This week I signed up to the Add1Challenge to learn Thai in 90 days. My goal is relatively simple, I will be travelling to Thailand in the Summer and would love to be able to have a basic conversation with Thai natives while I am there.
I’ve done the Add1Challenge before. It’s what got me to finally let go of my petrifying fear of speaking and to start enjoying language learning. I took part in Add1Challenge 9 and somehow won it! I won’t go in to great detail as I’ve blogged about it before. If you want to know more about it then you can read this blog post:
Anyway, learning Thai. It’s a tonal language which I have never done before so that scares me more than just a little.
I’ve selected some beginner resources to get me started:
- ThaiPod101 for listening
- iTalki for lessons
- Learn Thai With Kruu Wee for video
- Learn Thai in 10 Days on Audible
- Stu Jay Raj’s book Cracking Thai Fundamentals
If you read my blog up to now, you will know that I hate grammar books. Well maybe hate is a strong word but they certainly bore me to the point that I stop learning anything.
When learning a language, it’s very important to select the right resources for you and your learning style. If you need some help with this, I wrote more about it in this post:
The challenge runs for 90 days. As I progress through the challenge I will update the details here, so if you want to stay up to date – watch this space!
You can also check out a load of user reviews on the Add1Challenge User Reviews page in the Language Learning Library.
Throughout the challenge, you have to record yourself speaking. This is so that you can see your progress. The idea is that you turn on your camera and just speak so you will see no fancy editing or polished content – just me (hopefully) speaking some Thai.
Here is me on before I started:
Day 30 Update
My commitment throughout the challenge was to study 5 days a week for 45 minutes each day. Not a huge amount when you think that I’m trying to learn a language.
For the past 30 days, I mainly used ThaiPod101 and iTalki plus some searching online. I had started Stu Jay’s book but as I got the feeling that I would need to spend the whole 3 months just on that, I parked it for the time being. Rightly or wrongly, I feel that I really need to try and pick up as much vocabulary as possible at this stage.
I try to listen to at least 1 podcast a day. I listen on the way to work and then again on the way home. Once at home, I then check the lesson notes and transcriptions. I also take at least 2 iTalki lessons a week.
I have 2 teachers on iTalki. One is a professional teacher who does structured lessons and the other is an informal tutor. This gives me the opportunity to practice what I am learning.
The grammar in Thai is quite simple so even though the tonal part of the language is a challenge, the progress is still good as I don’t have really complex grammar rules to learn. For me, this is excellent as grammar is the part of language learning that I like least.
So, without further ado, here is my Day 30 video.
Day 60 Update
So I will be honest, the last 30 days didn’t do exactly to plan. Not only am I learning Thai but I had also been training for the worlds longest obstacle course race. I completed the race shortly after my Day 30 video but unfortunately it was rather gruelling on my body and I spent the best part of the following 2 weeks sick.
Things like this happen to us all though. Life gets in the way sometimes. The important thing to do is readjust your expectations and then continue.
If you find this happening all to often then check out this post for some helpful tips.
One thing I really like about the Add1Challenge is that you are part of a large group of people all working towards the same goal. It has a daily tracker and also smaller study and mastermind groups. All of these together give you the support and accountability you need to stand back up, dust yourself off and pick up where you left off.
For the last 2 weeks, to try and make up for lost time, I did 4 lessons a week. Two with a teacher and two with a tutor. The lessons with the teacher allowed me to learn new vocabulary and structures and the tutor sessions gave me some much needed practice.
Here is my Day 60 video: