Faculty Research

Avoidance of the English Passive Construction by L1 Chinese Learners

LEARN Journal: Language Education and Acquisition Research Network Volume 14, Issue 1, January 2021, Pages 294-316

This research investigated avoidance behaviour, one of the strategies L2 learners may resort to because of L1-L2 differences, or the non-existence of L2 structures for L1 learners, i.e. the Avoidance Behaviour Hypothesis (Schachter 1974). However, based on the Factors of L2 Non-Avoidance Hypothesis (FNAH) (Thiamtawan & Pongpairoj, 2013, 2019), despite the aforementioned factors, L2 avoidance does not necessarily emerge. The study recruited thirty L1 Chinese intermediate participants. The tasks used to elicit data were the Comprehension Task and the Indirect Preference Elicitation (IPE) Task. Results showed that the participants significantly produced more passives than actives, which means they tended not to avoid the English passive construction. The study investigated further the different contexts in the IPE task. Findings revealed that the participants tended to avoid the English passive under non-adversity contexts because of the complexities of the passive compared with the active. However, they would not avoid the passive construction under adversity contexts due to transfer of training in the Chinese setting. The overall results were in support of FNAH.

Disenchanting the End: Secular Apocalyptic Visions in 20th Century Boys

Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Studies Volume 20, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 27-41

Employing the concepts of disenchantment and secularism, this paper explores the depiction of apocalyptic scenarios in 20th Century Boys, a Japanese dystopian manga written and illustrated by Naoki Urasawa. My argument is informed by the analysis of the manga offered by Jolyon Baraka Thomas in Drawing on Tradition: Manga, Anime, and Religion in Contemporary Japan (2012). I shall argue that the story in 20th Century Boys promotes secularist values with its emphasis on the necessity of disenchantment and the representation of science as a new secular savior for mankind. The first part of this article offers a synopsis of the story as well as the information regarding the author’s background. In the following section, the definitions of apocalypse in various contexts are discussed. The analyses offered in the third section will revolve around the characterization of some characters in the manga. A close examination of these characters reveals that, despite their mythic roles, they can caution the readers against their own fascination with fatalistic and soteriological motifs commonly found in popular apocalyptic worldviews. In the fourth section of the article, I will mainly examine the thematization of science and technology in the manga in order to contend how they can embody secularist values.

Rewriting Ibsen's Nora: Fiction and the New Woman in Thailand (1920s-1940s)

Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Studies Volume 20, Issue 1, January 2020, Pages 27-41

Previous research has shown that the New Woman was a global phenomenon and that fiction was crucial to the emergence of this New Woman. One work that was of particular importance was Henrik Ibsen’s A doll’s house. This article examines the rise of the New Woman in early twentieth century Thailand. It traces the campaigns for gender equality that Thai women waged in local newspapers and magazines. It also examines the reactions towards these campaigns by three major authors, all of whom turned to Ibsen’s play in their engagement with the New Woman phenomenon.

Third Language Acquisition of English Word Order in Written Production by L1 Yi and L2 Mandarin Learners

Based on third language acquisition theories (Flynn, Foley, & Vinnitskaya, 2004; Marx & Hufeisen, 2004; Rothman, 2010, 2015) and cross-linguistic influence (Sharwood Smith & Kellerman, 1986), this study explored the written production errors of L3 English acquisition of word order in the affirmative and interrogative structures by L1 Yi and L2 Mandarin learners. The participants were thirty “Yi ethnic minority”1 students of L3 English at the beginner level from a middle school in Yunnan Province, China. The instrument was an elicited production task. The findings exhibited that errors in L1 Yi word order were more frequently produced than those of L2 Mandarin word order, and the errors produced in the interrogative structures were higher than in the affirmative structures. It demonstrated that cross-linguistic influence from L1 Yi and L2 Mandarin was more evident since a higher proportion of error rates from these two languages were examined, and L1 Yi tended to have a higher negative impact than L2 Mandarin.

Secularity, Emotion and Law in Ian McEwan’s: The Children Act

Manusya Volume 23, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 1-18

This paper examines Ian McEwan’s The Children Act as a work of fiction that explores the contemporary issue of secularism. My argument is that the novel’s exploration of the interplay between law and feelings demonstrates McEwan’s attempt to defy the dichotomous quality commonly attributed to law. By juxtaposing the implementation of law and religious practices, the novel’s dramatization of the collision between these two forces shows that emotion and feeling are never absent from the allegedly unsympathetic secular civic institution. The realm of law can offer both sympathy and com-passion to people who are subject to it.

The Waiting Woman as the Most Enduring Asian Ghost Heroine

Gothic Studies Volume 22, Issue 1, March 2020, Pages 81-97

The waiting woman is a ghost who appears to be endlessly waiting – for recognition, for her lover, for a chance to reincarnate, or to exact revenge. In Asia, her roots can be found in early medieval Chinese records of the strange, arguably the oldest written ghost stories in the region. The romanticized version of this ghost, introduced in Tang Xianzu’s drama Peony Pavillion (Mudan ting, 1598), influenced many writers of Japanese kaidan (strange) stories and merged with East and Southeast Asian ghostlore that continues to inspire contemporary local fiction and films. The article proposes to read the figure of the waiting woman as a representation of the enduring myth of the submissive Asian femininity and a warning against the threat of possible female emancipation brought about by the socio-economic changes caused by modernisation.

