Chiang Mai Thai

Ever wanted to learn Thai, in Chiang Mai? I did just that from November 2010, returning home in October 2011. If you don't want a headache, start HERE, it will explain the preceding posts. I'm Snap, Stray's other half. COOEE is our (other) travel blog.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pro Language Course - What have I learnt so far?

I'm enjoying my class at Pro Language immensely. Sometimes I wish I'd learn faster than I do, but that's not due to any fault of my teacher...I just get slack sometimes and my head hurts.

If you're wondering what my course entails, here's some of the technical info.

Course hours: Total 180, 2 x 3 hours per week.

Course books: 3 in total and we are nearing completion of the second book. All are written in English, English transliteration and most key words/phrases, in Thai also. (Note in the examples below I have not necessarily used the same transliteration system, as in my learning materials).

Progressively throughout the books there are:

Grammatical notes e.g. Pattern: Subject + Verb + (Object) + thîi nǎy, plus explanations and examples of use.

Conversation dialogues (simple) e.g.
Whose book is this?
nîi nǎngsʉ̌ʉ khɔ̌ɔng khray khráp
That is my book. (splitting hairs? that should read "This is my book")
nîi nǎngsʉ̌ʉ khɔ̌ɔng dìchán khâ
Whose car is that?
nân rót khɔ̌ɔng khray khráp
That is John's car.
nân rót khɔ̌ɔng khun Jɔɔn khâ

...and vocabulary lists to support the exercises. Exercises vary from  asking/answering questions, creating questions/answers, translating English to Thai, filling in the blanks, creating dialogues and now, (extremely) short stories.

We mainly utilise the books provided, supplemented by worksheets and the occasional 'snap' type card games, which can be quite competitive and fun.

Book one - Thai Conversation 1, is just that. It covers self introduction, basic informative questions/answers, general chit chat like: Where do you live? What food do you like? Where do you go to school?

Question words and how to use/answer them: no? yes? can you? where? who? whom? what? why? when? etc.

Subjects: Me, you, places, people, objects, restaurant/food, professions, hobbies, telling time, days/weeks/months (and tenses) some classifiers, clothing, polite requests (chûay, chə̌ən and khɔ̌ɔ)  etc.

There are sections in the back of the book to be used in conjunction with tape recordings, but thus far, we have not used them.

Book 2 -  Thai Conversation 2

How to  use: already, already or not? finished? ever...? to know, (that/this) will do, more/again, with/not with, want, have, together, each other, please wait a moment, some (บ้าง), better than, best, more requests (bɔ̀ɔk/khɔ̌ɔ/yàak + hây) etc.

Subjects: Family, street directions (quite in-depth), restaurant/food/cooking (more detailed than book 1), telephone conversations etc.

Book 3 - I haven't sighted it yet, but believe it revises and builds on Book 1 and 2.

The above is just a brief outline of what I've been up to. At times our course books are, as mentioned before, a bit 'confused' according to our khruu. And, sometimes I do find slight errors on my own, usually in the transliteration...not even going to start!

Because I'm still trying to teach myself how to read/write, and because I'm not sure of how to grammatically construct some of the larger sentences I want to say, I often ask the teacher to check a couple of my (out of school) questions/examples at the end of class...she's always happy to assist! Other than learning the language, we frequently discuss various aspects of Thai life and concepts, which can be a nice diversion from the grindstone.

My biggest frustration would be that I can't take Khruu K home with me and pick her brains at my convenience.

Generally I'm pretty content with my progress, especially after I've studied and don't have a case of the guilts.

Of course, I'm not just relying on my classes to learn Thai. Stray and I both share what we know (including mispronunciations and misconceptions) and I study subjects of interest (to me) in my own time...I've also started (again) to watch Thai TV channels. My version of an Automatic Language Growth approach. Even if it's just so I can say  "ooh! ooh! I know that word", every minute or so ;)


See what else we're up to at Cooee!


  1. Snap, I've found that mistakes in Thai course books are a given. It's sad really, because with so many Thai speakers around you'd think they'd be inundated with teachers pointing the snafus out.

