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Understanding of Thai error using of English in oral

communication for native and non-native speakers.

Submitted to
Asst. Prof. Dr. Pratchamon Aksornjarung, Ph.D.

BY
Chalermkiat

Lertnittiyanam

Yuwadee

Prommunee

Faculty of Liberal Arts


Prince of Songkla University
2016

Abstract
The paper reports on the result of a study aimed to investigate about the understanding of Thai
error using of English of native speakers and non-native speakers in oral communication, and to
explore about how well do native and non-native understand Thai error using of English and
what are problems that make native and non-native speakers do not understand Thai error using
of English. In this study, fifteen native speakers and fifteen non-native speakers rated the level of
understanding of Thai error using of English that they listened from the audio file. The content in
the audio file is about general interviewing to Thai people in different career, and age. After
listening, participants were asked to rate the level of understanding which divided into three
choices; well understand, understand some parts, and do not understand. Then, participants
were asked to choose what the problems that limit their understanding are, which is in four
categories of listening comprehension. The result shows that both native and non-native speaker
can understand Thai error using of English in the level of understand some parts and the
important problem that limit their understanding is unclear pronunciation which is in the
category of phonological features in listening comprehension. These finding were carefully
discussed in order to suggest Thai people to improve their English skill in oral communication
which is believed that it would lead to a successful communication.

Understanding of Thai error using of English in oral


communication for native and non-native speakers.
Background of the study
Introduction
English is the world languages. Most of people around the world use English as the language that
they communicate. The use of English has significantly increase during 2000s. The study of Shin
and Bruno (2003) shows that there were 215,423,557 people in the United State of America in
2000 use English which increased from 198,600,798 people in 1990. In addition, David Crystal
(2000) said that there are 1 of 4 world population use English as their first language(L1), second
language(L2), and foreign language, and there were about 1.5 billion people use English around
the world. English version spoken all over the world are different from each other. The usage of
English in a specific location may contain difference in lexical, gramma, accent, stressing, or
other phonological features. English spread throughout the world by colonialism and the power
of economy of the United State of America (Crystal, 1995). This causes English has many
varieties. The process of being a different variety of English, mainly, is from the mixing of local
language. When English is used as a foreign language or second language, some part of English
sentence may contain some words or some features from mother tongue language. In some case,
people who use English along with other language may use other language in the English
sentence because the word from other language can best convey the meaning (Crystal 2000).
Many researchers have classified Thai version of English in different varieties; for example, nonnative variety, Asian varieties, or L2 varieties (Uthairat Rogers 2013). It is different in many
features such as pronunciation, stressing, accent, or lexis. Christopher Wright (2008), a
prominent native English instructor in Thailand, mocked at Thai English that have L1, Thai,
interfered in English when they speak. When Thai people speak English, some feature such as
pronunciation or lexis are mingled. It happens repeatedly (Jindapitak 2010).
As can be seen, some of Thai people use English in their own way, it could be mingled or mixed
up in the wrong arrangement of lexical, or error grammar using. In addition, the error of using
English of Thai people was discriminated. In order to realize about the using of English in Thai
people, and to know the level of understanding or ability to communicate with others, the study
is needed to clarify the issue above.
This study will focus on the Thai error using of English in oral communicating with foreigners.
The aim of this study is to explore about the understanding of Thai error using of English of
native speakers and non-native speakers in oral communication. In addition, this study
investigates about how well do native and non-native understand Thai error using of English and
what are problems that make native and non-native speakers do not understand Thai error using
of English.

In World Englishes field, there are several researches related to the varieties of English. Overall
of those studies are about the different among the varieties, and the attitude towards the varieties
of English. However, in Thailand, there is no variety of English, there is no Thai variety of
English. Thus, we will focus on the Thai error using of English, and the study about a perception
of error using of English is rare, especially in Thailand. For this reason, the specific observation
of perception of Native and non-native listeners to Thai using of English is needed to clarify the
attitude, the level of perception among native and none-native listeners, and the problem which
limit the ability of understanding Thai error using of English for native and non-native listeners
around the world.

