Nobody Speaks Perfectly English - Tagalog

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Nay, they don't even have the ability to use their mother language well anymore.

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It's a fashionable in Thailand for the educated class to speak Thai with english terms pr phrases sprinkled all over the place. Some think it's chic to do so. This is a sort of colonial mentality even though the Thais were never colonized that benefits only individuals but not the society. This is why Thailand still don't have a working democracy. What they have is a class-division mentality.

English so far has been used as an excuse for the society's failure to spread knowledge to the rural poor. You cannot teach all Thai to speak English, since the primary language of education is still and will always be in Thai.

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They got all the priority wrong. To say that any country would be at the "top of the heap" because their English language skills are currently superior to Thailand, and therefore should excel, is such complete ting tong as to be laughable. To argue otherwise, IMO, is ignorant. So Mat Jones from America, you think it is just hunky dorey that the educated Thais are deficient substantially so in English languish skills?!! While English is an international language, the presence of economic and cultural influence from the anglophone countries in Thailand is not all that great.

If speaking English well is an important indicator for development.

Philippines and Malaysia would have been the two leading economies in Asia now. Indians speak English much better than the Chinese on average the two countries have the same size population , but China's economy is five times bigger and now has an incomparable influence on the world stage. Neither Korea, Japan, nor France whose English skills are equally appalling consider English as their "second official language.


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I am Thai and want to simply put it that those who still cannot speak decent English are just" ignorant". I used to make my comment several times to different advisers from the current government about making English the second official language for Thailand. Most people just never see it the way I do.

Not being able to speak English for Thai is and will be an never-ending story as far as I can see. By Kantanon Wanitpisittana, Bangkok 22nd January I believe it is more difficult for people with native languages significantly different from English to learn English.

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Unlike languages of other ASEAN countries, like Indonesia, Malaysia and The Philippines, Thai language is tonal, has very strong accent and doesn't use alphabet, hence they will need to learn the alphabet, the language and to reduce their strong accent when learning English. I'm not familiar with Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia, but I believe this difficulty at some degree also applies to these countries. Such facts may require more efforts for Thai people to learn English.

Ben Wong Yes, Thailand was never colonised, but like Thais, you seem to be ignorant as to the reason. Was it because Thailand is "strong" and resisted colonising attempts which is the "implied reason"?

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They were purposely NOT colonised by mutual agreement between the French who were in control of Cambodia on one side and the British in control of Burma on the other side. So it could be used as a "buffer zone" between the two colonising powers. Simple as that. In addition, Thailand gave away huge chunks of territory Parts of Chanthaburi and Trat to the French in exchange for not colonising them. That territory was later returned to them by the French. Not really something to be "proud" about. Which is the reason it's conveniently skipped over and not mentioned in history classes.

As for having "no reason" to learn English I am a firm believer that people learn language because they must. And for most of the world, countries that were once colonized by a western power all have a mind set which prioritizes learning a colonial or a western language over their own. Of the countries in the world, I think the UK and the US have are the two countries that suffer from the language skill deficit the most.

But who can speak French in America? Almost none, except the rich kids whose parents send them to French immersion schools. Foreign languages are spoken in America and Britain by immigrants. But for average British or American, their is no need to do so. So they suck at foreign languages -- no interest to learn, whatsoever. I lived in Thailand for a long time and this is a country that has their own legal system, their own law codes and legal authority - from top to bottom.

At school, they study their own literature.

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Their religious texts Buddhism maybe in classical Pali, but they have all the translations and commentaries in their own language. Of all the countries I've been to, maybe only Japan and China prioritizes their own cultural learning over outside influence at this level. In Malaysia, the Malay language is spoken by over million people - a true lingua franca.

But everyone still speaks pretty good English. How come? It's just because Malay is no different than Hindi.

True, they are used by everyone, but not at the level that matter. For their legal and education systems are modeled after that of their colonial masters. Over here in the U. The reality is many Chinese students can hardly speak English at all but they are now the big financial source for American colleges, so nobody ever questions how TOEFL exams are graded in China. Thai pride. Thailand is the only country in Asia besides China and Japan that was never colonised. Nobody make them learn any new language there is no motive for them to seek to learn the coloniser's language to get ahead as in other colonised countries.

It can be frustrating especially in outlying areas outside the usual tourist trail but that's just the way it is. Like the Japs too that are proud people. Good for em. I'm not trying to be rude or disrespectful but it is the truth. The simple fact of the matter is that the culture tends to make excuses and ignore problems instead of identifying and solving them. I've worked with people from all over the world and who speak English as a second language and the Thais are the only ones who butcher English but excuse themselves by saying "Thai style". You don't hear Spanish speakers miss pronouncing words and saying "Spanish style" or any other country of origin and style.

Until the Thai culture changes from a make excuses for our inabillities to putting in the necessary work to achieve a desired effect, they will always struggle.

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By 12 year English teacher, Bangkok 27th August Hi guys, As a Thai and English speaker from a Thai and English ethnic background , I'd like to add my two cents to the post. There is reasoning behind this. A rule with all languages: "If you don't use it, you lose it. Although there is much more than the above point as to the reasoning behind English skills lacking across Thailand, I truly believe this is the main point for most Thai people.

Second point to note is - Culture: There is a strong cultural national pride in Thailand, and being well spoken in Thai, and focusing inwardly [On Thai focused roles not needing foreign influence] is often considered a much better and more authentically "Thai" lifestyle choice and in turn makes you a better Thai person compared to those going down a path that focuses on the growing plague foreigners sunning it up and buying fake clothes in night markets. I won't get started on the bar girls and how they are viewed to by the higher class Thai people.

And my final point - Ignorance is bliss: Just like how so many English people I know couldn't care less about learning a new language [even if they like travelling], for what ever reason that may be, there is the same belief held in parts of Thailand. Its pretty easy to see why Thai people wouldn't be bothered to learn a language they wouldn't need to use, especially if most of their time is taking up doing work that doesn't have a requirement for additional language.

To conclude, I don't believe this inward facing ideology is a good thing for Thai people, but it is part of Thailand's culture and must be respected. This being said, I believe it is a passing ideology and people will adapt and evolve as the world globalises more and more each year. Point three: People don't care too much about change until its on their door step. Until then, Thai people will stick to their own customs and lives.

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