there's a word i hear frequently these days - especially today. it sounds like the english word "Lawn".
it means "Hot" as in "it's hot now" what ever the rest of the phrase is people might say to me, but when i hear "Lawn" in there, i know they are talking about the weather. i usually reply "nit noi" which means "little bit" it was 110F up here in the computer spot yesterday afternoon, probably get there again today.
my frustration with trying to learn thai comes and goes. i'm not saying i can't learn, i am saying it's going very very slowly. i've worked on a number of "learn to speak thai" programs - including rosetta stone. unfortunately, they teach phrases that i don't use like "he is riding a bicycle" and thus, i don't remember them.
not remembering, that's the problem. for some reason, my brain just isn't tuned to recalling the sounds of thai language. i ask tok for a word, perhaps for something i like like a food. she'll tell me, i'll write it down, transliterate it, say it over and over, make associations and mnemonics. practice it for a couple of days. a week later, i look at the food and say "_____"? gone. not there. hello, brain. what is the word for that. no answer. come on brain, you filed this away somewhere. brain finally answers with "you know, you have never seen anyone water skiing in thailand. thanks brain. thanks alot.
not hearing the tones is a big problem. listen here to someone saying the word "mai"
doesn't sound to hard does it? except each of those sounds is a very different word
* ใหม่ or "MAI" is new ( low tone )
* ไม้ or "MAI" is wood ( high tone )
* ไม่ or "MAI" is not ( falling tone )
* ไหม or "MAI" is silk ( rising tone )
* ไม - this word does not exist ( mid tone )
(taken from: http://www.thaiworldview.com/langue.htm )
so depending on how you sound the sylable, you are saying new, wood, not, silk or a nonsense sound. so if you don't sound it correctly, thai's generally don't understand you.
if i pointed to a pond, and said "beautiful buck" you would wonder what i was talking about. because i said "Buck" instead of "Duck". buck and duck are two different things, two different words. if your native language doesn't have a "B" or "D" sound, they will sound the same to you, and you might not learn the difference.
super simple example.
Lawn means "hot" if you want to make a question you add MAI (falling tone) to the end - you say "Lawn Mai" meaning "hot ???" except in english, we inflect questions with a RISING tone at the end, so if i say "Lawn Mai (rising at the end)", to a thai person i have just said "Hot silk". no wonder they look at me with blank looks when i say things like that.
and as you can see from the thai up above, the different meaning of Mai are SPELLED differently in thai language, but then you have to learn to read thai, which is another whole box of "huh?????
even still, i'm picking up words here and there. some stick, most don't. one way to live in thailand for up to a year on a clear visa is to get an educational visa - you have to goto school, but i could take thai lessons. but oh, wait. you can't work on that visa and have to have a way to live...
more circular problems. i think i'll go have an iced red bull and take a shower now. it's just now noon. and not the hottest part of the day yet.
Spring is around the corner. Which means lots of work in the grass patches. This will be until autumn of 2012.ReplyDelete