1. The process of listening


According to Tyagi (2013), there are five stages of listening. When human listen to any
information, such as in oral communication, the raw data from hearing process will be mixed
with the information that listeners familiar with. There are five stages of listening process before
a person would get the information and be able respond back. First, when a person get the voice,
it comes to the hearing process. Second, a person will use that voice that heard to process what
the sound that he or she heard is, this process is understand process. Third, when a person
understands the voice, he or she will remember it, this process is remembering. Forth, a person
will make a judgment about the context, this process is evaluating. Fifth, after the information
received, a person will respond back to show the competence of listening.

1.1 Hearing
Hearing is the physical responding of the body. When a speaker speaks any sound,
those sound (voice) becomes a wave form. The receptors in the listeners ear will
receive the sound wave before processing. In this process, listening and hearing are
separated. Brains will permit only selective words to be focused. Listeners must listen
to hear, but not need hearing to listen. In other words, the process of hearing is about
the intention of listening. Listeners must listen and pay the attention to hear.

1.2 Understanding
After the process of hearing, the data will be analyzed to make the meaning. In
addition, some features of sounds of voices usually come in another form, such as an
applause. Listeners must determine the meaning of that symbolic form. The symbolic
form of sounds will become the meaning. Not only the symbolic sounds, the words
that listeners heard must be analyzed to make the meaning. In order to have a
successful interpersonal communication, an intended meaning in the context must be
the same, or closely similar between speakers and listeners.

1.3 Remembering
When listening, the data that was transformed in to the information will be added in
to the memory of listeners in their brains. The information which listeners choose to
remember is not all of what they heard, but it is selected. It means that the
information which will be remembered are selected for some words that is important.
In addition, the information which is remember and the original data can be different.

1.4 Evaluating
This process is about the judgment. When listeners heard, and recognized the sounds,
they will make a decision, determines about the bias in the context, find the facts and
opinions. It could be assumed that at this process, listeners will prepare their answer
and their viewpoint about the information they listened.

1.5 Responding
This process is required to complete the communication. Listeners can respond back
in the verbal or non-verbal feedback to show that they have received the information.
Moreover, if listeners do not understand some parts, they can respond back to show
that they do not understand and speakers can repeat or explain more clearly to the
listeners again. This process can also determine the successful of communication.

Figure A (Tyagi,2013): the process of listening

2. Listening Comprehension
Listening comprehension encompasses the multiple processes involved in understanding and
making sense of spoken language. These include recognizing speech sounds, understanding the
meaning of individual words, and/or understanding the syntax of sentences in which they are
presented (Aparna Nadig, 2013). Hamouda (2013) conducted a study about the listening
comprehension problem of EFL in English learning, and noted that the main factors involved in
the perception from listening of English language are (1) speech rate, (2) lexis, (3) phonological
features, (4) background knowledge of listeners.

2.1speech rate
speech rate is one of the important factors of listening comprehension, Hayati (2010)
noted that there are some people believed that at the normal speech rate when learning
English or when communicating, the speech rate should go up following the process of
listeners. To say clearly, if listeners have a good skill of listening, they could understand
the speech at normal speech rate. However, there are some people believed that listeners
could understand the speech better in a lower speech rates. The study of Hayati (2010) is
about the effects of speech rate on listeners of EFL learners. The participants were
divided into 2 groups. The first group of participants had exposed to the listening
materials with normal rate, and the second group had exposed to the listening materials
with a lower of speech rate. After thirteen session, participants were tested and the
researcher found the significant difference among two groups of participants. The
researcher found that both of speech rates could improve the listeners, but for the group
that use normal speech rate, the participants had a greater improvement. Following the
research, I think that if a people familiar to the normal speech rate, they could understand
the speech better than people who familiar with the lower speech rate. However, at the
lower speech rate, it can be assumed that it could be easier to understand than normal
speech rate.

2.2 Lexis
Lexis involve about vocabulary, word arrangement and grammatical feature. Apart from
the grammatical feature and word arrangement which are important keys as we know, the
vocabulary is also regarded as an important aspect of lexis. According to Chang (2007),
the vocabulary, the subset of words and lexis, is very important key in the listening
comprehension. In 2006, Chang (2007) conducted a study about vocabulary preparation
on L2 listening comprehension. The participants would get the vocabulary that they may
listen next with the different length of time in preparation. Then, participants listen to the
audio file which included the vocabulary given. After the test, the group which had 30
minutes of preparation time had more confidence in vocabulary using more than the other
groups which had more time in preparation (1 day, and 1 week). The result of the study
shows that if people can learn the vocabulary, which is the subset of lexis, and know the

way to use the vocabulary (vocabulary choices), it is possible to have a successful in


communication.

