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University teaching shows why Thais' command of English is so abysmal!


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3 minutes ago, GAZZPA said:

 

You may think that British means you are English but you are wrong, a little more education is required.

 

Great Britian (as I have already explained) are the 3 countries England, Scotland and Wales, Northern Ireland came later and the United Kingdom was formed (which is why it says United kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on passports). However, all countries very much have their own identity and each person is identified by the country they were born in. 

 

If you say you are British it is simply a respectful way to say you are part of the 3 countries that are reigned by the Queen. However, you can never call a Englishman an Irishman or Scotsman or any variation of.

 

I hope that's clear.

It was clear a long time ago, mate.  English is also an 'ethnicity', right?  That is the distinction that I was trying to make all along. Just trying to make a distinction between nationality and ethnicity.  Lost in translation! 

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13 minutes ago, pookiki said:

The basic issue is understanding the nature of the language and alphabet which is common to all countries that have alphabets based on Pali/Sanskrit.  Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, Lao all have the same basic alphabets with minor exceptions.   You must first understand the nature of aspirated and unaspirated consonants as well voiced and unvoiced consonants.  One example that comes readily to mind is the Thai word for 'together'.    Most people would transcribe it as 'duaykan'. Not 'duaygan' (alternatively 'ruamkan').  In most Thai transliterations, they distinguish between unaspirated consonants and aspirated consonants with an 'h' -- k/kh, c/ch, p/ph, t/th, etc. I studied Thai, Burmese, and Cambodian at the University of Hawaii.  I still have problems distinguishing aspirated and unaspirated consonants. These are not sounds (phonemes) that distinguish meaning in English. Along with my hearing loss over the years, it becomes even more difficult for me.  When you use a 'g' to transliterate a 'k' sound, the westerner will invariably say a 'voiced' consonant. Thais will understand but it is still the wrong pronunciation. Cambodia doe a bit better by distinguishing unaspirated and aspirated consonants and are transliterated as follows: ch/chh, th/thh, and so on.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet#Consonants

 

I learned most of the Thai sounds correctly in the beginning but never heard about kaw kai as an unaspirated kh.

Just now, I tried to carefully say go (English) and kin (Thai) meaning 'go eat' and surely they are not the same. So we can pick these things up without knowing it.

 

I have heard that the Thai ear focuses more on vowels and tones to  decipher meaning compared to Westerners who focus more on the initial and final consonants,

 

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3 minutes ago, rabas said:

 

I learned most of the Thai sounds correctly in the beginning but never heard about kaw kai as an unaspirated kh.

Just now, I tried to carefully say go (English) and kin (Thai) meaning 'go eat' and surely they are not the same. So we can pick these things up without knowing it.

 

I have heard that the Thai ear focuses more on vowels and tones to  decipher meaning compared to Westerners who focus more on the initial and final consonants,

 

'Aspirated' and 'unaspirated' were the terms used when I learned linguisitics - some 40 years ago. I have heard others refer to 'hard' and 'soft' consonants.  The basic theory is that an 'aspirated' consonant has a puff of air when it is pronounced and an 'unaspirated' consonant does not. Your example of 'kin khaaw' is spot on for distinguishing the difference. 

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8 minutes ago, pookiki said:

It was clear a long time ago, mate.  English is also an 'ethnicity', right?  That is the distinction that I was trying to make all along. Just trying to make a distinction between nationality and ethnicity.  Lost in translation! 

No, England is not ethnicity,, ethnicity refers to someones ancestry.

 

For example a person with Indian parents but born in England has an English Nationality but Indian ethnicity. (ethnic origin is Indian by both parents).

 

England is a country, simple as that, the same as any other country. It is also part of the United Kingdom which comes under the Monarchy.

 

 

 

 

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The fact is that English should only be taught by those that speak a proper version of the language.  This means they need to have come from an upper middle class background, gone to a decent school, such as Eton or Wellington and have close affiliation with the Royals.  A touch of blue blood never goes astray!  A degree from either Cambridge or Oxford, as the only genuine Universities, should be mandatory.  However, there is, apparently one exception to this; there are a people that speak English too well.  As such, when speaking, they betray their nationality as Hungarian. This must be, as George Bernard Shaw tells us it is so.

