chunk) have entered Siamese through old Khmer, because the direct Indian influence had already vanished when the Siamese founded their kingdoms.

And of course, modern Thai script stems from Khmer script (but the old ones didn’t: Lanna and Tham stem from Mon).

Note that Khmer script is still used today in ยันต์ and tattoo, and if your staunch partisan has this kind of tattoo, he will tell you this is ขอม, not เขมร (which is exactly the same of course).

Here are a few examples:
จมูก “nose”, in Lao you say ดัง
สะพาน “bridge”, in Lao you say ขัว
ยาย “maternal grandmother”, in Lao you say แม่ตู้
กำลัง for continuous tense, in Lao you (can also) say พวม

This Lao/Thai trick is not a general rule:
ก๋วยเตี๋ยว in Lao you say เฝอ. Of course this one is not true: ก๋วยเตี๋ยว is a Teochew word and เฝอ a Vietnamese word.

Some other words:
วัด “monastery” and also “to measure” (both from Mon-Khmer root meaning “to make a circle, to mark the boundary”)
ผสม “to mix”
ตำนาน “legend”
ตำบล “district” (from old Khmer “cluster of houses”)
สะอาด “clean”
เรียน “to learn”
อาจ “can” (the final จ gives away the Khmer origin)
เสมียน “clerk”
ทะเบียน “register”
ถนน “street”
ตรวจ “to examine” and ตำรวจ “police” (you see the khmer coining of words as in “to walk”)
นัก prefix for profession (meaning “a person” in khmer), as in นักเรียน and guess what, เรียน also comes from Khmer.

Some grammatical words now:
สำหรับ “for”
เพราะ “because”
หรือ “or”
โดย “by way of”

And this is a very small (untidy…) sample of words of Khmer origin.

เขมร is of Khmer origin! Today in Cambodia it’s pronounced khmae (diphthong xะ แx). But in Surin they didn’t drop the ร, they pronounce a beautiful rolled ร. (I love those rolled ร, บุรรรรีรรรรัมย์ !!).

And it’s a general rule, Khmer Surin tends to be more conservative than Cambodian Khmer in its pronunciation. So we can say that if you want to hear “pure” Khmer, you have to go to Surin…

Sua noy

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Successful Thai Language Learner: Ian Fereday

Ian Fereday

Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

Name: Ian Fereday
Nationality: British
Age: 50 next month (oh dear!)
Sex: Male
Location: Phuket Town, Phuket
Profession: Semi-retired owner of Patong Language School
Website: phuket-languageschool.com | study-thai-online.com | teflplus.com
Products: Commenced studies at Patong Language School using the Ministry of Education series produced for Thai children studying in primary school (12 books in all). These have a great cumulative teaching method, but the vocabulary is obviously mostly useless. I think they are great for learning the alphabet and tones, and I eventually incorporated the method into our own books for adults.

What is your Thai level?

Fluent. I read Thai at a glance, make notes in Thai, type Thai, watch TV, listen to the radio, can sing Thai songs and tell jokes, and have even done a TV interview in Thai. I have attended seminars and training sessions conducted in Thai. My vocabulary covers legal terms, building and construction, car repair, politics, birdwatching and many other strange corners of the language. When I answer the phone to Thai speakers they are surprised to find out I am a farang!

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

Professional Thai and a bit of street Thai. I live in Phuket and we don’t get much Isaan Thai down here.

What were your reasons for learning Thai?

Having decided to move here and married the owner of a language school it was a necessity!

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

Yes, 1992.

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

I studied hard for most of the first year, and have used Thai every day since and even now still learn the occasional new word.

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

Yes, I studied for the first several months and haven’t done any serious study since.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?

Yes, daily classes of 2-3 hours with an experienced teacher, practice and review in the evening with my wife (a very patient teacher), and used Thai at every opportunity. Drove my wife crazy reading every signpost, menu, business card and leaflet I found.

What Thai language learning methods did you try?

Only the Ministry of Education produced series during classes with Patong Language School. The books are still available but have been heavily revised since I used them and have lost direction a little. I don’t think the editor/revisor fully understood the intended method, and consequently spoiled some great books.

I have bought and perused many Thai language books and CD’s over the years to get ideas for my own books. To be brutally honest, most of them are rubbish and some are just phrasebooks. The only two I can recommend are Thai System of Writing and Fundamentals of the Thai Language. These books are from the 50’s or 60’s, so some of the words and constructions are now archaic, but they are clearly laid out, easy to follow and very accurate. It’s surprising that nobody has managed to do a better job after all these years (including me!). The internet wasn’t around when I started learning, but I am sure there is a wealth of information out there now.

Did one method stand out over all others?

Yes, cumulative lessons gradually adding to my repertoire of letters and tones, words and rules, and practice, practice, practice. Group study was better over one-on-one or self-study because I could learn from the other students’ mistakes and successes as well as the teacher.

How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai?

Immediately. I recommend to anyone that if they have the time they should learn to read first. It makes it much easier to learn to speak if you can read written Thai. Trying to understand Thai speakers is not always easy – they don’t speak the best Thai! If you can read, your grammar will also be better and you will have no slang or dialect. Your speech and tones will be clearer and sentence structure accurate. Learning conversational Thai using phonetics will only get you so far, and you’ll never have good pronunciation.

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult?

I found reading Thai very easy. Writing is not hard, but spelling is a bitch. Frankly, being able to write Thai is not a useful skill. If you need something written in Thai you ought to get a Thai person to write it – it will always be better than your own effort. The only useful thing about writing is to aid memory in learning the alphabet and vocabulary.

What was your first ‘ah hah!’ moment?

After weeks of struggling over obscure squiggles masquerading as letters, they all suddenly ‘clicked’ one day. It was as if I could suddenly read, when the day before I couldn’t. I have heard many people say they have experienced the same thing when it all just comes together.