2.3 Phonological features


Phonological features which is involved in this study is about the sounds in the
procedure of pronunciation. According to Gilakjani (2012), the features involved in
the English pronunciation can be divided into 2 main groups; (1) segmental features,
and (2) suprasegmental features. The first group (segmental features) is about the
sound, such as the initial sound or final sound. It can be referred to the phonemes
which include consonant sound and vowel sound. In the class of consonant sound, it
can be classified into a voiced and unvoiced sounds. And in the class of vowel sound,
it can be classified into single vowel sound (short, or long), and diphthongs vowel
sound. The second group (suprasegmental features) is about the aspect of sound; there
are sound-linking, intonation, and stressing. These features may affect the listening
skill of listeners.

Figure B: Features of English pronunciation (Gilakjani 2012)

2.4

Background knowledge of listeners (Alidoost et al 2014)


Alidoost (2004) conducted a study about listeners background knowledge in
listening comprehension. In the study 120 language learners (participants) in the preintermediate level of English were chosen from 300 language learners. The
participants were randomly divided into 4 groups. Then, the pre-tests were given.
After the test, participants in the first group were exposed to the target culture texts in
and outside the classroom. The second group was exposed to the international target
culture text in and outside the classroom. The third group was exposed to the source
of culture text. The forth group of participants was exposed to the culture free text.
Then, the post-tests were given. The result of the study shows that participants

background knowledge which they were exposed to was very important. The group of
participants which was exposed to the knowledge had higher ability in listening than
the group which was not exposed to knowledge. It can be assumed that background
knowledge is very important aspect in listening comprehension. If listeners have
background knowledge related to the context which they listen, they can understand it
better.

Literature Reviews
The study is about Thai errors using English in communicating with foreigners. We found
several research projects which related and familiar to our study. There are 5 examples as
following.
1) Native speaker perceptions of accented speech: the English pronunciation of
Macedonian EFL learners by Anastazija Kirkova-Nas kova. This report was described the
vocabulary and consonantal features of English pronunciation and consonantal features of
English pronunciation of Macedonian EFL learners as perceived by native speakers and find out
whether native speakers who speak different standard variants of English perceive the same
segments as non-native. The objective was also to examine whether native speakers who speak
different standard variants of English perceive the same segments as non-native. This study was
investigated how different linguistic features (i.e., phonological vs. lexical, grammatical aspects
of language) affect both native speaking (NS) and non-native speaking (NNS) listeners
perceptions of comprehensibility In the part of method, he designed computer web application
was employed to gather two type of data which is A) quantitative and B) qualitative, The result
shows Three most frequent markers of foreign accent in the English speech of Macedonian EFL
learners which is final obstruent devoicing , vowel shortening and substitution of English dental.
2) Intelligibility, Comprehensibility, and Accentedness of L2 Speech: The Role of Listener
Experience and Semantic Context. The main objective of this study was, therefore, to
investigate how two factors listener experience and semantic context influence measures of
the intelligibility, comprehensibility, and accentedness of Intelligibility, Comprehensibility, and
Accentedness of L2 Speech.
This study investigated how listener influence measures of intelligibility, comprehensibility and
accentedness of non-native (L2) speech. The process was used 24 participants who are half
experience and half inexperienced. The result is all listeners understand and rated the utterances
from L2 speakers based on the semantic context available. These finding have implications for
evaluating learner pronunciation and for training learners in successful L2 communication
strategies.
3) Processing Time, Accent, and Comprehensibility in the Perception of Native and
Foreign-Accented Speech by Murray J. Munro. This study is about sentence verification task
was used to determine the effect of a foreign accent on sent once processing time. The purpose is
to estimate processing time, and also asked the listeners to rate the speakers utterances for
accentedness and comprehensibility, in order to determine how such ratings might be related to
the response latency data. Research on the speech of second language learners has indicated that
non-native utterances can be evaluated along several dimensions. Because there are some

