Sometimes I wonder what I sound like when I speak Thai. I don’t sound like a native speaker – I know that much. And although I get compliments from Thai people, it’s important to keep in mind who they’re comparing me to – any farang in Thailand. These farang may be tourists or they may’ve been living and working in Thailand for years. Often these expat workers don’t make the time to learn Thai well. So yes. If you compare me to people who barely speak Thai, I guess I’m doing pretty well.
The reason why I’m wondering what I sound like is because on Sunday, a friend at church corrected me. I totally love and appreciate when Thai people correct my use of Thai because HOW ELSE WILL I KNOW!!???! I have recently been studying a module on Thai society. In this module you also learn about some Thai idioms. I only have a few memorized but let me tell you… I’m trying to make good use of them. Perhaps a little too much use though, as was the case on Sunday. One form of idiom uses two Thai words, one immediately after the other, that mean the same thing. The idiom I was using basically means “to visit.” So I was going on and on about how my friends at church could come visit Faye and Lilli and I when we move up north, and then how Faye is now visiting her family and friends at home in the States, and so on… Visit, visit, visit… So finally my friend “O” stopped me and told me when to use this idiom and when I can just use the one word for visit. Thank you O for clearing that up!
I later thought about what it must’ve sounded like to her. Just imagine some English (or whichever language you want to insert here) idiom and how it would sound if you said it all the time, even when it’s not appropriate. That’s been me – except in Thai.