by Connor Avis
Things are still kind of weird right now. Many of us are without work and must adhere to restrictions due to the Covid-19 virus. The sad truth is that we don't actually know how long the restrictions like these social distancing measures will have to be in place. However, we can take what is a bad situation and make something positive of it. Especially while some of us remain out of work, we can take the time to learn Thai. For that purpose, we have put together 5 methods for learning Thai while social distancing.
Once again, the online world is our friend with its endless resources for learning Thai. There is no need to be physically nearby others so it is all good for maintain social distancing too. Online teachers provide all the benefits of being in the same room but with the added benefit of not having to be physically located near them. That means that you can speak with locals in Thailand without the need to visit the country itself. Not that we could right now, anyway.
I think the strength of working with a native teacher one on one speak for itself. You are learning the genuine language that Thai people are actually speaking, including the accent. They can correct any mistakes you make and guide you to improve your ability. I understand that talking through a screen is not the same as being together which some people prefer, but it is the next best thing considering the circumstances. Otherwise, it is a good way to make a new friend.
I have read a lot of stories of people who learned a new language just by consuming media in their target language. Thankfully, there is a fair amount of media like TV shows and movies in Thai that you can use to get a grasp of the language. Even better if you can find something you enjoy and comes with subtitles in your language. The same is true for Music, which is another great gateway into listening where you can hear the patterns of speech. Best of all, you can do all this by yourself.
While it is not the most efficient way for learning Thai, it is social distancing compliant and generally a more exciting to learn some of the basics. Think of it as a more indirect way of total immersion which is another popular way of jumpstarting your Thai learning journey like visiting the country itself , though that is not something we can do under the current conditions. So, find some Thai music you enjoy or a video on YouTube and get learning.
Call me old-fashioned, but I do enjoy reading a nice book. They have a long history of helping people to learn a new language too. In our case, they are ideal for learning Thai while social distancing due to the nature of reading. Sure, there is the barrier of knowing the Thai alphabet when it comes to reading in the language, but for those who have already made some progress, it is a really good way to learn.
There is no shame in starting with children's books as everyone has to start somewhere - it is how Thai children learn to read after all. There are also of books related to language learning too that help walk you through the process with the odd activity thrown in. Some are better than others, so try out a few and see what works best. If you are an avid reader, then you should definitely include books in your learning plan.
I think it is safe to say that most people have a smartphone these days. They offer a lot of convenience as they replace so many different gadgets that we used to have to carry around. They are also convenient due to the large library of language learning mobile apps, many of which are dedicated to helping you learn Thai. As personal devices, smartphones are also perfect for learning while social distancing too, making them relevant for today.
Mobile apps take some of the key knowledge we know about what it takes to learn a language and makes it much more exciting. They are made to be engaging and interesting, often through gamification, in order to keep your learning consistent, which is very important for remembering what you learned. Apps like the Ling Thai app make use of a chatbot that helps you to practice conversations with other people while offering memory challenges that keep you on your toes. Try out the Ling app or any other you find that works for you.
If you find something enjoyable, you are more likely to do it, right? Of course, language learning isn't always going to be fun and games. There will be times where you will need to sit down and put in the time and research to improve your skills. However, if you can fit some fun and excitement in between that, you will be much more likely to stick with it and ultimately be successful.
Adding in the whole social distancing element and things can get kind of lonely. Learning a language with a friend can be great motivation, after all. Let's try to push through and keep up with our language learning. That way, we can make new friends in Thailand too.
While we are in a bit of a bad situation right now, I think that we do have an opportunity on our hands too. Yes, it is definitely a stressful time now so even making small steps towards a new goal of learning a new language will be admirable. If you think you are up for it, try out these 5 methods for learning Thai while social distancing from others to come out of this a new and improved person. Just keep up the good work and you may be surprised how much progress you can make. For now, please stay safe.
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