About

In brief:

Since mid 2011 I’ve been learning Thai in a way that’s similar to how I picked up my native English as a small child, and without doing any “studying” in the traditional sense of memorization, practice, or exercises. It’s fun, it works, and this blog is my way of sharing my experiences learning Thai with anyone who might be interested.

The longer version:

I’ve been learning Thai since moving to Bangkok in mid 2011, but I’ve never “studied” the language in the conventional sense of memorization and practice, nor have I used my native English to try to get a handle on what Thai means or how it sounds. Instead, I’ve been learning Thai from the inside out, without studying, without translation, without relying on a writing system, and without analyzing how the language works. I learn by being in a Thai language environment and simply trying to understand what’s going on – what I’m seeing, hearing, and experiencing. The language is absorbed automatically as a side effect, without my needing to make any special conscious effort.

I began this process by going to AUA (American University Alumni) Chumchuri, where the beginner level all-Thai classes use non-verbal communication (such as drawing, gesturing, or actual objects) in such a way that students can follow what’s going on even if they don’t know any Thai at all. As I progressed to higher level classes, the elements of non-verbal communication were reduced and the subject matter under discussion – and the language being used – became less concrete and more abstract, more complex.

Outside of school my Thai usage has grown from minimal/utilitarian to conversational. I have also been using Crosstalk to communicate with (and learn from) Thai people – it’s essentially the same set of communication methods used in AUA’s classes, but employed in situations outside the classroom setting in order to allow people who speak different languages to converse and understand each other. Plus I  watch a lot of unsubtitled Thai movies and TV.

Learning Thai this way has been fun and a real adventure, and I find the language learning process fascinating. I’m also aware that for a lot of people, what I’ve been doing – learning a language without study or practice, in a way akin to how small children pick up their native language – just doesn’t seem possible, and especially for a “difficult” language like Thai. So at a certain point I began keeping a journal of my experiences with Thai. This blog is a way of sharing those experiences with anyone who might be interested.

Note: If you’ve come here because you’re trying to find out how the Thai program at AUA (Chumchuri) works, although that information can be found in posts scattered throughout this blog, your best starting point might be The First 1000 Hours, Part 2: How ALG Works (March 2012); this, and the several posts that follow, cover the nuts and bolts of how AUA’s Thai program is structured, what actually goes on in the classroom, etc.

If you’re interested in my experiences with Thai language TV and movies, the first post to deal with that topic is Travel, TV and Movies (7 Jan 2013); you can also try the lakorn page, or clicking on the relevant categories and tags.

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8 thoughts on “About

  1. Peter

    I was at AUA from June 2012 until March 2013 as well. AT5 since October 2012. I’m pretty sure we know each other. What’s your name ?

    Peter

    Reply
  2. animuslatinae

    That sounds like a wonderful learning experience! I wish you luck in your endeavours. Thank you for liking my About.

    Reply
    1. adamf2011 Post author

      Your welcome, and good luck with Latin. I’ve always found it a really cool sounding language, and I’ve really enjoyed some of the classical writers (Catullus, Virgil, Juvenal) and am a bit envious of anyone who can read them in the original.

      Reply
  3. luleela

    Congratulations on your blog, Adam. I like the way you treat language learning – it’s so much more efficient when you treat it as an adventure….

    Reply
  4. Cate

    I’m intrigued by the concept of this blog, Adam, and appreciate the clarity of your writing as well as your use of multimedia. The layout looks good, too! What theme are you using?

    Reply
    1. adamf2011 Post author

      It’s the twenty twelve theme. The video clips are a fairly good solution to the problem of, how do I illustrate how I learn, and present actual spoken Thai, without translating, writing, using unnatural language, etc. But the downside is that they keep disappearing from youtube — for instance see Hmmm….

      Anyway, glad you stopped by!

      Reply

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