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

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6 hours ago, Richard W said:

As to Phoenician not being fully phonemic, I've found a reasonable article 27 - 30 - 22 - 26  - How Many Letters Needs an Alphabet?  The Case of Semitic .  Reinhard G. Lehmann gets down to the issue of how many phonemes Phoenician had on p33.  He uses not only an argument by incredulity (comparison with nearby dialects), but cites names in the Egyptian novel the Story of Wenamun as evidence that Phoenician had more than 22 consonants.  He also cites further evidence for polyphony in the Aramaic and Hebrew usages of the 'West Semitic 22-character script'.

 

Now, Ugaritic may well have been fully phonemic as regards the consonants.  (I assume you don't expect double consonants to be shown as such.)  Users just don't seem impressed by phonetic accuracy in their writing systems.  Adding final consonants to non-Latin Cree (personal communication) and Filipino writing systems (too lazy to look you up the history of U+1734 HANUNOO SIGN PAMUDPOD) has been an uphill battle against user resistance.  The Multani script is an example of what user neglect can do - vowels were poorly recorded at the end.

 

It had the phonemic, alphabetic principle. Jeesh! That it is NOT FULLY phonemic, 50% or 60% IS splitting hairs lengthwise, 8 times and then 8 times more. 

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Do you guys eat encyclopedias for breakfast..........careful, they create verbal diarrhea!

30 pages and rising!

This started about Thais command of English......I can't even understand the $#!t your going on with here!

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41 minutes ago, Ace of Pop said:

Waffle Waffle ,can't you just understand some are as not interested in learning English,like me with Thai

Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect

 

Are you referring ...

 

to talk or write a lot without giving any useful information or any clear answers:

 

or 

 

to be unable to make a decision ?

 

LOL (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/waffle)

 

Personally, I agree with you. I think there is too much waffling in both senses of the word. It is very clear that English spelling is f*ckd up (and was been waffling for 250 years) and it should be improved. We agree? How did I do?

 

But, there is a longer, more complex answer. Sorry!

 

I think that there are many factors at work explaining how some Thais struggle to master English.

 

  1. It is not their first language.
  2. The fear of losing face (especially when speaking) is making learning almost impossible. Practice makes perfect and if you don't practice, learning is not likely to occur much. (My wife knows a friend who is a Thai English teacher. I have met her a few times in the past. She hardly speaks English when we are in mixed company. In fact, last time, when on the spur of a moment, my wife invited her to eat for her BD, the second sentence was: "So, have you learned Thai yet?" The rest of the dinner took place in Thai, unless I interjected with a few questions in English, to wish she replied in English, but very succinctly.)
  3. A few posters mentioned that there is this deep-seeded notion that foreigners are idiots. Some of us tend to act in a manner that Thai consider dishonorable (raising our voice,...). Whether it is a clever way to save face or not, I think many Thais believe the propaganda, especially the ones who don't speak English. It is true that --on the face of it-- people who do not speak any language might be easily perceived as being stupid, as it might be self-evident to THEM that we cannot even speak. We also look silly when we do not seem to get things that are so easy for them to get. Most of them might not have had to learn another language as well, which reduces understanding and empathy.
  4. As others have pointed, subtitling movies is not the norm in Thailand. This would help, although that does create some problems. See next point.
  5. English has one of the worst phonemic systems of all western languages as explained here, which has the pernicious effect of making spelling excruciatingly difficult to master/attain if one focused too much (or at all) on speaking mastery or of making pronouncing excruciatingly difficult to master/attain if one focuses too much (or at all) on writing mastery (spelling and grammar). As long as Commonwealth speakers do not come to terms with the obvious (see comment with data to prove the point), do not be surprise that native-speakers or not will struggle to learn English. It is hard to fault Thais (anyone really) when no one (especially the ones who should) is taking responsibility for fixing the underlying problem. 
  6. A few posters made the comment that the Filipinos (to name one group) seem to be quite proficient in English (as a nation). I have not been there, but I know quite a bit of Filipinos in my country (an English country) and it is true that there fluency (accent and use of English) was better than the average Thais. I am comparing apples and oranges, if I compare local Thais with Filipinos living overseas. I wonder why that is. I could hypothesize that (and forgive me if this was replied to and I missed it) there is a rather large diaspora of Filipinos in English speaking countries. I suspect they go it and others get sponsored. I wonder if not most of the Filipino English-teachers haven't got their training (as it were) in English-speaking countries. Is it that the Filipinos do not have that culture of losing face or not to the degree that the Thais have it? Is the educational system different? Are they spending more time on speaking/listening activities in classes? Are the Filipinos seeing the advantages of learning English (so that they can make good money overseas)? (Not many Thais have that chance, unless you come from a wealthy family, it seems, even, in some countries, you have a house under your name, unless you are willing to part with your kids, which is often one of the conditions for getting a visa.) Tagalog has integrated 1500 or so English words in its 30,000 words (root words) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_loanwords_in_Tagalog#Spanish). There are 5000 words that are of Spanish origin. When one realizes that about 50% of English words are Latin/French, it might given the Filipinos an edge that the Thai don't have. In other words, comparing is not easy.
  7. There might be too much teaching of the writing code by Thai teachers in regular public schools.
  8. There might be a general reluctance or a clever strategy from the establishment to keep the system as is, giving the Thais who can learn English abroad or who can go to international schools an incredible advantage.
  9. There are many countries where many speakers struggle with English pronunciation. Have you ever heard a French-speaker speaking English lately? An Italian? Spanish? Still, cross the border to Belgium and most Belgians, IF they are from Brussels and the north, have a much better English accent. That is not because there are smarter. We all know that speakers of Germanic languages like Dutch and German have excellent command of English as well. It is true that most of the Dutch teachers in Belgium would be quite good at teaching English, with the accent to match.