How do you learn languages?

By listening, practicing and correcting as I go while immersed in a language with speakers of that language. I also need to see a written, structured method, but I know this doesn’t work for everyone. Drilling doesn’t work for me – I feel stupid repeating myself.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

I am extremely determined and will never give up. My theory at the outset was that if Thais could read that crazy script, there was no good reason I couldn’t too. My weakness is I get bored if something doesn’t hold my interest. That’s really why I stopped regular classes, because they had become reading magazines, watching videos and doing translation.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai?

That it is any more difficult than any other language. Clearly, Europeans learning a language that uses the ABC alphabet is always going to be easier because they can already read it (mostly). That’s why I think learners should get reading out of the way first. Then it is not a hindrance to speaking and understanding.

Can you make your way around any other languages?

English obviously! Not bad in Italian and Spanish, and a little bit of Indonesian/Malay (enough to go shopping and order a meal).

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

No, I wouldn’t try that! I studied Italian in Italy, then moved to Spain. The similarities in the languages were too great and I got hopelessly confused. Even now I can say a sentence in Italian and include a Thai or Spanish word by mistake. I think this is something the brain does automatically, inserting a known foreign word into a foreign sentence when it can’t find the right one. My wife does it too, but fortunately we understand one another!

Are you a computer programmer, or do you have programming experience?

I write CSS and X/HTML for websites, that’s about it. Would like to learn PHP, but too old and too little free time.

Do you have a passion for music? Do you play an instrument?

Not musical at all – probably tone deaf.

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

  • Never give up. If you feel you aren’t moving forwards, try a different approach or switch to something else (from conversation to reading or vice versa).
  • Don’t confuse learning to read with speaking or understanding. You learn to read to gain the tools you need for conversation. When you learn to read, you needn’t even worry about what the words mean – just as long as you can read them and know the sounds.
  • If the vocabulary is useful and relevant, by all means learn it. If it’s not, don’t bother because it will only slow you down.
  • Some people learn faster than others, so don’t be disheartened if classmates seem to be getting there faster than you. It’s not a race and it doesn’t matter how long it takes.

Ian Fereday,
phuket-languageschool.com | study-thai-online.com | teflplus.com

The Series: 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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The Linguist: A Personal Guide to Language Learning

How to learn a language

Review: The Linguist – How to learn a language…

I know who Steve Kaufmann is. Sort of. A couple of times a year I stop by his blog, The Linguist, to see what he’s up to. But until lately I didn’t know the details of his method of choice.

How to learn a languageThe reason? Because LingQ is not offering Thai (waving at Steve). LingQ does have English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Italian, German, Russian, Chinese, Portuguese and Swedish (perhaps Thai is in the wings).

If you don’t know who Steve Kaufmann is… in a nutshell, Steve is an accomplished linguist with (I believe) eight languages under his belt. He authors the blog, The Linguist on Languages, and is the driving power behind a popular language learning community: LingQ. And if you are into YouTube, he has a channel there too: Lingosteve.

When researching for a post on language learning styles (it’s more complicated than I thought), I purchased his book, The Linguist: A personal guide to language learning (no, I did not pay the quoted price). Busy as usual, I filed the book away.

On a weekend when struggling with a crappy internet connection – I wasn’t sure if the lack of internet meant my temperamental Belkin modem was playing up, or Thaksin losing half his money was a contributing factor (yeah, I’m paranoid), or both – I gave up trying to reconnect and read Steve’s book instead.

The first subject in his book is A Language Adventure, which describes Steve’s linguistic adventures. Next up is The Attitude of a Linguist (aptly named). But the real reason I purchased his book was this section: How to Learn Languages.

What I found was a pleasant surprise as his method suits me quite well. Odd, as I’d (wrongly) assumed that Steve was an all natural guy. And I don’t do all natural.

Steve’s method is similar (but not quite) to Luca’s. If you are unaware of Luca’s method, then please read through these posts:

Steve Kaufmann’s method of learning languages…

Steve says that before you try to communicate in your target language, you should spend time on listening, repeating out loud, learning words and phrases, reading, writing, and practicing proper pronunciation.

To express yourself in a new language you must first absorb the language by listening, reading and learning vocabulary… These activities will always account for about three quarters of your effort while you are working to achieve a basic level of fluency. But from the beginning you also have to work on your skills of expression: pronunciation, writing and conversation. Developing these skills requires a conscious commitment to regular and patient practice.

Some learners are hands on (they don’t want to waste time studying; they need to jump in and start talking). But I quite enjoy learning languages using the proposed methods of polyglots Luca and Steve. To get a word or phrase into my head I need the basics: Listen, read (Thai script), repeat out loud, and write or type from both reading and listing.

Curious, I compared the basics of Luca and Steve’s method’s side by side.

Steve Kaufmann’s method:

  1. Listen repeatedly to material within your basic range of comprehension, concentrating on pronunciation.
  2. Repeat individual words and phrases out loud, both during and after listening.
  3. Read sentences and paragraphs out loud, first very slowly and then more quickly, and always in a loud voice.
  4. Record your own pronunciation and compare it to a native speaker.
  5. Write using the phrases you have mastered.

Luca Lampariello’s method:

  1. Listen to audio files.
  2. Repeat audio files.
  3. Read the materials with and without the audio files.
  4. Translate the Thai dialogue into English.
  5. Translate your English translation into Thai (transliteration or script).

For me, the strength of Luca’s method is translating the dialogue into English, and then translating it back into Thai. I’ve noticed that by following Luca’s method, the dialogues are burned into my brain. Without a lot of work, it also improves my writing, grammar, and spelling. And except for translating back and forth, Steve’s method follows a similar path.

When it comes time to communicate, Steve states the obvious: Build your conversations around the phrases you have learned. Sometimes I really do forget that it’s that simple.