On a  real observation, I do find that the best English I encounter is often spoken by those of the Indian sub-continent.

The fact is, as mentioned by others here, that English is fast to evolve and that is it's strength.  Stephen Fry makes a lot of pertinent observations on the English language, as does the anglophile Bill Bryson.  Bryson makes the point that the closest to true English is spoken in the small NE states of USA. And, I understand on Pitcairn.

On how to teach a language:  an understanding of the student's native language is a huge benefit as this helps you steer through the problems of class/sex and lack of verb structures and predict the sticking points students will run into. Reading aloud helps speaking, and repetition, again aloud, is mandatory.  Teachers checking for understanding and correcting error is important.  Teachers should understand how students learn and the power of self efficacy and monitoring of progress (Marzano is great on this).

Do teachers really need to be British or even have English as their native tongue?  I doubt it.  A good teacher would have a good understanding of the language at all levels and a good grasp of teaching methodology. The art of teaching is more important than the ability to speak perfect "Queens English".  I am sure we all had great teachers who really were not technically excellent and conversely brilliant people that just could not teach.

 

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24 minutes ago, pookiki said:

You have to be careful when you type.  I think you may be slipping into a 'comma'.  ;-) You already answered the question.  Hope saw my replies. I think your 'first' reply said you were a 'British citizen'. No big deal,,,,,,

No need to start getting rude. 

 

I AM a British citizen but my nationality is English. Dear oh dear I don't think I can explain it to you an simpler then I already have.

 

By the way it is a big deal to English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh people if you don't acknowledge their own country as being relevant. Or if you refer to any of those people incorrectly. You are welcome to try it,, please go up to the next Scotsman you meet and refer to him as English and see what I mean.

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I am just so thankful for the high standard of Thai that I was taught, when I went to university in Australia.

Hang on, as far as I can recall there was no second language component in the degree I did in Australia.

 

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3 hours ago, gemguy said:

It is never going to change folks...never

In 1979, the first time I came to Thailand I remember reading articles posted in the newspapers about the Thai governments efforts to make English widespread throughout Thailand.

Here we are, all theses years later and very little has changed while the percentage of Thai people who can speak English is still very low relative to over 30 years of supposedly teaching English to the Nation.

 

I believe that learning English is too much "Brain Strain" for most of them.

 

Although I do meet more than enough Thai people that do speak English well enough, while I often praise them for their well spoken English and their communication skills,  I have come to believe those that speak English well or well enough are the small percent of Thai people that seriously want to learn to speak English,  for what ever reasons....rather than have another language more or less forced upon them.

They can learn if they want to...but most do not want to and fight the whole affair and always questioning as to why they have to learn English and when they do try to learn they give up too easily and do not want to think too much about it......and why should they..as they are Thai and they speak Thai...not English.

 

Cheers

 

It's a reasonable point to say why should they learn English, they are course Thai and have their own Thai language.

 

The only real point is that English has developed into the International language for communication. So, in todays shrinking world Thailand will find itself behind neighbouring countries such as the Philippines (who have excellent English language skills) over time.

 

International business is here to stay and it will continue to grow so there will be fewer people available from Thailand to fill positions in companies due to poor English language skills. In addition Thailand sees itself as a tourist destination and of course the common language is again English.

 

Even the Chinese are improving their English language skills year on year despite their huge population. So, agree or disagree, like it or not English will continue to become more and more widespread.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, GAZZPA said:

No, England is not ethnicity,, ethnicity refers to someones ancestry.

 

For example a person with Indian parents but born in England has an English Nationality but Indian ethnicity. (ethnic origin is Indian by both parents).

 

England is a country, simple as that, the same as any other country. It is also part of the United Kingdom which comes under the Monarchy.

 

 

 

 

I guess we will have to agree to disagree.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_people

 

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18 minutes ago, GAZZPA said:

No need to start getting rude. 

 

I AM a British citizen but my nationality is English. Dear oh dear I don't think I can explain it to you an simpler then I already have.

 

By the way it is a big deal to English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh people if you don't acknowledge their own country as being relevant. Or if you refer to any of those people incorrectly. You are welcome to try it,, please go up to the next Scotsman you meet and refer to him as English and see what I mean.

