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

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4 minutes ago, paulbj2 said:

I did say "hardly used", not never used. I wouldn't say that just BSP is wholesale adoption of the Imperial system of weights and measures worldwide, would you?

 

In Britain, miles are still used on road signage and where vehicle speeds are expressed MPH is used. Fuel consumption is still expressed in MPG (miles per gallon) although, helpfully of course, the British use a completely different gallon to the Americans. Pints are still used in pubs to measure beer but millilitres are used to measure spirits.

 

In France, people still ask for "une livre de ..." a pound of... when buying vegetables but what they mean and expect to receive is 500 grams; the pre-metric French "livre" never was historically the same as the English and American one, in fact it was equivalent to American 17.27 oz. In the area where I lived in France, reclaimed oak timber from old barns was, rather quaintly, sold by the "pied cube" the cubic foot however it was not the same foot as used in the UK and America which is alleged to have been derived from the length of the foot of Henry VIII. The unit in France is also known as the "pied du roi", the king's foot, and was derived from the length of the foot of one of their kings who took a different shoe size to Henry VIII and is thus a completely different size being 1.066 ft. Even if you hear people using what sound like US units, there is no guarantee that they are the same units you use in the US; to be sure, you would have to use the metric system to define them!

 

The BSP pipe threading standards (that's British Standard Pipe, not American standard) are still used in every part of the world that I have every visited and I was surprised to find that steel tapes here are dual marked in centimetres and inches. With few exceptions, just about every country in the world uses the metric system except the US and in fact if I remember correctly, the US lost a Mars probe at a cost of $ billions because the manufacturers of the rocket engine muddled up Imperial and Metric units. If you want to interact with scientists and engineers throughout the world today, you need to use metric units as that is the world scientific standard.

 

In the US, medicine uses metric units; you don't dispense medication in grains and minims, doses of solids are in milligrams and liquids in millilitres (or in "cc", cubic centimetres, which under the metric system, conveniently happen to be equal to millilitres)    

Just give me a bushel of corn and a cord of wood and I'll be happy!

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6 hours ago, IMA_FARANG said:

Wouldn't be better to say, "I do not speak English WELL rather than I do not speak English GOOD".

Or is that just my American born English ear?

Is there a problem with "I do not speak good English" ?

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Pfui! To the extent that Thais are not able to speak good English, the reason is they have little chance to speak to English speakers. Over the course of an interesting life I've had the chance to learn several languages, German, Mandarin, Maghrebi Arabic, and Thai, and I have learned that to learn a language you must speak it, and to learn it well you must have a reason to speak it. When I was learning Mandarin the reason was that failing to learn it well meant reassignment as an on-the-job-training flight line guard in Thule AFB, Greenland. When I see people criticizing Thais' English skills, I find myself wondering how well they speak Thai. I've known people who lived in Bangkok fifteen years and could not speak Thai aside from, "Sawadee, khrap." Incidentally, I speak Thai every day and do not consider that I speak it well, yet.

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7 hours ago, jpinx said:

There are so many versions of English (Spanish also) that it is hard to know where to set the standard, but there is no doubt that most Thai "English Teachers" are hard pressed to have a conversation in English with a native UK English speaker.

 

I've got to lip read when I try to converse with the Scots in my office.  It's almost impossible to have a phone conversation with them. 

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5 minutes ago, Acharn said:

Pfui! To the extent that Thais are not able to speak good English, the reason is they have little chance to speak to English speakers. Over the course of an interesting life I've had the chance to learn several languages, German, Mandarin, Maghrebi Arabic, and Thai, and I have learned that to learn a language you must speak it, and to learn it well you must have a reason to speak it. When I was learning Mandarin the reason was that failing to learn it well meant reassignment as an on-the-job-training flight line guard in Thule AFB, Greenland. When I see people criticizing Thais' English skills, I find myself wondering how well they speak Thai. I've known people who lived in Bangkok fifteen years and could not speak Thai aside from, "Sawadee, khrap." Incidentally, I speak Thai every day and do not consider that I speak it well, yet.

Amen, brother!

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6 minutes ago, Dumbastheycome said:

Is there a problem with "I do not speak good English" ?

