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if i meet a thai I know i'll 90% of the time get asked this question and then i have to make them 100% sure i've not got an isaan wife :)


As far as english people go, it's funny nobody really mentions it or at least acts like it's weird and when they do ask I never really have an answer, i guess i'm not 100% sure myself anymore. I suppose we always meet people who say 'i can speak french' but in reality it's only a few words or phrases yet they will happily say they speak the language.


I suppose I used to live in bangkok and for the first year just picked up a few words etc, then i started to learn to read and take it more seriously, on return to the uk i just carried on learning, i guess it was my own way of clinging onto thailand. I do see myself living there again for long periods of time (holidays don't really interest me) and hopefully retire early there one day, but then a lot will change in my life until then so who knows.


I guess Thai is like a hobby now for me, try and chat with thai friends online, practice anki everyday and แอบ read a thai news article at work everyday. I can't actually imagine ever stopping now, I used to just want to get to the point I could be roughly understood, but it's old thing of the more you learn the less you think you know, I sometimes think it's a bit dumb and all the time i spent could have been better invested in something more 'worthwhile'.


I can imagine that when I feel i'm conversationally happy with my Thai i'll perhaps look at other langauges but there isn't really another that I would really want to learn, maybe loas/isaan or maybe Vietnamese perhaps. dunno.


What about you, why do you bother?

Edited by herds
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I think that it is important to know a reasonable amount of Thai in order to maintain a certain level of independence.

It never ceases to amaze me how many Farangs are unable to do the simplest errand without their Thai wife/gf to translate.

Chasing girls can be expensive

But it's more expensive if you catch one

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During my second visit to Thailand in 1988 I tried to ask one of the staff at a guest house for an orange juice. She didn't speak English very well and couldn't understand me. Another guest could speak some Thai and he asked her for me in Thai but he did it in a very condescending way. I said thanks to him but thought to myself "You'll never get another chance to talk down to me like that again mate".


I knew I was going to be spending a lot of time there anyway so I invested in an expensive Book and tape course (No internet downloads back then). For me, aside from the triggering incident it's just about communication and the resulting power to get things done. I can't understand how anybody could live in a country where 90% of what is going on around you goes over your head. The insight you get into Thai people's minds is incredible. For example you can usually surmise that if the Thai language can explain a certain concept in one word and it takes 20 to explain it in English that the concept is important to them, for me that insight was an unexpected reward.


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

Karl's Thailand - My YouTube Channel



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Great post.

It is this thirst to keep learning and to be able to use the language to communicate better over there on my holidays that keep me learning.

The more I learn the more I know I do not know and although it is very frustrating it's also very rewarding if that makes sense.

I make sure I study at least 30 mins every day.

For me it's a labour of love...one day in the future I hope the spend just as much time over in Thailand as I do in Australia.

My Youtube Channel about everything Thailand - TravInThailand

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I became fascinated with ภาษาไทย during my first trip to Thailand nearly five years ago. Since then, I've taken "one-on-one" classes with a Thai teacher on every trip. My reason: It's fun! And I'd really enjoy being able to communicate with Thai people in their language. I'm not there, yet. I don't study enough when I'm at home. But, very gradually, I'm seeing some improvement. I've been working almost exclusively on reading (and just a bit on writing) since I think that's the key to learning the language (and to correct pronunciation). I really enjoy it, and I've become not only a Pattaya Addict, but a ภาษาไทย addict.


My Thai teacher says it takes about two years of full time study to become somewhat competent at conversation. So I figure it'll take me about ten years with my intermittent study. (I really should study more when I'm at home!). But it's a good excuse to keep coming back to Thailand (as if I needed one ๕๕๕๕).



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I think that it is important to know a reasonable amount of Thai in order to maintain a certain level of independence.

It never ceases to amaze me how many Farangs are unable to do the simplest errand without their Thai wife/gf to translate.


that's why i bunged the ถึง in there, why learn more than a few conversational phrases etc

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I think everyone staying in Thailand should learn some basic Thai, i see to many people getting angry with Thai people when they don`t understand but it is the foreign people at fault as hey this is Thailand. I learned to speak Thai and it is great everywhere i go to be understood, to ask for things and have no problem, to book taxis etc and know they are coming when they should and not sitting worrying if it will show. I find its also a very interesting language and once you learn you want to keep on learning.

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My reasons are manifold. I visited Thailand at the beginning of this year for the first time and have now made 3 trips, a total of 10 or 11 weeks in all. On my first visit, which was meant to be part of a Far East tour, revisiting Indonesia and Malaysia, as soon as I reached Thailand, I fell in love. The country, people food - well everything. I have always had a bit of a knack for languages, but soon realised that this one was a bit more involved. I really do not like to visit a country without learning a few phrases, but as Dr W pointed out, every language is closely linked to the local culture, philosophy etc and in one so vastly different to English, it is so easy to make big glaring errors. I got home and set about learning, trying various different means, but I suppose my early training as a scientist got me always wanting to know why things are said as they are. I now have, at the moment, 3 hours of private tuition a week.


