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Learning thai as a second language

View Poll Results: Learning thai as a second language - General question on reading/writing thai

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  • consonents

    0 0%
  • vowels

    0 0%
  • tones

    7 70.00%
  • how it is totally not an english alphabet

    0 0%
  • other - explain

    3 30.00%
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  1. #1
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    which part of reading/ writing thai is hardest?

  2. #2
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    The system of language, like any complex system, is not simply comprised of its individual component parts. To learn the component parts is simply an exercise in memorizing lists of symbols. The real complexity lies in the interactions of the various components, given the rules of grammar. One must remember the classes of consonants and when rules pertaining to vowels and tone symbols apply. As far as Thai goes, which is a tonal language, this becomes extremely important. As an English speaker, if someone speaks anything even close to English, regardless of the quality of the pronounciation, I can usually understand their meaning. If someone does not pronounce correctly in Thai, the average native Thai speaker will be hard pressed to determine what he or she is trying to say.
    Life is learning. If you stop learning, you might as well be dead.

  3. #3
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    ya those different tones.... can someone explain them to me?

  4. #4
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    Try here for the Tones.
    if you can't find the needle, burn the haystack

  5. #5
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    there are 5 tones right? in a language such as chinese, there are 4 - high, rising, falling, and falling/rising.

    if u say the same thing in all 5 tones, will it mean 5 different things?

  6. #6
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    Yes you can have the same word mean different things depending on the tone.

    Try this (which means "New wood doesn't burn, does it?")

    maai mai mai mai mai

    Or try to not tell your girlfriend she's bad luck when you mean something else:
    suay -- bad luck
    suay -- beautiful

    English has lots of words which are spoken the same but mean different things: there, they're, their as one example and like in Thailand the context is where the true meaning comes from.

    For me the tones has to be the hardest part of learning Thai because in English we don't use tones in the same way but with practice I might crack it one day
    if you can't find the needle, burn the haystack

  7. #7
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    Vietnamese even has 6 Tones, so Thai is rather easy and simple in learning.
    Just kidding
    My interesting blog about Thailand at Thailand Blog ---> click here

  8. #8
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    Looking at the spoken matter of the language, sure i'd say the tones. Geez to this day, if it's a word i don't use often i'll probably cock the tone up.

    However, i feel that foreigners often pay too much attention to the tones when first beginning to learn. Instead, i try to stress the importance of the vowel sounds and next the correct pronuciation of the consonants.

    As a beginner, even if you get the tone wrong, well nevermind you'll probably be understand if you have used the word in it's correct context, just like in English.

    But if you mess up a tricky vowel sound it will be far harder to get your message across.

    When i was first practicing my spoken Thai, looking back now, i felt that i tried too hard and pondered 'What tone is this and in what tone is that' thus i was inhibited to speak.

    Same goes to foreigner learners of English who pay too much attention to grammar instead of just bucking up their confidence by 'just speaking'

    And ya thought 5 tones were difficult! If i'm right the Cantonese dialect has 8!! (Isn't that right Singaporean regulars??)
    www.thai-blogs.com - Stories and Photos about Life in Thailand
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  9. #9
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    I agree with you stevesuphan. My last time in Thailand I didn't concentrate on tones very much but more on vocabulary and getting the words in the right order.

    Thai people were patient and more than helpful when I didn't know the word for something and they offered assistance everytime I was stuck which I found reassuring. It sounds like a cliche but they seemed pleased that I was trying to say more than just 'Hello' in their language. Having one person say that I was one of the first English people that she could understand (English and Thai) was like a bonus to me.

    I attempt tones a bit when I'm speaking but not having any Thai people to listen to and learn from back in Old Blighty doesn't help yet I still tried and I came away from Thailand with a lot more confidence than I arrived with. Finding the courage to start talking is one of the hardest parts if you ask me. Once that's been cracked you won't look back.
    if you can't find the needle, burn the haystack

  10. #10
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    And don&#39;t try to say words you are unsure of fast, as if nobody will notice you squeeze it in there. It is amazing how many people you hear try that&#33; >.<
    Steve&#39;s point of remembering vowel sounds and length is a very good point&#33;

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