inconsistencies in the ways in which such dimensions have been interpreted and in the methods
used to rate L2 learners speech, we define three dimensions relevant to this study: intelligibility,
The process was used by native English listeners that heard a set of English true / false statement
s uttered by ten native speakers of Mandarin. The results were discussed in terms of costs of
speaking with a foreign accent and the relevance of such factors as accent and comprehensibility
to second language teaching.
4) ACCENT, INTELLIGIBILITY, AND COMPREHENSIBILITY The study was designed
to extend previous research on the relationships among intelligibility, perceived
comprehensibility and accent endness. Accent and comprehensibility ratings and trancipating of
accented speech from Cantonese, Japanese, Polish and Spanish intermediate ESL students were
obtained from 26 native English listeners. The purpose is to know the perceiving
comprehensibility and accent.The method was asking about the first language backgrounds of
the same talkers and to provide information with the four accents used in this study. When the
results were compared with the Munro and Derwing study of learners of high proficiency,
speaker proficiency level did not appear to affect the quansi in dependent relationships
among intelligibility , peraeved comprehensibility , and accentedness ; however, the relieve
contributor of grammatical and phonemic errors and goodness of prosody differed. Familiarity
influenced the first language.
5) Differential Effect of Phonological and Lexico grammatical, Errors on NS and NNS
listener perceptions of comprehensibility: An Exploratory study by Kazuya Saito. The
purpose is to investigates how different linguistic features affect both native speaking and nonnative speaking listeners perceptions of comprehensibility. Kazuya did the experiment as the
method by using non-native speaking (NNS) and 7 native speaking (NS) rated the
comprehensibility of two types of NNS extemporaneous speech sample. The results
demonstrated two possible patterns: (a) That NNS listeners tended to show awareness towards
phonological aspects of language rather than lexical, grammatical aspects of language, and (b)
The comprehensibility rating of NS listeners was carefully discussed in order to inform both
theoretical argument and pedogeological inquire in practice, establishing better understanding of
second language as acquisition process.
6) An Investigation of Listening Comprehension Problems Encountered by Saudi Students
in the EL Listening Classroom Dr Arafat Hamouda The present study attempts to investigate
the listening problems encountered by a group of first year English major students of Qassim
University. The aims are to explore a broad view and in-depth knowledge about the
understanding of how Saudi college students in EFL context face listening difficulties as
followings , 1. Identifying the Saudi students perception to the importance of studying listening
comprehension. 2. Identifying which skills were emphasized in their previous education as
language learners 3. Knowing how and when the students have the opportunity to listen to
English. 4. Finding out kinds of listening comprehension problems encountered by English
students at Qassim University. 5. Providing some suggestions for the teacher to help his students
overcome these listening comprehension problems. The method was conducted using 60
students who took the listening course in 20012/13 were selected for the study. Data was
gathered by means of questionnaires and interviews. The results of the study showed that accent,
pronunciation, speed of speech, insufficient vocabulary, different accent of speakers, lack of
concentration, anxiety, and bad quality of recording were the major listening comprehension

problems encountered by EFL Saudi learners. Understanding students learning difficulties may
enable EFL teachers to help students develop effective learning strategies and ultimately improve
their English listening abilities.

Methodology
Participants
the data were collected from 15 native speakers in Canada, England and United State of
America, and 15 non-native speakers from Malaysia, Vietnam, Iran, Philippines, Germany,
Switzerland, Cambodia, Turkey, Brunei, India, Japan, France, Indonesia, and India in a different
age, different education level, different gender, and different career. All of participants are from
the internet. Participants were asked to participate this project. Most of participants were from
the social media, and some participants were from Omegle, an online service that let users
communicate anonymously. After asking for participation, there were 30 people interested about
the project. The study took place during November1, 2016 to November8, 2016. This study
avoids choosing Thai participants because they may be familiar with Thai error using of English.

