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MONOCHROMEMAN
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Ok it's not really a how to but more of a observation/find. I read that some languages don't use nouns in everyday talk. They mostly just string together verbs. I found this out from reading about Native American Indian languages. So I was very surprised when I read that Thai uses this structure, too (although it used nouns as well). Smyth - Thai: an essential grammar p 81 translates the above example - [he] go buy come eat - as "He went out to buy something and brought it back to eat" You might want to try just stringing nothing but verbs together sometime. It feels weird. I kept thinking how will they understand. Context is the answer apparently but it seems to me there's room for a whole load of misunderstanding unless you explain context properly or unless there's something I'm missing (which as an only sometimes- not- too- serious- about- learning- Thai type of learner might be true!) . Mind first time I tried it I double checked in English I'd made myself understood, "Yes I understand. I Thai" was the reply. I still wasn't sure.

 

The other thing is why is the translation "He went out to buy..." and not "He has gone to buy..." I'm guessing has + gone isn't a way of representing time in Thai. I mention this only as there's another thread on a similar/same structure (have + verb) going on right now that I just posted on.

 

So Thai has a structure in common with Blackfoot.

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Oh and it just occurred to me that maybe this lack of nouns in such structures is why it's so hard to pin Thais down sometimes on exactly what's going on; who is going to buy? are they going alone? are we going? is it us that going to eat? with who? etc

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[he] go buy come eat - as "He went out to buy something and brought it back to eat" You might want to try just stringing nothing but verbs together sometime. Context is the answer apparently

 

 

I'm not an advanced Thai speaker but I think I can answer your queries.

The noun or pronoun is often understood from the context. If the context is not clear, then it is used e.g. "Pom" (male "I').

 

The other thing is why is the translation "He went out to buy..." and not "He has gone to buy..." I'm guessing has + gone isn't a way of representing time in Thai.

 

Thai verbs have one form only; they do not decline as e.g English, German etc. The word for "to go" is "bpai"; it also can mean "will go", "went" etc. Where the meaning is not clear in context extra words are used e.g. "Tomorrow she goes", "She went already."

 

Thai grammar is not difficult. The problem is vocabulary and hitting the correct tone. Good way to learn is to employ a sleeping dictionary.

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Can empathise a little, this might just be a personal observation or an erroneous one but I kinda found that thai's seem to 'back and forth' a lot more in conversation then we do, using short direct answers so when you ask a question you may have to ask more questions.

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Ok it's not really a how to but more of a observation/find. I read that some languages don't use nouns in everyday talk. They mostly just string together verbs. I found this out from reading about Native American Indian languages. So I was very surprised when I read that Thai uses this structure, too (although it used nouns as well). Smyth - Thai: an essential grammar p 81 translates the above example - [he] go buy come eat - as "He went out to buy something and brought it back to eat" You might want to try just stringing nothing but verbs together sometime. It feels weird. I kept thinking how will they understand. Context is the answer apparently but it seems to me there's room for a whole load of misunderstanding unless you explain context properly or unless there's something I'm missing (which as an only sometimes- not- too- serious- about- learning- Thai type of learner might be true!) . Mind first time I tried it I double checked in English I'd made myself understood, "Yes I understand. I Thai" was the reply. I still wasn't sure.

 

The other thing is why is the translation "He went out to buy..." and not "He has gone to buy..." I'm guessing has + gone isn't a way of representing time in Thai. I mention this only as there's another thread on a similar/same structure (have + verb) going on right now that I just posted on.

 

So Thai has a structure in common with Blackfoot.

 

You obviously know your grammar but your post(s) make we realise that we all learn in different ways. For me I did better by just learning the basics of the Thai grammar, then expanding vocabulary and just listening and reading the way Thai is actually used by them. I never ever thought "ah they do this with verbs etc." it was more of a subconscious thing, and still is. Breaking it down like that actually makes it harder for me, I just accept that's the way they say it and then utilise it.

         ความจริงเป็นสิ่งที่ไม่ตายแต่คนพูดความจริงอาจจะตาย                 

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

Karl's Thailand - My YouTube Channel

 

 

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You obviously know your grammar but your post(s) make we realise that we all learn in different ways. For me I did better by just learning the basics of the Thai grammar, then expanding vocabulary and just listening and reading the way Thai is actually used by them. I never ever thought "ah they do this with verbs etc." it was more of a subconscious thing, and still is. Breaking it down like that actually makes it harder for me, I just accept that's the way they say it and then utilise it.

