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How many expats speak fairly fluent thai


Bangkokbanjo

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In preparation for my retirement to Thailand I am learning the language. I'm curious as to how many on here speak conversational thai and how long it took to achieve that level

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I speak bar girl talk, took a long time, not a school type person

       *** I would rather have sex with a beautiful starfish.......than an ugly porn-star ***

                *** We are drowning in information ---- While starving for wisdom ***

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I'd say it takes about two years of regular, though not extensive study before I felt my Thai was "good". There was a long period where I felt that the more I learned the more I realised I didn't know, that was the most frustrating time. For me the first year was just getting my ears 'tuned' into the whole tonal concept.

 

The grammar, although different to English is actually simpler with no plurals or tenses so it's the fact that it's a different kind of language that causes the most problems...and of course the script, any time spent studying the script will be repaid as you learn more Thai

         ความจริงเป็นสิ่งที่ไม่ตายแต่คนพูดความจริงอาจจะตาย                 

The truth is immortal but people who speak it aren't - Thai proverb

Karl's Thailand - My YouTube Channel

 

 

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Over 20 years and I just learned how to ask where the washroom is.

If ifs and buts were crackers and nuts,it would be Christmas all year long.

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In 2005, I took an eight month sabbatical, or unpaid leave of absence, and studied in Chulalongkarn University's Intensive Thai Language Program:

 

http://www.chula.ac.th/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/08/Intensive-Thai-Program.pdf

 

Emphasis added on intensive.

 

It's a one year program in full, but not everyone takes it that far as there are 9 5-week programs, and you must pass the final exam to move to the next level.

 

It's very academic, and included history and culture.

 

I speak, read, and write, but my weakness has been comprehension when Thais speak very fast, which tends to happen when you have your pronouncistion, tones, and grammar in order. Also Thais tend to think I'm over formal sometimes in casual settings. It did, however, come in handy in Isaan, where nobody speaks Thai, or with new girls into the game, with virtually no English comprehension, who find themselves comfortable with you if you know that the language.

 

Unless you really want to take the language to the academic level, most expats in Pattaya don't speak Thai. They know a few words, which usually don't pronounce properly, and think they know a few phrases. Essentially, they're masturbating the language, as the girls know every the English word for each Thai word attempted. Also, do not learn from a bar girl. There are many aspects of slang that should be hear-but-don't-speak when it comes to foreigners.

 

The turning point is when your Thai is better than their English.

 

It is true that some girls who've been in Pattaya for years hate it when Westerners speak Thai. My way of dealing with that is speaking English the way I normally do, and if I say something once, and they don't understand, I'll say it in Thai the second time.

 

If you really want to learn the language properly, my advice is to learn to read and write, with much emphasis on practice writing. Know the rules, which apply to the tones and pronunciation. There are exceptions, which come by with rote learning, but relatively few with the 5,000 to 10,000 words most second language users know. Finally, focus on grammar to avoud be derogatory or the appearance of being disrespectful.

 

If you do take a course, don't expect your instructor to speak English. It's about communication, not translation.

 

I believe that if one wants to learn a language, especially an Asian language, it's both academic and full time. Upon retirement in a few years, I plan to complete either the Chulalongkarn program, or study for the P-6 exam (the language proficiency test every Thai takes after seventh grade).

 

After that, I plan to study Mandarin which unlike Thai, does not have an alphabet, but is tonal and the symbols that are challenging to codify.

 

Studying foreign language in retirement is, according to some studies, good for the brain and keeping one sharp in their senior years.

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this says it all for me:      The turning point is when your Thai is better than their English.

       *** I would rather have sex with a beautiful starfish.......than an ugly porn-star ***

                *** We are drowning in information ---- While starving for wisdom ***

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Should be able to speak into your phone soon and translate into another language.

What a great invention that would be.

I'm off to make a killing.

If ifs and buts were crackers and nuts,it would be Christmas all year long.

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In preparation for my retirement to Thailand I am learning the language. I'm curious as to how many on here speak conversational thai and how long it took to achieve that level

Came to live in Thailand, 2004 when working offshore in Asia.  Never bothered to learn Thai since all the girls I met could speak English.  The turning point was going up to the GF village on a regular basis.  Nobody could speak English and I could not expect the GF to be at my side all the time.

 

Bought a couple of A4 books with test pages.  

Every night on the rig I would spend 1 hour learning phrases and the different meaning of the Thai words (Tones).  After 1 year it started to come together.  One day in the dentists at Si Khio, a little boy asked his mum where the toilet was?  She told him.  I then knew that my understanding of Thai was coming together.

