Sunday, 22 August 2010

Sights Sounds and Smells

I am back on track (more about that in a later post). The first language I tried to learn was Mandarin Chinese, Mandarin has a huge advantage over Thai (for the remote learner) in that as I pointed out here: there are a lot of Chinese speakers. It is relatively easy to find them, relatively easy to get access to the language either actively or just to listen to how it is used in real life situations.

Ideally I would like to be able to wander around somewhere like here, listen observe, start getting involved:

There would seem to be a huge advantage to learning a language in the place that it is naturally spoken. Not long ago I was at an English market that had a stall selling home made Asian/Indian foods (run by an English lady). It was a very popular store, I had to queue, at the front of the queue were what appeared to be an older Thai lady and her daughter, the daughter acting as interpreter and dealing with the things the elder lady wanted. I wasn't close enough to hear much but at one point the elder lady inhaled deeply and clearly said "hom" and indeed the food did smell wonderful. Imagine if the whole market was full of this, สนุกดีใช่ไหม?

A while ago I was working with a contractor who had developed a passion for Thailand, he started learning Thai in the early 1970's, at one point he traveled to London just to get hold of some recordings of Thai speech, until that point he had never heard Thai, everything he knew was in books (not very helpful books at that), how things have changed, I guess I shouldn't complain.

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