Why learn Thai?

Well, actually, you don’t need to learn Thai at all!

There are enough people who can speak or understand English – even (or especially) in business – that you can get by and live quite successfully in Thailand… for many years. Some expats have been here for 10 or 15 years and own or manage successful businesses, without speaking more than a smattering of Thai.

Besides, Thai is quite difficult and boring to learn – that is, if you go to a ‘traditional’ class or try to learn it the way it is conventionally taught.

Expats - Speaking Thai (not!) in Thailand

Thai is difficult to learn. Or is it?

The main trouble is that learning Thai is super boring and fiendishly difficult…!

Learning any language usually requires hundreds of hours of investment in time and effort. There are better things to do in life! Learning an obscure language like Thai isn’t one of them.

So why bother to learn Thai?

Nevertheless, there are subtle but significant advantages to being conversant and literate in Thai. The first quite simply is feeling confident about going out anywhere in Thailand without ever being afraid of getting lost!

The other is that you start to notice and understand and appreciate a ‘parallel world’ that is real Thailand – and you can start interacting with Thai people in a more personal way.

Is there an easier way?

An American in Phuket

Well, not just Americans and not just Phuket – any ‘farang’ in Thailand has to decide whether to bother learning Thai or just get by with English-speaking Thai people instead.

Here’s an extract from an article in the Phuket Post, to learn Thai or not to learn, that is the question:

We all know what life is like for a farang… Pretty damn good if we are to be truly honest. Sure, there is the odd bit of stereotyping and discrimination involved in being white in Phuket, I mean we’re all not here as sex tourists or here to exploit a cheaper workforce in order to profit ourselves are we? Some of us are here because we enjoy the lifestyle, the beaches and the food. Some of us take steps to become integrated into Thai society. Don’t we? Don’t you?

Even if you don’t then you’re still unlikely to experience many problems. You can re-create your little Western existence in Thailand without having to even acknowledge you are in a foreign country or even a foreigner.

English is a 'Tonal Language' - surprise, surprise!

In Chiang Mai, a woman came to the course who could already read after a fashion and speak fairly fluently – but she came because she had a great deal of confusion about the tones, and so never bothered to “read the tones” – previously she simply tried to recognize the tone from memory of her spoken Thai.

The ‘Rapid method’ clarified the whole issue for her.

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