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

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6 hours ago, Johnniey said:

What is it a technical/vocational college?

I worked in a Thai university for over 10 years and all the teachers in the English department spoke impeccable English as many of them had PhD's from English universities. They had all studied to a Master's degree level abroad. 

 

The only mistake I often heard was that they used "ever" as in "I ever been to Spain".

 

Who cares if the Thai word "koy" is misspelled? I know many so called Thai speakers who think this word means "have" or "used to", as in "I have been there", "I have eaten it before". 

There was even a poster here years ago called, "ajarn", who had been learning Thai for many years didn't know this Thai word meaning "not very".

 

But go ahead all you people living in Thailand, who can't communicate in Thai, and criticize the Thais ability at speaking English as after all they should, shouldn't they?

So my fellow Scotlander, they all spoke impeccable English and had PhDs from English universities. Not true. Studying to masters level is NOT a PhD. And "I ever been to Spain." Is not impeccable English. And finally "koy"...that could mean pinky. Love to converse with you on the thai language forum.

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2 hours ago, rebo said:

Not true. You won't be able to  pronounce more than 80% of Thai words correctly if you don't know how they have to be pronounced. Many of these words have their roots in Sanskrit/Pali language. 

Point taken. However, the point stands that the official written Thai is intended as a phonetically correct representation of the language. Most Sanskrit/Pali exceptions (Suvarnabhumi, consonant clusters etc) also follow rules. which are taught in school and some language references. But yeah, mention of Sanskrit/Pali can cause Thai headaches.

 

Not pronouncing L and R and some other problems are not excepetions, they're just wrong and have  drawn Royal intervention.   Lol, people are so busy criticizing Thai's English, maybe it's their Thai....

 

Disclosure: I flunked phonetics in American grade school.

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5 hours ago, Loeilad said:

The premise is a false syllogism.

however one can give a couple of examples one humorous and the other a bit more serious.

1! - The school text book that declares quite clearly in black and white an exercise based around the phrase "go to shopping"

 

2 - the TOEFL-style EL course "devised" by one of Thailand's top uni that basically plagiarises TOEFL itself and has some of the worst dialogue recordings I've ever heard. Further investigation revealed the course to be "devised" by a native English speaker who clearly wasn't recognise that he/she has a speak impediment......how the hell Uni students were expected to learn from that is beyond me.

 

 

it seems that the foreign "experts" that Thailand employs to teach them English are far from what they claim to be.

 

 

Your grasp of logic is far from what you would wish us to believe. "The premise is a false syllogism" - embarrassing.

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7 hours ago, 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.

 

You are assuming "UK native speakers" also speak "proper" English. I think you are referring to Queen's English, and not the regional UK dialects? I'm from the USA, and I've had friends from all over the UK, and various areas within England. When they go into their local tongues no one from outside their county can follow. Let's agree that there are aspects of English that are universal for all countries where English is the native tongue. (crisp, chip, fries, biscuit, cookie, lift, fag, elevator, bonnet, hood, boot, trunk, etc. notwithstanding). The point is to have a native English speaker with a grasp of proper, grammatical English teaching the teachers.

 

When I lived in Thailand I joined a scuba diving group. I was the only regular from the USA. The regular group had a Brit, a Scot, an Irishman, a Welshman,  and a Kiwi (NZ). We'd all go drinking after a day of diving. At then end of the night we'd head back to the hotel, and they'd all tell me how glad they were I'd joined the group. I'd ask, "Why?" They'd all laugh and say, "because 1, you buy a lot of rounds; and 2, after 4 or 5 of them you're the only bloke we can all understand!" :laugh:  (the accents get pretty heavy as the drinks build up)

 

Cheers mate. :drunk:

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When i arrived in Bkk the first time 16 years ago,i booked in at the Asia Hotel.At the reception desk,i was given the usual check in form to fill out.I did so.On the part where it asked what my religion was, i put Christian.The check in lady 9who spoke reasonable English said i had made a mistake,i should have put 'Christianity'I,of course tried to explain that I was a Christian and the practice of the religion was Christianity.She told me quite simply that,although she had never been to England,but her sisters friend was married to an Englishman and he was most definitely a Christianity.No amount of explaining would change her mind.It was then that i first realised that i was in for a very amusing time.

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15 minutes ago, rabas said:

Point taken. However, the point stands that the official written Thai is intended as a phonetically correct representation of the language. Most Sanskrit/Pali exceptions (Suvarnabhumi, consonant clusters etc) also follow rules. which are taught in school and some language references. But yeah, mention of Sanskrit/Pali can cause Thai headaches.

 

Not pronouncing L and R and some other problems are not excepetions, they're just wrong and have  drawn Royal intervention.   Lol, people are so busy criticizing Thai's English, maybe it's their Thai....

 

Disclosure: I flunked phonetics in American grade school.

For a language to be 'phonetic' each letter in the alphabet must be linked to only one 'phoneme'.  This is hardly the case in Thai as there are many exceptions.  As I said before, Spanish is much more phonetic.

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8 hours ago, pookiki said:

All from Liverpool, right?

Aw! Throw in one from Manchester and a Yorkie or two, just for fun.    Also at least one from Zumerzet.  What about a Cockney market "barrow boy" from the East End of London, or his "trouble and strife"?