Another bit of advice Steve shares is to create intensity with language learning. And this is where Steve’s method differs from Luca’s. Luca suggests going for an hour a day to start. And then later, paring that hour down to a half hour. Steve wants us to go full force into language learning.

Learning a new language is most enjoyable when you are learning quickly, which requires intensity… You need to overwork the language processing capability of your brain by constant and frequent repetition during a period of intense learning. This period may vary from three months to twelve months depending on your starting point and your goals. During this period you must maintain a sustained commitment to your task.

Both Luca’s and Steve’s ideas work, so it’s up to personal learning preferences and available time. For this suggestion, I do believe I’ll take Steve’s advice and ramp up my study time.

The rest of his book touches on tools to use, and setting clear goals. The book finishes with a pep talk using Mike Weir (winner of the Masters Golf Tournament) as an example.

All in all, if Steve’s LingQ community included Thai, I would seriously consider using it as a viable tool.

To see for yourself, stop by The Linguist, and/or check out his language community at LingQ. Also, you can read two of Steve’s books for free. The Way of the Linguist: A Language Learning Odyssey is online. And you can download The Linguist on Languages via his sidebar.

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Successful Thai Language Learner: Doug

Doug

Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

Name: Doug
Nationality: American
Age range: 50-60
Sex: Male
Location: Bangkok
Profession: Computational linguistics
Website: Sealang.net

What is your Thai level: Intermediate/Advanced/Fluent or a combo?

Combo

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

Semi-pro.

What were your reasons for learning Thai?

Living here, wanted to fully engage, then became interested in computational aspects of Thai, and points of intersection with other languages in the region.

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

Yes, arrived 1994.

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

Since arrival.

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

Began at once.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?

Yes.

What Thai language learning methods did you try?

AUA conversation, then reading/writing books, followed by U Hawaii grammar, followed by rewriting Noss’s grammar.

Did one method stand out over all others?

AUA approach is most excellent, imho.

How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai?

After completing AUA conversation (vocabulary ~ 1,000 words).

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult?

Only as expected.

What was your first ˇ˝ah hah!ˇ˝ moment?

Realization that Thais could not see extremely fine letter distinctions any better than I, and were reading on the basis of shape / secondary or tertiary letter characteristics, and context.

How do you learn languages?

Practice, practice, practice.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Good ear; vocabulary retention could be better.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai?

That native orthography should be learned immediately (for those in more formal programs), and/or that informal methods work over the long run (for those studying informally).

Can you make your way around any other languages?

Previously studied Chinese 2 years in high school (in Taiwan).

Are you a computer programmer, or do you have programming experience?

Yes.

Do you have a passion for music?

Sure. (I think the question you need to ask is “do you play a musical instrument?”, or are you not trying to find predictors of ability at learning tonal languages?)

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

No.

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

Use (relatively) formal methods that ensure broad exposure to vocabulary. Don’t neglect grammar. Spend as much time on task as possible.

Doug,
Sealang.net

The Series: 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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Interview: Luke Cassady-Dorion: Photographer and Linguist

Luke Cassady-Dorion RAM

Interview: Luke Cassady-Dorion the linguist…

I never tire of reading about the language attributes of linguists. Luke, a talented photographer, just happens to be studying for a Bachelor’s Degree at Ramkhamkaeng University (Thai Major, Japanese Minor). In addition, he has taken on Spanish, Sanskrit, Lanna, and Burmese at the university level. Impressive.

Goldenland Polygot

In Luke’s bio he states that he:

…doesn’t really see much difference between the study of languages and the study of photography.

Now, I’ve read about the connection between music and programming, but never photography.

So Luke, could you please explain your mindset?

You’re the first person who has asked me about that, which I find quite surprising. Anyway, it’s a great question. When taking a photograph, we need to pick the right angle, framing, light, lens, etc … in order to communicate the message we want to get out there. Herni Cartier-Bresson was famous for not allowing his photographs to be cropped when printed in magazines or newspapers, something that I think pretty much all photographers would like to be able to require. The message that we’re communicating, something that we usually decide on before pushing the shutter, can be changed significantly if there is a slight modification to the cropping.

When communicating using words, we – taking into account our audience – have to use vocabulary and grammar in order to communicate a message. Getting people to agree with us, or even just chose to listen to us depends so much on the words that we choose and they way that we speak. Politics in USA is a great example of this. Barack Obama is a great statesman, but I doubt that he would have been elected had he spoken like George Bush.

So with both photography and languages, you’re communicating a message using a defined set of tools. Of course, your tools are different, but your chance of success in both areas depends on your mastery of your tools.

When did your aptitude for learning languages surface?

It may be in my blood …. my father has his PhD in Spanish and my mom learned Spanish when she and my father were living in Spain during Franco. Unfortunately they didn’t teach me Spanish as a kid, they mostly used it to talk about stuff that they didn’t want my brother and me to understand (or to swear). What’s interesting is that as I grew up, I found that my subconscious scatological speech was much more likely to come out in Spanish than in English. This is something I’ve noticed with my Thai friends too. In the midst of a long stream of Thai, I often hear them throw “shit” in as a loan word.

In middle school (grade 7) we had to pick a foreign language to study. I picked up French, adding Spanish in high school. My original plan when going to university was to study a degree related to languages. I ended up going for computer science because I thought I could make more money during that whole internet revolution thing. After making (and losing) lots of money and realizing that I didn’t want to spend my life sitting in front of a computer, I quit to teach Yoga. I find it rather ironic that at age 29 I enrolled in a Thai-language university to major in Thai.

If you could give one amazing piece of advice to students of the Thai language, what would it be?

Take a scientific approach to your studies. There are loads of different books and classes out there. If you try something for a few months and it doesn’t work, then figure out why and try a different approach. At the same time, don’t assume that there is a magic book or teacher who can make you fluent overnight. Unless you have a stellar memory, there’s no way around sitting down every day and studying.

