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When discussing his studies, the speaker cannot understand the questions right away when tester asks. However, he can use a stock phrase – “excuse me, could you repeat that” in Thai to communicate with the tester. When he understands the first two questions, he can create with the language using simple sentences to explain his situation. This is a combination of learned phrases and recombination. He switches to English when he does not know the word in Thai and uses stock phrases including “I’m sorry” and “I don’t know how to say ‘X’ in Thai” to express his thoughts and feelings. His performance is not even. He sometimes answers only in phrases and words, and not in full sentences in other cases. His pronunciation and syntax are strongly influenced by his first language. In the roleplay segment, the speaker can respond in intelligible sentences and ask some direct questions to obtain information according to the role-play. However, his performance is not consistent, especially in terms of syntax and pronunciation. He does not have full control of interrogative sentence. For the above reasons, this speaker is at a Novice High level of Thai.
*No video of speaker available for this sample.*
When discussing where he lives, the speaker provides minimal, basic information about his house by answering direct and simple questions. He is able to say “I don’t know” and “can you repeat that?” when he does not understand or needs the interviewer to repeat what was said. In the roleplay segment, the speaker gets to know a potential roommate by asking her simple and direct questions. He is also able to answer simple and direct questions she had about pets and his activities. When a miscommunication occurred, the speaker was able to resolve it by correcting himself. For the above reasons, this speaker is at an Intermediate Low level of Thai.
*No video of speaker available for this sample.* When discussing education, the speaker is able to talk about how a particular professor of Thai history piqued her interests and supported her studies in Thai history. She is also able to say that she had studied and taught in Thailand in the past. Lastly, the speaker is able talk about why she chose to come to the US for her doctoral degree instead of continuing in Australia. In the roleplay segment, the speaker is able to describe the bags in detail, including their size, color, and special markings, as well as provide detailed information about her accommodations, including the name and specific location of the hotel and her room number. For the above reasons, this speaker is at an Advanced Low level of Thai.
When discussing how imperialism may have affected his time in Myanmar, the speaker uses extended discourse without hesitation to explain this complicated matter. With his linguistic ability, he is able to clearly explain the notion of imperialism. He counter argues that his church focuses on helping people. His God, is not the savior for “farang” but to “all human beings.” According to him, he must believe in this and carry it out with full effort. He supports his argument by making a comparison of his belief to the Buddhists. When he discusses the importance of English, which can be viewed as a form of imperialism, he makes it clear that it is about one’s opportunity for improvement. To make his point, he uses the turn taking technique to ask the tester a question – “you would not probably work in this current job if you (the tester) had not acquired English, right?” The speaker’s response to a question about possible changes to the educational system in Myanmar demonstrates that he can hypothesize and use extended discourse for abstract elaborations. He also uses turn-taking techniques and separating main ideas from supporting information through syntactic, lexical and phonetic devices. His main idea is that he does not believe that money is the only solution for all the problems, especially, to motivate teachers in Myanmar to teach effectively. He is able to convince the tester as well as provide relevant information why finance is not the only aspect for resolving complex problems. He describes Naypyidaw, the newly assigned capital city of Myanmar as an affluent city reflecting the unbalanced materialism and corrupted culture of the current regime over the well-being of their people. He provides descriptive information on the cruelty of the military government. Finally, he is able to wrap up and state his plan of using money for bringing back the leaders who were elected by Burmese people but toppled down by the military junta to govern the country. For the above reasons, this speaker is at a Superior level of Thai.
Find the Thai Heritage & Project-Based Language Learning lesson here. This lesson is also available on the UCLA National Heritage Language Resource Center website. For more information on this initiative, click here.