LEARN THAI KOH LANTA
Learn Thai Koh Lanta. Sa-wàt dee, Greetings. If this is the only Thai phrase you know, perhaps you feel frustrated in your quest to “know the culture”, are concerned how you would manage an emergency, or are embarrassed to order beer in your local bar.
Maybe you would like to have a chat with the guys at the beach, or be able to roam and ask for directions if you get lost. Knowing the language will defiantly give you more freedom and will ingratiate you with your hosts. All people appreciate a visitor who cares enough to learn their language.
Sound and dynamics
To the western ear Thai may sound so “foreign” it is forbidding to even begin. The good news is that the best way to learn a language is to listen.
So keep your ears open. It’s common to tune out what we don’t understand, but it is essential to listen to the conversations around you even if you don’t understand a single word.
This is especially important when learning Thai because it is a tonal language; meaning that the same word with different inflection can have a different meaning.
Listen to both the sound and dynamics; the way the language varies in volume and tone; which words are high pitched or low.
Let your ear flow with the rhythm of the language- try to internalize its “music”. Pay attention to context and repeated words or phrases.
Everything will blend together in the beginning, but by listening with intent you will soon pick out common greetings, questions and courtesies.
Back to school?
You may be thinking— it’s too much, I will never manage that. So here is better news- Thai grammar is easy, they don’t conjugate verbs. There is a qualifier for past, future, and present continuous tenses; just three words for all distinctions of time.
Lanta International Language School is the premiere place for learning Thai in Koh Lanta. The school is located at the North of Long Beach just minutes from Baan Saladaan, and yards from the beach. LILS offers an intensive courses: a five day a week, yearlong commitment. A student visa can be obtained to accommodate the extended stay. This course incudes leaning to read and write Thai. The beauty of the written language (ขอให้เดินทางโดยสวัสดิภาพ, have a good journey) may be enough to inspire this kind of devotion.
If your goal is to conduct daily life speaking Thai, the “standard” course may be the best option for you. It includes ten lessons a week and is also a yearlong course, but you can join for other lengths of time (though at least four weeks is recommended). You will not learn to read or write, but you’ll feel comfortable shopping, dining out, enjoying social situations, and navigating difficulties.
Make the effort
If you are planning an extended stay on Koh Lanta, please consider making the effort to learn the common mannerly phrases. Many Thai residents of Koh Lanta have learned other languages to accommodate visitors; a sincere, if ill pronounced, kòp kun khap/kha (thank you) will be well received.
Omniglot offers a basic phase book with pronunciation.
Lanta International Language School’s website is also full of helpful videos that will likely encourage you to take the leap and learn to speak Thai.