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High intermediate thai reading
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  1. #1
    tonbo Guest
    Hi everyone,

    I want to say that this site and the information about the Thai language, culture and country here has been fantastically helpful! Thanks to all those involved for taking the time and trouble to do this.

    I have been studying Thai seriously for about 18 months now. I am very keen on being able to speak well and also to be able to read Thai at a high level - newspapers, modern Thai literature and so on. Most of the material on this site (and some others) is mostly geared to beginners -- that's natural. Also some of the material on this site (Interview with a pop star, for example, and Gor's English and Thai essays [which I can't find now -- have they been removed??]) has been very useful indeed.

    My problem now (and I am sure there are others like me) is that I can read easy Thai and also quite difficult Thai if I have some English vocab help and other hints. I can just about read newspaper articles and so on if I spend hours and hours looking in the dictionary!! I also know that if I get really stuck with something I can get help here, which is really good.

    What I would like to request/suggest is that we start an intermediate Thai reading section here for people who have "graduated" beginner Thai and want to go on to serious reading (and speaking) in Thai. There is not (as far as I know&#33 anything like this on the web -- why can't this be the first site to do it. I'd love to help out with the reading selections and the English help, and perhaps other Thai learners on this forum would like to help out too.

    What do you think, both webmasters and forum members???

    Look forward to hearing from you....

    Tonbo

  2. #2
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    Hi Tonbo, I agree with you there is not that much intermediate material out there, either on the web or in language learning books. Though there is a fair bit intermediate stuff already on the site (interview, Aesop stories, reader's digest), more is always welcome of course

    The essays/translations that I think you mean are at gorsworld.com, which is a very useful site for practising.

    The Bangkok Post 'phuut phaasaa thai' and the more advanced 'Translate it' sections are useful too
    http://www.bangkokpost.com/education/site2002/pusum.htm
    http://www.bangkokpost.com/education...02/trsum02.htm

  3. #3
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    Thanks Tonbo for your suggestions. We are actually trying to have things on the web sites for different learners from beginners to advanced. That's why we are jumping around a lot with the lessons and not finishing one section first.

    My column for the Bangkok Post can be found at gorsworld.com. That is being updated at the moment. There are 25 students working on translations as I write the column in English. I guess they won't be finished for a month as everything has to be checked first. If you want to try translating from English to Thai then you are welcome. It is not easy for you to do it that way. You can find the latest columns at the Bangkok Post web site. If you do translate one of the columns correctly I will credit you on the web site.

    We will do more articles in Thai with keywords but it takes times to do this. If you are willing to help then I would be grateful. We could post some Thai stories on the board and then maybe you could pick some "new words" with translations in English.

    Did you see the extracts from a story book by Enid Blyton that Richard posted on the forum last week? Is that kind of thing useful to you?

    Click here to see these extracts.
    Support the forum and chat rooms and buy computer software and books for learning Thai at www.BuyThaiBooks.com

  4. #4
    tonbo Guest
    Hi all,

    Thanks very much Mike and Nattawud (I know you're "Gor"...) for the info and links. It will take me a while to look at all the stuff (!&#33 but in the meantime a few comments:

    1) I definitely could not translate English into Thai yet!! That's going to take me a few years more, I'm sure.

    2) Nattawud, I think you posted an article about traffic accidents in Thai and English on the next topic -- although the content is very sad, that's just the kind of thing I'm looking for. Thanks! There must be lots of that on the web somewhere so I will explore some more.

    3) Articles in Thai with key words to help intermediate students of Thai... yes!! I will definitely help with that! A few weeks ago I ordered and bought from your online bookstore "Snow White" in Thai and English. It took me a few days to read the Thai (as fairy tales tend to use slightly arcane language -- I really liked "Puu dai ngaam lert nai bathapii?"!&#33 but I now have the "difficult" words all written in a notebook, page by page. Is there any copyright problem about posting vocabulary and notes on the web??? (Note: I do not have a Thai system in my computer and using the online virtual keyboard might take some time. I am using Windows ME Japanese version and there might be a problem with putting a Thai keyboard system in it -- nobody has been able to help me so far. I would like to be able to wordprocess and write email in Thai.)

