This article was originally posted on WomenLearnThai.com.
Unmotivated to Study Thai? Just STOP IT!…
Last year I asked How Do You Motivate Yourself to Study Thai? Check out the answers in the comments – they’re great.
When I started researching for a followup post I collected resources for staying motivated to learn a foreign language, or most anything.
For the love of languages: How to stay motivated while learning languages
The Linguist: How to stay motivated in language learning – the mind and the brain
Success Consciousness: Motivation and How to Get Motivated
Pick the Brain: 7 Steps To Motivate Yourself
But then I found a hysterical video from Bob Newhart with a simple message anyone can follow: Just STOP IT!
That’s right. If you are bogged down with a zillion excuses to avoid studying your Thai lessons, Just STOP IT! It’s that simple.
5 thoughts on “Unmotivated to Study Thai? Just STOP IT!”
Hi Catherine,unmotivated person deserves nothing. Learning Thai requires a lot of thorough study and deep understanding. I agree with you.
Martin, when this post was going live I was knee deep in a week+ flu while packing to leave the country, so yes, I do know where you are coming from. But the STOP IT! I had the giggles over refers to the excuses we make that come rolling out as easy as breathing. Sometime we condition ourselves for excuses rather than push for the hard stuff (in this case, it’s making Thai studies a priority). Is today’s society built around excuses? I know I get away with more than my fair share.
Catherine – The statement ‘STOP IT’ sounds good but in reality the zillion and one excuses can be whittled down but for most people there will always be necessary things that get in the way of learning. Throw in a good bout of tiredness and ones list goes back up to a zillion and two….. or am I just making excuses.
I’ve just read the comments in your post How Do You Motivate Yourself to Study Thai?… and…. I’ll email you about it.
I’m going with “STOP IT!” and “don’t ever give up” – a powerful combo.
Well, it’s NO big secret that tryin’ to stay motivated enough while studyin’ this language can literally suck the life right out of a person. A couple things spring to my mind that nearly sucked the motivation to study Thai and very nearly the will to live in and amongst these people early on;
*The near constant corrections for small errors in pronunciation of Thai words which every Tom, Dick and Somchai thai-on-the-street in this country wanted to give me (as if they’re language teachers insteada just “native speakers”).
*The “spoon-fed” overly polite version of Thai foreigners are taught in the classrooms all over this country, yet which sound NOTHING like the Thai spoken everyday around us. This can be found in almost EVERY book on the language geared towards non-native learners. It’s almost as if they’re teaching us Thai in such an un-Thai way that we’re immediately pegged as non-native speakers or they’re teaching us the “version” of Thai they wished they spoke in a “perfect world” but in reality don’t.
To solve the first problem I mentioned, I memorized the phrase in Thai which carries the meaning of; “Oh you teach Thai to foreigners huh? Where did you go to school to learn that?” It’s a topic killer and now very few Thais who know me will ever correct my errantly toned Thai. The other phrase I memorized was; “If you understand what I said in Thai, DON’T correct me or we’ll switch to English only and I’ll correct you.” As you might guess, it’s another sentence which stops ‘em cold.
Keeping motivation in a group lesson setting (especially in those intensive classes) isn’t that hard because it’s fast paced and either you’re motivated to learn or you wash out. Keeping motivated in a self-study environment is far harder, and unless you are slightly OCD like I am and approach it with the mindset that if 65+ million people can do this (speak, understand, read and write Thai) so can I, it’s tough to remain motivated.
Sometimes people need to take a break, step back from it, and reassess their objectives as far as learning and their reasons behind learning Thai.
One last thing, I’ve met more foreigners who profess to be “fluent” in Thai than I can shake a stick at. I say fluency and the imaginary meaning it has is totally over-rated. More times than not they either have no idea what the word fluent means or they’ve started believing the complimentary crap fed to us by Thais when we speak and end up over estimating their actual Thai language ability. I tell people I don’t wanna be fluent; in fact I boast that I’m an “effluent” Thai speaker ;P
Either a person stops making excuses on why they can’t learn Thai, or they stop learning Thai. There’re just two paths diverging in this journey (and miles to go before I sleep).
So, STOP IT! (That’ll be 3 dollars unless you want the full 5 minutes..)