This morning I returned to Union Language School for the start of Module 3. The dreaded Module 3. Where we not only phuut phassa Thai, we also learn to aan kap khien phassa Thai. That’s right: reading and writing. No longer am I just trying to order an iced coffee from a street vendor. Now I’m setting my sight higher: to turn all those curlicule squiggles into meaningful letters and words.
On the scale of relative langugae acquisition difficulty, reading and writing Thai isn’t the most complicated one in the world: with an actual alphabet that is phoenetic in nature, Thai is easier to handle than, say, Chinese with its 5,000 characters.
We began today with the consonants. There are 44 consonant characters in the Thai alphabet, divided into three classes: high, middle, and low. We began with the low class consonants, which are divided into to sub-categories: khuu and diaw (pair and single consonants). So today, the khuu low class consonants. Click on the transliterations next to the symbols to link to the recorded sound at www.thai-language.com.
Interesting thing about the class: we ended up Module 2 with only 4 students including myself who were continuing on to Module 3. However, when I arrived today, I discovered that there were 13 students signed up! A number of them are students who have been away the past term and have returned. Some of those are taking Module 3 for the second or third time (quite common, I’m told). Other students – who knows where they came from? Hopefully we’ll be in another, larger classroom tomorrow.
Also found out today that Chihiro, the young Japanese lady in my class, knows how to make Udon noodles (wide wheat noodles) from scratch. Very easy, she says. I’m trying to convince her to show me how. Yum.