Jump to content
Thai Visa Forum

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


webfact

Recommended Posts

1 hour ago, TGIR said:

Four pages of comments and not a single commentator has thought to mention the

abysmal translations of Thai to English in most any dictionary or reference material.  As an example, Thais invariably cannot make an R sound to save their life, but looking at any written reference to translated Thai you will find an abundance of words that use "R" in the translation.  How would one even make that mistake if one was educated properly in both languages?

 

In addition, American English is used worldwide as the learning and speaking standard for Business (sorry Brits), but clearly most transliteration is done in what we call "old English".  Not only would this be confusing to an English speaking person, but imagine what is does to a Thai learning English.

 

Lastly, from the number of grammatical and spelling mistakes I see every day on Thai Visa, most of us would be quite unqualified to make a claim to speaking or writing perfect English, and even worse when attempting Thai, written or verbal.  Bashing Thais for their unacceptable language skills is absurd.  How many English speaking expats do you think can read or speak Thai fluently?  I'd bet on a percentage basis not many.

 

Thais can do a rolling R in the middle of a word, they just struggle if it is at the beginning.

 

I don't think you know what Old English is, what you are seeing sometimes is old fashioned English, often text books are old and have been copied from older sources, not that schools don't have access to and purchase modern books, the very same editions as they are using in Europe.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 749
  • Created
  • Last Reply

No excuses,  the Thai present and previous administrations over decades have administered nothing but neglect and lip service to education in Thailand , unfortunately the country is besotted with Military and business men that run the country, with no knowledge and very little interest in anything or anyone except themselves and military procurement and if it couldn't get any worse the people are to blame for not demanding better education..........................................................:coffee1:

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Bule gila said:

A dialect is not a language - it is a variety of a language and consists of a localised group [regional, social and/or ethnicity] using an evolved version which is mutually intelligible to them. All languages have dialects and they all have a standard version. Understand?

 

You seem confused between unofficial and official dialect.  Official dialects are versions of a language prescribed by a dictionary, as in British English, American English and Indian English.  All are common in their grammar and differ in their content words and so not necessarily mutually intelligible on all levels.  There is no standard version of English, there are several.  Understand now?

Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, fruitman said:

From ALL Asian countries i visited the Thai speak the worst english. They should be VERY ashamed since they ask for quality tourists all the time, learn english first!!

 

Have you visited Japan?

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, muskoka said:

About 3 years ago my Thai step son's gf (2nd year at Chiang Mai U) asked me and another expat (from Canada & England) to help her with her university English course. After half an hour or so we were shocked. Not only did she have to learn words and concepts we never use, and poorly understand, they were complex to an extreme. We both have some university  education so are not total dummies. Even the sentences she had to learn the meaning of we struggled over as the concepts in the sentence were complicated, and never ever used in normal speech.

 

The students just don't stand a chance here with learning English in school.

 

I have a very good Thai friend, also at CM uni, reading an Education degree and one of his major subjects is English but when he showed me some of the grammar he was expected to learn I was appalled! It was exactly like something you'd expect to be written for a PhD or even a Doctorate thesis on English grammar, it was so abstract and obscure. It would have been of no use whatsoever for him and his fellow students when they graduated and started work as teachers, or similar, themselves. As my knowledge of English grammar was admittedly fairly basic I passed the paper on to my sister, a close friend, and my nephew's wife  - all 3 qualified teachers of English from the UK at quite senior levels and they too were staggered that these poor souls were having to cope with this esoteric rubbish. Their tutor is an American with a doctorate in English who has apparently convinced the faculty board this is what her students need to know in order for them to teach English themselves. As intimated earlier by other contributors unfortunately one must only assume the board members are generally so misinformed as to what is needed to teach English she seems to have bamboozled them in to accepting this as gospel! Needless to say my dear friend still has difficulty holding a straightforward English conversation with me - but he does try and I try to gently to help him, explaining the nuances of our difficult language without worrying about complex grammatical analysis.

