I have started learning Thai. This process started as soon as I arrived, but as of Sunday I have started committing actual time and energy to it. I am using Nik Daum’s Patented Index Card and Ask Everyone You Know For Help System of Thai Mastership™. This involves a combination of internet instruction, instruction from Thais, and writing words and phrases on index cards with the Thai pronunciation on the flip side. This means that I can say phuut thai dai nit naaw (I speak a little Thai) with strength and conviction. My vocabulary is already growing faster than I thought, but I am still dumbfounded when I actually have to use the language on command. I practice in the evenings sometimes and drift off to sleep sounding like some Thai man has invaded my brain and is demanding to eat spicy food or explain that the price of that thing over there is too high. This process has also brought a lot of Spanish out again. There are all kinds of Spanish words that were trapped in my brain. It is all like the climax to the movie Total Recall with Arnold Schwarzenegger where all of the solidified oxygen of the planet Mars is catalyzed and released, spewing out into the atmosphere just in time to save the two lead characters from asphyxiating. My language cortex is awake my friends, and it’s hungry!
I would much rather be learning Spanish, at least there is some shared history there. Somos hermanos. But at least Thai, despite its tones is phonetic and fairly free of conjugation and precise grammar rules. It seems like as long as you get all the words in there somewhere and not butcher the tones to much someone, somewhere will understand you. This said can of English be too. To me though, a lot of the words sound the same because so many end in a few different vowel sounds. So I can kind of remember what a phrase sounds like, but often use a similar word in place of what should really be there.
Today is a kid’s 5.5 year birthday party and I have to buy her half a gift.