So learning the language helps me not only communicate, but it helps me to understand the thinking and cultural background to what I see and hear. For example, we often see complaints from BMs that the girls are liars, tell you what they think you want to hear etc but is that not often related to เกรงใจ? So sort of showing you respect? I don't know


Also, I am getting on in years, I'll never see 60 again and am retired and widowed and living alone. In that situation it would be extremely easy to just vegetate and spend the day watching daytime TV as my brain slowly turned to mush. The brain is like a muscle in many ways and needs constant challenges and exercise, so my Thai keeps me thinking and puzzling. Also the mounting challenge of learning new คำศัพท์ and keeping alive that which is already there is valuable exercise.


I started learning to read and write early on and now we work from a text book which, thankfully, does not use romanised script, so progress is beginning to accelerate. Had great fun at the weekend writing a 2 page "essay" on my family which was quite challenging. More so on Monday when I had to read it out.


I still have problems with auditory discrimination. Last month while there, one day my girl was laying on the bed, I was sitting reading emails, when she said my name then มานี่ I miss heard and replied what are you asking for money for? Totally killing a potentially romantic moment. Similarly, today in the lesson after I had made a number of cockups with some reading my teacher said we'd move on to conversation (the part of the lesson where we use the current grammar etc and English is banned) She said พร้อมหรือยัง I heard it as พร้อมเรียน and was puzzled for a bit. So much to learn


The goal is to be at least conversationally mildly competant when I visit next year, but until then it's fun and it keeps LOS alive for me

But...what do I know?


Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.

- Voltaire

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i love learning thai. it is my mental exercise and ive been addicted for almost 2 years now. some days hours a day, some just a little bit. i have a live in girl friend here in the states so everyday is basic conversation. but the most fun for me is the challenge. and the biggest pay off is when all her friends tell me how good i am and how impressed they are. i cant write at all but i can read a little bit and as long as you dont ask me to explain how to build a rocket ship or do brain surgery i can pretty much talk my way out of or into any run of the mill situation and that brings me a sense of pride and accomplishment.

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about 6 years ago (at the time i had been here for 2 years ) i could only speak a few basic words /sentences

I had a property to rent out on the darkside and some flash american real estate agent had a customer for me,

When myself and GF went to the office to sign the paperwork, we all started conversing in English (my GF lived in Ireland for 6 years so speaks better English than me almost lol)

suddenly without notice the guy switches over and starts talking in Thai , laughing and joking and making me feel a bit left out,

after we left the office my GF told me the guy was flirting with her , he was certainly showing off in front of me, (TWAT)

After that i decided NEVER to be in that situation again, i joined a language school and can now read, write and speak Thai ,(thankyou MR TWAT)

Now running a busy bar in Soi LK Metro i come across many many customers who cannot speak Thai, although i converse with the staff in thai i would only speak to customers girlfriends in Thai if they cannot speak English,

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  • 3 weeks later...

I learn't (and still am 3 years later) because I didn't want to not be able to explain myself if I needed to be clear about something or just have a conversation outside of the 10 same questions that get asked all the time.


I almost always speak English with someone I dont know and then may switch if their english is struggling a little. When in Bangkok I only speak Thai as much as possible as I goto the non-tourist areas with friends / my teacher so I don't have a choice but to speak. My readings pretty good now in a variety of the weird fonts they use but I'm pretty crap at writing as I don't really need to use it much apart from on Facebook.


The most satisfying thing for me thats been happening more and more over the last year is being asked to speak Thai rather than English even with Thai's who can speak english ok. Certainly helps the confidence and gives you a kick up the arse to continue learning if motivation is lacking a bit.

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

-- Michael Caine (Alfie, 1966)

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It is probably the single best thing i have done in Thailand. It is never too late to learn, I came here about 9 years and could not speak it, i got nothing from the books and tapes. A private tutor was the only thing that worked for me, learning to read and write first was a big help also.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was never in LOS but i am learning thai. I started with a few phrases but don't like to mimic without understanding. So i looked on thai-language.com a little bit and started to learn the thai alphabet. Now i slowly connect the dots and see more and more how a word sounds by reading it. I still have no clue what the word means but i think that knowing the alphabet is a good foundation to learn the language.

In eight days i will be in LOS for the first time and expect that a few girls don*t believe me that when i ask them to eat with me in thai. (bai gin kao gub pom mai)

I am a moneyreformer. More and more people realize that our moneysystem is broken. It has a bug and need an update. Problem is, that most humans don't know a shit about how money works and so most people are not able to see the bug. They blame the greedy, the lazy, the old, the unenployed or the state. So we are doomed to see a moneycrash with many human tragedies.


PS: gold backed currency is NOT the solution.

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