  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Shawn0000 said:

 

You seem confused between unofficial and official dialect.  Official dialects are versions of a language prescribed by a dictionary, as in British English, American English and Indian English.  All are common in their grammar and differ in their content words and so not necessarily mutually intelligible on all levels.  There is no standard version of English, there are several.  Understand now?

You are quite incredible and yet again wrong.

noun
1.
Linguistics. a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially.
2.
a provincial, rural, or socially distinct variety of a language that differs from the standard language, especially when considered as substandard.
3.
a special variety of a language:
The literary dialect is usually taken as the standard language.
4.
a language considered as one of a group that have a common ancestor:
Link to post
Share on other sites
4 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?

 

good is of course and adjective whilst well is an adverb.

It is not uncommon for Americans to say, "he plays tennis good", instead of "he is a good tennis player" or "he plays tennis well".

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
5 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.

Filipinos are  cheaper  hence American English

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Bule gila said:

You are quite incredible and yet again wrong.

noun

1.
Linguistics. a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially.
2.
a provincial, rural, or socially distinct variety of a language that differs from the standard language, especially when considered as substandard.
3.
a special variety of a language:
The literary dialect is usually taken as the standard language.
4.
a language considered as one of a group that have a common ancestor:

In the context of sociolinguistics we can consider local dialects when teaching however what we must be wary of are people like John Longman who would put forward the American language as the correct and only form of English.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, dick dasterdly said:

 

 

You are wrong as the automatic response from an English person to their nationality is English - British is the second thought.

 

I have never heard of Englander being used as a confession of nationality. "I am an Englander"? No, that has absolutely never been used in English to my knowledge.

 

Where do you come from "I'm a New Englander" for sure, or even "You are a Little Englander" an insult justifiably applied to Brexit voters but never: "I am an Englander".

 

As with people who hail from Scotland: "I'm Scots" or "I'm Scottish" but never "I'm Scotch"

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, paulbj2 said:

 

I have never heard of Englander being used as a confession of nationality. "I am an Englander"? No, that has absolutely never been used in English to my knowledge.

 

Where do you come from "I'm a New Englander" for sure, or even "You are a Little Englander" an insult justifiably applied to Brexit voters but never: "I am an Englander".

 

As with people who hail from Scotland: "I'm Scots" or "I'm Scottish" but never "I'm Scotch"

 

Which is of course why the Scots never drink water.  It dilutes the scotch. :stoner:

Link to post
Share on other sites
14 minutes ago, Shawn0000 said:

Thais can do a rolling R in the middle of a word, they just struggle if it is at the beginning.

 

 

Most guys with the name "Andre" or similar call themselves Andy because the Thai can't say it....even not when you say it 50 times to teach them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Shawn0000 said:

 

Japan is a long way ahead of Thailand with regard to English language learning.

 

I don't agree at all. They share similar weak points - teachers who cannot speak English. An over-emphasis on teaching complicated grammar in preference to effective communication...

 

But in terms of everyday ability to use English by well educated people, Thailand is way ahead.

 

Once (about 10 years ago) I spent 2 weeks working in a technical lab in Tokyo, and it was a real trial to find any engineer near me who could answer a simple question such as "can you help me print this document" or "where is the nearest bookstore".

 

No comparison IMHO.

 

 

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, aslimversgwm said:

I have a very good Thai friend, also at CM uni, reading an Education degree and one of his major subjects is English but when he showed me some of the grammar he was expected to learn I was appalled! It was exactly like something you'd expect to be written for a PhD or even a Doctorate thesis on English grammar, it was so abstract and obscure. It would have been of no use whatsoever for him and his fellow students when they graduated and started work as teachers, or similar, themselves. As my knowledge of English grammar was admittedly fairly basic I passed the paper on to my sister, a close friend, and my nephew's wife  - all 3 qualified teachers of English from the UK at quite senior levels and they too were staggered that these poor souls were having to cope with this esoteric rubbish. Their tutor is an American with a doctorate in English who has apparently convinced the faculty board this is what her students need to know in order for them to teach English themselves. As intimated earlier by other contributors unfortunately one must only assume the board members are generally so misinformed as to what is needed to teach English she seems to have bamboozled them in to accepting this as gospel! Needless to say my dear friend still has difficulty holding a straightforward English conversation with me - but he does try and I try to gently to help him, explaining the nuances of our difficult language without worrying about complex grammatical analysis.

