A few weeks ago I was very frustrated with my Thai learning progress in general. But I am now delighted to report that things are really beginning to turn round for me.
Feelings of inadequacy
Things really began to change a lot when I questioned why I felt inadequate and managed to ‘cut myself some slack’.
The language classes have lots of opinion questions and exercises, and honestly some of the topics are quite challenging! One of the classes was on youth culture and the internet, with opinion questions about who’s responsibility it is to keep the youth ‘safe’ and what is even suitable for them. That topic is loaded and honestly, I find it difficult to explain even in English!
I also felt inadequate about the other students in the class with me; they all seemed to be better than me. But then I took a moment to reflect on the backgrounds on the other students. One of the other students is from the neighbouring country of Cambodia, and although Thai is quite linguistically different from the national Cambodian language of Khmer (Thai is tonal and Khmer is not, for example) there is certainly a lot more in commmon than with English and Thai! Another student is an American-Thai from California who has a very passive knowledge of the language: she can listen very well, but hasn’t had much practice of speaking it.
Even if you look at a piece of my writing work, there is a lot of red ink but this is something that I wrote in about 10-15 minutes:
The truth is, I’ve been learning Thai for just over two and a half years now at this current time of writing. I’m still figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t, and putting unnecessary amounts of pressure expectations on myself isn’t the way forward.
What I’ve learnt from this is if you feel inadequate, you owe it to yourself to at least question why, because often things are nowhere near as bad as you think.
Since I’ve realised this, I’ve been enjoying studying and speaking Thai a lot more!