Greetings!

We designed this site in order to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away and in order to communicate with other adoptive families from around the world.

When we first started researching this wonderful way to become a family we read everything we could get our hands on. Even though there are a lot of great books out there, nothing was as informative or touching as the blogs we found by adoptees, biological parents, and adoptive families. So we are writing this blog now in hopes of returning the favor. We hope that if you are dear to us you will enjoy keeping up with our adventures. If you are someone out there involved in a part of the adoption triad we hope you will find information and comfort here and provide us with some of your own!

If you would like to get in touch with us we can be reached at: becomingafamily@gmail.com
Feel free to stop by anytime. We're happy to share our family story.

Take care,
Brian and Rosemary

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Learning Thai

Even though this is officially "our" adoption blog most of you will have noticed that Rosemary does almost all the writing. My contribution here is mostly as a copy-editor. I'm not really a creative writing kind of guy but our adoption is very important to me and I think about it a lot.

One thing I feel more confident about, and that I'm trying to do more frequently, is blogging about Thai language and culture in as much as we know (but we're learning more every day). It's tremendously important to us that we become conversant in the language and culture of our children's birth country. This not only gives them as strong a sense of their Thai heritage as two farang can offer, but lets them know that it's not just them - it's us. We are a Thai-American family. Not in the traditional sense, certainly, but I think in a very real way nonetheless.

We've both been to Thailand before - Rosemary many more times than me - and picked up some tourist Thai. Rosemary has a big leg up on me there too, but we've really set into a schedule of studying Thai now. One of my more ambitious goals is to become literate in Thai, too. For those of you who don't know, Thai script looks like this:




So, that seems pretty impossible at first. But I'm actually making some progress and can sound out the yellow and red sign above (I don't know what it means, but I can pronounce it - I think). Since many of our friends in the Thai adoption community are also trying to learn some amount of our children's birth language, I thought I'd share some resources I've found recently:

- A great cheap source for the popular Rosetta Stone software here - $85 for Level 1 (it's only available in level 1 for Thai, but that's still about 60% off!)

-Strangely, Northern Illinois University has an excellent Thai program. They have many of their curricula on their website. This site includes a link to Maani, which is a traditional Thai grade school reader that has been made into an online interactive tool to learn to read Thai. I highly recommend it!

-Thai-language.com is another great resource with lots of materials for beginners through advanced learners and has a great interactive speaking Thai-English dictionary.

-Spokenthai.com has lots of good recorded dialogues and stories to attune your ear to the tones and practice your pronunciation.

-For those of you who, like me, need a textbook sometimes to explain some grammar or pronunciation rules, there is an excellent one online here.

-And finally, practice makes perfect! Flashcards for learning the alphabet and vocabulary can be found here and here. I've also found a great tracing sheet for practicing your Thai letters - if anyone is that into learning Thai (I tend to get obsessive), please email me and I can send them to you.

I hope these websites will be helpful for some of you who are as interested as I am in this project of learning Thai. It's a great way to pass the time while you're waiting for a referral or TA! I'd like it if we could share educational resources among ourselves as Thai adoptive families. If anyone has more great websites, please email them to me, and I'll share them here. Who knows - I've even been thinking of making a little "Thai I learned this week" post. Good luck!

- Brian

3 comments:

Yoli said...

I am so happy you are learning the language! I am familiar with Thai and we are thinking of getting our kids classes. At the temple we go to they offer classes.

Jen and Jeff said...

Cool, Brian! We are learning Thai, too. And by "We" I mean "me", as Jeff is on his 3rd word. LOL. Seriously though, we both hope to learn more and have kicked it up a notch ourselves. I'm doing a weekly Thai lesson post also so let's compare notes! Will check out those excellent resources you posted. Thanks so much for sharing! I think I have some also but haven't been to them for awhile. Will check and let you know if they are something you two don't already have. I know buythaibooks.com sells flashcards too. I have them but they haven't helped me much! :-)

Kup khun ka!
Jen

Jen and Jeff said...

Cool, Brian! We are learning Thai, too. And by "We" I mean "me", as Jeff is on his 3rd word. LOL. Seriously though, we both hope to learn more and have kicked it up a notch ourselves. I'm doing a weekly Thai lesson post also so let's compare notes! Will check out those excellent resources you posted. Thanks so much for sharing! I think I have some also but haven't been to them for awhile. Will check and let you know if they are something you two don't already have. I know buythaibooks.com sells flashcards too. I have them but they haven't helped me much! :-)

Kup khun ka!
Jen