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Best way of learning thai
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  1. #1
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    Just wondering what others opinions on this are. I've been learning Thai kind of on-and-off since 2000, but it's all been self taught from books, tapes, websites (including this one of course ) and just generally practising in conversation. I think it's worked reasonably well so far but I'm wondering whether going on a language course might be better, as this way you can have all your mistakes pointed out, more easily get clarification of things you don't understand etc...

    So my questions are, to anyone who's been taught Thai this way - was it worth it ? did you learn more this way than by learning by yourself ? can you only get so far self-taught before needing proper teaching to really progress ? or was it just a waste of time ? Anyone know a good course in particular to recommend ? I think there used to be a section on this board about language courses but I can't see it anymore.

    Thanks for any opinions.

  2. #2
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    Hi Mike,

    I was wondering about these questions my self (I still am).
    There must be many different answers, since different methods are suitable for different people.

    I started to learn Thai in 2001 (on and off), and I tried to do it all by myself. However it seemed to me that my progress was too slow, so I took some lessons with a private teacher.
    After I got started, it was easier for me to continue by myself, using books, tapes and web sites.
    This works for a certain level, and also if you have some Thai friends that can assist you.

    However, I think that beyond "Thai for begginers" , going on a language course must be very useful, and I am not sure books alone can make a good progress.

    Another benefit that I found in learning with a teacher, is distinguishing between phrases. Not everything that you learn "on the street" is polite and appropriate in other situations.....

    Anyway, I would like to hear more opinions myself.
    Good-luck Mike!
    it\'s my party and I\'ll cry if I want to.

  3. #3
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    I haven't learned Thai (yet), but I can give my opinion drawing on my experiences with another language (which was also very different from english and had complex verbs and a difficult alphabet, so there are some similarities). I took about a week of lessons before I decided that they weren't for me, and they gave me a base in verb structure (not needed with Thai I guess). Then I found a restaurant which was always pretty empty, and the owner was a great guy and nice enough to help me. I ate there twice a day, and we listened to the radio, had conversation, read the paper, just all around practice, with him translating whatever I didn't understand. I found this great and I ended up learning the language very quickly. Of course I tried to speak it as much as possible with friends also (as well as reading language books). After three months I could pretty much talk to everyone around me and hold interesting conversations. I guess this counts as having a teacher, but it wasn't in a class setting and it wasn't structured at all. I thought it was much better than the classes, because classes move so slowly and sometimes there are different levels of people.... Also, you can just skip anything you know already and focus on whatever you want each day.
    I just reread all that, and I don't know if it was helpful at all. I hope it was

  4. #4
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    talking

    For Mike, Talu, Roni, and others who are wanting to attend what I feel is the best Intensive Thai course offered...

    Check out the 10-week summer studies program at the University of Wisconsin (USA) in Madison. You get one-year's worth of accredited university-level foreign language in about 10 weeks' time. All major southest Asia languages are offered at different levels of fluency. Native speakers are the instructors.

    In 1994 I took beginning Thai. It was grueling...a chapter a day! But, having studied other languages--German, Spanish, and Hmong--over much longer periods of time, I believe that an intensive course is the only way to really learn a language. [Well, really, the very best way would be an intensive course in the country where that language is spoken.]

    Click onto SEASSI for more information. This program is attended by business people, government officials, and just plain folks from around the world. It was also a super opportunity to make friends with others who are interested in really understanding a foreign language and culture. I'd sure like to attend again one of these years to either improve my Thai or get a handle on Vietnamese.

    ⢤մ
    Abandon wrongdoing. It can be done.
    Cultivate doing good. It can be done.

  5. #5
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    Thanks Talu, Roni and Brad for your replies and suggestions, it sounds like some kind of language course might be the way to go then. If anyone knows any good Bangkok based 1 on 1 courses to recommend, it would be appreciated.

    Talu, I absolutely agree about the need to distinguish between 'street' Thai and 'proper' Thai, I'm not sure it would really help saying something like ֧ to a police officer for instance

  6. #6
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    Somchart always gets good reviews from people. Their name kept coming up when we were doing research. You can do one on one and the prices are good too. Basically, they will use any book they want you to do. But, I think with you, the best thing is conversation.

    Somchart Thai Language School
    9 Sukhumwit Soi 19
    Sukhumwit Road, Bangkok, 10110
    Tel: 0-2651-2735-6
    Fax: 0-2651-2736
    e-mail: chutima_tumthamarong@hotmail.com

  7. #7
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    Anyone have any experience with these schools over a long period of time? I started at the NISA language school and eventually stopped to learn on my own. Now my fluency is up and I'm able to get through most daily conversations and would like to start learning again.

    Problem is I'd rather focus on conversation rather than reading and writing as I can pick up usage fairly quickly and tones aren't too much of a problem. People say you need to be able to read in order to pronounce properly, but thus far it's worked ok for me and I'd like to continue with conversation.

    Can't seem to find a school with a conversation-based curriculum. It all seems to be based around reading/writing.

    Can anyone help?

  8. #8
    katie4311 Guest

    so happy!

    Hey, wow! This is a really good question!

  9. #9
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    I think it's pretty safe to say that you probably won't find a school with a conversation-based curriculum. I think a school like that would not last very long because in most people's eyes it would seem shady. Or un-professional. I kind of agree with this because it's really hard to structure lessons around conversational learning. It would be like paying someone for a chat. I think your best bet is to find many different people to talk to and just keep asking about words they're using. It might seem kind of annoying (for the other person, that is), but it really is the best way to improve your conversation skills. And it's probably a hassle to keep looing for different schools.
    By the way, where'd you get the little animation for your picture?

  10. #10
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    Paying for a chat in Thai with somebody who explains you how to pronounce is useful!

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