thai-language.comInternet resource
for the Thai language
» more options here

F.A.Q. Check out the list of frequently asked questions for a quick answer to your inquiry

e-mail the author
site settings
site news
bulk lookup
Thanks for your

recent donations!

Narisa N. $+++!
John A. $+++!
Paul S. $100!
Mike A. $100!
Eric B. $100!
John Karl L. $100!
Don S. $100!
John S. $100!
Peter B. $100!
Ingo B $50
Peter d C $50
Hans G $50
Alan M. $50
Rod S. $50
Wolfgang W. $50
Bill O. $70
Ravinder S. $20
Chris S. $15
Jose D-C $20
Steven P. $20
Daniel W. $75
Rudolf M. $30
David R. $50
Judith W. $50
Roger C. $50
Steve D. $50
Sean F. $50
Paul G. B. $50
xsinventory $20
Nigel A. $15
Michael B. $20
Otto S. $20
Damien G. $12
Simon G. $5
Lindsay D. $25
David S. $25
Laurent L. $40
Peter van G. $10
Graham S. $10
Peter N. $30
James A. $10
Dmitry I. $10
Edward R. $50
Roderick S. $30
Mason S. $5
Henning E. $20
John F. $20
Daniel F. $10
Armand H. $20
Daniel S. $20
James McD. $20
Shane McC. $10
Roberto P. $50
Derrell P. $20
Trevor O. $30
Patrick H. $25
Rick @SS $15
Gene H. $10
Aye A. M. $33
S. Cummings $25
Will F. $20
Get e-mail

Sign-up to join our mail­ing list. You'll receive e­mail notification when this site is updated. Your privacy is guaran­teed; this list is not sold, shared, or used for any other purpose. Click here for more infor­mation.

To unsubscribe, click here.

Developing an “Immersion Learning” Strategy: What Works?

Suggestions and references for self-study, including bookstores and libraries

Moderator: acloudmovingby

Developing an “Immersion Learning” Strategy: What Works?

Postby Naga » Sat Dec 03, 2016 1:41 am

Developing an “Immersion Learning” Strategy: What Works?

I'm one English speaking farang living in a 30km valley with a few thousand native Lanna Thais. In this situtions I've seen some (younger) folks become proficient with day-to-day conversations in a short time. Me? I struggle.
I'm constantly trying to find a method that will allow me to memorize common words so that I can both understand those words when I hear them, and use them in sentences and phrases when I wish to speak. At my stage of learning Thai, I've ditched transliterations completely and translate Thai directly from Thai script (ie, I may not know the meaning but I know how to pronounce that word with tones).
I've tried different approaches to leaning:
1. Rote learning of Thai words. Good for developing a base of word, the method falls apart when words have different meaning depending on context or I seldom use the word.
2. Learning colloquial phrases and attempt conversations with Thais. This works as long the conversations stays within the bounds of the words I know. However, what inevitably happens is that the Thai speaker will say something I don't understand, or in a regional dialect that throws me off, then I'm stuck trying to understand a Thai world by defining with another Thai word that I don't know.
3. Words I know I'm saying correctly are not always understood by 'some' Thai. Example ขอกล้วยปั่นหนึ่งแก้วครับ
I know the proper pronunciation of the words based on the tonality of the characters, but at times I get blank stares from the people I'm talking to. A woman is making smoothies. I ask her politely for a glass of banana shake using the Thai above. I get a blank stare. I might first try just saying banana milkshake in English. More blank stares. Instead of beating my head against it, I generally will write it out in Thai on a piece of paper. If that doesn't do it I find a different vendor. I may walk a few yards further, find another person selling banana shakes, say the exact same Thai phrase and not only I'm I understood but then we start a conversation about the weather, where I've been, what I'm doing, etc.

My primary problem is keeping up with other people's conversations. Eventually a word of phrase comes up that I don't know which then throws me off and I'll lose the thread of the conversation. And once I'm lost for words, I'm stuck. That's my primary dilemma and the one that I'm looking for strategies to resolve. If I'm talking one-on-one than I can ask for clarification which can be hit or miss without a dictionary or talking with an English speaking Thai (out in my village there aren't too many English speaking Thais). Then when talking with groups of villagers, I run into the issue that one or two people dominate the conversation and I'm lucky to get a word in edge-wise which is often ignored.

So I'm trying to develop a strategy to use my limited speaking vocabulary and even more limited listening vocabulary in order to expand my language knowledge. Many people are able to cross this bridge, I'm just trying to figure it out too.

Anyway, with one farang and 500 Thais in and around the village, I should be able to learn by full immersion. I just can't quite develop a game plan to accomplish that, so I'm looking for suggestions?
Posts: 218
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:00 am

Re: Developing an “Immersion Learning” Strategy: What Works?

Postby Ruffian Dick » Thu May 25, 2017 7:19 pm

We haven't heard back from you, and nobody has given you any updates. Any news?

Personally, I am not in LOS currently, and it would be very helpful to be surrounded by native speakers.
Ruffian Dick
Posts: 11
Joined: Thu May 25, 2017 5:25 pm

Re: Developing an “Immersion Learning” Strategy: What Works?

Postby David and Bui » Fri May 26, 2017 12:57 am

Louis Pasteur is credited with the saying, "Chance favors the prepared mind."

I think this maxim also applies to language learning. Immersion learning provides the greatest benefit if the student first has a strong classroom background. While Bangkok has many schools teaching foreigners using multiple methods, many large cities around the world have formal Thai training classes. Los Angeles, for example, has ... les-90024/.

If you are located in a place without formal training, go to a local Thai restaurant and ask the proprietor if he or she knows someone who would charge an hourly rate to provide lessons. Furthermore, there are lots of trained Thai teachers offering language learning via Skype. For additional language resources, see and especially ... ning-thai/.

Once you have learned the basics of listening, pronunciation, basic vocabulary, and basic grammar, your mind would be prepared for the chance conversations of native speakers among whom you are immersed.
David in Houston
David and Bui
Posts: 6186
Joined: Sat May 14, 2005 12:00 am
Location: Houston, Texas

Return to Self-Study: Books, CDs, Software, Web Sites

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

Copyright © 2019 Portions copyright © by original authors, rights reserved, used by permission; Portions 17 USC §107.