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In summary, this thread has developed into a discussion between two people. One knows what he is talking about and the other one is desperately trying to pretend he does, by copying things off the internet. 

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12 minutes ago, Ai Dteea said:

In summary, this thread has developed into a discussion between two people. One knows what he is talking about and the other one is desperately trying to pretend he does, by copying things off the internet. 

 

Translation:

 

"One person's opinion is always better than a referenced,  public encyclopedia viewed and peer-reviewed by millions of people.."

 

Yes, you are right!

 

 

 

 

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16 hours ago, EnlightenedAtheist said:

On Dec. 9 I wrote the following summary of points, which disproves the notion advanced by some users that I had an "agenda". No! I have an opinion and my opinion is broad as proven in the following. No one before Dec. 9 had mentioned the remote possibility of the spelling system being one of the causes.  Note that I abandoned the "project" as I got attacked left, right, and center for daring to impart the incredibly stupid idea that, maybe, maybe, part of the problem is the completely insane nature of the English spelling system, a notion that is well-accepted in most linguistics ' circles and is declared an impediment to learning to read and write in many official documents. Of course, this pissed off a lot of people who thought that this was another great topic to support their thesis that Thais are stupid, that Thai teachers are stupid, that everybody is stupid, except foreigners,... There is no doubt that there are stupid people in every culture and, as I have demonstrated, stupid systems everywhere in many countries, including Commonwealth countries, including the system that I use to write this post. You may not like the criticism, but what is good for the goose is good for the gander. For all of those complaining, maybe it is time to do something in your backyard, first. I believe this can be done respectfully and efficiently. Sure! Doing nothing is absolutely guaranteed to make it appear as though everything is fine! It isn't here and it isn't there. Shall we continue to play hide-and-seek?

 

I think that there are many factors at work explaining how some Thais struggle to master English.

 

