It Can Take Time For Things To Fall Into Place Part 2

25 March 2014; AT5 = 1063 hours; total class time = 2001 hours; TV = 642.1 hours

So, not that it has anything to do with Thai – or at least, not directly – but I’m finally reading Smiley’s People, the concluding novel of British author John le Carré‘s “Karla trilogy”. (I had started the first novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, almost half a year ago during a ridiculously long layover at Korea’s Incheon airport, on my return trip to Thailand).

The book’s protagonist, intelligence agent George Smiley, is investigating the murder of a fellow agent. As he sifts the clues, he examines a photograph in which

There was an ashtray on the table and Smiley set to work trying to read the writing round the edge. After much manipulation of the [magnifying] glass he came up with what the lapsed philologist in him described as the asterisk (or putative) form of the letters “A-C-H-T,” but whether as a word in their own right – meaning “eight” or “attention,” as well as certain other more remote concepts – or as four letters from a larger word, he could not tell. Nor did he at this stage exert himself to find out, preferring simply to store the intelligence in the back of his mind until some other part of the puzzle forced it into play. (Italics mine).

And then a few pages later, mulling over the information that he’s gathered so far but has yet to make sense of:

Don’t force the pieces, he warned himself. Store them away. Patience.

A good attitude to have, I think, when learning a language naturally: not forcing things, not trying to consciously figure things out; letting the language settle into place of its own accord.

It’s only been over the last couple weeks that I’ve finally come to understand a Thai word (expression?) that I’ve been hearing for well over half a year – the first time I can remember hearing it was during my viewing of borisud bumbud kaen บริษัทบำบัดแค้น last July. This word gets used over and over in lakorn (though I’ve heard it in real life too!) and I totally nailed its “sound” a long time ago – ie, no problems hearing/recognizing it – but was just completely baffled as to what it might mean.

Every once in awhile my brain would spit out a tentative English translation – which I would then later decide couldn’t possibly be valid. (I try to keep my Thai Thai by purposely not translating things – but sometimes my mind goes off on a little frolic of its own anyway).

Anyway, my experience has been that as long as I keep getting comprehensible input in Thai – ie, exposure to spoken Thai in a situation where I can understand at least some of what’s going on – the puzzle pieces do over time click into place on their own.

 

The until-recently mysterious word, as it appears in clips from several lakorn:

 


–From มาดามดัน Madame Don

 


–From สุดดวงใจ sud duang jai

 


–From สองนรี song naree

 


–From วิวาห์ว้าวุ่น wiwa wah woon

 

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5 thoughts on “It Can Take Time For Things To Fall Into Place Part 2

  1. Nick

    I had a chance to interview David Long of AUA a couple of years ago about the ALG learning method. His advice was to just look for meaning in a language, but nothing more. Our brain will eventually figure it out. It seems to me that you definitely have the right approach – and the right amount of patience! Good on you! 🙂

    Just out of curiosity, was the until recently mysterious word เด็ดขาด? (daed kaad)

    Reply
  2. Nick

    Since living in Thailand I’ve found the UK unbearably cold! It’s also scary how much my Thai skills have atrophied in the past 3 months – it took me a few listens of those lakorn clips to catch what they were saying! I still try to practise my Thai though. I can’t wait to go back to the land of smiles again…

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Ordinary Lives: เด็กชายในเงา dek chai nai ngao | learning thai without studying

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