Yesterday I was watching part of a Thai production called Last Life in the Universe, recorded from SBS. It is about a obsessively clean and suicidal Japanese man and a young Thai bar girl. I hoped to get a glimpse of Thailand and listen to Thai speech. Amusingly, I heard more Japanese and English than Thai!
I was pleased with the amount of Japanese I could understand, but the tonal nature of Thai and my limited listening opportunities suggests that it could be a challenge picking up much before our trip. I would at least like to learn “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Please”, “Thank you”, “Excuse me” and “Sorry”.
In contrast, Bahasa Malaysia is much easier with a roman alphabet, spellings corresponding closely to sounds and many words borrowed from English. No wonder it was the trading language of the region. It also helps to have a partner who speaks some of the language as well!