OK, may I ask what you consider your ethnicity to be?  Again, my point is that there is a difference between nationality and ethnicity that is often overlooked or glossed over. If my parents immigrated from Ireland and went to live and remain in London and then gave birth to me, would I suddenly lose my Irish ethnicity?  My passport would reflect my 'nationality' but not necessarily my 'ethnicity'.  Is this such a difficult concept to understand?  And I do think 'ethnicity' is a bigger deal than 'nationality'!

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16 minutes ago, pookiki said:

OK, may I ask what you consider your ethnicity to be?  Again, my point is that there is a difference between nationality and ethnicity that is often overlooked or glossed over. If my parents immigrated from Ireland and went to live and remain in London and then gave birth to me, would I suddenly lose my Irish ethnicity?  My passport would reflect my 'nationality' but not necessarily my 'ethnicity'.  Is this such a difficult concept to understand?  And I do think 'ethnicity' is a bigger deal than 'nationality'!

You have just repeated exactly what I said.

 

Ethnicity is about your origin or race,, Nationality is where you were born. So, yes if you are born in England but have Irish parents your nationality is English with Irish ethnicity by both parents. I already explained exactly this. 

 

So, no it is not a difficult concept for me to understand at all.

 

So, ethnicity is all about your race, your heritage if you like. It does not necessarily reflect your nationality.

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On 06/12/2016 at 11:38 AM, bluebluewater said:

They can't find their ass with both hands nor can they get out of their own way but, without fail, it's someone else's fault!

Do they really have donkeys?

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3 minutes ago, GAZZPA said:

You have just repeated exactly what I said.

 

Ethnicity is about your origin or race,, Nationality is where you were born. So, yes if you are born in England but have Irish parents your nationality is English with Irish ethnicity by both parents. I already explained exactly this. 

 

So, no it is not a difficult concept for me to understand at all.

 

So, ethnicity is all about your race, your heritage if you like. It does not necessarily reflect your nationality.

Whew!  That took a long time to reach a consensus!  With the exception that I would note that I don't believe in the concept of 'race'.  And this is what I was getting at in the Thai question 'Khun pen khon angkrit, ruu?' is ambiguous because 'angkrit' could be construed as 'nationality' or 'ethnicity'.  I really don't want to beat this dead horse any more.  If you still don't think 'English' is an ethnicity, I don't know what else to say.  We will just have to disagree on that point.

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I noticed that many Thais try to speak a not understandable "American English". They should be taught only by UK native speakers - the teachers, I mean.

Funny, as a American from Hollywood California I speak English with no "accent". All I hear from Thais is "I can understand your English when you speak, but man from UK, cannot.
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1 minute ago, pookiki said:

Whew!  That took a long time to reach a consensus!  With the exception that I would note that I don't believe in the concept of 'race'.  And this is what I was getting at in the Thai question 'Khun pen khon angkrit, ruu?' is ambiguous because 'angkrit' could be construed as 'nationality' or 'ethnicity'.  I really don't want to beat this dead horse any more.  If you still don't think 'English' is an ethnicity, I don't know what else to say.  We will just have to disagree on that point.

Blimey, are you in an argumentative mood today? 

 

Look, if a Thai person asks anyone if they are English only someone from England (English national) would reply "yes I am", irrespective of their ethnic heritage. So it is not ambiguous at all, English people are very clear on their nationality, only you seem to be confused by this.

 

I have a Thai friend here, both parents are from India, but he was born in Thai and he absolutely claims he is Thai, another example, my friend in the UK has an Italian father and West Indian mother but he was born in England and he considers himself English,

 

Each have respect for their heritage and ethnic background but their Nationality defines them. I don't really understand what else I can say.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, GAZZPA said:

Blimey, are you in an argumentative mood today? 

 

Look, if a Thai person asks anyone if they are English only someone from England (English national) would reply "yes I am", irrespective of their ethnic heritage. So it is not ambiguous at all, English people are very clear on their nationality, only you seem to be confused by this.

 

I have a Thai friend here, both parents are from India, but he was born in Thai and he absolutely claims he is Thai, another example, my friend in the UK has an Italian father and West Indian mother but he was born in England and he considers himself English,

 

Each have respect for their heritage and ethnic background but their Nationality defines them. I don't really understand what else I can say.