    I will post again when I've looked at the links.

    Thanks again.

    Tonbo

  5. #5
    tonbo Guest
    Hi again Nattawud and Mike and all,

    I tried the new year holiday traffic accident article and it took me a long time to look up the words -- I am about halfway through it! If I know the words I can read it -- that's why we "intermediate" learners need vocabulary help (and some hints about the content, and help when we get stuck). I also found the King's New Year Message to the Thai People on the net with a short English precis. Again the problem was vocabulary -- I could read the message quite easily because it is quite clear what the King is saying, though I would probably fail a vocabulary test on specific meanings of words.

    Again I'll be happy to share vocabulary notes on these pages if anyone is interested. (I'm trying to figure out the best way of writing Thai pronunciation in the English alphabet that is both accurate and shows the tones, and at the same time can be written on the computer easily e.g. using html. Does anyone have any preferences??)

    THE BEST reading material for me right now is Nattawud's "Gor's World" essays. I see Mike has made a brave attempt to translate one Eng -> Thai -- a feat I will not attempt yet. But great because these are great intermediate Thai reading materials, at my stage only about one or two words a section -- just right for fast, extensive reading. Nattawud, if you would like help creating vocabulary lists and examples, and some kinds of exercises for these essays (I see you're preparing to do this but many have not been done) I will be happy to help. I have some time this month. (In February I will be in Thailand -- yeah&#33 and in March I have to prepare for a new job, but later this year I will have more time to help you again. Do you have any ideas about *where* you would like me to start or *what* you would like me to start helping you with???

    I looked at some of the Enid Blyton and other material (Aesop's Fables) and that did not turn me on and was perhaps too easy for me -- other people will find it useful/fun though, I'm sure.

    I found a couple of Reader's Digest jokes which were very funny. Also the conversations recorded by the 6th Grade (?) students were GOOD. Useful and also (since the students are not aware of how they speak&#33 VERY NATURAL and I learned some very interesting things about Thai pronunciation that you would not get from a textbook!

    Looking at the Bangkok Post pages, the gap in language level between the "Phoot phaasaa Thai" and the "Translate it" sections was so large that effectively there is little help for intermediate learners (the main point of this topic). Still lots of explanation and English translations, so useful. It seems the "hump" with Thai (as perhaps with most languages) is the vocabulary. Straightforward newspaper articles with help, fairly easy essays with help, songs, primary school Thai language textbooks (e.g. 2nd and 3rd grade), and perhaps short stories with help seem to be the best materials (I have tried reading Lao Khamhorm's (I think that's right) short stories but have run into the same problems with vocabulary...

    Sorry to go on so long, but this is a complex topic! PLEASE can I have feedback from anyone who is experiencing the same kind of problem and would like help and/or would like to help out by helping to produce interesting materials for intermediate learners/readers. And of course Nattawud and Mike, who I hope will reply with specific requests, suggestions and so on.

    All suggestions, requests, comments, complaints, etc. welcome. Thanks for reading this far!

    Tonbo

  6. #6
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    Thanks for your ideas and offering to help Tonbo. None of us are working full time (we have other duties) and it sometimes takes time to do everything. The school has 20 dot com sites and I probably help out on at least five sites.

    (1) Yes, I would be interested to see what you have done for that traffic accident story. Can you post your translation/vocab notes please under that story?

    Maybe we will do this as a once a week thing? Then, once the Thai/English translations have been finished and the vocab notes finished we will move it to the web site.

    I wasn't sure if I should tell you or not, but I do have an English translation already!! But, as there is more than one way to translate something you and other people might be interested to compare.

    (2) Writing Thai words in English letters is not easy. No-one can agree on this.

    (3) The gors world web site is not launched yet. (So many sites not ready to launch). It is on early as we want to test it out and get feedback. The site has about 15 english essays so far. I think I have another 20 or so I have already written. About 8 stories on the site have been translated into Thai. Ten more have been finished by students in their English lesson and are being chcked now. If someone wants to do a translaion of one that is already traslated I don't mind putting that on the web site too.I don't think it hurts to have more than one version for each story. We will of course credit anyone who does translations.

