I took my Thai instructor by surprise when I plopped myself down in the classroom and started by saying I want to start learning how to read Thai. His surprise should have been clue number 1.
His reply: sure, why not? But, then he spent ten minutes shuffling around between the classroom and the office getting classroom materials together. Clue number 2.
Clue number 3. "Are you sure?"
Clue number 4. "Thai language. We have... (pause)" (takes out piece of paper and writes the number "44" down) ".. 44 letters. English, you have 26."
Clue number 5. "We also have 12 vowels."
Clue number 6. "We have long and short vowels."
Clue number 7. "Letters are middle, low, and high."
Clue number 8. "Some letters we don't use anymore. But it's still in the alphabet."
Clue number 9. "You need to start using a pencil instead of pen."
Clue number 10. "We don't have a specific order you have to memorize the alphabet."
Clue number 11. At the reception desk. "You should stick with just one instructor for this."
Clue number 12. "Make sure you do your homework."
I'm not quite sure what I got myself into. Oddly, I gleefully look forward to Thai classes more than ever now.
postscript. There *is* an order to the alphabet. And the instructor's calculation of 44 did not include the vowels. The 44 are just consonants.