Way back in November of 2011, a tweet from Josh Sager @learningThai was bouncing around amongst the Thai language learner twitter-sphere. He had written a blog entry about the benefits of keeping a journal in Thai that upon reading it, I found quite obvious, despite the fact that I had never actually thought of the idea myself. The idea was so simple, like most great ideas, and the benefits rather obvious. He doesn’t specify if you should be journal with English phonetics or in Thai script, but you will likely benefit more writing in Thai.
The basic idea is this:
Sit down for fifteen minutes or so every day and write about what you did that day. Try to keep it simple but don’t dumb down your sentences too much. We want to practice developing adult sentences, not something a five year old could come up with. You will not know most of the words that you are using in the beginning, so be sure to have a dictionary handy. At the end of the entry, you should make a vocabulary list of the new words you used for future study. As with all language learning techniques, don’t be afraid to make mistakes, that is how we learn and grow.
That’s the gist of it, and if you do this every day you should see a vast improvement in both your vocabulary and your grammar skills. The reason that this works is because it forces you to learn the vocabulary that is around you on a day to day basis. All the things and places around you are words that you should be learning in Thai, because they are relevant to your life.
Although this technique is quite ingenious and has tons of potential, there are certain limitations. I for one tend to do pretty much the same thing most days of my life, as I’m sure a lot of people do. This would make for an extremely boring and quite redundant journal. My one tweak to this technique is to take certain liberties with your journal. Think of your journal as telling the story of your day, only in Thai. Like any good story teller will tell you, moderate exaggerations or even outright lies will make your story more interesting. At the least, this will make your journal more entertaining to yourself, and hopefully it will allow you to learn some vocabulary that isn’t so mundane and ordinary.
Have any of you attempted to journal in Thai on a regular basis? Do you think this has helped you overall in your language learning? Let me know in the comments below.