Love overcomes language barriers, some foreigners say language is a plus
For many Thai women with limited foreign language skills, the ability to chat with foreigners is the biggest impediment to finding international love online. In a 2012 survey it emerged that many foreign men actually welcome a language gap.
The survey also revealed that while a language barrier is still off putting for a significant number of foreign men seeking love in Thailand, nearly as many viewed it as a positive thing and welcomed it in a relationship with a Thai woman
The surprise findings are confirmed by some Dating experts around the world. It appears that a language barrier may not be such an impediment to a successful relationship but it also suggests that it may actually be a plus for some love pairs. In the ThaiLoveLines survey of English speaking foreigners from the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, Europe, Australia and New Zealand conducted in April to August 2012, it was reported that only 37% reported language compatibility as a decisive factor in finding love in Thailand.
In recent interviews former James Bond Star Sean Connery has stated openly that his 30 year old marriage to his French born wife Micheline would not have lasted so long where it not for the language barrier.
'As a dating coach I would say the biggest difficulty in relationships is over communication and not under communication. In fact I have seen many international pairs who have developed deeply satisfying relationships because they have learned to know each other so much better without too many words, too many clichés and overused thought patterns. I have seen relationships where the language barrier or differences has actually been a source of great joy to both parties in the relationship. For instance, one partner attempt to pronounce a word in the others language. These experiences can not only be endearing but can develop the relationship spiritually. I have seen this,' says Jamie Schneider.
Yet for many Thai women and men seeking a foreign partner or contemplating a foreign partner, limited English or experience with a foreign language is certainly the most daunting obstacle to what they want to do. Even Thai women or men with good or credible English sometimes report a problem.
Guide for Thai women wanting to chat with foreigners
For the purpose of this guide we are assuming that you have limited or even no English. Here is what you should do:
- Relax and compose yourself but make some preparations as outlined here. You will need to take the time to prepare perhaps over an extended period to do this well and successfully. Be clear about what you are saying and what the prepared words mean.
- Seek to learn key phrases in English, German, French etc. but particularly English. Prepare a chain of phrases that will help you to initiate conversation or an online chat. You should prepare key phrases and know their meaning to introduce yourself, state your home, location or job and what sort of relationship you are looking for. You may also consider expressions which explain your limited ability to speak a foreign language.
- Make sure that everything you do communicate is simple to understand and is very honest. Because of the language barrier, you must make sure that each piece of information is clear and avoids any sort of confusion or doubt.
- While making sure that your statements are clear do try to insert some pieces of information that may help reflect your personality. Find some useful stories or comments that will help the person on the other line get a picture of who you are inside.
- Use Google Translate or even Bing Translate to formulate your comments in English, French or German. Now you probably know that these translation services are not always very accurate but you can use these features as a tool but combined with other methods. You should familiarise with their use.
- If using Google or Bing Translate, prepare your comments in your own language. Feed them into the system. Then test them back through the Google or Bing Translation service to see if the comments still make sense.
- Keep all your notes and comments in Word file or Notepad file on your computer. If you don't have your own computer, save them on an e-mail in your e-mail account so you can retrieve these workings when you are next dating online.
- Don't be afraid to practice your English, German, Dutch French, Italian or whatever language when you meet a foreigner online. In fact, your language barrier may actually be an asset as it helps you to break the ice and ask your chat partner for help in ensuring your language is acceptable. If you find a chat partner unwilling or impatient, then perhaps you have also learned something. Don't forget that most foreigners cannot speak Thai and it is you, after all, who is making the effort to converse in his or her tongue.
- The most common and acceptable language online is English so it might be a good idea to always have opening words in this language or even to work from this language if you are intimidated by so many different languages. Most foreigners have some command of knowledge of English. This is important.
Foreigner whose Thai Love could not even speak
This is an inspiring story. Just to show that Love, in the end of the day, can conquer all obstacles if you find the right person.
Graham Daly from Birmingham Alabama arrived in Udon Thani last year to meet a Thai woman whom he met online but after a three week holiday in Udon Thani and also a trip to Chiang Mai he fell in love with another Thai woman who he met at dinner on the first night of his stay.'She had come along with friends to meet me as I was having dinner with the Thai woman I was visiting, she was so shy but beautiful, I just was attracted her from the first moment.' However the Thai girl that Graham fell in love with cannot speak and has extreme hearing difficulties.'I have some knowledge of sign language as I have a cousin with the same condition, I found I could communicate with her and our relationship grew from there.'
Graham has been back to visit Thailand already but has reservations about bring his Thai girlfriend back to America.'She seems so happy here, she has a job and friends, I am not sure if it would be right,' he says. Graham is thinking about coming to live in Thailand to work as an English teacher to be near Sopa but the relationship faces even more challenges than normal Thai foreigner ones.
Share your life story and culture
One of the many reasons for international relationships between Thai people and foreigners is the contrast of cultures it brings to the relationship. While there is a culture barrier and many of the challenges facing relationships between Thai people and foreigners, it is also very true to say that exploring the other partner's culture is one of the prime benefits of such relationships.
In the 2012 ThaiLoveLines relationship survey, 44% said a different language was a key concern in any future relationship with a Thai woman while 32% said that language differences could actually be a positive factor. This survey was conducted among 523 foreign men over a six month period. So this is great point of discussion when you chat online with a foreigner.
Prepare your thoughts on your culture and prepare questions about living in other countries and other cultures. You might begin with the weather in a particular country and then ask questions about what you know.
For instance if you are a Thai women, you might ask man from Denmark if they have a King or Queen like in Thailand. You might tell him about how revered the Thai monarch is in Thailand and he may tell you about Denmark's Queens and the status of the Royal family in Denmark.
Of course, you might also talk about your relationship status or the kind of friends you are looking for online. Our suggestion is that you prepare this in English from Thai and then translate it to other languages or try to converse in English.
Chat, Talk and E-mail online with Foreigners
We recommend that you have some standard e-mails ready. But always make an effort to make these e-mails or communications individual. Also try to slow down. Every word or communication has consequences and while you must not be afraid, you should not fall into the trap of sending e-mails which are not thought through.
On ThaiLoveLines, Thailand's No.1 Social Networking and Dating site for instance, you may not spam or send multiple e-mails to members of the same nature but you can send mails with the same format and adjusted for each recipient. Spend the time online getting to know different users by talking the time to read their profile before you respond or make contact. You would be very surprised to learn how few users take the trouble to do this and what a difference it is to the other user receiving your initial e-mail. It's ok to use other communications tools to make widespread contact and generate reaction but make your e-mails count and make them personal.
Keep a record of your Chat online with a foreigner
You may be in contact with many different foreigners or Thai people online. Sometimes you may find some even have the same First name. Keep a record of all your Chat conversations. This is also a good security precaution for all users to take on dating sites. However it may help you to improve your English or foreign language communications skills if you take the time afterwards to examine the conversations and attempt to fully understand them and compose appropriate responses.
Finally, even with no foreign language capability, it can be done provided that you have the will to make the appropriate preparations and the patience to do your research. Of the thousands of new relationships creating between foreigners and Thai people in 2012, over 55% have had some sort of language barrier issue.