  1. It is not their first language.
  2. The fear of losing face (especially when speaking) is making learning almost impossible. Practice makes perfect and if you don't practice, learning is not likely to occur much. (My wife knows a friend who is a Thai English teacher. I have met her a few times in the past. She hardly speaks English when we are in mixed company. In fact, last time, when on the spur of a moment, my wife invited her to eat for her BD, the second sentence was: "So, have you learned Thai yet?" The rest of the dinner took place in Thai, unless I interjected with a few questions in English, to wish she replied in English, but very succinctly.)
  3. A few posters mentioned that there is this deep-seeded notion that foreigners are idiots. Some of us tend to act in a manner that Thai consider dishonorable (raising our voice,...). Whether it is a clever way to save face or not, I think many Thais believe the propaganda, especially the ones who don't speak English. It is true that --on the face of it-- people who do not speak any language might be easily perceived as being stupid, as it might be self-evident to THEM that we cannot even speak. We also look silly when we do not seem to get things that are so easy for them to get. Most of them might not have had to learn another language as well, which reduces understanding and empathy.
  4. As others have pointed, subtitling movies is not the norm in Thailand. This would help, although that does create some problems. See next point.
  5. English has one of the worst phonemic systems of all western languages as explained here, which has the pernicious effect of making spelling excruciatingly difficult to master/attain if one focused too much (or at all) on speaking mastery or of making pronouncing excruciatingly difficult to master/attain if one focuses too much (or at all) on writing mastery (spelling and grammar). As long as Commonwealth speakers do not come to terms with the obvious (see comment with data to prove the point), do not be surprise that native-speakers or not will struggle to learn English. It is hard to fault Thais (anyone really) when no one (especially the ones who should) is taking responsibility for fixing the underlying problem. 
  6. A few posters made the comment that the Filipinos (to name one group) seem to be quite proficient in English (as a nation). I have not been there, but I know quite a bit of Filipinos in my country (an English country) and it is true that there fluency (accent and use of English) was better than the average Thais. I am comparing apples and oranges, if I compare local Thais with Filipinos living overseas. I wonder why that is. I could hypothesize that (and forgive me if this was replied to and I missed it) there is a rather large diaspora of Filipinos in English speaking countries. I suspect they go it and others get sponsored. I wonder if not most of the Filipino English-teachers haven't got their training (as it were) in English-speaking countries. Is it that the Filipinos do not have that culture of losing face or not to the degree that the Thais have it? Is the educational system different? Are they spending more time on speaking/listening activities in classes? Are the Filipinos seeing the advantages of learning English (so that they can make good money overseas)? (Not many Thais have that chance, unless you come from a wealthy family, it seems, even, in some countries, you have a house under your name, unless you are willing to part with your kids, which is often one of the conditions for getting a visa.) Tagalog has integrated 1500 or so English words in its 30,000 words (root words) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_loanwords_in_Tagalog#Spanish). There are 5000 words that are of Spanish origin. When one realizes that about 50% of English words are Latin/French, it might given the Filipinos an edge that the Thai don't have. In other words, comparing is not easy.
  7. There might be too much teaching of the writing code by Thai teachers in regular public schools.
  8. There might be a general reluctance or a clever strategy from the establishment to keep the system as is, giving the Thais who can learn English abroad or who can go to international schools an incredible advantage.
  9. There are many countries where many speakers struggle with English pronunciation. Have you ever heard a French-speaker speaking English lately? An Italian? Spanish? Still, cross the border to Belgium and most Belgians, IF they are from Brussels and the north, have a much better English accent. That is not because there are smarter. We all know that speakers of Germanic languages like Dutch and German have excellent command of English as well. It is true that most of the Dutch teachers in Belgium would be quite good at teaching English, with the accent to match.

 

Did I miss any points mentioned? I will update or make another post if need be.

 

 

 

Sorry mate I think you were"attacked"  because you present yourself as some kind of expert and then proceed to write a load of drivel. I gave you the example of Resa Asian, did you google him?

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28 minutes ago, George Graham said:

Sorry mate I think you were"attacked"  because you present yourself as some kind of expert and then proceed to write a load of drivel. I gave you the example of Resa Asian, did you google him?

 

Reported.

 

 

And you are an expert? True! Two one-liners are always better than one. LOL

 

It is clear that if I were to state that English is the epitome of pulchritude and systemacity (without mentioning the hundreds of thousands of misspellings in its lexicon) and state that Thais are all idiots, I would be more popular! LOL 

 

Most of my "drivel" is referenced. Apparently, there is another paradigm of not backing up one's claim now. 

 

Three one-liners are better than two, btw. LOL 

 

PS: Resa who? That's an insult! LOL I am a mix between Stalin and Hitler with a rat body! Get it straight! LOL

 

PPS: Can we get back on topic?

 

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, EnlightenedAtheist said:

If it is fronted to [ɜ], or fronted and lowered to [ɐ], it is NOW even fewer millimeters away from that WEAKLY pronounced schwa. In other words, there is a merger happening or one that has happened. You did not know that?

A few millimetres can make a big difference - think of the multitude of sibilant contrasts.  If English schwa ceases to be schwa - a recent process reported for French, where the former (?) schwa has become rounded, then the merger may well happen.  In the mean time, there are still near minimal pairs for some people - gallop v. hiccup.  I was surprised to find I had a contrast there.

 

Are not 8 different ways of spelling schwa enough for your arguments?  Even conceding the possibility of separating the STRUT vowel, so  if you claim 'at least 7 (arguably 11) ways of spelling schwa', you still have an impressive count, but without putting people's backs up.

 

The argument on the magic 'e' would do better if you appreciated the system and showed how it had broken down.  I don't know if it is capable of repair - pairs like the noun and verb wind (traditional short vowel v. long) present a problem, though a quantification would improve the arguments.  Spelling the verb *wighnd might take a bit of swallowing.  I've a feeling it may be sensible to have two spelling subsystems - one for only slightly modified Graeco-Latin loans, and another for the fully naturalised vocabulary.  Is it not the latter which cause the biggest effort in starting to read and write?

