This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
These foreigners love Thai…
After studying languages on and off for the majority of my life, I’ve started to develop some theories as to what works and what doesn’t work. Thing is, I’m not an education expect, so it’s really all just guesses as to what’s best. A sample size of one doesn’t make a full research project.
Last week I got together three friends who all speak Thai fluently and asked them about their own tricks and techniques. It really interested me to find out that they all have different approaches, different ways to get to the same destination. The only thing I really found in common was an initial total immersion period of around a year where they didn’t socialize with people from their own country. Where they forced themselves to speak only Thai.
One other common factor is that everyone was motivated to learn Thai, they all really wanted to understand their adoptive homes through its language as much as possible.
After watching, I’d love to hear what you all think. My “research” still has a very small sample size, so let me know what works for you and what doesn’t.
Picnicly (no longer online)
3 thoughts on “Picnicly: These Foreigners Love Thai (Language)”
The German lady and the French gentleman are the most convincing of the four, though I say the former, slightly more, what do you reckon?
“The only thing I really found in common was an initial total immersion period of around a year where they didn’t socialize with people from their own country. Where they forced themselves to speak only Thai.”
I’ve interviewed two of the four (Luke and Mina/Bettina) and they are indeed accomplished Thai speakers. I didn’t realise the immersion connection but makes sense – many decent speakers jump in right away. Just look at Adam Bradshaw and Stu Jay Raj (no fussing around for them).
I’d be interested in interviewing the remaining two …
I take this as a light-hearted post… but if you really want to research what makes good language learners, there’s no need to focus on learners of Thai. There seems to be this myth that Thai is particularly difficult or even impossible to learn well, or that learning Thai requires secret tricks and techniques. This is not true. Thai is just a normal language like thousands of others. There are people who learn it well, and others who don’t, but this is true as well for learners of Arabic, Turkish, Korean, Cantonese etc. Given the analytic nature of Thai, it’s probably even rather easy when compared to some other large languages.