Is Learning Thai Hard? Thai Language Series 11 – Bangkok Podcast (1.49)

2017-10-18T21:48:01+07:00April 18th, 2011|Bangkok Podcast Season 1, Thai Language Series|2 Comments

We’ve done a fair number of shows so far in our Thai language series, but one of the most fundamental questions has yet to be discussed – is learning Thai actually hard, or do we foreigners just make it seem that way?

We’re joined once again by our Thai language Jedi Rikker Dockum as he talks about the particulars of the Thai language, how the human brain processes it, and some of the roadblocks that we encounter (or make) as we attempt to learn it. He also tells us how he keeps his Thai skills sharp, how age plays a role in learning language, and the value of making mistakes.

We are also joined by the crew from Bangkok Food Tours, who will be leading our upcoming walking food tour. They tell us a bit about their company, how it began, and what we can expect on our outing.

Show Links:

Bangkok Podcast 1yr Anniversary Party


  1. John Boegehold April 19, 2011 at 7:00 am - Reply

    I always enjoy the shows with Rikker. I’ve been studying Thai here in Wat Thai for about 3 years. I can read and write fairly well, have the tones down, etc. My conversation is still lagging a bit only because I’m not able to converse 24/7 in everyday life. Every time I visit Thailand it’s a tremendous help.

    The one thing that never ceases to amaze me are the farang living in Thailand who learn essentially no Thai. I kind of understand if you live in Sukhumvit, Silom or other heavy expat or international business areas where it’s easy to get by without it, but I’ve known people who have lived there 10 years who don’t even come close to pronouncing words you hear everyday there even remotely correctly. For example, they hear “Nana” everyday on the BTS, but still pronounce it แนหน่ะ instead of นานา.

    How’s this for a show topic with Rikker: “English transliterations – necessary crutches or infernal impediments to learning to speak Thai?” – keep up the good work! John

    • Greg April 20, 2011 at 9:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks John. Good for you that you’re learning it. As a guy who is on his tenth year, I can thankfully say that I know Thai well enough that I can read it to get the (mostly) proper pronunciation of a word – but I’m still an amateur, embarrassingly. Thought I agree – I hate it when long-term expats say pat-TAYA when every single time they’ve ever heard it from a Thai it’s been PAT-taya. You don’t need to read to know that – it’s simply a matter of mimicry.

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