I would think so, because if "I speak good English" as opposed to "I speak bad English" is about what kind of English I speak. Who/what defines what is good or bad English can be another discussion. If you say "I speak English well (or not)", that describes how you speak English.

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6 minutes ago, aslimversgwm said:

Certainly in the building and ancillary trades here in Thailand and elsewhere - including the UK - they use Imperial measures such as inches and feet as well as Metric measurements, but please admit this is an anachronism as all of Europe, China, Russia, South America, Canada, Australia, NZ, Africa, the ME, the rest of SE Asia use the Metric system for both length, weight and volume.

Using Imperial measure when you threw off the Imperial yoke over 260 years ago is faintly laughable!

And whilst we're at it - why Fahrenheit when the rest of the world use Celsius? And why Month/Day/Year when the logical presentation is as per the rest of the world: Day/Month/Year!?

I am often amused  when buying  smll nuts and bolts to discover that the bolt or nut which has  an imperial thread often has a metric hexagonal head with an imperial hexagonal  nut  or  visa versa.

The  concept of standardization to metric is complicated by the fact that  there exist variations in threads even in that.

And why do  bicycle  manufacturers still  insist on a thread of their  own ? :saai:

 

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3 minutes ago, jchfriis said:

I would think so, because if "I speak good English" as opposed to "I speak bad English" is about what kind of English I speak. Who/what defines what is good or bad English can be another discussion. If you say "I speak English well (or not)", that describes how you speak English.

Ok. Conceded. :)

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11 minutes ago, jchfriis said:

I would think so, because if "I speak good English" as opposed to "I speak bad English" is about what kind of English I speak. Who/what defines what is good or bad English can be another discussion. If you say "I speak English well (or not)", that describes how you speak English.

Same meaning.  'Good' is an adjective. 'Well' is an adverb.  See the earlier thread with link.

 

I would have difficulty discerning much of a semantic difference between the two phrases: 'He speaks good English.' and 'He speaks English well'.

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My Thai neighbor is a school teacher in Ag. and Science. He speaks perfect English rarely stumped on a word. I told him he needs to be teaching english, He said oh no I don't know how to teach english. I could not convince him. He makes 18,000 baht a month by the way. How can this be? Maybe he can't read and write it very well I don't know but I would think Phonics would be top priority in the early ages. My wife is self taught pretty good English, I met her retired English teacher and she can barely say hello. Whats going on here. Sad

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18 minutes ago, pookiki said:

Just give me a bushel of corn and a cord of wood and I'll be happy!

 

yep, and a few gills of dram!

 

and to the guy you commented on;

 

The US NPT standard is much more widely used than BSP, MUCH more widely.

If you want to talk about such stuff, to scientists or non scientists, you must talk in inches or fractions of 'em,

there ain't no alternatives. This also applies to pipes in space vehicles.

 

For many many many years all US manufactured cars have been 100% metric, (a few exceptions though).

 

 

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That's what happens when 'puu yai' Thai educators write their own curriculum without having it proofed by a competent NES.  Obviously admitting to one's linguist and cultural English language shortcomings would be a serious loss of face, so just send the garbage to the printer then act ignorant and aloof.  :sleep:

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6 hours ago, IMA_FARANG said:

Wouldn't be better to say, "I do not speak English WELL rather than I do not speak English GOOD".

Or is that just my American born English ear?

 It's probably your American born English eyes, the example that you saw in the OP photo was giving the incorrect version as "I cannot speak English good" and the correct version as "I cannot speak good English", pointing out the correct word order.

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All day long the poor Thais are listening to the English language spoken by different Europeans with their strong accents, the poor Thais have to make an effort to understand what is spoken to them it could be daunting task to say the least. And when an Australian(with his accent) speaks to the Thais they draw a blank, "what is he saying?"

The worst part is when the students in schools and university think they could learn English from books. They need to interact and mix with English speaking foreigners but they are reluctant to do so because they feel shy (partly their national character) or worried about their spoken English is not good enough.

      They are like a drunk man who drinks because he fails and because he drinks he fails all the more.

      Need we go on?

"Learning foreign languages from books is a myth" - I say this because I have spent a quarter of a century looking into this problem of acquiring a foreign language. I do not have a PhD or a degree behind my name but I do see the problems quite clearly.

     

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