How do you plan on combining your duel passions, photography and languages?

I hope to do just that in my next photography project. I’m starting on a project to use photography and video to document Thailand’s 74 living languages. The project is still in the early stages. After I get through this opening I am going to put much more energy into it. I am looking for grants and sponsors, so if anyone reading this is interested, please do get in touch.

Luke Cassady-Dorion RAM

Luke Cassady-Dorion the student…

This statement of Luke’s caught my attention too (scroll over the Thai script to read the transliteration):

From the first day that I started classes at Ramkhamheang University, I knew that a photography project would grow out of it. I had been in Thailand for two years at that point, and had never seen anything quite like the university.

วันแรกของการเรียนที่ม.รามคำแหง ผมทราบทันทีว่าตัวเองจะต้องทำโปรเจ็คต์ถ่ายภาพที่นี่ ตอนนั้นผมอยู่เมืองไทยมา 2 ปีแล้ว แต่ไม่เคยเห็นที่ไหนเหมือนที่รามมาก่อน

Luke, in what way is Ramkhamheang University different from other educational institutions of its caliber, Thai or western?

It’s different from other Thai universities in that they allow anyone to access a higher-education. Ram did away with the entrance exam requirement, doesn’t require you to go full-time, doesn’t check attendance, and doesn’t grade your homework. I don’t think that the coursework is the hardest in the kingdom, but it’s one of the few places where students have to take full responsibility for their own studies. If you don’t go to class or pass in the homework, there’s no teacher who is going to be hounding you to get your butt in gear. There is homework which is collected and graded, but your final grade for the class is based solely on the final exam. It is for this reason that Ram graduates are known to be hard-working and self-motivated.

The fact that there is no entrance exam does have the downside in that popular classes can be very crowded. This is especially true for kids majoring in English or Law. Fortunately, there are few people interested in subjects like “Ancient Northern Thai Writing Systems”, so I often find myself in a class where I sit at the same table as the professor and two or three other students.

In comparing Ram’s system of education with my experience in USA, I do see stark differences in the way the student / teacher relationship impacts studies. Teachers in this country are put up on a pedestal, which means that students are often afraid to engage in debate with their professor. I do see evidence that this is changing, perhaps as a result of teachers first studying abroad and then forcing Thai students to engage in debate that is so common in the West. Unfortunately this still has a lot way to go. I was in a composition class where attendance dropped from 30 to around 4 once we were required to grade our fellow student’s essays in front of the whole class.

You are obviously impressed with Ramkhamheang. If you had chosen a different school, do you feel that the opportunity for an exhibition would have materialized?

Well … not sure that I can definitively answer that :) I will say that Ram spoke to me on many different levels. The large classrooms speak to an effort to bring higher-education to a growing population, and to help people better their lives and have more opportunity. The smaller classrooms show Ram’s commitment to offering a wide range of classes, even obscure subjects that have two or three students. There is a series of new buildings being finished, which may mean that some of the more run-down buildings will eventually be torn down. I hope that this project serves as a record of them for future generations of students.

How did you prepare for your RAM studies?

I said above that there is no entrance requirement, but this isn’t true for foreign students (there are approximately 20 foreigners in the non-international program at Ram: one Korean, one Australian, one Cambodian and lots from Laos). There is a language-proficiency exam that all foreigners are required to take before starting classes. Honestly though, I don’t think the exam is a good metric of university-level language skills. In stark contrast to my TH101 final exam, I found the entrance exam ridiculously easy. The government P6 exam I took after a year of studies or so was much harder than the Ram entrance exam.

Before sitting for the entrance exam, I spent about a year and a half studying with private teachers. I would meet with a teacher for ~10 hours per week and then spend at least that much time memorizing vocabulary and sentences. My first year here, I forced myself to socialize with Thais almost exclusively and told them to just speak Thai in front of me and not worry if I understood it or not. Now I have a circle of friends that includes foreigners, but that first year I stayed far away.

Luke Cassady-Dorion RAM

Luke Cassady-Dorion the photographer…

I’ve taken thousands of photos of Bangkok, but I’ve never seen the inside of a whole lot of classrooms. Luke has.

So many people experience a sheltered version of Bangkok, not venturing past the reach of the Sky Train or a few polished tourist attractions. I wanted to show how the city is really used, specifically the parts used by the populace as they go about trying to better their lives through education.

หลายคนคิดว่ากรุงเทพฯ มีแค่รถไฟฟ้าและแหล่งท่องเที่ยวหรูๆ ผมอยากจะถ่ายทอดผ่านภาพถ่ายให้ทุกคนเห็นว่า จริงๆ แล้วผู้คนอาศัยอยู่ในเมืองแห่งนี้อย่างไร โดยเฉพาะย่านที่เต็มไปด้วยประชากรที่กำลังดิ้นรนเพื่อชีวิตที่ดีขึ้นผ่านกา ศึกษา

Luke, how do you find your subject matter? Are the majority of your photos from the university you attend, or do you go in search of the perfect shot elsewhere too?

With each of the four shows that I’ve had in Bangkok (including this one), the subject matter found me. Once I knew that I was going to do this project about Ram, I spent many days walking around the campus with my camera and tripod. I am indebted to Ram’s public relation’s department and specifically a woman named P’Lanna who supported this project from the beginning. P’Lanna opened many doors for me at the university, getting me into places which would have been otherwise hard to access.

My next project about Thailand’s linguistic landscape will require a different approach. I’m going to have to do a lot more research into finding subjects, as well as travel to meet them.

What camera and lens do you use? Do you have a favourite all around lens?

As you can see from the photo that you used in the banner, I have WAY too many cameras. I shot these with a Yashica 124G which has a top-down viewfinder. It takes a bit of practice to learn how to use it properly, but has the advantage of not looking like what people consider to be a camera. I found that people were wont to ignore me as they didn’t really know what I was doing. I recently bought a Mamiya 7, which is a beautiful camera; I will use it for my next project.

