Saturday, November 29, 2008


Quick update:
Still working through Thai for Advanced Readers. Just finished 1st go at the last reading; now it's on to newspaper articles, translations not included. It's been going pretty well; the vocabulary is difficult but I've been able to grasp most of it. Once in a while there's a sentence I can't grok even after checking the translation, but it's really just once in a while.

As for listening: currently watching Rak Nee Hua Jai Rao Jong; the two characters are stranded on a desert island. Wacky hijinks ensue. Still only grasping words here and there.

Bought two CDs from Doobadoo and Modern Dog. Putting some Thai music in my iPod rotation should help things.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


I'm on the 5th episode of a Thai "lakorn" (prime-time soap opera mini-series?) called หัวใจ (heart of) Chocolate. Started watching to improve my "ear" for the spoken language and it's helped a lot. But I've also honestly gotten sucked in to the story. The destied couple is kind of boring but I like the tomboy and the "wacky" guy that talks fast.

I mostly read the subtitles and try to anticipate what will be said. They're fan-made and sort of overly literal, which is actually a bonus. I can now "hear" common phrases pretty consistantly,. (Noticing a lot of english loanwords peppered in- "tomboy" being one!) Any sentence longer than a few words and I can only catch bits and pieces. Which is to be expected, obviously. My vocab is scant and even if I know every word in a sentence, that doesn't mean I can parse the grammar quickly enough. ANOTHER problem is the frequent use of names as pronouns, so you have to remember each character's name. Which are usually short and mistakable for words. But getting tuned to the sounds is making my reading faster and that's helping the other areas. Still should do some vocab drills though! Half-assed and haphazard is right.

Also argh I learned ร as a trilled [r], knowing it sometimes was pronounced [l], but it seems [l] is more common so I need to adjust for this. The dropping of the 2nd consonants in consonant clusters also vexes me. But OH WELL that's the way language works, there's no "standard."

Been reading on linguistics recently. I'll try to write some posts connecting the things I'm learning to Thai. Some of it is esoteric and more interesting than useful to me, but some of it really helps snap things into focus. Obviously you can learn a language while knowing nonce about how it works: all children aquire spoken language automatically. But as busy adults, I'm starting to think a passing knowledge in linguistics really helps.