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4 hours ago, atyclb said:

an extremely common error is "I'm work" I'm live" and they dont seem to learn and correct the error.

There are a number of these:

 

The one you mention- the use of the verb 'to be' along with another verb; the omission of the 's'/ 'es' on third personal singular; the use of have (as opposed to 'there are') without a subject (e.g on describing a scene- 'have 2 people'), and a number of others which I have been battling on a daily basis for years now .

 

The problem comes down to what is known as fossilisation (from when the students learnt from non-native speakers,) or an attempt to translate directly from Thai.  It is frustrating, but these are errors of accuracy not fluency, and such utterances are still easy to understand.

 

Meanwhile I have a theory about the 'abysmal' command of English in this country.  Please see below an advert from today for a national university: 

 

I am posting this ad on behalf of ******* University.
Please note that the University accepts applications between December 06-21, 2016. Shortlisted and qualified candidates will be invited for an interview and demo on December 26, 2016.
Please contact the University directly with further inquiries.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Department of Western Languages (****** University) Now Hiring!!!
The Department of Western Languages at ****** University is urgently recruiting 3 full-time teaching positions (1 Bachelor or Master’s degree holder; and 2 Masters’ or Ph.D. degree holders) to start in January of 2017.
Instructors are responsible for teaching an array of topics in English Studies, Business English and English in Education.
The Department is therefore seeking prospective candidates with education and teaching experience in:
English Studies; Business Administration; International Business Communication; Applied Linguistics; English as Second Language; American Literature, etc.
Candidates from other disciplines will be considered provided they hold an English teaching certificate (TEFL/TESOL/CELTA/DELTA)
Requirements:
- Applicants must be NATIVE English Speakers from US, UK, 
Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa
- Candidates must hold a Bachelor/Master’s/Ph.D. degree from an 
accredited University
- Candidates must exhibit at least one year of teaching experience 
in one or more areas mentioned above
- TEFL / TESOL certificate is mandatory
Contract type:
- 1 year contract (renewable)
- Compensation: 25,000-35,000 THB/ Month for Bachelor, Master’s 
& Ph.D., respectively. This compensation package is based on at 
least 15 hours of teaching time per week 
- Assistance with visa & work permit is provided
- Health insurance is provided through University programs
Required Documents:
• Resume with a recent picture attached
• Original & Copy of passport 
• Original & Copy of degree(s)
• Original & Copy of transcripts
• Original & Copy of teaching certificate (TEFL/TESOL)
Please forward your application and scanned copies of required documents to the Department of Western Languages at ******@hotmail.com. (Original documents are required at the time of the interview).
Please contact us with your questions or comments on 
******
We would like to thank you for your interest in joining our progressive Department at******University.

 

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I was born in the USA -- the Midwest where we like to think we speak uninflected English. After joining the Army, I was exposed to other Americans from the south, creoles from Louisiana, etc.  After completing basic training, I was stationed at a detachment where the commanding NCO was from Georgia (USA).  I was going on leave for the Christmas holiday and I had to sign out on the detachment's log book which was outside the NCO's office.  He looked at me and asked me to step into his office.  He looked at me and said (to my ear), "Corporal, are you going to sign out and leave ass?"  I replied, "Of course first sergeant, I'm going to sign out and leave ass as fast as I can."  The same question was asked with the same reply two more times.  He asked one last time and pointed to my pants. It was only then that I realized that he was saying 'levis' not 'leave ass'. :shock1:

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11 minutes ago, pookiki said:

I was born in the USA -- the Midwest where we like to think we speak uninflected English. After joining the Army, I was exposed to other Americans from the south, creoles from Louisiana, etc.  After completing basic training, I was stationed at a detachment where the commanding NCO was from Georgia (USA).  I was going on leave for the Christmas holiday and I had to sign out on the detachment's log book which was outside the NCO's office.  He looked at me and asked me to step into his office.  He looked at me and said (to my ear), "Corporal, are you going to sign out and leave ass?"  I replied, "Of course first sergeant, I'm going to sign out and leave ass as fast as I can."  The same question was asked with the same reply two more times.  He asked one last time and pointed to my pants. It was only then that I realized that he was saying 'levis' not 'leave ass'. :shock1:

 

Sign out and Levis, what did he mean?

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1 minute ago, Shawn0000 said:

 

Sign out and Levis, what did he mean?

Sign out 'in levis' which I heard to be 'and leave ass'.  

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They have it all the wrong.

The should test them with riddles and conundrums:

 

How much wood can a Woodchuck chuck when a Woodchuck does chuck wood.

And when that Woodchuck chucks that wood then how fast would that Woodchuck chuck that wood.

 

Once they get past that then everything else is a breeze......lol

 

Cheers

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1 minute ago, gemguy said:

They have it all the wrong.

The should test them with riddles and conundrums:

 

How much wood can a Woodchuck chuck when a Woodchuck does chuck wood.

And when that Woodchuck chucks that wood then how fast would that Woodchuck chuck that wood.

 

Once they get past that then everything else is a breeze......lol

 

Cheers

Actually, one of the best children's books to use to get students to have good English enunciation is Dr. Suess' book 'Oh Say Can You Say' -- it's on You Tube.

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