Thai Dictation

1. ฝึึกหัด - to practice.
2. บางที - maybe, perhaps. (This word, in some contexts, apparently also means 'sometimes')
I spent a few hours yesterday with Thai, writing charts and practice sentences and making little notes on grammar bits and such. The best thing I got to doing yesterday was to listen to example sentences and write them down as I listened, and then check my spelling afterward. Most were vocabulary words I've already 'learned' or at least know how to say and recognize, but spelling is kind of hard. So that was great practice.


Read Thai Signs!

1. สถานี - useful noun
2. เมือง - city, land, town. This word is used in signs and such on the highway to indicate that you're heading into or out of town, but it apparently is also colloquially used to refer to a town, area, or even nation. Dunno.
Also, www.learnthaionline.com is a great resource for practice and materials. I especially like their Read Thai Signs portion. They've compiled and categorized signs and things in Thai, and progressively reveal what they say. First they will show the Thai as written on a computer (as the sign or script is sometimes stylized or handwritten; a good way to practice identifying all the characters this way), then the phonetics, and finally the English meaning. Great practice for those that can already read a bit of Thai, and enormously helpful with identifying and learning useful vocabulary, since it comes from everyday situations. Both of today's vocabulary words come from the Read Thai Signs exercise. Really great.


1. รถ- car
2. เพราะว่า - because

I'm having some trouble thinking of nouns I want to learn. I feel like these are more an "in context" acquisition, so I'm trying to write a lot in Thai. Sentences, phrases, things describing my day. Problem is, there's stuff that I can SAY that I don't know how to write, but I'd rather learn brand new words on here than just how to write words I already know. I'm kind of making notes on those on my own in my notebook and confining the two words a day to brand new words, but I'm also seeing the need for a better solution to a dictionary than just my blackberry. I can neither read nor write in Thai (or Chinese) on it.


1. แล - to see, look, watch
2. วันเสาร์ - Saturday

The difficulty now is keeping up with al the words... learning the new ones and not forgetting the old ones. Mostly the writing. I can remember how to say them (sometimes forget the correct tone) but don't always remember how to spell them correctly. Practice.......
1. อากาศ- weather
2. กว่า - particle added at the end of adjectives to make them comparative i.e. good vs better or fast vs faster. Equates to "-er" or "more ....." Also used in comparisons when something is specifically more (adjective) than something else. Convenient, no?


Verbs in isolating languages... yum

1. ไป- to go.
2. ต้อง - auxiliary verb "must..." "need to/has to...".

I'm including a lot of verb stuff, it seems, and less nouns or other parts of speech. I feel like in many regards, in the most survivalist aspect of communication, you can get by without nouns better than verbs. Pointing, acting or drawing can all convey what THING you need or want or are talking about. This in combination with the appropriate verb will go an excellently long way toward conveying your meaning to someone.
This is wonderfully, greatly, especially so with a language like Thai (or Chinese). Since they don't conjugate their verbs (or over-abuse them like test tube born lab rat experimental overworked sweat shop hamsters on wheels; really difficult stuff) like they do in Russian, we can get tons of mileage from one single Thai verb. Have we discussed this? I think maybe so. Whether you did it or I did or they did, no matter if it was last year or tomorrow or just recently or in what condition, the verb itself rarely changes. Most often what changes is the stuff around it: words like "today" or "yesterday" or "last year" will indicate exactly when something happened, and the pronouns will indicate the subject and object. This means that a few really useful verbs accompanied by two or three really useful auxiliary verbs already enables the speaker to convey an enormous amount of meaning that might be much more complicated in other languages. This is great; I'm gonna work that verb angle with Thai.


1. นอก - foreign (not as in a foreigner, just the adjective itself).
2. วันศุกร์ - Friday

Kind of memorizing the days of the week. I suppose the months are next....
1. เรา - first person plural pronoun.
2. ชอบ - to like, prefer, to be fond of.

Interested to see how fractured and complicated are the common/polite/familiar/rude (?) Thai pronouns are. Chinese is thankfully void of gratuitous honorifics. Thai seems to have a few, but I'm not sure how prolifically they're used.


1. เขา- 3rd person singular pronoun (he/she)
2. จะ- auxiliary verb indicating future tense; "will/shall" This is obviously used in conjunction with other verbs, and, as with "will" in English, does come before the verb it modifies.