 

 

It's not a matter of being argumentative, it is a matter of what one believes to be the most important issue that defines them as an individual. For some, it may be their nationality, for others it may be their ethnicity.  I consider myself a citizen of the world.  That is they way I stress that we all in the same boat on this planet.  At the same time, I am very proud of my ethnic heritage which is Irish - second generation Irish in the US. Potato famine Irish to be exact.  Why should you be offended about the way in which I define my own existence?   If you look at the situation in Burma with the Rohingya, the issue of 'self-indentification' is a major point of contention.  The Burmese government says 'Rohingya' don't exist. They are 'Bengalis'.  The 'Rohingya' say they have a right to self-identify. The Burmese Constitution defines the number of 'recognized' ethnic groups in Burma. Being a Rohingya isn't on the list -- so they don't exist.

 

If your consider the term "English' to be the way you want to self-identify and it is a term for you that only defines 'nationality', so be it.  Each one of us decides how we define our ethnicity/cultural heritage/nationality.  Let it be. 

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23 minutes ago, GAZZPA said:

Blimey, are you in an argumentative mood today? 

 

Look, if a Thai person asks anyone if they are English only someone from England (English national) would reply "yes I am", irrespective of their ethnic heritage. So it is not ambiguous at all, English people are very clear on their nationality, only you seem to be confused by this.

 

I have a Thai friend here, both parents are from India, but he was born in Thai and he absolutely claims he is Thai, another example, my friend in the UK has an Italian father and West Indian mother but he was born in England and he considers himself English,

 

Each have respect for their heritage and ethnic background but their Nationality defines them. I don't really understand what else I can say.

 

 

So presumably you'll say no more on the subject?

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Once looked at a book of sample tests used by final year students majoring in English at Ramkhamhaeng.  I was gobsmacked at how childishly simple the tests were.  Comparing with the type of tests I did when studying French at school, these would have been far below the level of what I did for GCSE O level French when I was 14, and more like the French I did when I was 9 or 10.  British students of modern languages have to read a lot of literature in the original for A level, before they get to university, but most Thai final year English major students have not read any English or American literature by the time they graduate.  In fact most have no idea who Shakespeare was.   

 

There are exceptions but these are confined to Chula, Thammasat and a couple of other top Thai unis.  The rest are a complete waste of space.

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6 hours ago, Estrada said:

Based on your poor grammar and misspelling of the subject word "Abysmal" as "Absymal", I suggest you find a better English language school to teach you English. I hope that you are not an English Language Teacher as "If the teachers haven't mastered the language, then how are they expected to teach their students?!?!"

Typing error... it happens when people with sausage like fingers try typing on these mini keyboards. 

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On 12/5/2016 at 11:15 PM, Charlie1 said:

I noticed that many Thais try to speak a not understandable "American English". They should be taught only by UK native speakers - the teachers, I mean.

 

Why do British singers all sing with American English? It is because Britglish comes from a small island of only 60 million people, similar to Thailand, and they don't understand plurals and to be understood globally they sing in proper American English.

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Since we're into all this linguistic discussion can anybody tell me why Canadians don't use the plural form?

 

I know three people in the office I work that are all Canadians and instead of saying boxes, they say box (example : three box instead of three boxes, three bottle - three bottles etc)

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3 minutes ago, deathmule said:

Since we're into all this linguistic discussion can anybody tell me why Canadians don't use the plural form?

 

I know three people in the office I work that are all Canadians and instead of saying boxes, they say box (example : three box instead of three boxes, three bottle - three bottles etc)

Because they don't want to make an 's' of themselves.:shock1:

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6 hours ago, soalbundy said:

and yet it is readily picked up by foreigners. My Thai/British son (9) speaks fluent English due to me,he likes to watch 'slogoman' and 'minecraft' in English on the internet,the F word abounds on these sites and he finds it amusing, he has tried to use it himself but found that if i heard him he gets hot ears so he is now satisfied  by saying 'what the....' and leaves it up to my imagination.

 

I am yet to meet a foreigner with a full a command of the word as I have.

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