I like using medium-format film, as I feel that it forces me to be selective about my pictures, and to put time and energy into setting things up before pressing the shutter button. Plus the quality of print you can get from a medium-format negative is hard to pull off with a digital camera (well … unless you have 10K USD).

How did you get into photography?

It started back in high school, but then when I got busy with university and then work, I stopped shooting entirely. For years, I stopped making art, but did continue collecting works and going to museums. I think there are two reasons that I started shooting again when I moved to Bangkok. Part of it was having more free time (and drinking less that I did in California). In addition, I am suspicious that the visual part of my brain was reactivated once I started to study languages with different alphabets. First the Devanagari (Sanskrit) and then the Thai alphabet forced me to associate new shapes with sounds, carving out a new visual pathway in my brain.

Which photographers inspired you?

Without a question, the book that most inspired me is Stephen Shore’s American Surfaces. I was blown away when I saw how he could take the most ordinary thing and take a beautiful photograph of it. I tried to do the same thing at Ram. To show that even though many of the classrooms look old and beat-up, there is a certain beauty to them.

A book I picked up this past Christmas is Mitch Epstein’s American Power. It documents the way in which people view “power” in the United States. Mitch wrote a fascinating essay to accompany the book where he talked about being chased out of towns for photographing power stations, even though it wasn’t against the law.

I am also a huge fan of Manit Sriwanichpooom who runs Kathmandu gallery where I will be showing next. His work constantly pushes the envelope, causing people to reconsider where they stand on important political and social issues.

In addition to studying a Bachelor’s degree in a foreign language and working on your photography projects, you also work as a Yoga teacher and are writing a book. How do you find time for everything?

555 …. A friend of mine calls me the gay Tasmanian devil because I’m always running around doing a billion different projects. I’m glad that you brought up the Yoga, as I feel that it is the foundation that supports all of my other projects. I’ve been practicing Ashtanga Yoga for almost 12 years now. And I’m presently on a work visa to teach at Absolute Yoga. When I was writing computer software all day long, I realized that even on days when I hated my job that I could deal with those feelings much better when I was practicing Ashtanga.

Focusing your energy on a variety of projects requires a healthy body and a mind that isn’t easily distracted, two things that I’ve developed (slowly) though this practice. The book I’m writing, tentatively titled After the Inhale, traces my life over the past fifteen years and the way in which it has changed as a result of the Ashtanga. How I stopped caring about making piles of money and buying lots of things, how I learned the importance of breathing deeply and creating a lifestyle which leaves time for personal interests and hobbies. I’m writing it in Thai (with lots of editorial help from a friend) as I think it’s a story which will be helpful to people in this country.

Luke Cassady-Dorion RAM

A photo exhibition by Luke Cassady-Dorion…

On the 5th of June, RAM, Luke’s fourth photography exhibit in the kingdom, will be open to the public. The opening party of June 5th from 6:30-9:30pm is a great opportunity to discuss the work with him in person.

RAM: A photo exhibition by Luke Cassady-Dorion
5 June – 30 July 2010 | 11 AM to 7 PM (closed Mondays)
Kathmandu Photo Gallery

For more details: Goldenland Polygot
Oo WLT: Luke with Farang Pok Pok

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Successful Thai Language Learner: Gareth Marshall

Gareth Marshall

Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

Name: Gareth Marshall
Nationality: British
Age range: 30-40
Sex: Male
Location: Bangkok
Profession: Magazine editor

What is your Thai level?

All a bit mixed up, really. Overall I’d say intermediate, although I practice writing rarely, if ever.

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

Most of my Thai learned has been in Bangkok.

What were your reasons for learning Thai?

I couldn’t imagine living in a country where I can’t communicate with people or interact with the local culture/lifestyle.

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

I live in Bangkok although I’ve also spent time on Koh Tao and Phuket. In total I’ve been here about 10-12 years.

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

My first couple of years were hardly noticeable but I guess I started picking up words when I first came here at the end of ’96.

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

What’s the right way? If that means in a classroom, then definitely not. Learned through researching the language I needed, and then discovering new lessons as they came to me.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?

Ah, sadly a goal I have never been able to achieve.

What Thai language learning methods did you try?

I did try a school around Ploenchit – the building is no longer there and I can’t remember the name. It started well, although I had to research and provide most of the materials and advise the teacher on how to best to ‘teach’ me – I was a teacher at the time and I knew how I learned best so just needed someone to take me through things and add extra vocab, explain rules, etc. The teacher moved on to use her own materials but they were irrelevant and usually not pitched at anywhere near my level at all – either too simple or totally impossible. In the end I gave up.

Did one method stand out over all others?

I prefer learning through reading as it presents vocab and phrases in context, helps get your head around the writing structure, and deals with grammar.

How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai?

As quickly as I could after getting a few speaking basics.

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult?

Tricky, but not impossible. Once you get your head round vowel placement and punctuation issues it all makes sense, somehow.

What was your first ‘ah hah!’ moment?

Sitting on a bus going to work riding the whole length of Ratchada-Pisek road on the no. 136 and finally being able to read a billboard.

How do you learn languages?

I’m not a classroom learner – much better to be out and using the language, making mistakes but finding your way.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

My pronunciation is generally pretty good (although some friends say I sound a little Isaan at times – I put it down to me having a strong native English accent). My vocab is not what it should be for the length of time I have been here.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai?

That pronunciation is not important.

Can you make your way around any other languages?

I’m generally pretty good at picking things up.

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

No.

Are you a computer programmer, or do you have programming experience?

No and none.

Do you have a passion for music?

Yes, love listening to music but don’t play. Generally much prefer music without vocals.

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

Don’t give up.