Instrument
Data collected using questionnaire following Hamoudas (2013) framework. The survey was
created using online platform, Google Form. The survey consists of 3 parts, the first parts is the
general information of participants which included the questions about gender, education level,
country that participants were born, age, and career. The second part is the level of understanding
of the content in the audio file after participants listened to. The question in the second part
inquired which level participants think how well they understand the content, included with 3
answer choices, (1) I totally understand all of the content, (2) I can understand some parts of the
content, (3) I do not understand the content at all. After answering the second part, participants
were asked to complete the third part of the survey. The question in the third part inquired about
the problems that participants think it limits the understanding the content due to Thai error of
English in oral communication. The question was designed follow the research of Hamouda
(2013) which divided the listening comprehensibility into 4 main parts. The question in the third
part refer to the listening comprehension problems. The questions consisted of the answer with
multiple choices. Participants have to select the answers (one or more) which they think it is true
for them. The question in the third parts is What are problems that limits your understanding of
the content he answers prepared in the third parts are (1) speak too slow or too fast (speech
rate), (2) unfamiliar with some words (lexis), (3) speakers use wrong words arrangement, or
wrong grammatical (lexis), (4) unclear pronunciation (phonological features), (5) wrong
stressing (phonological features), (6) unfamiliar with accent (phonological features), (7) I dont
have related background knowledge (background knowledge).

Data collection
in the current experiment, native and non-native speakers of English were asked to rate
comprehensibility in listening of audio files about the interview of Thai people whose English is
not perfect. Participants have to listen to the content in the audio file which has a length about 5
minutes. The content in the audio file is about general asking, general interviewing. There is the
sound of 2 people in the audio file, interviewer who was native English speaker, and Thai people
who was interviewed. There are 7 audio files, in each file, Thai people who was interviewed had
a different career and gender.
Audio file number 1 is the interview of Thai motorcycle road racer about the winning in the
game. Audio file number 2 is the interview of the previous Thailand prime minister about the
political situation at that time. Audio file number 3 is the interview of Thai student about the
study in the classroom. Audio file number 4 is the interview of Thai teacher (1) about the
technique of teaching. Audio file number 5 is the interview of Thai teacher (2) about teaching
techniques. Audio file number 6 is the speech of Thai farmer in the renowned conference, the
content is about the speakers life in general and the attitude toward the world. Audio file
number 7 is the interview of Thai teacher (3) about teaching techniques.
All of audio files were kept on the Internet using Soundcloud, an online digital audio storage
service. All tracks (audio files) were kept separately. Native and non-native speakers (listeners)
were randomly received the URL to listen to. In the process of selecting an audio file to give to
the listeners, the website random.org were used to generate a random number (1-7). Once a
number was generated, the audio file which was labeled the specific number (1-7) was selected.
Then the URL of the audio file was sent to the listeners. Listeners were asked to listen to the
content in the audio file completely. After listening, the URL of questions was sent to the
participants. Listeners were asked to answer the question in the research instrument. The
question contains with 3 parts, the information of participants, the level of perception of the
context in the given audio file, and the problem of listening.
Data Analysis
Raw data will be processed into the form of percentage. This study will find the overall
percentage of level of understanding in native and non-native speakers for Thai error using of
English in oral communication. Moreover, the study will take a closer look at the difference of
understanding between native and non-native speakers for Thai error using of English in oral
communication. This study will investigate the most frequent problem that found when listening
to Thai error using of English. The problems will be categorized and ranked in order to see the
frequency.

Result
The ages of participants are between 19 to 50, the average age of participants is 26.6 years old.
Education background of participants are various. There were 21 participants with Bachelors
degree, 7 participants with masters degree, 1 participant with high school, and 1 participant
from grade 4.
The overall result of understanding level shows that 63.3% of participants understand some parts
of content in the context of Thai error using of English in oral communication, follow by well
understanding of the content at 33.3%, and participants who do not understand the content
containing Thai error using of English in oral communication are 3.3%. This information shows
that most people could understand Thai error using of English, but not all of it.

Figure 1: Overall level of understanding

Most problem found in the limitation of understanding of Thai error using of English in oral
communication is unclear pronunciation at 60%, follow by unfamiliar with accent at 36.7%,
wrong stressing at 30%, participants do not have related background knowledge at 16.7%, and
speech rate and unfamiliar with vocabulary are equal at 13.3%, and the lowest value is wrong
grammatical and word arrangement at 10%.

Figure 2: Overall frequent problems found in Thai error of English in oral communication.

