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Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

Dublin
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Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

Most of my holidays to date have been spent in France or Spain, countries where I can speak a little of their languages. Do Thai people appreciate it when foreigners to their country learn a little of the language before they come?

If so, can anyone please suggest a good internet site where I might learn some? Basics only as I have less than 2 months before I go!

Many thanks.

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Bangkok
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1. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

Hi,

This is a decent site.. It's rudimentary, but does a decent job.. It's free and has sound-- so you can hear reasonably what it *should* sound like..

http://www.thai-language.com/

Do they appreciate it? I'd think so.. You'll get loads of smiles and laughs.. Of course, most of that will be laughs with you.. Thai is a *very* tonal language so incorrect usage of the tone can dramatically alter the word meaning-- but they'll most likely understand what you mean either by situation or otherwise..

I don't think there is any downside to learning some of the native language.. Plus, I think it gives you a "richer" experience being able to interact with more of the local-- and in their language.

Travel Safe,

Antipodes
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2. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

This is another site which is also helpful for basic chatter;

http://www.learningthai.com/speak_thai.html

I recommend that you learn the polite phrase for "I don't want (it)" - "Mai Aow".

This useful phrase will almost instantly end any unwanted advances of sellers and touts.

Here it is spoken on the above website;

http://www.learningthai.com/sayno.html

.

Edited: 17 October 2010, 02:13
Hell, Norway
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3. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

While the effort is appreciated its not necesary, as noone expects a tourist to speak Thai, and as GOBPI mentions the tones are important to meaning. But it is fun to learn the very basics - numbers can be very useful, and learn to use the polite words Krub or Ka correctly and one or the other (depending if you are male or female) should end every sentence..

Edited: 17 October 2010, 02:16
Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

Ask yourself one question...

Do you like it when foreigners come to your country and can not speak "ANY" English?

(...AND OF COURSE YOU ARE TREATED BETTER FOR IT!)

Edited: 17 October 2010, 03:24
Vientiane
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5. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

Of course you should; I am surprised you even ask this. Thais, actually all Asians for that matter, really appreciate a small effort in understanding a few words of the language.

http://www.learningthai.com/speak_thai.html

The above link has already been posted. Another thing you could do is to get hold of a book by Benjawan Poomsan Becker, which has CDs included.

Dublin
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6. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

Thanks for the replies.

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

I use the link that GOPBI has given you , as it has a icon that you click and can hear the word. Which is great because reading thai and hearing how it sounds is sooo different !

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

try to avoid saying banana!

just the main greetings, thank yous will surfice.

also most important is "tao rai khap/kha", how much?

New York State
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9. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

hmmm... banana....? Now I am curious.

Hell, Norway
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10. Re: Should I learn a little Thai before I go?

Mispronouncing the word Banana in a certain way can lead to both laughter and very strange stares from people. Its even funnier when its mispronounced fried bananas! This is one of the pitfalls of trying to speak Thai as a beginner, although as someone has already mentioned, context usually gives the right meaning. One of my western friends told me he likes to ride dogs, and that he also likes to eat the news - examples of the wrong tones. For dogs he meant horses, and for news he meant rice. Don't be put off :)