  

 

 

Could not agree more. 

One only has to look at the difference between IELTS and TOEFL testing to see this at play.

Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, midasthailand said:

Nationality for me. If asked where I come from, I reply Australia, which implies I am Australian regardless of my ethnicity. If asked where I was born, I would reply England, which makes me English by birth also regardless of my ethnicity.

The problem is the question is ambiguous as it could refer to ethnicity or nationality depending on context.  Since there is no context, the translation could be construed as either.  If you asked a person from Myanmar: Khun pen khon Phamaa mai?  They would most likele translate the word 'Phamaa' as "Burman' and answer with their ethnicity.  I have been in many conversations with Thais when they say "Mia khon khaw pen khon chen".  They don't mean that the person is a Chinese national but mean that the person's wife was born in Thailand and is of Chinese ancestry.  Of course, if they ask you: Khun pen khon Australian, ruu?"  there is no ambiguity because they are referring to a country by its name. In this particular situation, English is a nationality as well as an ethnicity.  My ex-wife is Hawaiian. For some it is a nationality as well as an ethnicity.  All depends on your particular perspective of history and/or colonization.

 

In Thai, you also use such a phrase to show regional  origins as well. Khon Isan, Khon phak nuea, Khon Phak tai, etc.  Khon Tai Yai could mean a person of Shan ethnicity born in Thailand or Burma.  The list goes on.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I have a list of things I don't really understand in Thailand.

 

On the list is Why do foreigners, like on this thread, complain so much about Thai's ability or lack of ability to speak English?

This is Thailand, most Thais speak Thai. Some of them also speak English, various quality though, but never mind.

 

If Thais want to learn speak English, fine.

If they don't want to learn speak English fine.

Their choice, nothing to complain about. I just can't understand all this complaining. This ain't Kansas.

 

 

It was remarked in a post above that American stuff like gallons inches and a few more things are hardly used anymore outside the US.

WRONG!

Inches are used WORLD WIDE for several applications, threads on pipes and sensors ate the first that come to mind.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
50 minutes ago, rabas said:

 

They transliterate written Thai, not what people pronounce, and R is a common consonant. Most Thai can pronounce a trilled R when challenged and in good health, otherwise they just say 'L', and the letter L is tossed out completely.

 

You might be interested to know that Thai is a perfect phonetic language, words are pronounced (well, can be) exactly as written with tones and long/short syllables. English is a bastard language and impossible to pronounce from spelling. This confuses everyone, including Thai.

It would be much better if they transcribed rather transliterated. 

 

The Govt transliteration system is terrible. I know people who live in Khon Kaen and Kalasin that pronouce them totally incorrect, even after living there for many years. It should, of course be written, Khon Gaen and Galasin.

I hear many foreigners in Bangkok saying , Chatuchak and confused as people don't know what they are talking about.

 

Ironically, Thailand is one of the few countries I know that don't teach the international phonetic system at schools.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, melvinmelvin said:

 

 

 

 

It was remarked in a post above that American stuff like gallons inches and a few more things are hardly used anymore outside the US.

WRONG!

Inches are used WORLD WIDE for several applications, threads on pipes and sensors ate the first that come to mind.