 

Actually, I think your way is far better. I'd never learn or advise learning a language by concentrating mainly on grammar. Or direct translation with your first language (especially if the 2 languages are not related). A little can help for sure but as a rule of thumb I think it should be kept for more advanced learners if anyone. I was just thinking today that I'm more convinced than ever - after your translation of my "I would if I could" sentence - that reading Thai will help you get the patterns more. And listening, too. This seems to be the hard part when you're an absolute beginner as most Thai just sounds like a noise and it's hard to comprehend much. So reading seems to be a good idea. I read that 70% of a native speakers vocab is acquired by reading. I have no reference for this though, sadly.

 

I know some grammar as I used to teach it that's all. And I only found out about verb serialization (stringing verbs together) by accident when I was reading about the similarities between wordviews (ie how a language can influence how you experience the world) and quantum physics. I do have a professional interest in language acquisition, though. And I'm always interested in how people learn. Hence me being in this section! Bear this in mind when I post. I enjoy people's posts on this topic.

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Just copying is the easiest way and using various patterns. I never question it now but used to. I think this is quite a large stumbling block when learning any language as an adult. We all have programmed our brains to think a certain way and have logic and reason. When learning as a child there is none of this, its just taken on board with no question and repeated.

 

I think the main thing that seperates peoples skill levels in Thai is the way they speak. I've gone through 3 or 4 different levels in how I use the language now compared to when I first started and I'm no where near fluent. Whereas with English you can sort of learn things in the beginning that people will use all the time more so in the way sentences are spoken and formulated.

 

The main thing I've learnt when telling a story to someone in Thai is that you only have to specify objects / people once and then a shorter use (i.e. classifier or pro noun) is referred to when speaking later about that thing / person.

 

I do like learning Thai but it can be quite frustrating at times especially when your mind decides that it wants to forget things that you know you can say perfectly.

Edited by Ajay75

My understanding of women goes only as far as the pleasures.

-- Michael Caine (Alfie, 1966)

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3 maybe 4 weeks ago i hit that "what's the next step ?" wall and the lights starting to turn on with this thread.

 

on the weekends i listen, speak, read, and write with a thai friend of mine. quickly tired of saying "arai na krab" everytime i couldn't make out what was being said. one week i did a little research so that i could better explain the trouble to her. "i can't keep up" (ฟังไม่ทัน - fang mai tan), "help, speak louder" (ช่วยพูดดัง ๆ หน่อย - chuay poot dang dang noi), "i didn't hear" (ไม่ได้ยิน - mai dai yin), "help, speak slowly" (ช่วยพูดช้า ๆ หน่อย - chuay poot cha cha noi), etc . . and a couple others i didn't end up using. just from that, conversations became better. kind of like a unspoken acknowledgement.

 

so i decide to take that a little farther. was thinking "take a verb, write down 30 ways different ways it can be used in english, find out how you would say in thai". (previous "hypothetical mood - have" topic was an attempt to break that down). thinking this is the wrong way to go.

 

fast forward to Monochromeman's topic here.

 

just pulled a day shift yesterday, came home and read this topic (the original post and Monochromeman's addition), went back to work for a night shift, and then back for the day shift. in that sleepless haze 3 things happened

 

1 - kept thinking "sentence with only verbs, sentence with only verbs" (things that make you say hmmm)

2 - asked Cambodian friend at work how you convey "should have", "could have", "would have", in Khmer.

3 - read this post again with all the different responses

 

I like the read approach, alot, for right now. maybe just read and write down the words i don't know and look them up later, create flashcards. getting the gist of it is most important. (combination of the last 3 posts: expanding vocabulary, reading, just do it and don't overthink ). anything ideas i may be overlooking ?

 

actually i thought pretty hard on all the posts on this topic. like them all.

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I suppose if I had to start again from fresh I would probably have started to read earlier and spent a lot more time practicing listening for and pronouncing tones as it took me a while to even hear a difference let alone say them, heh.

 

Aitch - Have you tried out Anki? I mentioned it a while back on here. It's a neat little app for PC and i-phone to aid memory, everytime I want to remember a phrase, word or fact I add it to anki and just leave it open on my PC at all times. In it's simplest form it is a flashcard program but you can add sound, tests etc etc.

 

If you go to 'download' someone has added a thai card deck "Most used 101 Thai words", which has little tests for spelling and tone awareness which might be of use to you.

 

I like learning Thai as well, but I also find it frustrating at times, especially when I don't know a simple word or phrase that I should have learnt in the first few weeks. I think we all give ourselves a hard time, thai is quite a bit more difficult than the usual languages people attempt and being 'fluent' is quite a goal.

Edited by herds
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