Native language: Thai
Hometown: Bangkok, Thailand
Birthday: August 15th, 1985
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Education: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
(Second language acquisition)
Chulalongkorn University (English major/ Japanese minor)
Triamudom Suksa school (French program)
Private tutor & PickupThai Podcast producer, PickupThai
Freelance translator, Eqho Communications
Academic production officer, Enconcept E-Academy
Personal English tutor, Wall Street Institute
Years of Thai Teaching Experience: 2008-Present
Foreign Language Abilities: English (fluent), Japanese (advanced),
French (intermediate), Portuguese (lower-intermediate), Chinese (beginner)
What nationality are you?
For those of you who wonder if I am Thai, Chinese, Japanese or Korean, I know my looks can be deceiving but I am 100% Thai. Even though my grandparents all came from China (there it is, the reason why I look the way I look), my parents and I were born in Thailand. I grew up in Bangkok, the capital, and went to school there from kindergarten to college. So basically, I have lived in Thailand almost all my life. And naturally, Thai is my first and only native language.
What was your field of study?
I graduated from the faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. My major was English and I also studied Japanese as a minor. Later, I received a Japanese Government scholarship to study at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies for two years with a concentration on second language acquisition, language teaching and linguistics. I have always had passion for languages. In high school, I also studied in the Arts-French program. And I know it’s crazy but I now work as a language teacher and in my free time, I learn and practice languages!
So how did you become a Thai teacher?
I’ve always been aware that I have a gift for languages and for explaining things to people. After studying three foreign languages; English, French and Japanese; I thought it would be fun and exciting to switch roles and teach my own language to others. After graduation, I worked at two English language schools while giving private English and Japanese classes at the same time. Then, I started to teach Thai for the first time in late 2008; mostly to tourists traveling to Thailand from various countries around the world. After I moved to Japan, I kept on giving private Thai classes and then after I came back to Thailand in early 2011, I became a full-time Thai private teacher. That’s also when I began to teach via Skype. Currently I live in the United Kingdom and give classes mostly on Skype.
What do you like about teaching Thai?
Soon after I had started to teach Thai, I realized that this is what I love doing the most. I truly love the Thai language and I think the fact that I have learned many foreign languages makes me appreciate my own language even more. There are many things about the Thai language that you cannot find in any other language, and I’d like to tell the world how interesting Thai is through my teaching. Unlike other languages, Thai does not have many explicit grammar rules, though every sentence is implicitly structured. There are a lot of things that are not explicitly codified in grammar rules, and you kind of just have to learn how to express yourself in a correct and natural way. Most of the things you need to learn don’t exist in grammar books. When teaching Thai, I have to figure out how to explain these kinds of implicit grammar rules all the time. I find that challenging and exciting. But I find it even more rewarding to build a relationship with every single one of my students and go on a journey together with them to explore the beautiful world of the Thai language and culture. I find great satisfaction in being their guide on that journey, and watching them achieve the success they seek.
Why did you name this website “Pick up Thai”?
I created this website not only to promote PickupThai Podcast, my teaching and language services but also to share my knowledge with people who are interested in Thai. Like I said earlier, many things you learn in Thai do not exist in textbooks. As a language learner myself, my goal has always been to be able to speak whatever language I am learning like a native. I want to know all the colloquial expressions and slang words and idioms that characterize daily speech. I love to learn things beyond what textbooks teach me, and so it’s my own passion for language that motivates me in my desire to teach Thai learners what I would want to know if I were in their shoes. Anything that’s not taught in textbooks but that Thai people use in practice, I will try my best to put it here to share with all Thai learners that come to my website. My hope is that every time you drop by for a visit, you will “pick up” something new and take it with you when you leave. And eventually, I hope you’ll be able to “pick up Thai” too.
What advice would you give to learners who want to become good at Thai?
I highly recommend all beginner-level students take proper classes, because solid background knowledge or a strong foundation is the most important thing in language learning. I am an enthusiastic language learner myself and I devote an incredible amount of time to self-study but I never self-study a new language from scratch because I know it will harm me rather than help me. You need a native teacher to guide you so that you learn everything correctly right from the beginning. For intermediate-level learners, classes are still strongly recommended, but once you have enough knowledge to learn from the real usage by yourself, I’d say practice with media as much as possible at the same time, and notice new things that you’ve never seen before. For advanced-level learners, set your goals high and don’t stop learning. One interesting fact about language learning is it never ends. There will always be something new to learn that you didn’t know before. That’s why the person who thinks he knows the least will eventually learn the most.
Why do you think learning Thai is important?
Language is one of the most intriguing aspects of a culture since it reflects the way of thinking as well as the values of the people of that culture. When you go to a foreign country without knowing their language, you see that country from your own perspective but if you know their language, it is as if you had the key to their country and their culture. You’re able to learn about the culture of that country from its people with a deep and profound understanding that you can’t obtain otherwise. Nothing you need to know is lost in translation, and you will feel the wall between you and the native people breaking down as they welcome you and treat you as if you are one of them. If you love Thailand, study Thai. It will open up a hidden world to you that you can’t enter in any other way.