 

I am retired now, living in Chaiyaphum province and my Thai is good enough for the building material suppliers when I go to their shops. Being able to count in Thai and tell the time (Interesting to learn).  Also, my Thai is good enough that when people do not understand me, I can say the same again but in a different way.  I know a number of Thai/Issan songs, so whenever the Karaoke is brought out and I start belting away, smiles and laughs all around.  Being able to joke in Thai creates smiles all around.  

 

Unless you intend to live in the big Cities it is imperative you learn to speak and understand Thai.

So you want to live in Isaan?           Tale of a journey started 1973 with a stepfather.            A home and "Wife in Issan" 2017.........                       An unplanned, unknown and unforeseen  journey spanning 41 years ending well  !!

 

I've .... seen things ..... you people would never believe...............

image.png.6eb5df3c4b99a4189996c2a21d8f14af.png

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Should be able to speak into your phone soon and translate into another language.

 

Other than as a one-word dictionary, Google Translate is a piece of shit.

 

There's really no substitute to learning the language.

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Other than as a one-word dictionary, Google Translate is a piece of shit.

 

There's really no substitute to learning the language.[/

So my invention of speaking into my phone and having it translated is a dead end?

Dammit.

If ifs and buts were crackers and nuts,it would be Christmas all year long.

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IME, in terms of those who retire to LoS, less than 1 in 50 (maybe even 1 in 100) speak Thai fairly well. If you were talking about younger guys (say those teaching) the figure would be much higher. However, I have found that your average retired expat can manage only a few words - hong nam, khap khun, mai ow khup etc. In my golfing group (40+ guys) they always turn to me if some Thai language is needed....and my Thai is very limited - I would say I am beginner/intermediate (maybe know a few hundred words).

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You need to get to a level where the girls dont get frustrated trying to understand you. Taken me years. No benefit with girls who speak decent english but you can get GFE with the farm fresh girls and other fuckers cant chat them up.

 

I love that.

If you're not thinking about pussy then you're just not concentrating.

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Also, do not learn from a bar girl.

Why not?

Is it because you think they speak ruder than non-bargirls or what?

IMO all Thais can add to your knowledge of the language. Even if it is a slang word, it is often very useful to recognize the slang word for it and not only the word being teached in your school book.

 1192049870_Adult144468x603.jpg.1b8dcf628ea9ceb5129f55f57ce075e1.jpg

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Should be able to speak into your phone soon and translate into another language.

What a great invention that would be.

I'm off to make a killing.

 

 

But then the loving lord might smite the technology & confound the users speech so that they could no longer understand each other and scatter them around the world.

 

 

That'd be no good

 

 

;)

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One absolutely do not need to speak Isaan, and you shouldn't. It's not a separate language; it's a dialect.

 

My very first Thai teacher in San Francisco explained that if you speak proper Thai, as you should, everyone will be able to understand you, as everyone knows the language properly. When the watch television and listen to radio, they understand. Also, every teacher/professor/tutor I've had has strongly emphasized that it shouldn't be spoken under any circumstances. We do, however, learn it, to recognize what's spoken.

 

During my tenure at Chula, there were three groups and four professors. We skipped a Chapter, as the teachers rotated, and we had to wait for the male instructor, because the women wouldn't utter the words. Even then, it was emphasized that these words should spoken by us, and he joked that if we do speak them, "please do not tell them you study here".

 

Also, nearly every Thai, and many do not study beyond the seventh grade, and while few graduate high school, and accredited college/university is around 5℅, many Thais are able to read, but have poor spelling and written grammar. My written Thai is more advanced than most, and spelling mistakes on the hand-written market signs are common.

 

There is absolutely no reason for a Westerner, or any foreigner, to speak Isaan, slang, etc., and any foreigner who claims otherwise lacks knowledge about the Thai Language.

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I'd say it takes about two years of regular, though not extensive study before I felt my Thai was "good". There was a long period where I felt that the more I learned the more I realised I didn't know, that was the most frustrating time. For me the first year was just getting my ears 'tuned' into the whole tonal concept.

 

The grammar, although different to English is actually simpler with no plurals or tenses so it's the fact that it's a different kind of language that causes the most problems...and of course the script, any time spent studying the script will be repaid as you learn more Thai

 

I can definitely relate to 'the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know part'. On one of my long trips, thirteen years ago, I decided to 'learn Thai'. I went to Unity Thai Language School in BKK which like many similar schools utilizes a program originally designed to get missionaries 'up and running' in the language in six months. There are six basic modules with each module consisting of twenty classes of fours hours each. Classes were Mon-Fri, but what should be four weeks for twenty classes takes a little longer with all the Thai holidays. 

