About Me

Kinda like a crazy old cat lady.  Except I’m not that old, and it’s languages running around my place rather than cats.  And I’m a guy.

Seriously though, languages are what I do. I sometimes feel that I am not good enough at any of them and I’ll probably never be entirely satisfied.  There is no end-game, you never finish as there is always stuff you don’t know.  What I try to do here is impart a few bits of wisdom as there are loads of time-wasting, frustrating mistakes that almost everybody makes when learning their first new language and I can certainly steer you around all the ones I encountered.

I enjoy talking about this stuff as it keeps me motivated and allows me to rethink things that might not have occurred to me otherwise. If you need help with something please let me know. If I have time I’m willing to make videos or write posts in response to requests.

My Senior Project

  1. cat
    August 10, 2008 at 1:34 am

    “Kinda like a crazy old cat lady. Except I’m not that old, and its languages running around my place rather than cats. And I’m a guy.”

    Well, I am a cat with cats. Languages do not run around at my place, but I am learning Thai…

    Just touching base here. I started a blog for selfish reasons – to help me learn Thai.

    In looking around for a decent method to use, I came across your blog.


  2. September 10, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    Interesting. I’m a Thai-Engish translator (also farang) and am slowly improving my Burmese. There can’t be many of us around. Where did you learn your Thai?

  3. gwindarr
    September 11, 2008 at 12:24 am

    I guess you could say I picked it up on the street for the first year – restaurants and bars. After that I moved to P-lok for 6 months and realized how terrible my Thai was. So during my 2nd year I sat down with “The Fundamentals of Thai Language” for 2 or 3 months and learned how to read/write properly. I also use that book for the first month or 2 when I teach Thai – it presents the consonant classes in a well thought out way. After that it was all downhill. On a friend’s advice I started carrying a little notepad around and when I encountered a situation where I didn’t know how to say something, I wrote it down and found out later so if the situation arose again I’d have it with me.

    Aside from the last 2 weeks of an AUA class which I sat in on in my 1st year here , I’ve never taken a class.

  4. February 13, 2009 at 10:43 pm

    Hi, I just came across your website and I found it quiet helpful, especially the videos are cool. Please produce some more.
    I can understand pretty much everything you say but at the end of the first video I’m lost you talk about a hotel ?… anyway – spot on.

    Mh and I have one more question.
    I can read a newspaper and I started my first book now called “ลูกอีสาน” but I’m having a hard time with the construction of the “sentences”. Many times I know every word within but still can’t figure out the overall meaning – any suggestions for a book or HowTo ?

  5. gwindarr
    February 14, 2009 at 2:49 am

    Thanks for the comment. I have some ideas for more in the near future. Any requests?

    At the end of the first vid I am talking about my gym membership which used to be at the hotel next to my apartment.

    I’d say the way to read a book is fairly quick. Don’t stop and write down and/or look up every word you know. That sucks. Move through a few pages trying to read. If you don’t understand just keep going. We get better at reading not just by knowing more words but by seeing a finite number of phrases and sentences over and over until it just clicks in your head. You won’t even be aware of most of it. I try not to look anything up until I’ve seen it a few times and its starting to bother me that I still can’t guess the word.

    Stick with either one author (tough until you find one you really like) or one genre of books. Writers and genres have styles that we can get used to.

    You know those sappy soap-operaish thin books that always have a guy and a girl on the cover? I think those are great practice. They are short, mix written and spoken style together in one place and use lots of words you aren’t likely to hear much. I use them when I teach also.

    Anyways, your goal (for now) is not to understand everything. Its to find good stuff to read. Re-readable stuff is best of course.

  6. Vooya
    March 9, 2009 at 7:33 am

    Hey mate, you are so impressive.
    Your Thai is far better than my English although I’ve been living in Sydney for 2 years crap me TT

  7. gwindarr
    March 9, 2009 at 7:40 am

    I lived in Melbourne for about 6 months a couple years ago. Almost all of the Thai people I met lived with and hung out mainly with other Thai people. Its not about how or if you study. Its about how you live.

