Ramblings and/or Advice - Learn Thai from a White Guy

Ramblings and/or Advice

I’m always frustrated about lack of resources,  access to native speakers and other obstacles that I meet while studying all of these languages.  This is why I am making these videos.  I can’t wait around for somebody else to do it.

The other day during a Burmese filming session, a person mentioned that they had told a friend about Language Space (a group I created as a listening exercise for languages which later turned into me filming talks in different languages) and they were planning on going until someone else told them something like “Don’t bother, you won’t understand anything because you are still a beginner.”    This is a huge problem for many people. People have a tendency to hear silliness like that and then internalize it.   Because these ideas have been internalized, these same people are likely to be defensive about it so I’ve learned that there isn’t any point in arguing with them, however I like to at least ask them to elaborate on where they got the idea, if they actually have any personal experience with it and generally just try and get them to think a bit more about it.  Its better if they discover the silliness on their own.

Why is it that people think that they need to study up to a certain level before they do things in a language?  The only way to be able to read a newspaper, watch movies or read books in another language is to read the newspapaer, watch movies and read books in that language!

The only way to get better at listening, is to listen.  Sure it helps loads of the material is at least partially comprehensible and I’d always recommend trying to find material that you are already interested in, but what it comes down to is that you need to hear thousands of hours of the language before you can begin to achieve a real level of competence so starting immediately isn’t a bad idea.  As you get better it will be easier to find material that is suitable (enjoyable!) for you.  Don’t just go study for 2 or 10 years and complain that you studied for x years and still suck – go and do something about it!

Stop measuring learning in terms of years.   The years you spend thinking about studying something are irrelevant.  What matters is the hours you put into it and how you spend that time.  Keep a daily log for a month of all time spent studying/listening/reading and at the end of the month it will become very clear why you aren’t getting any better.

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