Gareth Marshall

The Series: Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

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

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Successful Thai Language Learner: Martin Clutterbuck

Martin Clutterbuck

Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

Name: Martin Clutterbuck
Nationality: British
Age range: 40-50
Sex: Male
Location: Bangkok
Profession: PR
Website/blog: Siamese Cats: Legends and Reality
Book: The Legend of Siamese Cats

What is your Thai level?

Fluent, but shy of bilingual

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

Early on, I realised that the central dialect of Thai, as used by professionals, was well understood in all parts of the country, in every remote village with a TV. North, Northeast (Isan – why 2 “s”?) and South are the main dialects, I understand them mostly, South the best, having spent some time in Phuket, and each jangwat has its distinctive twang. I have a smattering of Lao, having learned some of the shifts and the Lao alphabet, which is how the Thai alphabet could be reformed in many ways.

Street Thai, well colloquial Thai, even as spoken by the upper echelons, is a huge challenge, but I will not curse, and there are many elephant traps for the unwary, so yeah, I avoid it, unless I’m feeling confident I won’t cause controversy.

What were your reasons for learning Thai?

Get around in this country. As I’ve been living here a long time, I’ve acquired the language in depth. As to why I’ve been here a long time, it’s a self generating cycle – being good at Thai has helped me get on in Thailand to a point where I am pretty comfortable.

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

Yes: Arrived in 1985, stayed till late 1986. Went back to SOAS in London to do the Thai degree – one summer trip in 1988. Since 1990, more or less permanently resident.

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

I make that, 25 years.

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

Yes, I learned Thai, but only by myself with no course, just one main textbook, “The Fundamentals of the Thai language.” This got me to a level where I was able to enter SOAS Thai language courses in the 2nd year.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?

I had a period of about 6 months when I was in an English teaching job when I had a Thai person able to help check and feedback on what I was doing.

What Thai language learning methods did you try?

I looked at some of the NISA and AUA course books, and was quite impressed with them, but didn’t attend their courses. At that time, mostly because I was broke!

Did one method stand out over all others?

The Fundamentals of the Thai language” is an enigma, because it’s this quaint 1950s thing, doesn’t have any exercises or pictures, yet has a good sequence of pulling you through the language topic by topic, so by the end of it, one has mastered a basic form of the language, and yes, it teaches you to read and write.

How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai?

Immediately. My first goal was to read bus destination boards. Sadly, now, buses also have boards in English ;)

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult?

Yes, but I consoled myself, firstly with the thought that Thai kids pick it up in a only couple of years when they are very young, and secondly, with the idea that Chinese is a lot harder (44 Thai consonants vs. 40,000 Chinese ideograms to read a newspaper). I had the writing down pretty well in about six months. Compare that to the language – after 25 years, I am still picking up new vocabulary.

What was your first ‘ah hah!’ moment?

I had at least 2 distinct ‘ah hah!’ moments.

The first was when I realized how the writing system captures the tones and became able to produce that sequence: Ga Ga1 Ga2 Ga3 Ga4, and from then on, had no problem hearing and distinguishing tones.

The second was when I realized that the consonant order follows a phonological pattern established by the script’s Indian ancestors, somewhat like the periodic table of chemistry, which also captures the class of the consonant, and thus helps with the tones, and is a surefire thing for remembering the order, useful if you want to consult a dictionary.

How do you learn languages?

Mainly, by listening, very, very carefully, with an open mind, that is, without bias or colour from any other language I know. At the same time, paradoxically, I listen for similarities with other languages, particularly those of the same family. Both of these are quite hard for most people, particularly if they are unaware of their own accent. I feel lucky, because my parents came from working class cockney families, but learned crystal-clear received pronunciation at grammar school. When I was a kid, and lapsed into “lazy” speech, I was corrected, and although at the time it was annoying, I learned to hear small differences between sounds, which is the key to learning foreign languages.

Good text books and especially dictionaries, also help.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Strengths: Big vocabulary, grammatical insight, depth in general, a good accent when concentrating.

Weaknesses: Sometimes, not bothering to make the correct pronunciation because I’m being lazy. I found, as a non-native speaker of this language, I’m using twice as much brain power to process a Thai text than an English text, so it gets tiring after a while.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai?

That you can learn this language without learning the writing system.

Can you make your way around any other languages?

I have reasonable French and small German (from school), and can say “Hello” or “Thank you” in at least 20 languages.

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

No, although, as time went on, I have accumulated grammatical knowledge about English, because I am often copy-editing something a Thai person has written, and I like to be able to explain myself. I was interested to learn that the brain has neurological reflexes to bad grammar, and in general my approach to grammar is the descriptive approach of modern linguistics.

Are you a computer programmer, or do you have programming experience?

No. A few simple macro routines in Visual Basic, tops. I’m still somewhat of a geek, would describe myself as an advanced user.

Do you have a passion for music?

Yes. I could get very deep on this one. Tonality helps in learning Thai, and reading it is like reading music to an extent.

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

Learn to read and write.

Get decent dictionaries, including a Thai-Thai dictionary like that of the Royal Institute.

When you have mastered the basics, have a look at the compendiums of grammar called “Lak Phasa Thai”.

Remember, Thai, just like any other language, has correct and polite forms, and guidelines for good, “educated” style. If you are serious about staying in the place, a little depth will go a long way. Most Thais appreciate any effort to learn their language, so do it right and they will love you :)

Martin Clutterbuck,
Siamese Cats: Legends and Reality

The Series: 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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Polyglot Stu Jay Raj: Language Secrets From a Linguistic Junkie

Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj

Stu’s impressive multilingual presentation…

In case you’ve missed it, this week on WLT has been back-to-back Stu Jay Raj:

And if you live in Thailand, then you’ll know that it’s been HOT HOT HOT this week. Trying to keep cool, I’ve been hiding out under the AC, spending a bit of my time poking around on the Internet. Along the way I rediscovered a couple of Stu’s YouTube videos (below).