  8. May 8, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Hey! I love the site, thanks.

  9. Warut
    May 8, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    เจ๋งมาก อย่างเพิ่ง satisfied ทำต่อไปเรื่อยๆครับ

  10. gwindarr
    May 8, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    แล้วที่ดูยูทู้ปเป็นไงบ้าง ถ้าเจออะไรแปลกก็บอกมาได้

  11. foo
    August 12, 2009 at 7:52 pm

    where did you get ‘fundamentals of thai language’ its out of print and $100 on amazon.com

    kop khun kha

  12. gwindarr
    August 12, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Foo – I was at a friend’s house 5ish years ago and I saw it on his bookshelf. I had it copied.

    Anyways, you can get it online for free these days. http://www.lyndonhill.com/FunThai/CONTENTS.html

  13. Ryan
    November 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Hi There! I stumbled upon your youtube account and I noticed your from Lawrenceville, NJ!! I went to LHS (originally from Robbinsville/Washington Twp), but I’m currently located in Singapore, trying to learn Thai and Burmese.

    Did you go to LHS? Where are you now? Any tips for learning Thai/Burmese? E-mail me sometime.

  14. Jason C.
    November 10, 2009 at 6:10 am

    Damn man!! I met you Thailand. I saw your ad in a vegan restaurant “Learn Thai from a White Guy” and you were my tutor a few times. I really thought you were progressing rather quickly and was happy to learn from you. I was just thinking about you and thought, “wouldn’t it be funny if I typed “learn Thai from a white guy” and found a way to contact you. Small world.
    My name is Jason, American from NY, I also went to that gym. Not sure if you remember me but if you can spare the time for 1 email I’d really like to ask you some questions and advice if you have any. My email is jeisonc@gmail.com.

  15. Bart Young
    November 13, 2009 at 6:34 am

    Hey man, found u on youtube, you are great at speaking Thai. How long have u lived in Thailand? I have the ability to speak but my reading and writing skills are poor, any suggestions on how to improve them? (books, videos, etc…) Enjoyed the videos!!

  16. gwindarr
    November 13, 2009 at 8:11 am

    Hey Bart,

    I’ve been here about 7 years.

    I’d focus on reading and listening. Just find stuff you like and start with that. There are no rules. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. If a part is hard or boring than skip it. You don’t need to read anything in order. The meaning doesn’t really matter that much either. Don’t stop and write anything down or look anything up. That is boring and not very useful. You need to see the words and patterns over and over until your brain can work out what the hell is going on. Only then can you start to understand what it is you are reading. Read some of my posts about how to read and let me know if you have any specific questions.

    And do a little bit every day. That is probably more important than anything else.

  17. January 6, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    You’ve got a nice website here – very interesting. Thought I’d post this link for members looking for a teaching job. Learn Thai and teach English…. 🙂

  18. gwindarr
    January 6, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    I’m ok with the link post. It’s a good resource.

  19. Ian
    May 20, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Really enjoy watching your vids! Before I came to Thailand I couldn’t understand a word of it, but I was in awe of a white guy speaking Thai so well. Now I’m halfway through a C.M. Uni course and can actually make some headway. You’ve definitely inspired me, I hope to have that ability in Thai a few years down the road.

  20. gwindarr
    May 20, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for watching Ian. Let me know if you need any guidance.

    How long does CMU spend on teaching you to read? Can you read after being halfway through the course?

  21. Ian
    May 30, 2010 at 10:18 pm

    Yeah I can read, @CMU we focused on the alphabet most of the first month to build some foundation and learn the sounds/vowels. We read a new Thai story with questions every few weeks or so. However, the class is only 4hrs a week, so outside improvement is kinda essential.

    I have yet to look into any children’s books. I fear I would be stuck in my dictionary the entire time. Any suggestions on this? It might be a necessary evil until my vocabulary grows.

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