 

The classes were basically pass/fail with the teacher deciding if you could go on to the next module. I passed all six basic modules and could have gone on to the advanced modules if I had more time. I felt pretty good about that since in the last class I took, out of six students, only one other student and myself were considered to have 'passed'.

 

I felt these classes (480 hours worth in a little over six months) had gotten me to a beginner's level in the language. You could drop me off somewhere in Thailand where no one spoke English and I would get by. I've traveled around the country a fair bit and have been in just this type of situation many times. I can have simple conversations, read menus, signs and even some comic books. But I realize I'm at the 'frustrating' level you mention since I can't turn a simple conversation into a deeper one, even though at times it is fun trying. I'd like to be able to watch the Thai news or Thai movies and follow along as well as if they were in English. I do OK with some cartoons. I can't really read a Thai newspaper properly, but I am able to use them to find out things that wouldn't be in the English press.

 

I imagine it would take me another year or two studying and living in Thailand to get closer to being really fluent in the language. But I figure for now, I'm doing OK for a tourist.

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Though I can't really read a Thai newspaper properly, but I am able to use them to find out things that wouldn't be in the English press.

I can certainly relate to this. I enjoy speaking and communicating with Thais who lack English proficiency, and with the exception of an extensive policy discussion about politics, conversation comes along well.

 

As for Thai newspaper articles, I'm the same way. An article in the New York Times might take me about five minutes to read. Conversely, it may take 30-45 minutes to read a similar article in a Thai newspaper. I had a private tutor who used to selectively clip newspaper and magazine articles for me to read aloud, and then discuss during our sessions. Usually took at least 30 minutes of time for each exercise of this nature.

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Other than as a one-word dictionary, Google Translate is a piece of shit.

 

There's really no substitute to learning the language.

Point at you, point at her and hold a 1000 baht note in your right hand, that's the international language of "love" 

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Point at you, point at her and hold a 1000 baht note in your right hand, that's the international language of "love"

Here's a list I've created which I believe is limited Thai girl's talk, enough for them to get by in the freelancing and bar scene.

 

1) I want this

 

2) I want that

 

3) I like this/that

 

4) I don't like this/that ("I no like")

 

5) I'm hungry

 

6) I want/don't want to go here/there

 

7) My sister this/that

 

8) My friend this/that

 

9) I go toilet!

 

10) You want?

 

11) You like?

 

12) This no good

 

13) He no good / he bad man

 

14) Where you come from?

 

15) You want go wit me?

 

16) How much you give me?

 

17) Why you forget me?

 

18) You butterfly

 

19) He lie me

 

20) Hellooooooo! Welcooooome!

 

21) Sexy/handsome man!

 

22) You want pay bar?

 

23) Short time long time?

 

24) You have condom?

 

25) Where you go?

 

26) How long you stay Thailand?

 

27) When you come back Thailand?

 

28) No have money

 

29) You buy fho me?

 

30) You like she?

 

31) You go with she

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I can definitely relate to 'the more you learn, the more you realize you don't know part'. On one of my long trips, thirteen years ago, I decided to 'learn Thai'. I went to Unity Thai Language School in BKK which like many similar schools utilizes a program originally designed to get missionaries 'up and running' in the language in six months. There are six basic modules with each module consisting of twenty classes of fours hours each. Classes were Mon-Fri, but what should be four weeks for twenty classes takes a little longer with all the Thai holidays.

 

The classes were basically pass/fail with the teacher deciding if you could go on to the next module. I passed all six basic modules and could have gone on to the advanced modules if I had more time. I felt pretty good about that since in the last class I took, out of six students, only one other student and myself were considered to have 'passed'.

 

I felt these classes (480 hours worth in a little over six months) had gotten me to a beginner's level in the language. You could drop me off somewhere in Thailand where no one spoke English and I would get by. I've traveled around the country a fair bit and have been in just this type of situation many times. I can have simple conversations, read menus, signs and even some comic books. But I realize I'm at the 'frustrating' level you mention since I can't turn a simple conversation into a deeper one, even though at times it is fun trying. I'd like to be able to watch the Thai news or Thai movies and follow along as well as if they were in English. I do OK with some cartoons. I can't really read a Thai newspaper properly, but I am able to use them to find out things that wouldn't be in the English press.

 

I imagine it would take me another year or two studying and living in Thailand to get closer to being really fluent in the language. But I figure for now, I'm doing OK for a tourist.

Yes, I think the key is to learn properly from the beginning, that's the foundation that you will build on. When I decided to learn Thai in 1988 I bought a very good book/cassette tape course from a company called Linguaphone, I followed that up with an American Foreign Service Institute course. A friend's Thai wife would come over once a week and go through my work with me. I've always had my doubts about the "Just get out there and pick it up as you go along" advice given by many, I really think you need to study until you have the foundations of the grammar and script and tones down.