  2. @Catherine I don't feel too bad about the minor errors. They're nothing in comparison to some of the English teaching materials, so I've heard. Someone I know teaching English was approached by a Thai student who needed help with a worksheet...only thing was, the teacher couldn't make heads nor tails of it either!

  3. Hello Snap, I just thing that the word "car" that is used two times above, should be written "รถ" instead of "รส". Have a nice week.
    -Bernard (french guy living in Chiang mai and studying Thai too)–

  4. @Anonymous Bernard you are mistake, not my book's. I used the wrong 'rot'... 'Whose taste/flavour is that?' just doesn't quite make sense ;) I'll correct the post and thanks for bringing it to my attention. I've now learnt another word!

  5. @Anonymous By the way Bernard, how are you learning Thai? DIY or school or both?

  6. Snap, you are so right! Some of the English materials in Thailand are atrocious. Just wander into any Thai bookstore and glance through a few.

  7. @Catherine it's a shame considering some of the great online English teaching resources.

    By the way, I'm signing up to a few language exchange sites. I hope to befriend some pen pals who can assist me with my grammar and use of correct words :)

    ...I'm still waiting for Talen to visit this post, I even put a photo of 'Puppy' here for him to see.

  8. Snap, great synopsis of your learning so far. Has the teacher given any inclination as to when you will get the reading books?

    I don't recall seeing anything regarding tapes in my books...will have to look again.

  9. grr Made this comment but i wouldn't post...tryin again...

    One thing you have going for you which is a big plus is the fact that you have Stray to bounce things off of. Having a partner while learning has to be helpful.

    Book 3 is more of the same with more everyday type conversations.

    It seems our teachers have similar styles in going a little off course to give insight into the language and also extra vocabulary words.

  10. @Talen Apparently reading/writing is not taught until Book 4...which is not in our course.

    I do appreciate having Stray around as a sounding board (amongst other things!), but it would be much more useful if he were Thai, or fluent in Thai ;) Hence, my recent contact with Language exchange sites. I hope to find pen pals that can assist me when no one else is around and or able to.

    It would be great to form some long term language relationships for when I return to Australia.

  11. Hi Snap, I was at Payap University from Level 2 to level 5, the last five months. I just stop now as I have no even time, it is a very demanding course (วันละสามชั่วโมง). I continue to work by myself about two hours every two days, with some English and French print and audio resources (there are no many books for French native speakers but I got some of them). I try to speak too (I like to think that I read Thai better than I can speak it), but most of thai friends of mine speak in English and find listen to me น่าเบื่อมากๆ. Thanks for your blog. I come back time to time. Bernard (french guy living in Chiang mai and studying Thai too).

  12. @Bernard thanks for getting back to me, it's always good to know how others are learning Thai. You must be making real headway learning 3 hours per day.

    It can be a little frustrating when our Thai friends are more interested in speaking English...I find myself speaking Thai sometimes, only to have them reply in English ;) ไม่เป็นไรค่ะ, at least I'm trying to speak more now, my listening skills, however, are pretty tragic!

  13. I missed this one: By the way, I'm signing up to a few language exchange sites. I hope to befriend some pen pals who can assist me with my grammar and use of correct words :)

    Which ones? I know of the one you mentioned on my site and I'm curious at the response you received and what your first experiences are. Yeah. Nosy :-D

  14. Conversation Exchange. I tried another first, but unless you pay, you can't make contact with other members, you have to wait for them to contact you. I'll write a post soon about how it's all going...gotta run!

  15. It can be a little frustrating when our Thai friends are more interested in speaking English...I find myself speaking Thai sometimes, only to have them reply in English

    Snap, Taiwanese do this all the time. typically they are females and we call them "Miss English" because you cannot get a word out of them that is any other language, even if your Chinese is flawless. to speak the local language is an admission of sorts, so face is involved.

  16. @MJ Klein 'Language' can be a funny old world sometimes. I remember Stray and I sitting in a Chinese fishing village when we were approached by a local, clearly just wanting to practice his English...we happily obliged. Before we knew it, there were about ten more locals standing around us, leaning forward with wide eyes, just wanting to listen. It was a nice experience.

    I'm sure Thailand has it's own version of 'Miss English'...not to worry.

  17. French school lyon-Every year there are many students who come to foreign countries to pursue a language course.


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