Spoken Thai for the Internet

UNIT I: GETTING AROUND

 

Goals and Strategies for Proficiency Achievement

...Advice to the Learner and Teacher

Goals:  This opening unit gives you the most immediate and necessary expressions that you will need in meeting people, asking your way, buying things, and counting. You will find that it is no easy matter to master all these words and phrases, but you will succeed if you really concentrate and follow instructions carefully. The amount of learning and memorizing required for this unit is considerably greater than that of any later unit. The reason that you are given such a large dose at the start is that this unit is a kind of "language first aid," which gives you enough useful expressions to enable you to make your ordinary wants known and to carry on a simple conversation in Thai from the very start.

Learning Strategies:   As a learner, you should experiment with different choices on the Menu for Unit I by CLICKING on one of the many choices:
Vocabulary :  is a complete (mostly) A-Z alphabetical list of the 90 words  and expressions used in this unit.  It is organized into 3 columns, as follows:
Thai Script Spelling - English Definition - Phonetic Spelling + Speech
You can use these pages in several ways:  1)  play the speeches while repeating them aloud at least 10 times each, trying to remember what they mean; 2) Making a copy of the pages and folding them along the column lines to see if you can translate from Thai to English in speech or in writing -  and the reverse - to the point of perfect memory.  The same basic word list is presented as a series of

Flashcards, where, if you click on a Thai word, the English definition will pop up at the bottom of the screen - AND you can also CLICK to play the pronunciation of the word.  The flashcards are not organized in alphabetical order but rather in categories, such as Greetings; Asking for what you want; Foods; Price; Time; Taking leave; Numbers.  So, for example, if you wanted to memorize Numbers, you would go to that section only and play the flashcards over and over. 
Listening Practice gives you training in discriminating the 5 tones of Bangkok Thai, vowel differences, including short and long vowels, and differences in consonants (aspiration and voicing) not found in English. 
Pronunciation Hints is a chart giving examples of pronouncing the vowels and consonants of Thai by comparing them to the nearest English sounds with illustrative words and a guide the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) that is used throughout Spoken Thai.
Word Study tells you something about how the Thai language works, how it is different from English in special and interesting ways, such as the difference in Men and Women's speech, polite forms, word order, and so on.
Basic Sentences are short dialogs that bring all of the vocabulary together in ordinary, short, daily conversations.  You must memorize these by practicing them aloud to yourself over and over again AND with a conversation partner both inside and outside the classroom. 
Test is an interactive listening comprehension quiz of your ability to comprehend the total meaning of the Basic Sentences you have already practiced.  You will be given written instructions telling you something about the context that corresponds to one and only one of three speeches that you will hear when you CLICK the PLAY button.  You can replay the speeches as many times as you like.  You will be presented a series of sets of 3 questions to answer.  You must get all three questions correct before you can go on to the next set of 3.  You will know if you have all 3 in a set right by CLICKING on the JUDGE button.  You can and should repeat the Test daily for at least 10 days. If you are having problems, you need to go back and work on the individual sections of the Menu that you think will help you achieve greater proficiency. 
     In order to use all these interactive features, you will need to download the Thai and IPA fonts and an audio player.  Instructions can be found on the SEAsite Main Page.  You can also print out any of these pages by clicking on the page and then selecting the printer from the tool bar above.  You should also find other learning resources on the main Thai page that will push you to learn more and to test your ability outside of the pages of Spoken Thai.  If you haven't already completed the Maanii Reader, you should do that too.  It will help you to read and write Thai quickly and in an entertaining manner.  Be adventurous!   Enjoy!
     The classroom teacher can sequence these materials pretty much along the lines suggested to the learner above.  Conversation partners can be selected, and the phrases can be practiced as role playing. New conversations can be created for enactment by the learners with guidance from the teacher.  Numbers can be drilled and interactive exercises devised:  counting off in class; raising fingers for a visual quiz and so on.