 

Having said that once you have the foundations down there is no substitute to exposure to the language. At this time, living mainly in rural Thailand I find myself communicating more in Thai than English. I don't really have any problems having a conversation with anybody although old people are usually the hardest. They tend to speak just the dialect they were brought up with even if they have no trouble understanding Central Thai.

 

As for reading and writing; I haven't studied it since the 80's although I haven't forgotten any of it and have improved by practice. The best decision I made a few years ago was to always answer my messages (SMS, LINE, Whatsapp etc) from a Thai using Thai script. It's really improved my reading and writing, or typing to be more accurate. I've even had it where they are typing English and I am replying in Thai script. I agree with you about Thai newspapers, too many 'official' words and titles, not to mention the heavy use of Thai transliterations of English words.

         ความจริงเป็นสิ่งที่ไม่ตายแต่คนพูดความจริงอาจจะตาย                 

The truth is immortal but people who speak it aren't - Thai proverb

Karl's Thailand - My YouTube Channel

 

 

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Here's a list I've created which I believe is limited Thai girl's talk, enough for them to get by in the freelancing and bar scene.

1) I want this

2) I want that

3) I like this/that

...snip...

 

Yet no matter where in Thailand they come from and what language/dialect they speak at home, their ability to speak standard Central Thai is way above that of pretty much any farang I have ever heard speaking Thai, including Chula intensive course graduates :)

ขออภัยในความไม่สะดวก กูเกิลทรานสเลทไม่สามารถแปลข้อมูลนี้ได้ 

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One absolutely do not need to speak Isaan, and you shouldn't. It's not a separate language; it's a dialect.

My very first Thai teacher in San Francisco explained that if you speak proper Thai, as you should, everyone will be able to understand you, as everyone knows the language properly. When the watch television and listen to radio, they understand. Also, every teacher/professor/tutor I've had has strongly emphasized that it shouldn't be spoken under any circumstances. We do, however, learn it, to recognize what's spoken.

During my tenure at Chula, there were three groups and four professors. We skipped a Chapter, as the teachers rotated, and we had to wait for the male instructor, because the women wouldn't utter the words. Even then, it was emphasized that these words should spoken by us, and he joked that if we do speak them, "please do not tell them you study here".

Also, nearly every Thai, and many do not study beyond the seventh grade, and while few graduate high school, and accredited college/university is around 5℅, many Thais are able to read, but have poor spelling and written grammar. My written Thai is more advanced than most, and spelling mistakes on the hand-written market signs are common.

There is absolutely no reason for a Westerner, or any foreigner, to speak Isaan, slang, etc., and any foreigner who claims otherwise lacks knowledge about the Thai Language.

Issue is if you want to understand them. If you live in Isan or want to understand what a lot of bargirls are chatting about. They will not be speaking Thai. In addition if you have a child in Isan they will not speak Thai till they go to school and learn it, so speaking Isan is necessary.

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Issue is if you want to understand them. If you live in Isan or want to understand what a lot of bargirls are chatting about. They will not be speaking Thai.

This is utter nonsense, and you were fluent in Thai, you'd know this. Ask any linguistics professor with respect to Thai. My professor informed us that while there are many dialects throughout the regions, with proper Thai, everyone will be able to understand you and you'll be able to communicate with anyone familiar with any other dialect of Thai.

 

Most often, bargirls are speaking slang and/or in less proper manners. This is not something that needs to be studied, and hearing derogatory words, comments, phrases, etc. comes with experience and familiarity. Regardless, I have never had any need, or Desire, to speak in such a manner, and this is by no means a secret code of any sort.

 

In addition if you have a child in Isan they will not speak Thai till they go to school and learn it, so speaking Isan is necessary.

Again, utter nonsense. It's a dialect of the Thai Language.

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Issue is if you want to understand them. If you live in Isan or want to understand what a lot of bargirls are chatting about. They will not be speaking Thai. In addition if you have a child in Isan they will not speak Thai till they go to school and learn it, so speaking Isan is necessary.

I've lived in Isaan axoupke of times before. Believe me, if your Thai is good enough then Isaan is just a small step away. Learn a few of the key differences and you notice that there are actually more similarities. Even the script is very similar. I'd say that good Thai could translate to functional understanding of the Isaan dialect. I was in Laos last month and could get the gist of most of the Laos being spoke around me.

 

So yes they are different but then again, not so much.

         ความจริงเป็นสิ่งที่ไม่ตายแต่คนพูดความจริงอาจจะตาย                 

The truth is immortal but people who speak it aren't - Thai proverb

Karl's Thailand - My YouTube Channel

 

 

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