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  1. #1
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    Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    Hi all

    I'm learning Thai from books (I don't live in Thailand) and I am just about to graduate "Beginner" level. So now I'm peering around the corner to try and figure out what to do next.

    Can anyone assist by sharing what it is you need to cover to "do" intermediate and advanced level learning?

    From what I can see, it is all about learning; then learning to recognise & apply; sets of increasingly complex grammar-rules. (Plus the extra vocabulary, of course).

    Is that it? If I learn all the grammar rules I can find and then slog through a thousand Mary Haas readers and tweet yourself thai articles, will I become Intermediate ? Or am I missing something ?

    Any recommendations on books ? (I've just bought Becker's 'Intermediate').

    As part of my 'peering around the corner' exercise, I've been looking at real thai (like song lyrics and documents I've pulled out of trash cans) and can't for the life of me see how the resources and approach I'm currently planning is going to get me to that level. Any tips on a roadmap ?


    any pointers appreciated

    thanks

    - - -

    For info: I know Becker's Thai for Beginners inside out. I can read and write script just fine. I've got about another ten 'beginner' books that I've read through, but not worked that closely with (notably Smyth - Teach Yourself Thai; Living Language Spoken World Thai; the US Foreign Services Institute course, the big Linguaphone course).

    Grammar resources (I've only dipped into these). Smyth - an Essential Grammar; Campbell/Chuan Shaweevongs - Fundamentals of the Thai Language; FSI Thai Reference Grammar; Werachai Settapun - Simple Thai Grammar; Becker - Thai for Intermediate learners).

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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    Well, just a note, you’re not gonna learn “all the grammar rules” in Thai, so don’t waste the time on that fruitless endeavor. Once you get the basics down, and can recognize words meanings by looking at them, (notice I said a word’s meaning, NOT how to correctly pronounce it), you’re ready to start more “intermediate” reading.

    I found life after a "beginning learner" of the Thai language to not have all that many quality resources. I can’t comment about the Mary Haas stuff, as I’ve never read it, and only perused the FSI stuff. I have found very little 'new' (as in contemporary) material for Intermediate learners. It's mostly that same old song and dance beaten to death, recycled stuff like; "Thai culture", Holidays in Thailand", "Provinces in Thailand", "The history of Thailand (according to the Thais)" <- this one is worth the read in only to see the stark contrast between how Thais "spin their history" and what the general world consensus is about the history of Thailand. Most of that stuff is so filled with not so subliminal messages about Thai culture that there’s very little reason to waste your time reading material of this nature.

    I started reading Andrew Biggs' books (of which there are now 16) and are designed to teach English to Thais. They're written in a light easy to understand manner that even a hi-beginner could understand without all that much trouble. I also picked up a couple books by Christopher Wright (known to the Thais as "Chris Delivery" because of his Friday nite t/v show). The reason I chose this type of book is the examples are very good (at least in Andrew Biggs' books) about how things are said in Thai versus how things are said in English.

    I've moved on to reading what I call "trash teen romance novels" (most of the stuff I buy is put out by Anit Publishing). They have a series called เรื่องเล่า... and they're easy reads too. Seeing as teens the world over experience the same things as far as love, love lost, jealousy, teen angst, etc, the stories are easy to follow. Because they're written "first person" as far as the narrative, they have a lot of "real life" spoken Thai conversations too. This can show you the differences between how Thai is written and how it's spoken.

    Lastly I picked up a set of inexpensive work books about the Thai language for grades ป.1 - ป.6. These are nothing more than a reviews and tests as far as Thai language is concerned. Again very helpful and easy to get thru although they get progressively harder as the grade level increases.

    You can also Google เรื่องสั้น (short story) and get some interesting stuff to read out in internet land too. Also you can go to the Thai only forums like Pantip, etc and read the topics.

    What ever you do to further your learning of Thai, remember buy books or read material on topics which interest you. There is nothing worse than tryin' to plow your way thru a book or a story in Thai which you don't have an interest in. It's beyond tough, in fact it's mind wobbling. ..

    Good luck; hope some of the things I mentioned pique your interest.

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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    Which I also found interesting are Books which are well-known all over the World like Fairy Tales, Harry Potter, or any kind of Children Books/Stories - this way you can also buy the English Book and compare the English to the Thai Version, or you read the Book first in English so you already know the Story and then again in Thai, or you read the first Chapter in English, the next in Thai and so on and see if you can still follow the Story Plot.

    There are many possibilities to play around like this - you will even notice that sometimes the Thai Translation nearly has nothing to do with the Original (English) Version, as Thais might choose Proverbs/Sayings etc. which have nothing to do with the English Equivalent and can only be understood by Thais.
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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    I would not bother,as unless you spend a lot of time here whats the point doing more than you already know, as for me the next step would be to interact with real people and make your skills fun, and work for you,

    but if you want the extra your talking about, i suggest get a IP address changer, and put you IP as Thailand and have fun on Google searching for what ever interests you, or just get Thai Facebook friends, your learn more slang and real thai flavor than you will in any intermediate book, typing in thai will bring you into a whole new world.
    cheers ian

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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    I would head to your nearest Thai temple and spend time there.