And as videos are the next best thing to seeing Stu in person… well… you know…

Stu has fabulous videos on YouTube (I can watch for hours). So if you are unsure where to go next, head to his YouTube channel: stujaystujay

Side note: I was lucky to have the Stu Jay Raj experience early on. And in listening to his videos, I’m thinking that it was a mixture of Benjawan, David, and Stu who convinced me that learning to read Thai early is the way to go. It took me a bit to find a teacher who agreed, but I got there in the end. And for me, I agree too.

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Successful Thai Language Learner: Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj

Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj

Interviewing Successful Thai Language Learners…

Name: Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj
Nationality: Fijian Indian / Australian
Age range: 30-40
Sex: Male
Location: Anywhere and Everywhere
Profession: TV Host / Cross Cultural Business Consultant
 
Web: Stu Jay Raj
stujaystujay’s YouTube Channel

Note: As this is the final post of a three part interview, some of the questions below have already been answered in more detail. If you haven’t had the pleasure, please take the time to read them too.

Stu Jay Raj interview…

 
What is your Thai level?
 

Fluent.

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

Professional when I’m working, street Thai on the street and Isaan when I’m in Isaan.

 
What were your reasons for learning Thai?
 

Live life.

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

Yes – arrived in 1999 permanently. I’m a permanent resident – though just set my family up in Australia. I travel back and forth.

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

1999.

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

Right away.

Did you stick to a regular study schedule?
 

It was my life.

What Thai language learning methods did you try?
 

Let the language consume me.

Did one method stand out over all others?
 

‘Method’ was living my life in Thai.

 
How soon did you tackle reading and writing Thai?
 

Straight away.

Did you find learning to read and write Thai difficult?

No.

 
What was your first ‘ah hah!’ moment?
 

Realising that the sound / writing system and tone rules are based on the Indic Sound System / Map of the mouth.

How do you learn languages?
 

With passion.

What are your strengths and weaknesses?
 

  • Strengths – have passion about languages.
  • Weakness – when learning, get obsessed by whatever it is I’m learning and won’t let it go until I can conquer it.

What is the biggest misconception for students learning Thai?
 

Just because there are 40 odd consonants that it’s ‘hard to learn’. … oh, and that ‘tones are difficult’.

 
Can you make your way around any other languages?
 

Yes.

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

Yes – always learning languages simultaneously.

You have both programming abilities and a passion for music. Do you see either as having a connection to learning languages?
 

They are all just using different tools to render a meaning.

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

Don’t compare apples with oranges. Thai is not English… However, just because it looks different, doesn’t mean that there aren’t similarities. Up to 60% of Modern Thai has roots in Sanskrit. Sanskrit is an Indo-European language as is English. There are some amazing similarities that are ‘masked’ through the ‘different look’ of the language. Once you start to scratch the surface a little you’ll realize that the things that you thought were difficult – writing, tones etc, aren’t that difficult at all. They’re just different.

Don’t be put off learning Thai just because you’ve had a bad experience with Thai teachers. Just like many native speakers of English, many Thais don’t have a deep understanding of their own language. 

When learners of Thai ask a question like:

‘Why are there 3 consonant classes?’
or
‘Why does the high tone actually rise?’

the response is normally something like:

‘There are 3 consonant classes – High, Middle and Low. The High class has ‘x’ number of letters, the middle class has ‘x’ number of letters etc etc.
Or,
‘you are a Farang, you don’t need to know that’.

The fact is that for most of them, they’ve never learned ‘why’ themselves.

One good formula is to have several different people that you learn from. Learn something ‘advanced’ from one of them. Something that a normal learner wouldn’t normally know. After that, go and try it out by just dropping it into a conversation with another Thai that you consult with. They will be impressed and think that your level is higher than what it really is. Then ask them to teach you something new. Keep rotating around your ‘Thai Consultants’ with new terms, new words and slang until your proficiency catches up with their perceived proficiency for you. It’s a great way to get past the ‘farang’ Thai that farang get taught and sound more native-like, not to mention keep motivated and positive about learning after each positive impression you make.

Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj
Stu Jay Raj | stujaystujay’s YouTube Channel

The Series: 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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Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj: Interview Part Two

Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj

Interview with polyglot Stu Jay Raj…

Heads-up everyone: This post is a continuation of Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj: Interview Part One.
 
Stu, with Cracking Thai Fundamentals and Mnidcraft, you’ve taught the Thai language to expats for some time. In your experience, which learning difficulties are the most common?
 

The writing system always stands as one of the biggest mental barriers for learners of Thai. Many people say ‘I just want to learn to speak Thai, I don’t need to learn to read or write’. I really believe that embarking on learning Thai with this attitude is shooting yourself in the foot before you’ve even started. The Thai writing system is based on a very logical system that’s actually a map of the human mouth. People shouldn’t count consonants and vowels and use that as a measuring stick for how hard a language is to learn.

The first thing you learn when you learn Mandarin is Hanyu Pinyin – the Romanized sound system. Luckily for Mandarin, Hanyu Pinyin was put together by linguists who knew what they were doing and can be used very accurately to produce the sounds in Mandarin. 

Unfortunately for Thai, although there are many transliteration systems, the best ones I have seen are based on the IPA phonetic symbols. I notice with other Roman systems, unless you’re a linguist, learners’ mother tongue’s interpretations of roman letters filter the sounds when they’re reading the Thai words. The result, confused looks on Thai people’s faces and frustration from the learner when they think they’re saying the right thing but aren’t understood.

Investing a little bit of time getting a solid foundation when it comes to pronunciation and the sound system – and the writing system as an extension of that, will help you avoid hitting that ‘glass ceiling’ that many learners of Thai hit when they realize that they need to ‘unlearn’ a whole lot of language that has now already been embedded into their muscle memory.

