Thai alphabet a good bet?

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Dear Hillary,

I am about to try and learn the Thai language (for the third time) and I have been getting some conflicting advice and am hopeful that you, dear Hillary, can put me on the right path. Some of my friends say I should just learn how to speak conversational Thai and forget about reading it, while others I know who speak Thai fluently say I should learn to read and write the language at the same time. I’m confused enough as it is, what do you think?

Confused

Dear Confused,

No need to worry. Look at it this way, do Thai children learn to read and write first or learn to speak the language first? Do American kids learn to read and write before they speak English? Of course they don’t. Children learn like parrots (but eat like pigs). Sure, it helps to recognize some words in Thai, but take the easy way and you should start like any Thai child and speak before you write.