    The way you can help at the moment is doing vocab notes for "new words". Shall I post stories in Thai once or twice a week for you and other people to work on? what do you think?

    Also, the songs that we post twice a week in Thai. If you could post vocab for them too that would be great.

    Support the forum and chat rooms and buy computer software and books for learning Thai at www.BuyThaiBooks.com

  7. #7
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    You know, you could ways try reading books for Thais learning english. Women's magazines, for want of a better term, are also useful, particularly interviews in question-and-reply format (lots of colloquial speech).

    Two books for Thais on how to read newspaper stories in English have been published in the last 12 months. The authors take stories from the Bangkok Post and Nation and explain them. They give the story as it was published originally, in English, then give a Thai translation; they also provide vocab lists.

    These stories are easier than the translations you find on the Bangkok Post website. They are also recent, so they won't bore you to tears.

    I think what you're really saying is you don't like looking up words in the dictionary. I don't either, if I go at it for too long, but I'm afraid that's all part of the slog!

  8. #8
    tonbo Guest
    Hi mrentoul

    Absolutely right -- all part of the slog! But perhaps we can make it easier for each other by posting articles with notes/translations and vocabulary here. This is my third Asian foreign language (after Japanese and Chinese) and the net didn't exist when I did the first two, so it was just slog, slog, slog!

    Can you please give references for the two books published during the last year on reading English newspapers for Thais? I have also heard at least one similar book for non-Thais to read Thai language newspapers was "coming out" but have not seen details yet. Any info?? Much appreciated!

    Tonbo

  9. #9
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    Tonbo,

    Please give me another day to get back to you with details of those books. I am writing this from work, and all my stuff is at home.

    There's actually a heap of stuff to choose from in bookstores here in Bangkok (I know you're writing from overseas, but I'll pass this on anyway). I found a book a few weeks ago which gives Thai translations of English-language love poems, including vocab lists.

    I like this book very much. The poems are lovely, much more interesting than reading language books, and the Thai sounds so sweet!

    If language is your thing, there are plenty of those books on offer as well. I have one for Thais on English sayings, one on phrasal verbs, yet another on prepositions.

    I find another useful way of learning words is to read signs. I know that sounds tame, but I find the context in which you read these things - a visit to the hospital or bus station, or even a quick look at formal documents like application forms and power bills - helps you absorb the words. You might like to ask a Thai friend to send you a handful of stuff - any old stuff - he pulls out of his mailbox!

    I sit by the TV every day and take down words I hear. Later I look them up. If you can read, finding words in a dictionary is easy.

    Despite the huge number of words you're likely to encounter reading books, surprisingly few seem to come up in everyday speech. You can also get your message across with surprisingly few words, I find.

    Sometimes I go through the dictionary and read out words to my long-suffering Thai room-mate. I ask him if he knows the word and ever uses it. Often he'll know it, but just as often he never uses it.

    Reading does expose you to words and how they are used, but it is only part of the suffering - oops, enjoyment - of learning a language, don't you think?

  10. #10
    tonbo Guest
    Hi again mrentoul

    Thanks for your reply. Basically agree. I have two European friends who speak Thai fluently and cannot read Thai script. Fine. ONE of my aims is to be able to "speak" Thai and I know that can be done on a fairly minimal vocab. ANOTHER of my aims is to be able to read newspapers and modern literature as (for me) that's the best way to get right into the culture. (Also reading helps reinforce speaking skills and vice-versa and thus the slightly neurotic emphasis I am placing on accuracy in transcription and so on in an attempt to avoid bad habits that will be hard to cure later.)

    I will be in Thailand next month and always visit the bookstores in Siam Sq and so on so I guess I'll be able to pick up a book or two. I'd be very grateful if you could just give me titles of the one or two books (for Thais or non-Thais) that you think have been MOST useful for you. No hurry on this. Thanks.

    When I get a bit more time I will start to post (as Mike has) articles etc with translations and vocab lists. That will help me and others as well, I hope. All part of the fun.

    Cheers for now

    Tonbo

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