6 November 2013; AT5 = 1059 hours; total class time = 1997 hours; TV = 398.7 hours
I got back to Thailand from my U.S. trip about 10 days ago. Before I left for the States, I had gotten the occasional comment about how my Thai would decline if I were away for awhile; having returned, I would now say that that’s not been the case – at least with regard to understanding spoken Thai.
I didn’t have a complete break from Thai during my almost two months away, though my usage was fairly minimal: 10 episodes of Wanida (วนิดา) at about 90-95 minutes per episode, plus exposure to say roughly five hours of spoken Thai, and engagement in a few short conversations that, if added together, probably didn’t even total 30 minutes. Of course, there were a lot of days with no Thai at all.
As far as I can tell, since my return my levels of understanding both while watching lakorn and while conversing with people are unchanged, while in class at AUA it feels like my understanding may actually have increased – but just slighty.
I’ve also been watching a fair amount of non-lakorn TV, but since it’s the first time I’ve done so since much earlier this year, I don’t think I can use that as a basis for comparing my pre- and post-trip levels of comprehension.
My speaking abilities are harder to gauge. Since my return I’ve sometimes felt more tongue-tied, more awkward when I speak Thai, but I can’t point to any outright loss of language ability such as forgotten words or eroding pronunciation. I’ve also thus far been limited to fairly short exchanges, and haven’t yet gotten into any kind of really extended or involved conversation. Nervousness? Rustiness?
In summary: understanding-wise, I’d say things are roughly the same as before I left, with no period of readjustment to spoken Thai having been needed. Speaking-wise I don’t detect any real problems, but somehow I feel a kind of hesitancy, a self-consciousness, and haven’t yet found myself in the more challenging kinds of speaking situations.