How do you address these learning difficulties?
 

I tried to develop a system that enabled learners to spend a short time in learning the sound system and writing system in a fun way and kept it in the long term memory. That’s where Cracking Thai Fundamentals came from. You can see some examples of how I’ve done this in my blog, or on my youtube channel. Here’s an example:

With these two clips, most people can learn most of the Thai vowels in around 20mins to half an hour.

If you could pick five books from your librarything to help learners of the Thai language, what would they be, and why?
 

That only has a small portion of my books.

I would recommend:

  • A Dictionary of English Thai Idioms – Ted Strehlow
  • From Ancient Languages to Modern Dialects – Marvin J Brown
  • Any one of Andrew Biggs’ books – written in Thai, are a great starting point to reading Thai. The stories he speaks about are normally easily understood by ‘farang’, so will carry you through language you don’t know. Start with a couple of lines. Move on to a paragraph. Within a couple of weeks, your reading speed will really start to pick up.
  • Teach Yourself Thai – David Smyth
  • ทะลึ่ง – ‘Thaleung’ – Series of books covering Thai risqué jokes and short stories. Most stories are only a paragraph or two and in most cases, the picture tells it all. Reading through it, you will start to appreciate Thai humour, see a lot of idioms and slang being used and get out of the normal ‘farang’ vocabulary that Thais think that farang have to use – as opposed to what’s really used.

What other books should beginner to intermediate learners of the Thai language read?

Everything and anything. There are some really great books and many extremely crappy ones. I’m yet to find a book that I can’t learn something from. 

More than just reading books, I highly recommend learning to type in Thai from the get-go and get into blogs, web boards, MSN, facebook and anything else online that lets you interact with Thais in ‘everyday’ Thai language. The best thing about Thai on the internet is that it’s phonetic and is written to represent the way it’s really pronounced. You can ‘read’ someone’s mood / accent by how they’ve written.

Your Cracking Thai Fundamentals course is hilarious fun. Could we please get an overview?
 

Here is the blurb taken from one of the brochures:

This course is suited to anyone who has just arrived in Thailand and wants to start off on the right foot or for anyone who has lived in Thailand for a long time but their knowledge of Thai sounds like a clumsy shoe falling down the stairs.

Stuart Jay Raj has built up a reputation in Thailand for teaching the Thai language and culture to the expatriate community since 2000. When it comes to languages, take our word for it…this guy knows what he is talking about in any of the 13 different languages he can fluently speak, listen, read and write!

Aside developing conversational skills in Thai, other topics the course covers include:

  • Memory techniques and building
  • Building cognitive fluency when speaking Thai – training ourselves to react in Thai without thinking
  • Motivating in the Thai workplace and eliciting the information we really need
  • Using language to build a cross cultural rapport in the workplace
  • Street Thai vs. Formal Thai / what to say, when to say it and who to say it with
  • Expressing yourself in Thai to get the right reaction
  • Understanding and Using Thai humor to reach to the heart.

Learning with Stuart Raj

Language is an exciting, living, changing and flexible creature that lets us get into the minds of the people who speak it. As expatriates, the value that learning to understand and communicate clearly with locals is priceless – especially in the workplace!

Over 4 x 3 hour sessions you will achieve the following objectives:

  • Develop instinctive natural responses when conversing in Thai without passing through another language
  • Overcome the psychological barrier of learning a tonal language
  • Mastered the entire Thai Consonant System (including tonal classes) – Ideal for People who have learned previously but still have problems remembering symbols and classes – (Using imagery, mnemonics, sign language and 3-D spatial recognition)
  • Learned the entire Thai Vowel System – (using unique hand signs that directly relate to the vowel shapes in the Thai script)
  • Learned the Thai Tonal Rule System – (Using mind-mapping, imagery and story telling)
  • Learned new language learning techniques, including how to recognize and analyze many Sanskrit and Chinese based elements in Thai.

 
What will attendees learn in your Mnidcraft seminars?
 

Mnidcraft empowers anyone with a will to succeed to develop the same aptitude for languages and communication as what Stuart Jay Raj possesses based on powerful NLP modeling principles. 

NLP Modeling

NLP modeling is the practice of isolating essential patterns that makes someone successful and duplicating them into others in a way that they are practiced unconsciously.

 Stuart has carefully designed activities where you will not only learn the secrets that have crafted his aptitude for language, but will also have these skills, habits and knowledge embedded within you, breathing new life into your relationship with language!


More than just the ability to learn languages

, developing an aptitude for language is actually just a side effect of the Mnidcraft series. You will also tap into new abilities:



  • Super Memory

  • Perfect Pitch

  • Touch-type in multiple languages including Thai, Sanskrit and Korean

  • Be ‘funny’ across cultures
  • Increase self-esteem in yourself and others
  • Mimic sounds, body language and mannerisms
  • Build instant rapport with people you’ve just met
  • Master tones in Tonal Languages including Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese

  • Solve the Rubik’s Cube
  • Use an Abacus

  • Circular Breathing
  • Morse Code / Sign Language alphabets
  • Speed Reading

  • Simultaneous Interpreting
  • XML and programming fundamentals

What are your tips for learning and retaining new vocabulary?
 

Think LOUD … full of colours, sounds, emotions. Make crazy associations and then link them with a system that you can recall.

Know what ‘pushes your buttons’ then wrap the language up in whatever that is.

Excitement is the best memory technique.

What other advice do you give to students of the Thai language?
  

Have FUN with the language – learn as much as you can about the language as you learn to speak the language. 

Listen and observe – don’t use Thai as a vehicle to ‘say what you want to say’ to Thai people. Learn the stuff that they want to talk about and use the language to learn about them.

Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj
Stu Jay Raj | stujaystujay’s YouTube Channel

The final section of this three part interview is: Successful Thai Language Learners: Stuart (Stu) Jay Raj.

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