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welcome to my language blog! here i talk about the languages i study, why i'm interested in them, my experiences so far, or whatever other random thoughts i have about this hobby of mine. i think language learning is a fun, challenging but rewarding, and worthwhile endeavour no matter what level of mastery you achieve or are even interested in striving towards. i also love feeling like i'm doing something 'productive' with my free time, even when i'm just watching tv in my target language. while i hate the idea that people need to spend their free time productively, i also feel like a lot of people spend too much time just passively consuming content which rots your brain imo, instead of having any creative or skill based hobbies that build character or expand your worldview. i think studying a language is a great fit for those of us who love consuming media since once you get to an intermediate level you really can learn a lot by just reading or watching native content. despite my waxing philosophical, i haven't been studying that long and i study pretty casually so i haven't achieved anything remarkable. i also feel like a lot of language learners on the internet are either pretentious or fake so i've sort of avoided language learning communities online, but i've really liked reading the language pages and blogs of other people here on neocities so i thought i'd share my journey too.

my history with thai

i feel like i've been trying to learn thai all my life, although i only really started studying... successfully? i'd say in like 2021. thai is arguably my heritage language, as my mother is thai, but i never learned anything beyond the numbers 1-10 and how to ask where the bathroom is when i was a kid. i've seen different definitions of how much exposure to a language is necessary as a child to consider it a heritage language, but for the sake of simplicity i'll consider myself one here.

i went to visit my family in thailand the summer after my freshman year of college with my mother, where i quickly discovered how horribly inconvenient it was to rely on one person to translate everything in order to talk to anyone or even buy anything as no one in my extend family spoke english and they live in a part of thailand where no one else does either. i have a good relationship with my mom, but it was annoying to feel like a kid who needs their parent to do everything for them. i also realized that my mom wasn't going to live forever; the reason we went was for the 1 year anniversary of her dad's passing to hold another funeral ceremony. being there, it made me think of one day having to do the same for my own mom, and how i would no longer have any way of talking to her family or navigating her homeland by myself. that reality seemed so painful so i figured i should take advantage of my mom to help me while she was still alive.

despite my revelation, i didn't really learn anything the three months i was there and was unable to successfully build a language learning routine for myself when i got back home. even though i had taken french in high school, i didn't really know how to study a language, especially by myself and for a language that was so much more different from my native english and with way fewer resources. i also feel like my college workload was too much at the time for me to want to spend my precious free time doing even more studying. it wasn't until after i had graduated and found a job that i decided to take another stab at trying to learn thai in late 2021.

how i study thai

i honestly feel like a big part of my success in actually getting anywhere with learning thai this time around, beyond the increased free time and mental stamina afforded to me by graduating university, were the resources that had been published since the last time i had tried and given up. the first resource that really changed the game for me was the book read thai in 10 days by arthit juyaso. i personally am anti-romanization when it comes to learning a language, since other languages have sounds that don't exist in your own so you can't really capture the new sounds accurately in your own writing system. also in the case of thai there is no standard romanization system so when you read romanized thai you can't be sure if it's using british english or american english vowels, if vowel length has been taken into account or not, which of the five tones it is, and all this other bullshit that could be avoided had you just taken the time to learn the language's script. for these reasons i really wanted to start with learning the writing system but i had never been successful before. there are 44 consonant characters, each of which have one of three "classes", that combine with one of 32 vowels, possibly one of four tone marks, and possibly another consonant at the end to determine the tone of the word. so as you can imagine it's a massive pain in the ass to learn as it's not as simple as associating a letter with a sound. i found that the way this book breaks up the characters and gradually introduces them alongside the ideas of consonant class, vowel length, live vs dead endings, and tones made everything click for me. while i didn't finish the book in 10 days (it took me 20, which i found was a much more manageable pace), i did finish it feeling like i had a good enough grasp of the writing system to be able to iron out the kinks through just reading more and using thai script on my anki cards.

the second resource i found instrumental in getting started learning thai was the youtube channel comprehensible thai. i felt like before i didn't really have any resources for listening practice aimed towards beginners that wasn't just, like, example dialogues of tourists ordering pad thai or something. but this channel that started in 2020 i think had hundreds of hours of graded listening material on so many fun and interesting topics, all for free and is still releasing new content as of writing this, that i felt like i hit gold. i don't follow the ALG (Automatic Language Growth) method personally, where you're supposed to only watch the ALG content and not use traditional studying methods alongside it as a full course is suppose to take you from not understanding anything to beginning to understand native level content. i believe the aim is to basically replicate the first five or so years of a child's language development so you have the skills to keep learning in whatever direction you want to, but can do so within your target language, just like you did with your native language as a child. but tbh i feel like my adhd prevents me from only sitting and watching videos without any sort of interaction. in the beginning i did watch the channel for the recommended 2+ hours a day, but i also went through other beginner textbooks and courses as well as keep up with my anki cards.