1. กำลัง - auxiliary verb indicating the present participle. Comes before the verb it acts upon. Sounds similar to the Chinese “正在。。。” So to eat is กิน. "He eats" is เขากิน, but "he is eating" would be เขากำลังกิน.
2. มา- come. Chinese is very specific about when you can use "come" and "go." We are less so in English. Where we might call a friend and say "I might come over later" meaning "I might go to your house later," in Chinese this would not be correct. You only use "come" when you are already at the place being referred to; in like manner, you only "go" when you are not at that place. In English, it seems acceptable to use "come" if the person to whom you are speaking is already at the aforementioned location (as with "coming" to someone's house).
This strict distinction in Chinese makes sense, and we do have it in English; it makes things clearer. We don't stick to it as stringently as they do in Chinese though. Not sure how Thai goes with this, but I feel it might be similar.
1. วันพฤหัสบดี - Thursday
2. อ่าน - to read

Going to try working on my list of 20-25 most important verbs. Pimsleur teaches a lot of them since they're basic and useful (eat, speak, understand, etc) but as circumstances and uses expand, so will need for other verbs, but the right 25 will still get you a long way, especially in a language like Thai.


1. วันพุธ- Wednesday
2. เร็ว- fast, quick.

I am tired. Been looking at some Thai articles and making notes for words to look up.
(These are words for 4/19. Words for 4/20 will come later today, as it's currently 1 am here... GMT +8)


1. ทุก - every. As in every day, every time, etc.
2. วันอังคาร - Tuesday (Mars day; monday was moon day)

That's it. I'm definitely seeing that fluency in Chinese is providing some great advantages to learning Thai: things like better sensitivity to tones and grammatical structure are the greatest two. There are certainly other similarities, as Thai shares far more similarities with Chinese than it would with English. They are constructed very similarly and have rubbed shoulders linguistically, geographically, politically and religiously throughout the centuries.


Warning: Grammar Content

ใช้- to use. This is with regards to general use of anything, but I noticed in the dictionary that it's also the word to use regarding money and time, whereas we would use a different verb: spend. There are apparently other words for spend, but ใช้ can be used either by itself or with a few other words specifically to describe use of money or time.

French is kind of notorious for having specific verbs for specific things [I don’t speak French; an example I’ve heard is for ‘grow.’ While trees, kids, animals and love can all grow in English, a good friend and fluent French speaker says all these would be different verbs in French.] I’m interested to see how versatile Thai verbs are (or aren’t), but I get the impression it’s far more like Chinese, being able to get tons of mileage out of the uses for one single word.

2. ของ - of, belonging to, etc. It’s a possessive marker, like the in Chinese. Does the exact same thing, except it comes before the possessor. So where in Chinese, the word for you, 你, would combine with the possessive to make 你的, your or yours, ของ would come before the possessor. The second person pronoun in Thai, คุณ, would come after the possessive marker in Thai, making ของคุณ. This might make more sense when one looks at the other two definitions of ของ. One is things, goods, meaning we could look at ของคุณ literally as things of you or thing(s) of John. The third definition is to belong, is the property of, meaning we could look at it as saying [thing] belonging to you. I like this the most, because oftentimes there will be an object thrown in there as well, which will come even before our other two words, meaning the word order with such a phrase as your car will be exactly opposite from English. It would be, literally car thing you, or รถของคุณ.

This breaks down to รถ (car) ของ (of; belong to) คุณ (you).

Again, we could look at this more clearly as the car belonging to you. A good little word that goes a long way in Thai.

(Its also the first of the words of the day that Ive already known, but not known how to write/spell. More of these will be showing up).

That turned into a full blown grammar lesson.


1. ช่วย - to help- certainly a valuable request, and a worthwhile verb to know.

2. วันจันทร์ - Monday. Days of the week were something I forgot had names. In Chinese, they're numbered, and even in the Romance languages, they're relatively familiar to us. Thai days of the week are named after solar bodies, it seems (Monday is for the moon, Wednesday for Mercury), but they're obviously not cognates for us, so this is a concept I should learn.


1. again- อีก I feel like we use certain adverbs more than we think. They're thankless little words that we don't pay much attention to, but when you need to ask someone to say something once more because you didn't understand or something, they go a long way and can bring your request from broken foreigner speech to proper, correct statement.
2. to write- เขียน Always a useful verb. When communicating in a foreign country, having something in writing is always a tremendous help. If you don't remember how to say it (whatever it happens t0 be) or can't say it correctly, have someone write it down. An address, something you're looking for at the grocery store, a person's name, a menu item; all of these things can be written by someone you might find that speaks your language enough to communicate with them in it. They can then help you to communicate with others. Knowing a few simple terms, you can as people to write something down in your target language. Very useful.

