Language learners have a tendency to build a protective bubble around themselves over time which can easily lead to number of bad habits. This bubble grows as people tell you how amazing you are at their language. In the beginning you know this is crap and you don’t know anything yet. I mean, how could you? You are just starting out, right? As time passes and you begin to get your bearings, we sometimes find ourselves believing that we are really that good and in our vain-ness we become blind to anything resembling our actual ‘level’.
The point of this line of posts is to get rid of as many of those bad habits that so commonly occur when mr/s-farang-come-learn-speak-language-Thai. You can’t necessarily rely on Thai people to correct your mistakes, because you’ll find that most of them won’t (even when you ask them to and they agree!). And the logical conclusion we make when nobody corrects us is usually NOTHING IS WRONG.
Consider the following sentence –
ผม จะ ไป ที่ โรงเรียน
See anything wrong here? Me neither. Its grammatically correct. You might even find this exact example in a phrase book or “Learn Thai + <CleverEasySoundingWord>” brought to you by <tokenwhiteguy>. The problem is that it’s bulky, still and not very natural-sounding. Farang-sounding even. Let’s trim the fat off this sentence.
Pronouns folks. Wrap them all up and put them in storage. You can pull them out sometimes after you get a feel for when and how they are used. But until then, it just makes us sound silly because at this point you are still thinking in English and its force of habit that brings all those pronouns along with it. When you say ผม in Thai, it’s like somebody is standing behind you playing a flute. It has a very nice, polite feeling to it. When you are talking to people you don’t know, or in formal situations, by all means you should use it. But, if you aren talking to your friends or people you see everyday, it’s not necessary. Thai is a very contextual language which means that it is usually not necessary to specify who is doing what.
ผม จะ ไป ที่ โรงเรียน
Now we are on the right track. Yet there are still more things we could do here.
For example, if somebody asks you where you are going and you are going to class at school you can just respond as follows:
C’mon team – Tie bee eazee!
Remember, while we can translate the exact sentence in many cases, the ultimate goal is to speak like a native, is it not? So try not to make logical rules in your head because those rules are based on the logic of how your native language(s) works and unless you are from Laos, you are just making the journey into fluency more difficult than it needs to be.