My son and I spent a fascinating time together today.
He asked me if I wanted to see him write in the Thai language. We sat side by side on the couch. He had a lap board, paper, and pen. He wrote words, showing how the characters worked together to make the characters ‘high class’ or ‘low class,” and how the vowels were usually a combination of several characters in a pattern that told him whether the pronunciation should have his voice going up or going down.
He wrote out several whole sentences for me, and I loved watching how carefully he wrote the characters, but he clearly didn’t have to think much about it, having practiced for hours and hours to get it right.
Being technologically challenged, we discussed answers to my questions regarding his phone and his computer. He had to get a SIM card to put into his phone in order to use it here in the United States. There is another place in the side of his phone that allows him to store the SIM card he uses in Thailand, so he can change it back when he goes home.
He also showed me how he can change keyboards on his phone from English, to Mandarin Chinese, to Thai and back again with just a click. He participates in a program where people text questions, such as, ‘How do I ask someone if they want to go eat in English?” He answers, after reading the question in Thai or Mandarin, then switches to his English keyboard and writes the answer. He can read Mandarin and answer a question in Thai or in English. I’m so proud of his hard work and determination to become as fluent as possible in each of the languages, plus help other people, too. He says it’s showing respect to learn the language of the country you’re living in.
He’s decided that when he replaces his computer next time, he’s going to buy one in Thailand so it has Thai characters on the keyboard, rather than having to use the stick-on characters that get grungy after a time.
I took Spanish in high school and went to Mexico City one summer. I was able to make myself understood a reasonable amount of the time, but certainly not in anything more than BABY Spanish, ungrammatical, with a lot of acting thrown in. I’m not SURE I would say I’m really FLUENT in English, either, as I feel out of my depth very quickly with people whose vocabulary is much richer than mine.
We had a wonderful time this afternoon, and I saw yet another side of our son. We know we’re biased, but we think we understate what an amazing man he is!