Sunday, 25 April 2010

Fourth Week Learning Thai


A bit dry this post, it doesn't feel right trying to analyse the learning process but on the other hand it is very instructive, I could never have thought back to this point, because all I would have remembered was that I was making progress. The purpose of this post is really to describe to my future self and to anyone who may actually know how to speak Thai what is happening. Just because listening input doesn't make for exciting videos doesn't mean that nothing is happening.

I am going to summarise my fourth week learning Thai and then skip a week of summary (so I will summarise the fifth and sixth week together. I am writing a few notes as I go along but falling behind on all the things I want to post. For the fourth week I was mostly listening to lessons, a bunch from Youtube and mp3's from Itunes, mostly just letting them wash over me and listening whilst doing something else (I usually listen to the Youtube videos rather than watch them) . I am not making any effort to learn words but occasionally picking up some, and occasionally paying special attention to something. Towards the end of the week I started getting enthusiastic about listening again, after the realisation that Thai is Thai (important milestone) I dropped of listening for a few days but picking up a few words from the lessons I suddenly wanted to listen again.

I am now paying much more attention to sentences than before, also noting that I am acquiring words, which is not the same as learning them (I have deliberately learned one word) only. Most of the words I now know (although only in a limited way so far), I have managed to identify in in films and or radio and or mp3s of real Thai people talking real Thai, this gives me a great deal of confidence going forward, also as am note "learning" words, I don't have any stress forgetting them, if I can't recall a word, I just haven't learned it yet.


Most of the words I know are being identified in real Thai now and chains form. I hear aroi aroi in a story and next time I pick up the a-han (food) so now have food delicious. I hear a phrase that seems to mean "can you understand?" rather than the easier "do you understand?", but I struggle somewhat to recreate it now kun kao-jai dai mai? perhaps. If I have started picking up some related words then they start adding words around them, when a close word washes by in a lesson I suddenly pay attention tee-nee (remember I heard this sound right at the beginning of my Thai journey) here -> tee-nai where -> tee-non there.

Little words are coming through that I pick up when listening to lessons, I am not really concious of knowing them but when I hear them in real Thai I know what they mean and the process of hearing them fixes them. Chok-dee (good luck), a while ago I recognised the dee was the same dee as in sabai-dee, sawat-dee etc. dee maak? The best one was drong-bai straight ahead, for some unaccountable reason I hate lessons about directions I skip them, but I listened to one once and though nothing had sunk in, then watching a video where it was pretty obvious that someone was giving directions I heard drong-bai, knew what it meant and won't forget it.

Starting to desconstruct and reconstruct, once knew that tam-nan was to work, tam-ahan make food, then realized that ahan was food nan could be used separately as could tam. Know enough words now to hold some phrase like rau jeur gan mau-rai dee? when shall we meet? Listening to a lesson where they are going to tell me how to say "feels very good" my mind automatically fills in roo-suk dee maak part of me is thinking can roo-suk be used that way or is just for feeling something like pom roo-suk blur) turns out it can be used that way.

Heard sa-nook dee, guessing this means good fun (it seems right in context), heard sa-nook a few times now wonder if you can say sa-nook dee maak? I like playing like this sa-nook na.

lots of choob and mai choob like, don't like. pom choob rian pasa thai!

Heard apple, one of the lesson hosts somewhere is called apple the mp3s start off sawat dee ka, chan chu apun. So whem I hear a couple of guys talking about ipods and iphones then hear apun I can be pretty sure they are talking about Apple. So the fruit starts, but I don't want to go too far down that route. ;)

Brain dump over

The vast majority of what I listen to still means nothing to me, the brain dump above is just to demonstrate that stuff is happening because as I keep saying watching a video of a guy with head phones on would be pretty boring. the phonetics I am using are non-standard, possibly borrowing a little from what I have seen in places, the brain dump of observations is far from everything but hopefully enough for demonstration purposes of the methodology for now.

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