i still watch comprehensible thai, although i use it more for more passive listening practice while i wash my dishes and stuff like that. right now i'm going through the intermediate 1 playlist, which currently has over 700 30+ minute videos and is still getting tons of regular updates so at the rate i'm going i'll probably be using it until the heat death of the universe. i do a lot of sentence mining these days. for a long time i mainly sentence mined vlogs and cooking videos on youtube, although i've been doing more shows now. there aren't that many that have thai soft subs, but i do mine pretty intensely (basically any i+1 sentence i come across) so it takes me ages to get through a single show. i don't really practice reading much because quite frankly i a) have not come across enough content that interests me that is at my level, and b) i have very little need to read thai beyond signs and menus and the occasional facebook message from my family. through reading the thai on subtitles and my anki cards alone my ability to read thai has already surpassed my mom's ability to read english and she's been able to survive living in america just fine for over 20 years so tbh improving my reading is kinda low on my list of priorities lol. i feel like my listening comprehension is around the low intermediate, B1 area although i've never taken any sort of test (i don't think there is a CEFR test for thai anyways).

if you want to see all the resources i've used to study thai, you can check out this page on my resources site. you can also find more resources i've found on the internet here, although i can't vouch for the quality of every source or if they're all still up. these are all resources for language learners, but if you want to know what stuff i've sentence mined in case you're having trouble finding content with soft subs or you just want to talk to a fellow thai learner feel free to contact me. tbh i'm kind of wary of other thai language learners... like 90% of them are middle aged male expats and the other 10% are fujos, both of which are prone to fetishizing my culture and can make me feel uncomfortable..... but if you read all this and still want to talk to be i promise i'll be nice <3

my history with japanese

i've been interested in japanese media since i was a little kid, but i never really had much interest in learning japanese. to be honest i don't particularly care about watching anime without subtitles or missing every pun or other untranslatable things in the manga i read, and it seemed like such a daunting task when i wasn't interested in the more niche and untranslated side of japanese media. but after i studied thai for around 2 years and realized how much fun studying a language could be, and getting a bit bored of only studying thai all the time, i decided to add japanese to my language learning plate in august 2023. my interest in japanese video games had also grown since i was a child, especially in more niche series and older titles, so i figured that it would be cool to be able to play untranslated jrpgs and visual novels or read game developer interviews. i think my interest was also piqued by all the language learning tools that i was using and advice i had read since they were basically all developed for learning japanese.

how i study japanese

i started with learning hiragana and katakana. to be honest i was surprised by how easy it was, i think i learned them all in like five days compared to the 20 days it took me to get a similar grasp on the thai script despite there being more kana than unique thai characters. after that i started using the relatively newly published textbook tobira I: beginning japanese. since it's pretty new there isn't that much side content developed for it yet unlike genki, but after comparing them i liked the colorfulness and vibe of the beginning tobira book more as well as the tie-in media on their official website, so i picked it over genki. at the time no one had put up scans or a pdf of the workbooks online, so i ended up purchasing them electronically through their official US ebook retailer, maruzen. but i kinda regret it because you can only use the ebook version with their proprietory software, EDX UniText, and i hate the interface of it. i have a touchscreen laptop so i'm used to marking up pdfs in apps like one note with a stylus, but their app doesn't recognize pen pressure or utilize the buttons on my stylus so i wasn't able to write on the ebooks like i had intended to. i ended up just writing my answers and stuff on paper, which was fine, but the experience has stopped me from purchasing the tobira ii textbook since i don't wanna deal with that app again and the second workbook hasn't even been published yet. i'm still deciding between whether i want to keep using the beginning tobira series but buy them physically or try the kindle version on amazon, or to switch to genki ii which is easy to find for free online.

alongside textbook learning, i also do a lot of listening practice with youtube channels aimed towards beginner japanese students such as comprehensible japanese and japanese with shun. the lack of a channel like comprehensible thai with thousands of hours of free listening material for language learners is a little disappointing, but i think the only other language with a similar project is spanish (by dreaming spanish, who was in turn inspired by the ALG method for learning thai) so maybe i'm just spoiled lol. at least there's wayyyyy more graded readers and grammar resources compared to thai, and since i have a stronger interest in being able to read japanese i guess i should feel lucky.

i use the kodansha kanji learner's course alongside ringotan to study kanji. so far i've gone through over 500 kanji, although i certainly wouldn't say i "know" all of them yet. i think it takes awhile to fully internalize them after you get introduced to them. in addition to ringotan, i add a card for each kanji individually plus some cards for common words using that kanji to my anki deck. when i started studying thai i realized that i don't like following premade decks, but i feel like when you're a beginner making all your own cards for common words is a waste of time. so what i did when i started with japanese was download a bunch of the popular decks, like the core 2.3k and tango decks, put them under a main deck called "resources", and reformat all of them to be of the same note type. that way when i need a card for a word i want to learn, i can just search for cards that already have it as their target word and copy it to my japanese deck. because of this i haven't had much of a need to start sentence mining my own cards yet, as i'm still mostly going through N4 level vocabulary. beyond example words for kanji i'm learning, i also pick words to add to my deck based on words i notice a lot in my immersion and frequency lists.

if you want to see the resources i've used to study japanese, check out this page on my resources site. there are a ton of great getting started guides to learning japanese and resource masterposts out there (and i'll add links to my favorite ones eventually) made by people who have actually been successful learning japanese, so i'll mainly be focusing on adding the sites and resources i personally end up using. sort of like a record of my journey i think. honestly i think i just felt weird about having a page for thai learning resources and not one for japanese since i'm also studying it, so i made my own resource list even though i'm very much a beginner lol.