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พอแล้ว! Enough is enough.

I am officially throwing down the gauntlet and challenging myself to be conversationally fluent in Thai, before the end of this year. This challenge is inspired by Benny Lewis’ Fluent in 3 months Japanese Project.

I’ve been living in Thailand for 14 months now, and I still not even close to fluency at all…

What can I do in the language so far?

  • I am able to read and write in Thai. ผมอ่านภาษาไทยและเขียนภาษาไทยได้แล้ว. That is to say that I know all 44 letters of the Thai alphabet, and all of the tone rules that go along with it. My Thai grammar is pretty weak, but I can cobble together basic sentences pretty easily.
  • I also have my ‘survival Thai’ almost mastered by now. These are common everyday things such as ordering food in a restaurant, giving directions to a taxi driver, asking for directions, etc.

What do I want to aim for?

Really, I want to be able to live the language. I want to listen to the news in Thai and understand it, I want to be able to meet up with my Thai friends and join in on a conversation instead of lagging behind and only catching a few words in a sentence. I’d like to watch a Thai movie or Thai tv show and understand the gist of what is going on…

Specifically, I have 3 goals in mind before the end of this year:

  1. I will be able to travel around Thailand and not use English (this means booking tickets, guesthouse, etc.)
  2. I will be able to watch a Thai movie and understand it
  3. I will be able to have a conversation with my Thai friends without them needing to slow down or use oversimplified vocabulary.

I feel that the first goal is very achievable… because it is basically an extension of my existing ‘survival Thai’.

The second goal is also achievable because I can study a movie or tv show in my own time, get used to the language and figure it out as I watch it a few times.

The third goal is… going to be tough. If I have a one on one conversation in Thai, it is slow, but I can usually hold the other person’s interest enough to get by. In a group conversation you need to be able to tell a story, or express an interesting enough opinion to entertain everybody who is present.

Tools that I plan on using to learn Thai

I plan on using my favourite SRS website, memrise and also I plan on writing diaries in Thai language over at italki.com – I’ve written some entries before on this website and the community is very good for proof-reading my badly written Thai. A fast feedback loop like this is really good for learning a language!

This is the first time I’ve publicly announced a language learning challenge and I am sure that I’ll learn a lot from it.

Wish me luck! ขอโชคดีนะครับ!