duck-shaped pain


3 August 2001
Squiggly Lines That Mean Something To Someone

Right now I'm supposed to be at work, but I'm not. I'm sort of dawdling and taking it easy this morning, since I know The Employer won't be in today. He's marrying off his daughter this weekend, which is a big relief. I've never talked much about The Daughter in here, in case someone from work happened to visit by, but I don't think mere words can describe how annoying she is. [1] I hope this now means she'll go away. Or at least it means I'll stop hearing about the wedding -- she has a serious case of Fairy Princess Disease, so the planned event is several steps beyond ornate. As someone with an allergy to big important events that require professional planning, I try to run to the other room whenever something like "horse-drawn carriage" or "500 centerpieces" is mentioned.

Got my Thai language book and tapes in the mail yesterday. I ordered two things last week. The book and tapes, which I ordered from last Wednesday, arrived yesterday after several delays on the part of UPS. My new daybag (ostensibly for the trip, but I've also been wanting it just for everyday for awhile) I ordered from some sporting goods site I'd never heard of before. I wasn't sure of the site's reliability (going by the graphics -- for some reason, cheesy graphics means poor customer service in my mind, although the two may be completely related), but they had the bag for $10 less than anyone else, so I figured what the hell. Ordered that on Friday night, thinking it would take a while to get here. It arrived Monday, accompanied by a bonus free gift (a wallet that matches the bag). Which was a big surprise. So if anyone ever thinks of buying anything at The Sports Authority (which I think is actually a chain of stores somewhere as well), go for it.

Worked my way through the pronounciation guide last night. Which made my vocal chords ache. It's not like there's any sounds in the language that I haven't encountered before -- it's that all the familiar sounds are combined in new and exciting ways. Vowels that are much shorter or much longer than I'm used to. Puzzling vowel tones. Sounds that are sort of like one letter, but are also a lot like another. I have no problem with the U sounds that are a lot like the weird French U sounds, but I have never ever ever been able to roll my Rs. It's a sound this throat won't make.

I thought from the description that the book and tapes only tackled speaking, but I found that the book also includes lessons on how to write Thai. Which I found oddly thrilling. The letters, when combined in to words, look awfully imposing, but when separated into individual characters, they seem sort of reasonable. Still, with all the squiggles and circles and wavy lines involved, it seems like (for lack of a better term) a very spermy language.

I hope learning the individual characters makes my trip a bit easier. Still, I know from Japanese class that learning the characters does not translate into actual comprehension. I mean, I still remember the hiragana and katakana, but being able to see a string of them and have that register in your mind as an actual word is something else entirely.

[1] I mean, in high school (from which she only graduated last year), she was senior class president, valedictorian and prom queen.

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