meet may. my little Thai friend. she’s a fiesty one.
love her to death. She was quiet at first. And i couldn’t really tell if she was actually quiet or just hated us. Now, we are all in a happy state of mutual, pretend-loathing/actual-caring type of relationship.
Anywho, today was the first time i heard her speak thai. It was really cool to hear it. She told me that it’s probably a harder language than mandarin to learn. And I believe her. There are 7 tones. Their alphabet has 44 consonants and she didn’t give me a number for how many vowels there are. She said she couldn’t write down all the letters that exist. Like, their alphabet doesn’t have a nice, little song to help kids memorize it. Or at least she didn’t learn it.
Either way, the alphabet looks pretty epic.
Upon further research, there are 15 vowels. And some of the consonants have implied vowel tones attached to them.
Anyhow, I think you get a little bit more bang for your buck with the letters. Or that’s how someone who is used to the roman alphabet would see it.
That’s definitely a frequent topic of conversation between the 6 of us trainees. Phonetics. When we try to teach the Russian girl a word in chinese, she has a very hard time reproducing it correctly. The biggest obstacle is the d vs t. Every time there is a ‘d’ sound in a word it becomes a ‘t’. She was saying that the letter ‘t’, in russian, actually sounds like a ‘d’. But i am not sure if it’s true in the other direction. We keep bringing up those studies about how infants lose the ability to distinguish different phonetic sounds that do not carry a change in meaning in their native language after about a year.
I’m definitely feeling that. In Chinese, there is obviously the whole tone thing. It took me about one and a half to feel like i could produce the 4 tones. But if someone said a string of sentences to me, i would only be able to pick up the first and fourth tones consistently. That’s the hardest part about learning Chinese with the tones instructed. Because that’s not how little kids learn it. They just hear how to say the name of a thing, idea, etc and then they reproduce it the way they hear it. The concept of tones isn’t introduced to them until they begin schooling.
anywho, language is cool and i wish i could have more time here to study it. But alas, i spend 7 hours a day weeding and shit. loljk, i’m enjoying it alot so that’s fine by me.