Download the transcript for the video here.
In the video above, I interviewed my boyfriend, who speaks Thai really well. He was one of my Thai students a few years ago.
In the interview, he talks about how and why he started learning Thai, advice he has for other foreigners learning Thai, things he struggled with, and general tips.
He will summarize the key takeaways from the video.
Why did you start learning Thai?
I started learning Thai because I went to Thailand a few years ago with a Thai friend. His family only spoke Thai, and I set a goal for myself that I will speak Thai the next time I go to Thailand.
I went online and found a Thai teacher through italki (referral link). The Thai teacher I found was Grace 😅.
I will speak more in-depth about my experience learning Thai in another article.
Did you have any experience learning a foreign language?
I did not have experience learning another foreign language. Thai was the first foreign language I tried to learn.
I did speak Spanish, but that’s because my parents are Spanish-speaking.
Was learning Thai hard, and what is hard about learning Thai?
It’s very important you find material that uses authentic Thai
I think learning Thai is challenging, but so is learning any foreign language. The important thing is to not give up.
When I started learning, I just started, I had no preconceptions on how hard learning a language is.
The hardest part for me was the tones. Especially because, at first, I didn’t place any importance on tones. This came back to bite me when I went to Thailand the first time, and every Thai person had a difficult time understanding me.
Another very difficult part of Thai is listening. A lot of the learning materials out there don’t speak in a natural way. For example, the content might not talk at regular speed, the content might not include particles, might not use slang, etc.
It’s very important you find material that uses authentic Thai, especially once you are out of the beginner stage.
Here are a few examples of authentic Thai you can learn from
Is learning to read and write Thai hard?
I thought learning to read and write was not too difficult. Because there is a formula to learning to read Thai. Once you memorize the rules, there are few exceptions.
It’s just a matter of sitting down and memorizing the rules.
Thai isn’t like English, where one spelling can give you many sounds (i.e., read, read).
Also, many letters make the same sounds. Although you have to be careful because the tone can change depending on the letter.
When learning to read it’s important to also learn how to figure out the tones. But again, there are rules for that, you can find here.
Do you plan on living in Thailand?
Yes, before Coronavirus, I was going to go live in Thailand.
Although I am already at a pretty good level, I am sure living in Thailand will help me improve. I will have many more Thai people to speak to there, I will also have way more opportunities to listen and read Thai.
I’ll also have many more opportunities to learn things through Thai. This will help me learn many new vocabulary from different fields. For example, learning Muay Thai with a Thai teacher all in Thai, learning to cook with a Thai teacher all in Thai, etc.
Does having a Thai girlfriend help you speak Thai better?
Yes! This is because any question I have, I have someone I can immediately ask and get an answer.
Also, I get lots of practice speaking with her and her parents.