At the deeper detail, most participants answered that they can understand some parts of the
content in Thai error using of English in oral communication. There are wide range of peoples
ages who answered that they could understand some parts of the content, there were people at the
age of 19 to 48 years old. The range of age of people who could understand all the content is at
31 to 40 years old. And for people who do not understand Thai error using of English in oral
communication is at 35 years.

Figure 3: Range of age of participants following the understanding level


The information also shows that most native speaker could understand some parts of the content
which contain Thai error using of English in oral communication at 73.30%, follow by well
understand at 26.70%. For non-native speaking participants, most of them could understand
some parts of the content at 53.3%, follow by well understand at 40%, and there are 6.7% of
people who do not understand the content.

Figure 4: Difference understanding between native and non-native speakers

The key problem that limit the level of understanding for native speaker who rate Thai error
using of English in oral communication in the level of well understand is ungrammatical using
and wrong word arrangement at 50%, equally with unclear pronunciation at 50%. Native
speakers who rate Thai error using of English in oral communication in the level of understand
some parts found that the significant problem in listening Thai is unclear pronunciation at
40%, follow by unfamiliar with accent at 30%, wrong stressing at 20%, and unfamiliar with
vocabulary at 10%. There is no native speaker that rate Thai error using of English in oral
communication in the level of do not understand. Non-native speakers who rate Thai error
using of English in oral communication in the level of well understand found that the
significant problems in listening to Thai are unclear pronunciation and wrong stressing at
50% equally, follow by speak too slow or too fast and unfamiliar with accent at 20% equally.
Non-native speakers who rate Thai error using of English in oral communication in the level of
understand some parts found that the significant problem in listening to Thai is unclear
pronunciation, follow by wrong stressing at 25%, and unfamiliar with vocabulary and
listeners do not have related background knowledge at 16.6% equally. Non-native speaker who
rate Thai error using of English in oral communication in the level of Do not understand found
that the problems that limit understanding Thai error using of English are ungrammatical using
& wrong word arrangement, unclear pronunciation, and listeners do not have related
background knowledge at 33.3% equally.

Figure 5: Frequent problems found in Thai error using of English in oral communication
To summarize, native and non-native speaker can understand Thai in the level of understand
some parts by 63.36%, follow with well understand by 33.3%, and Do not understand by
3.3%. The most affected problem that affecting listening Thai English is in the category of (1)
phonological features, follow by (2) lexis, (3) background knowledge, and (4) speech rate.

phonological features
lexis
background knowledge
speech rate

Figure 6: Thai error using of English problem in category following listeners listening
comprehension

Discussion
It can be seen clearly that most people, both native and non-native speakers, can understand Thai
error using of English. Although not all the content that they can understand, Thai error using of
English can be a useful tool to communicate with people around the world. This study shows that
native speakers tend to understand Thai error using of English in the level of understand some
parts more than non-native speakers who can understand in the same level. However, the study
also shows that non-native speakers tend to understand Thai error using of English in the level of
well understand more than native speaker could understand. Take a closer look, the interesting
point of the problem that cannot be seen from the native speakers understanding is the problem
which is in the category of speech rate. It can be assumed that the factor of speech rate did not
affect the listening of native speakers in listening to Thai English because, as can be seen, Thai
people usually speak English in a very low speech rate, the study of Hayati (2010) conclude that
people would improve their listening skill better (they can understand the content better) at the
low speech rate of English. Native speakers may familiar with normal speech rate, when they
listen to the conversation at low speed rate, they may understand it more clearly. However, there
are some non-native speakers who think that speech rate affected understanding of Thai English.
The major problem that affected listening to Thai English for both native and non-native
speakers are unclear pronunciation which is in a category of phonological feature show that
Thai people tend to use wrong pronunciation. In our perspective, it can be assumed that Thai
people do not pay attention in the pronunciation because there are many sound in English that is
not present in Thai pronunciation system, such as //. In conclusion, native and non-native
speakers could understand Thai error using of English in the level of understand some parts,
and the significant problem which limit the understanding of Thai error using of English is
unclear pronunciation. In our opinion, we think that if Thai speakers could pronounce English
correctly, those people may have ability to communicate with native and non-native people
around the world with more efficiency and it may lead to successful communication.

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