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?
There is a way to start becoming fluent in Thai without spending too many hours in a dreary language class. As a non-linguist who has found it difficult to learn languages in the past, I’ve developed a ‘Rapid’ approach.
I’ve simplified Thai – by throwing out anything that is superfluous, and then I’ve found ways to use what we already know and what already comes naturally to us.
For instance, what’s known as the ‘rising tone’ in Thai is simply the tone we use naturally when asking a question: “Are you fine?”… “Are you saam? [three]”
The ‘Rapid’ Method
My aim as the owner / author / developer is to find the most convenient, most enjoyable and most effective way to learn Thai.
In the case of learning to read Thai – an essential first step – it takes no time at all if you do it intensively. But I’m otherwise not really interested in intensive and ‘quick’ ways to learn. These methods usually involve taking time away from your work and social life and studying all day, every day, over several weeks or months.
I’m sure that you have a life! And no doubt you are also not the kind of person who gets pleasure out of reading a dictionary from cover to cover as bedtime reading...
The ‘Rapid’ method is designed to require as little time and effort as possible – and the little studying that is required must be as enjoyable as possible in its own right.
So if you don’t want to take off a weekend to attend a workshop – or devote two whole afternoons to follow the Read Thai in a Day ebook – then you can follow the course leisurely as part of your daily coffee break, 15 minutes a day… This is the laziest way, yet it is extremely effective. By the end of two months, you will be literate!
One man shamefully admitted that he had lived in Thailand for 8 years and still didn’t know how to even pronounce a single letter in the alphabet!
And my ‘fluency’ course is probably even more astonishing. Just one lesson a week (about an hour to 90 minutes) and 15 minutes a day for the remaining four days – and you will be able to speak fluently and understand 90% of an everyday conversation after about a year.* It takes most people 3-4 years of continuous, applied study at a Thai school at least twice a week to achieve the same level.
Read more about the Rapid Method here…
* This assertion is an estimation, which will be tested and tangibly measured in 2011. My definition of ‘fluency’ is to be able to speak naturally and at speed (but not always correctly) in an everyday conversation without thinking. You will not necessarily achieve high scores in academic measures of your linguistic skills. I also do not consider writing to be a necessary or desirable skill if you merely want to be a ‘fluent’ reader and conversationalist.