Speaking English campaign is just a passing fad (Thailand)

Thai students need better-trained teachers and a well-thought-out curriculum if they are ever to improve their ability in the English language

Beginning the first week of January, all education institutions must provide a time slot and a place for Thais to practise English once a week. This is part of the Yingluck government’s effort to promote the world’s lingua franca in this our tongue-tied country. As is well known, Thais do not always enjoy it when they have to speak foreign languages. They are reluctant and shy, fearful of making mistakes when speaking foreign tongues.

In the case of English, almost all Thai students study the language at their schools for at least 12 years, throughout their adolescence. Even with that long stretch of training, most are still unskilled and unable to express themselves in the international language.

When Thais speak English, they almost always carry a distinctive Thai accent. This is perhaps a step backwards from the language skills of their forebears a few centuries back.

Read more in The Nation

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About Antoni Uni

I am born in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and went to Spain, l'Escala - Costabrava, in 1988. After 15 years I made a mistake and went travelling in S.E. Asia. and in 2005 I dropped down in Bangkok where I still live. Mijn website met foto's is: http://www.antoniuniphotography.com/
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2 Responses to Speaking English campaign is just a passing fad (Thailand)

  1. Bill Chapman says:

    The language for international communication does not have to be English. Why not Esperanto?

    • antoniuni says:

      English as a global language

      Because English is so widely spoken, it has often been referred to as a “world language”, the lingua franca of the modern era, and while it is not an official language in most countries, it is currently the language most often taught as a foreign language. Some linguists believe that it is no longer the exclusive cultural property of “native English speakers”, but is rather a language that is absorbing aspects of cultures worldwide as it continues to grow. It is, by international treaty, the official language for aerial and maritime communications. English is an official language of the United Nations and many other international organisations, including the International Olympic Committee.
      English is the language most often studied as a foreign language in the European Union, by 89% of schoolchildren, ahead of French at 32%, while the perception of the usefulness of foreign languages amongst Europeans is 68% in favour of English ahead of 25% for French. Among some non-English speaking EU countries, a large percentage of the adult population claims to be able to converse in English – in particular: 85% in Sweden, 83% in Denmark, 79% in the Netherlands, 66% in Luxembourg and over 50% in Finland, Slovenia, Austria, Belgium, and Germany.
      Books, magazines, and newspapers written in English are available in many countries around the world, and English is the most commonly used language in the sciences with Science Citation Index reporting as early as 1997 that 95% of its articles were written in English, even though only half of them came from authors in English-speaking countries.
      This increasing use of the English language globally has had a large impact on many other languages, leading to language shift and even language death, and to claims of linguistic imperialism. English itself is now open to language shift as multiple regional varieties feed back into the language as a whole.

      English in computing

      The English language is sometimes described as the lingua franca of computing. In comparison to other sciences, where Latin and Greek are the principal sources of vocabulary, Computer Science borrows more extensively from English. Due to the technical limitations of early computers, and the lack of international standards on the Internet, computer users were limited to using English and the Latin alphabet. However, this historical limitation is less present today. Most software products are localized in numerous languages and the use of the Unicode character encoding has resolved problems with non-Latin alphabets. Some limitations have only been changed recently, such as with domain names, which previously allowed only ASCII characters.

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