One nice thing about Thai: like Chinese, they don't conjugate their verbs, so the dictionary form for "to write" is just "write" whether I'm doing it or you are or they are or even if we were doing it yesterday or you will have done it tomorrow (although these other cases can sometimes add things to the verb, it's not necessarily conjugation in the true sense, and most of those time and tense clues are given by other words in the sentence like 'yesterday', 'before' 'tomorrow' 'later' and so on). This makes it very convenient to learn a word and know that you'll pretty much use it just like that across the board, or at least can and still be understood.


Thai words

So yeah, I'm not going to be including the romanization for the words I don't think. Go check it out on Thai Language yourself. Great site. -

Words for today:
1. Question- คำถาม -
2. Sleep นอน - one of those I thought I needed to look up, only to look it up and remember
having looked it up before.
Others of interest along with this entry are:
ห้องนอน- bedroom , ห้อง-room นอน- sleep.
Bathroom is constructed the same way, but with the word for 'water'.
ง่วงนอนไหม - "are you sleepy?"

Thanks again to Thai Language for all their great material. I feel rather like I'm plagiarizing, but it's a dictionary, no? No worries. I'll put a link up in the sidebar for future reference. Those are my words.


Two new words

Decided I'd start today....
I don't think there's really going to be any real... method or logic to how I decide which two words I pick each day, but I'll keep a running vocab list in a notebook I can refer back to. I'll describe this approach in a later post perhaps, but I already do have a basic knowledge of Thai words, so what you WON'T see here is things like "why", "who" "eat" "drink" and other words Pimsleur teaches you. Been there, done that. What you might see is other words that I know how to say and use, but don't know how to spell or write; there might also be other, relatively simple, basic words that Pimsleur just hasn't addressed and I haven't looked up. That is to say, part of the process of progressing in a language is filling in the gaping holes in your vocabulary as you discover them. There'll be some of that too. So, for today, two words I feel like knowing how to write/say/read are:
1. Important- สำคัญ samR khanM (this is the pronunciation of the word. The 'r' dictates a 'rising' tone, and the 'm' a middle tone. 'L' is for 'low,' 'f' is for falling and 'h' is for high. I might not include all this romanization before long.)
(probably worthy of mention here that most all of this information is going to be coming from either Google Translate, or even more likely from www.thai-language.com, an absolutely wonderful Thai language resource, and so much more than a dictionary.)
2. Really- จริง ๆ jingM jingM The ๆ after the first word (as there are normally no spaces in Thai) is a character that represents a repeat of the word preceding it, instead of writing จริงจริง but that's how it's read.
There they are, the two vocabulary words for today. Something else I love about Thai-Language is that, when looking up either of the above words for example, there's a whole slew of other entries containing either of these individual words, everything from idioms to example sentences to colloquialisms to quotes, thereby allowing you to learn not only that one word, but possibly some very useful things based on it, which does wonders for retention and usability. I might occasionally include some of these example sentences or maybe sentences I've come up with in circumstances or using past vocabulary words. There's not much structure behind the two words except that I feel I would use them in day-to-day life. There we have it.


"Slowly makes the blade beautiful"...
Let's not be haphazard about this one. Hebex starts in only 18 days, but about a year and a half ago there was another linguistic interest that took over. I was really serious about it last year before going to Thailand, teaching myself to read, write (which I can barely do in Chinese) and speak the language of the people there. When I landed in Thailand, I was pleased and relieved to be able to tell people what I wanted, where I wanted to go, how much I was willing to pay for something and even chat a bit about life.
A year later (after two months of semi-uninspired, transient studying of Italian), I return to find I can speak with some people, but that even after a quick three day cram, I've forgotten some of what I knew (or it at least doesn't come to me as quickly); I just don't use it in Taipei.
But I have the basics down pat. I know many of the consonants and am still working on the chaos of the many vowels and the tones they represent. Long story short, I have developed a great foundation for the language, and if I could keep a solid pace, learning bit by bit and finding areas and ways to practice and maintain it, I could go back in six months or a year and truly be conversational. Not just tourist-speak either.
The goal? I've decided to learn two (2) Thai vocabulary words a day. Not sure when I'm going to start... probably today. Tomorrow. Two a day. That doesn't seem like much, and in my efforts to use it more, I'm sure I'll be looking up more words than just two a day, but I want to learn to read, write and say them correctly and entwine them into my vocabulary such that they'll be useful and at my disposal long-term.
"Slowly makes the blade beautiful." or, as my grandfather used to say (says my dad) "There's somehow never time to do it right the first time, but always time to do it over."
I think this is going to be my next serious language. I'll post the words on here for each day as much as I can.