 

 

Also penis pizza sizes, car tyres and nails  to name a few.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It would be very nice if the Thai people could speak English proppa (SSS).   In China there are many locations in popular areas where English speaking people can go to  interact with locals , parks. picnic grounds and other places, mainly where you can learn about China and engage in general conversation, fun and all with the locals who are very appreciative of volunteers.  The Chinese  love it.   The English speaking people love it all.  It's fun.  I spent 2 hour in a Chiang Mia pub with a chinese man,  (he bought the drinks) talking Aussie English as he was soon going to Aus and he wanted to brush up on his  Aussie English.  Nice bloke.  Keen as mustard!!!

 

On a recent visit to Chiang Mia one English teacher I met from South Africa, I suggested he set up a forum at his school to duplicate a similar forum as in China, which is very successful, he said  "he had already tried but the school would not allow it".  The reason he said was "volunteering is not permitted for anything in Thailand as it reduces opportunities for locals???"   hmmm.  Most locals can't speak English.  But this is Thailand?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ha Ha Ha.

 

They look for the answer in the wrong place.

English teachers in Thai schools speak with their students in Thai, during English lessons.

Thai people go to cinema and hear the American actors speaking Thai because the films are dubbed.

Thais are not exposed to hearing and speaking English. They do read and write English quite well but freeze panic 

when a foreigner approaches them in English.

Practice and exercise is the key answer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Bule gila said:

You are quite incredible and yet again wrong.

noun

1.
Linguistics. a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially.
2.
a provincial, rural, or socially distinct variety of a language that differs from the standard language, especially when considered as substandard.
3.
a special variety of a language:
The literary dialect is usually taken as the standard language.
4.
a language considered as one of a group that have a common ancestor:

 

Yes, as I said you are confusing unofficial dialect with official, these are also known as standard dialects, you may not find that in a dictionary but you would have covered it on any decent TEFL course.  Perhaps you could try reading about Noah Webster before calling anyone wrong.  So, we have Standard British English, Standard American English and Standard Indian English for example, their respective dictionaries prescribing distinct differences and thus they can be clearly defined, they are supported by institution and adopted officially, thus they are standard versions of English.  Got it now?

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, David Walden said:

It would be very nice if the Thai people could speak English proppa (SSS).   In China there are many locations in popular areas where English speaking people can go to  interact with locals , parks. picnic grounds and other places, mainly where you can learn about China and engage in general conversation, fun and all with the local who are very appreciative of volunteers.  The Chinese  love it.   The English speaking people love it all.  It's fun.  I spent 2 hour in a Chiang Mia pub with a chinese man,  (he bought the drinks) talking Aussie English as he was soon going to Aus and he wanted to brush up on his  Aussie English.  Nice bloke.  Keen as mustard!!!

 

On a recent visit to Chiang Mia one English teacher I met from South Africa, I suggested he set a forum at his school to duplicate a similar forum as in China, which is very successful said  "he had already tried but the school would not allow it".  The reason he said was "volunteering is not permitted for anything in Thailand as it reduces opportunities for locals???"   hmmm.  Most locals can't speak English.  But this is Thailand?

Did you know there is a Walen school of Thai if you need any help?

Link to post
Share on other sites
36 minutes ago, Bule gila said:

You are quite incredible and yet again wrong.

noun

1.
Linguistics. a variety of a language that is distinguished from other varieties of the same language by features of phonology, grammar, and vocabulary, and by its use by a group of speakers who are set off from others geographically or socially.
2.
a provincial, rural, or socially distinct variety of a language that differs from the standard language, especially when considered as substandard.
3.
a special variety of a language:
The literary dialect is usually taken as the standard language.
4.
a language considered as one of a group that have a common ancestor:

 

Perhaps you have come across the acronyms for these three standard versions of English, UKSE, AmE and GIE?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Years ago, I worked at one of the most prestigious school in the country as they were setting up their English Program. 

Taksin's daughters were there at the time. I taught next to a Cockney who left school at 15. one day he asked me how to spell "sugar". As it happened, as soon as he got his WP, he left and did some work for the Thai mafia. Diamond Geezer and one of the few Cockneys who I actually believed did know the Krays.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...