Maa, maa, maa? Thai tones and beginning language learning
September 16, 2012 12:23 PM Subscribe
I'm taking a beginning Thai language class, with an emphasis on oral communication. Is it vital to learn the tones/alphabet first?
posted by elisse to education (6 answers total)
I am taking a low-cost Thai language class in the DC area. In the first class, we learned a lot of phrases for telling time, numbers, addresses, etc. We were told how to pronounce certain words (si for 4 is a certain tone and NOT another tone which makes it a bad word...). When another student asked the teacher if we were going to learn the tones, she said we had to learn the alphabet first, and she wasn't going to teach us the alphabet this semester.
Is it worth continuing learning Thai in this type of learning environment/classroom if we're not going to learn the tones right off the bat? I have taken Chinese for a few years so I'm familiar with tonal systems in general, but of course haven't mastered Thai's 5 tones. I'm not seriously invested in learning Thai right now but would like to gain proficiency eventually; I'm just worried that taking this class will mess up my learning if I became serious about it in the future.
Thanks for your help!