The One-Year Plan

Five weeks ago when I decided I was actually going to go through with this learning-Thai thing, I didn’t have a plan other than to learn stuff and to be able to hold a choppy, but understandable, conversation with some in-laws by April. Now that I’ve spent the last month finding what resources are available, evaluating how much each of those resources actually helps me, and deciding what my priorities are, I can create a more concrete goal:

Build to a 5,000+ word active Thai vocabulary by December 31, 2014

Why 5,000? Because I think, with my considerable time constraints, 100 words of active vocabulary is the absolute most I can hope to accomplish a week. After a month or so, I’ll revise the goal if I find I’m consistently learning more or less than that 100.

The General Plan:

  1. Study 5 days/week (Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday) and learn at least 20 words/day (or 100/week).
  2. Use the following materials:

a. Learn Thai Podcast + vocabulary trainer (daily)

b. Language textbooks + audio word lists and sentences

c. มานี (2 chapters/ week book 1; 1 chapter/week thereafter — always with audio!)

When มานี runs out, use http://www.spokenthai.com/category/audio-books/page/2/

or http://thairecordings.com/ or http://edltv.dlf.ac.th/primary/

d. Television, movies, podcasts, and live conversations (30 minutes to 1 hour/day)

e. Weekly classes with tutor. (1hr/week)

f. Grammar/sentence structure study 20 min/day (1 hour/week)

g. AUA Thai videos 20 min/week until all vocabulary and structures in aailable

videos learned.

h. http://ressources.learn2speakthai.net/thaigirltalk/ and http://www.pickup-thai.com/pickupthai.html

whenever new ones are added (I’m currently caught up, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to review!)

3. Don’t totally neglect Spanish! Read, watch, and/or listen 1hr/day on off days.

4. Stop reading about learning languages and actually learn one. It’s been a blast reading all the language-learning research and polyglot blogs and learning Thai blogs, but now that’s more of a distraction than an asset.

As of 12/1/13:

-I have mastered* 104 of the 1,000 most frequent Thai words (list on LearningThai.com)

-Not counting numbers or types of food as separate words, I’m able (though hesitant) to use about 200

words.

-I have a passive vocabulary of 400-500 words.

*Because my goals include literacy, I define mastery as being able to understand the word when spoken (both in and out of context), read the word, write the word, speak the word, and use the word in a sentence with automaticity). I do not expect to master all 5,000 words in my goal, but I would like to master at least half and be comfortable speaking and understanding the other half though I may not attain automaticity.

The Detailed Plan:

Yesterday was day 1, and I did everything planned but write sentences, which was optional anyway. Today is a Spanish day, so I’m going to start reading La casa de los espíritus by Isabel Allende.

Sunday:

  1. Read new มานี chapter:

a. Read along with audio

b. Read aloud phrase by phrase with audio.

c. Learn meaning of all words (add new words to list for week)

d. Read aloud chapter in its entirety with as much fluency as possible.

e. Listen to audio of chapter.

2. Learn Thai Podcast:

a. Vocabulary lesson #1 for week (+template lesson when available)

b. Grammar lesson #1 for week

3. Current chapter in textbook (Everyday Thai for Beginners, An essential Thai Grammar, etc.). Should be the chapter or concept covered in Skype lesson on previous Saturday.

a. Go over vocabulary and phrases with audio + repeat out loud.

b. If time allows, create new sentences with vocabulary and sentence patterns

learned today.

c. STAY ON THIS CHAPTER ALL WEEK to encourage deep understanding and fluid pronunciation.

4. Watch Thai TV show, movie, or listen to podcast 30 minutes-1 hour. Take notes on frequently repeated new words and look them up (no more than 5 per viewing/listening session).

Monday:

1. Read, write, watch, listen to, or converse in Spanish for at least 1 hour.

Tuesday:

  1. Re-read this week’s มานี chapter:

a. Read along with audio

b. Read aloud phrase by phrase with audio.

c. Review meaning of all words (add new words to list for week)

d. Read aloud chapter in its entirety with as much fluency as possible.

e. Listen to audio of chapter.