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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    Well, I hafta disagree with "ian71" because I honestly believe there ain't such a thing as knowing too much Thai, EVER.

    Seeing as I’m retarded, err I mean I’m retired, I have the luxury of time on my side. I usually study Thai a couple hours a day either via the internet reading, practicing writing or typing, and reading Thai books.

    Face it, the more Thai you know, the better you sound when you speak and the more "fluid" (NOT fluent) your Thai becomes. Thai is much more a vocabulary driven language than English is. I actually read a paper someone wrote a while back that pointed out with about a 300 English word vocab you can carry on 80+% of your day to day conversation; where as to speak that same level of Thai a person needed a vocab of way more than a THOUSAND words. Sadly I can't find that paper or I'd link to it.

    Possessing a good vocabulary also increases your understanding of how both the language and these people "tick". Early on, yes, you put in a lotta time learning to say not all that much as far as useful stuff. You do reach a tipping point with the language and things suddenly 'click' faster and make more sense. It just takes time.

    I sat a conversational Thai class the other day and there was a student in there who could “parrot phrozen phrasez” (sentence constructs which NEVER change) very well. I mean he was perfect with intonation, accent, etc. However once he had to “go off script” his Thai got awful rough awful fast. It all boiled down to him not possessing enough vocabulary to “free speak” Thai.

    Another poster mentioned headin' off to a temple (but I dunno how much that really pays off for someone here in Thailand). In Bangkok there're temples all over the place, yet those monks aren't the chattiest people I've come across here in Thailand.

    It's my experience that the older monks are in fact pretty down right 'un-chatty', even though they don't appear to be doin' all that much during the day but sittin' around. I tried to talk to a couple of them here in Bangkok at temples but didn't get all that far.

    The younger ones, like the guys who're just in for a little while are better to converse with, IF you can pry the I-Pod outta their ear. I have chatted with several of them before. You know, the guys in to the monk-hood for various short stints mostly as a face gaining dealy for their families. They're just normal kids doin' time at a temple, and countin' the days till they can get back to their "real world" lives.

    Still there's tons of stuff available on the internet and even typing Thai characters (or cutting and pasting them if you don't have a Thai keyboard) will turn up good stuff. You certainly don’t need to get an IP addy changer for that (what ever that actually is).

    Chat speak Thai is fun to decipher (seeing as it's spelled so squirrelly) and often interesting to read, but other than a distraction it's got very little practical application.

    As I said, there is a TON of stuff out there, you just gotta put in the time to find it.

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  12. #7
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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    Hi Tod,

    as you are also always interested in Slang คำแสลง, Teenage Language ภาษาวัยรุ่น / ภาษาเด็กแนว or however you will name it, here are 2 Books which might be of interest for you:

    Book Title:

    พจนานุกรมคำใหม่ เล่ม 1 ฉบับราชบัณฑิตยสถาน

    พจนานุกรมคำใหม่ เล่ม 2 ฉบับราชบัณฑิตยสถาน

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I think you get them at Chula Bookstore near MBK and in any Se-Ed Bookstore etc.
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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    Thanx for those dictionary recommendations "djaidee".

    Yesterday I went to 3 - Se/Ed shops, 2 - B2S shops and Kinokuniya at Paragon. So a total of SIX bookstores yet not a single place had those books.

    I’ll keep looking, and maybe call Chula Books today. ..

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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tod-Daniels View Post

    I'll keep looking, and maybe call Chula Books today. ..
    My favorite bookstore! In the past I was able to locate books there which were hard to find in Bangkok. I was also able to get from there a Thai-English English-Thai pocketbook dictionary for 40 Baht which has been doing a very good job in serving my needs for the past five years or so.

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    Re: Life after 'for beginners' - what to do ?

    hi guys,
    tod basically a ip changer is what stops you from going on any computer here in Thailand and any page your looking for coming up in Thai script,

    Ok its not hard to find the English tab to change it but that was my idea from if you are outside the country and wanted to improve your thai rather than paying out for books and stuff, as its all out there on the internet.as for me and many others i just go to google to search for what im looking for.

    Dont get me wrong i agree you can never learn enough thai, its just at a level that you can read and write thai script i believe your better spending your time mixing with real people rather than just looking for the intermediate type book, as here chatting to real thai's or online is where you will make more progress.


    plus i think there is a huge amount of beginner books out there with a lot of stuff in them way past beginner level once you can read and write thai script. Im amazed at whats in some of my old books when i give them a second look once my ability's have improved. As if like me most of us must have a stack high of Thai learning books, most with the title beginner in them and most with stuff in them way past novice level.
    cheers ian

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