Why you only know how to speak Thai like a “farang”…

Have you ever wondered why you still sound like a “farang” after taking months and months of Thai classes?

Have you ever had any problems not being understood by Thai people, or perhaps not understanding a word they say when they talk among themselves?

No, Thai people aren’t speaking too fast.

Just like how you wouldn’t want to speak English to them at 5 words per minute, you shouldn’t expect them to speak Thai to you the same way.

Thai people aren’t using fancy vocabulary or complex grammar either.  Most of them are just speaking naturally like how they would among themselves.

But why aren’t you able to understand them and still speaking like a “farang”?

Check out what we talked about at the Thai Bites – Road To Fluency seminar by Stuart Jay Raj to find out why:

Since there wasn’t enough time to finish our presentation and we had to skip a few slides, here’s what we had to say about Journey (our new textbook) and the art of teaching natural Thai:

Journey will teach you the realistic way that Thai people speak to each other, not Thai for “farangs” that no native speaker actually uses.

For example, Journey will approach the complex system of Thai personal pronouns by teaching you when to use formal pronouns like Phom, Dichan, Khun, and when you can just casually call yourself or others by name.

Journey will not be afraid to take you through the mysterious territory of final particles, words that cannot be directly translated but convey the moods, expectations, and intentions of the speaker.

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“Lâ” for example, is used like a spotlight.  When you put “lâ” at the end of a sentence, you shift the focus of that conversation.  If someone asks you “sābāai dīi máy?”, the topic of the conversation is “you”.  When you answer “sābāai dīi, lɛɛ́o khūn lâ?”, you’ve just changed the topic of the conversation from you to the person who asked you the question.  Just like a spotlight shifting the focus from you to him or her instead.


Changing the way Thai is taught to non-native speakers

In a bid to help improve the way Thai is being taught to non-native speakers, we recently teamed up with Stuart Jay Raj from Jcademy and Mike Campbell from Glossika.

This was the brainchild of Stuart whose vision (now shared among the 3 of us) is to combine forces to “bring three different systems and approaches to learning Thai and creating something larger than the sum of all of us.”

Stuart’s Cracking Thai Fundamentals programme was originally designed in 2000 to help journalists in Thailand hit the ground running both linguistically and culturally when arriving in Thailand. Through using NLP (neuro-linguistic programming), memory techniques and mind skills, it helped hundreds of people over the past 10 years demystify the language and culture.

Glossika’s spaced repetition training and mass sentence method offers a new way of learning Thai at a sentence level that help make it easier to learn pronunciation, syntax, vocabulary, and grammar holistically.

Here at Duke Language School, we’ve been working hard on developing a new and original set of textbooks that is going to be a game changer in the way Thai is being taught to foreigners. We’re not going to reveal much about it yet, but a sneak preview was given at Stuart’s “Thai Bites Live – The Road To Fuency” seminar at Aloft Hotel.

Take a look at this video clip to watch the full seminar:

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to complete our presentation, so several interesting slides about the use of natural Thai was skipped.

So stay tuned, as we will be covering more on that on our next blog post!

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