Math in ThaiPosted by palmisano on Apr 23, 2013 in Beginner

It’s been rightly said that you are not fluent in any language until you can do math in that language without translation. This tutorial is meant for those who can already read Thai numbers. If you cannot yet read Thai numbers, complete the below set of tutorials first to catch up.

Background

Tutorial #1 – Learn numbers 1 to 100.

https://blogs.transparent.com/thai/thai-numbers-1-to-100/

Tutorial #2 – Learn numbers 100 to infinity.

https://blogs.transparent.com/thai/thai-numbers-100-to-infinity/

Tutorial #3 – Learn how to rank things using Thai numbers.

https://blogs.transparent.com/thai/rankings-of-stuff-by-number-in-thai/

Tutorial #4 – Learn math symbols.

https://blogs.transparent.com/thai/thai-punctuation-marks-other-characters-part-3/

Tutorial #5 – More thoughts on Thai numbers.

https://blogs.transparent.com/thai/should-we-write-with-thai-numbers-or-arabic-numbers/

Next, learn how to say each mathematical symbol:

 Thai Karaoke English คณิตศาสตร์ Ka4nit4sat2 math จุด Jud2 . บวก buak2 + ลบ lop2 – คูณ kuun1 x หาร haan5 / เท่ากับ tow3gap2 = เท่ากัน Tow3gan1 = เหรียญ Reein5 Money (dollar, coin, etc.) ฿ (บาท) Baat2 \$ (dollar) เปอร์เซ็นต์ bper1sen1 %

Lesson

Now that you have a background in Thai numbers, you are ready for 2nd grade math (ha!). In my class that I teach, I find that my students struggle answering simple Thai math questions like ‘what is 1 + 2 equal?’ This, despite some of my students being bankers and engineers. It’s not that they don’t know the math, it’s just that by the time they’ve translated ‘2’ into English in their head, they’ve already forgotten the ‘1 +’ part.

The active conscience only has so much memory and processing speed – you can’t juggle too much all at once. So I then taught my students a trick, and almost immediately it was much simpler for them.

Did you know your brain processes language in one part of the brain, and images in another? Try this: repeat the word ‘elephant’ in your head while reading this page out loud. You’ll find it impossible. Then try this: imagine a picture of an elephant while reading this page out loud – easy! So that’s how I want you to do Thai math. The secret is that your brain is offloading tasks to other parts of the brain, so that no single part is overloaded.

In the following examples, when you see ‘1+1’ and such in Thai, picture the numbers and symbols in your head. DO NOT think “one plus one” using language. Imagine pictures only, while your language part of your brain is translating. Add each translated result to the picture one by one.

For the following examples, do not write anything down. Do this math entirely in your head. When you see เท่ากับอะไร, it means ‘what does it equal?’

Test example:

หนึ่ง บวก สอง เท่ากับอะไร?

. . .

As you read each word, translate it, then put a picture of each result in your imagination. After you have it done to conversion, do the math, then translate the final result to Thai. Answer: 1 + 2 = 3

Practice Questions

The following practice questions will give you practice reading math questions. Ideally you’d also want to practice with listening, so ask a Thai friend to read a few to you as well.

ห้า บวก สอง เท่ากับอะไร?

สอง หาร สอง เท่ากับอะไร?

หนึ่ง คูณ สาม เท่ากับอะไร?

สี่ จุด สาม บวก สิบ เท่ากับอะไร?

๑๙๒ – ๔๕ = ?

หนึ่งร้อยบาท ลบ ห้าสิบบาท เท่ากับอะไร?

สิบบาท ลบ ห้าสิบเปอร์เซ็นต์ เท่ากับอะไร?

Bonus

When watching Thai TV, close your eyes and listen. Your comprehension will increase when your mind isn’t busy processing what your eyes see.

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