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1 hour ago, Richard W said:

A few millimetres can make a big difference - think of the multitude of sibilant contrasts.  If English schwa ceases to be schwa - a recent process reported for French, where the former (?) schwa has become rounded, then the merger may well happen.  In the mean time, there are still near minimal pairs for some people - gallop v. hiccup.  I was surprised to find I had a contrast there.

 

Are not 8 different ways of spelling schwa enough for your arguments?  Even conceding the possibility of separating the STRUT vowel, so  if you claim 'at least 7 (arguably 11) ways of spelling schwa', you still have an impressive count, but without putting people's backs up.

 

The argument on the magic 'e' would do better if you appreciated the system and showed how it had broken down.  I don't know if it is capable of repair - pairs like the noun and verb wind (traditional short vowel v. long) present a problem, though a quantification would improve the arguments.  Spelling the verb *wighnd might take a bit of swallowing.  I've a feeling it may be sensible to have two spelling subsystems - one for only slightly modified Graeco-Latin loans, and another for the fully naturalised vocabulary.  Is it not the latter which cause the biggest effort in starting to read and write?

 

The implementation in schools in the manner I have written and the use of diaphonemes completely neutralize any counter-argument that deals with dialectal variations. They are irrelevant. You can try to use the he morphological argument, but I have rebutted that with false positives. The literate populations would NOT be unaffected as they would not have to learn a new system. In other words, it is a check mate.

 

The minute differences that you are --apparently-- detecting could be related to your ideolect, your dialect, the influence of the consonants that precede the vowel, and.or a figment of your imagination or the need to win an argument. I cannot hear any. I doubt that anyone in a conversation can too. Soon, these will be irrelevant.

 

Seasons greetings.

 

 

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8 hours ago, EnlightenedAtheist said:

 

The implementation in schools in the manner I have written and the use of diaphonemes completely neutralize any counter-argument that deals with dialectal variations. They are irrelevant. You can try to use the he morphological argument, but I have rebutted that with false positives.

Your logic does not work.  Coding diaphonemes does not help when you code two different diaphonemes the same!  Instead, you have to rely on people overlooking the phonetic difference when reading.  We know from past history that that can work.

 

The overwhelming bulk of the 'false positives' are rapidly rejected as false readings.  It is possible that a new spelling system may have fewer - that would be an interesting analysis to perform.  I am not suggesting that one needs to relate, at a lexical level,  'auspicious' to watching birds, as you seem to think, or to relate 'scissors' and 'scythe'.

 

The literate populations would NOT be unaffected as they would not have to learn a new system.

Why would they need to be literate?  If everything can be transcribed, it can also be read out automatically.  I'm not convinced that everything written on spec would be amphiorthographic.  I can just about accept that most people would not have to be able to write intelligibly in both systems.

The minute differences that you are --apparently-- detecting could be related to your ideolect, your dialect, the influence of the consonants that precede the vowel, and.or a figment of your imagination or the need to win an argument.

Hearing the difference lost me the argument I was then having.

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I should think the kids get bored listening to drivel like You Teachers post here .Nouns ,Verbs , rubbish ,just teach em Conversation .Like a Jet Engine it's complex,but as Frequent Flyer I don't give a Rats Ass how it works,just go from A To B.I learns Thai from parroting Thai Songs,and mixing with locals,fun way to learn ,language schools,I didn't react to well or they me.


Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect

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21 hours ago, EnlightenedAtheist said:

 

The implementation in schools in the manner I have written and the use of diaphonemes completely neutralize any counter-argument that deals with dialectal variations. They are irrelevant. You can try to use the he morphological argument, but I have rebutted that with false positives. The literate populations would NOT be unaffected as they would not have to learn a new system. In other words, it is a check mate.

 

The minute differences that you are --apparently-- detecting could be related to your ideolect, your dialect, the influence of the consonants that precede the vowel, and.or a figment of your imagination or the need to win an argument. I cannot hear any. I doubt that anyone in a conversation can too. Soon, these will be irrelevant.

 

Seasons greetings.

 

 

If the king James bible is anything to go by then English as it is written today was good enough for Jesus :smile:

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Posts containing content copy and pasted from other sites have been removed. A grammar police post containing foreign language has been removed. 

 

The topic is: "University teaching shows why Thais' command of English is so abysmal!" As the discussion is no longer about this, this topic is now closed. 

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