2. Learn Thai Podcast:

a. Vocabulary lesson #2 for week (+template lesson when available)

b. Grammar lesson #2 for week

3. Current chapter in textbook (Everyday Thai for Beginners, An essential Thai Grammar, etc.)

a. Go over vocabulary and phrases with audio + repeat out loud.

b. If time allows, create new sentences with vocabulary and sentence patterns

reviewed today.

c. STAY ON THIS CHAPTER ALL WEEK to encourage deep understanding and fluid pronunciation.

4. Watch Thai TV show, movie, or listen to podcast 30 minutes – 1 hour. Take notes on frequently repeated new words and look them up (no more than 5 per viewing/listening session).

5. AUA 10 minute video. Learn five words and add to list.

Wednesday:

1. Learn Thai Podcast:

a. Vocabulary lesson #3 for week (+template lesson when available)

b. Grammar review lesson #1 and/or repeat lesson #1

c. Reading and writing lesson #1 for week

(d. Conversation lesson when that level is reached)

2. Watch Thai TV show, movie, or listen to podcast 1hr. Take notes on frequently repeated new words and look them up (no more than 5 per viewing/listening session).

3. AUA 10 minute video. Learn five words and add to list.

Thursday:

1. Read, write, watch, listen to, or converse in Spanish for at least 1 hour.

Friday:

  1. Reread this week’s มานี chapter:

a. Read along with audio

b. Read aloud phrase by phrase with audio.

c. Learn meaning of all words (add new words to list for week)

d. Read aloud chapter in its entirety with as much fluency as possible.

e. Listen to audio of chapter.

f. Do reading exercises several times.

2. Learn Thai Podcast:

a. Vocabulary lesson #4 (+template lesson when available)

b. Grammar review lesson #2 or repeat lesson #2

3. Current chapter in textbook (Everyday Thai for Beginners, An essential Thai Grammar, etc.)

a. Go over vocabulary and phrases with audio + repeat out loud.

b. If time allows, create new sentences with vocabulary and sentence patterns

learned today.

c. STAY ON THIS CHAPTER ALL WEEK to encourage deep understanding.

4. Watch Thai TV show, movie, listen to podcast, or listen to and attempt to participate in live conversation. Take notes on frequently repeated new words and look them up (no more than 5 per viewing/listening/conversation session).

Saturday:

  1. Begin *new* chapter in textbook (Note: do not add these words to this week’s 100 — they will be part of next week’s)

a. Listen to and repeat all words and phrases.

b. Read through grammatical structures.

2. Private lesson via Skype.

3. Speak as much as possible throughout the day.

4. Learn Thai Podcast:

a. Vocabulary lesson #5 (+template lesson when available)

b. Grammar review lesson #1 and #2 for week

c. Reading and writing lesson #2 for week

(d. Conversation lesson when that level is reached)

5. Watch Thai TV show, movie, listen to podcast, or listen to and attempt to participate in live conversation. Take notes on frequently repeated new words and look them up (no more than 5 per viewing/listening/conversation session).

6. Review all of this week’s vocabulary (approx 100 words).

Proof:

If all goes well, I should have an active vocabulary of about 500 words by the end of January and be comfortable with some basic grammatical structures. Therefore, at the end of January, I will post a short video of me speaking Thai (for which I will provide a transcript in Thai). I would like to say that video will be unrehearsed, but with such a small active vocabulary, what I talk about is going to be extremely limited, so chances are I will have said the exact phrases on the video several times before, though probably not in that order. I imagine the video will be 2-3 minutes long, extremely boring, and painful for natives to watch due to the awful accent and wildly wrong tones. It should be pretty impressive to anyone who doesn’t know a word of Thai, though! :p

 

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2 Responses to The One-Year Plan

  1. waiting33 says:

    Impressive. I wish I had your commitment. I will be interested to follow and may borrow some of your method. Good luck

  2. waiting33 says:

    Just noticed this was 2013. How did you go?

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