Usability Studies of E-Commerce Checkout Process: A Perspective From Thailand

Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics) Volume 12204 LNCS, 2020, Pages 307-3217th International Conference on HCI in Business, Government, and Organizations, HCIBGO 2020, held as part of the 22nd International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCII 2020; Copenhagen; Denmark; 19 July 2020 through 24 July 2020; Code 242509

Shopping cart abandonment is one of major problems that can affect conversion rate for e-commerce. A complex or ambiguous checkout process can result in customers discarding their purchase transactions. This research examined Thai online buyers’ experience with a checkout process of e-commerce websites and m-commerce applications. Usability studies were conducted with three different sample groups. They were asked to use two different types of e-commerce platforms to purchase either retail or technology-based products. A working age group with general knowledge about technology tested retail m-commerce applications. Another working age group who was tech-savvy tried out e-commerce websites selling technology products. The elderly group performed a test on retail m-commerce applications. Similar usability issues were found among the three user groups. A violation of visibility principle was a major factor causing unsuccessful task completion in the usability tests. 

L2 Production of English Word Stress by L1 Thai Learners

LEARN Journal: Language Education and Acquisition Research Network Volume 13, Issue 2, 1 July 2020, Pages 142-157

This research was aimed at investigating L1 Thai learners’ English word stress production in two aspects of English words – 1) English words with different suffixes: suffixes affecting stress shift, i.e. ‘-ic’ (e.g. ‘fantástic’), ‘-ity’ (e.g. ‘idéntity’) and ‘-tion / -sion’ (e.g. ‘eléction’) and suffixes demanding stress, i.e. ‘-oon’ (e.g. ‘typhóon’), ‘-eer’ (e.g. mutinéer) and ‘-ee’ (e.g. foresée) and 2) compound words: compound nouns (e.g. bédroom) and compound verbs (e.g. look fór). In total, 10 intermediate learners and 10 advanced learners participated in this study. The participants completed two production tasks: “Reading English Word Stress in Isolation” and “Reading English Word Stress in Sentences”. The results showed that the advanced learners had better English word stress production than the intermediate learners in both tasks. It was assumed that the errors made were caused by interlingual errors as the word stress assignment rules of the two languages were different. This led to negative transfer which interferes with L1 Thai learners’ acquisition of English word stress. The results contribute to second language acquisition with respect to English word stress of L1 Thai learners and also provide pedagogical implications for English pronunciation. 

The Development of Thai Monosyllabic Word and Picture Lists Applicable to Interactive Speech Audiometry in Preschoolers

Interactive speech audiometry is the assessment of speech comprehension and phonological discrimination through automated means. In order for the performance of such assessments in preschoolers to be successful, the employed list of words and pictures must be easily recognized both linguistically and visually. That is, the children must be able to easily associate the sound they hear with the picture they see with a high degree of certainty. To this end, a Thai monosyllabic word and picture list called NCU-20 (NECTEC-CU-20) is proposed. The word lists for Thai vowel and consonant hearing tests are designed with an awareness of phonetic environments. Regarding Thai vowels, both monophthongs and diphthongs, with all qualities and quantities, are examined. Initial consonants are categorized based on places and manners of articulation. The effectiveness of the list is objectively and subjectively verified through Thai Textbook Corpus, Thai National Corpus, Zipf scores, a listening test of preschoolers with normal hearing, and our proposed ranking systems referred to as Tier-1st, Tier-3/3, and Overall Tier. The final suggested word and picture list comprises 45 items (words) covering 35 vowels and consonant groups in the Thai Language. 

Normativity in Buddhism and Its Application in Bioethics

Advancing Global Bioethics Volume 14, 2020, Pages 95-113

This paper argues that normativity in Buddhism is constituted by a thoroughgoing kind of naturalism and teleology. An action is good in Buddhism only if it is conducive to the main goal of being a Buddhist, that is, becoming released from sufferings or dissatisfactory conditions (dukkha) thereby gaining a release from the bondage of the cycle of life, death and rebirth (saṃsāra). This is a sketch of an ethical theory that I call ethical teleological naturalism. The theory is also pragmatic in nature because the emphasis lies on how to achieve the desired goal. Buddhist ethics is also strongly connected to Buddhist metaphysics and epistemology because in order to gain liberation from the cycle one needs to gain full knowledge of what ultimate reality is like. This interpretation of Buddhist ethical thought is thus akin to that of Damien Keown in one respect, namely that the Buddhist theory is comparable in many ways to ancient Greek ethical theory, but Keown sees Buddhist theory to be similar to virtue ethics whereas I see the theory to be more akin to Stoicism as well as Spinoza’s ethical theory. The latter half of the paper discusses how this pragmatic and teleological nature of Buddhist normative theory plays out in bioethics. This is done through a look at a recent debate among two prominent scholars of Buddhist philosophy, Damien Keown and Rupert Gethin, on euthanasia. 

Non-Target-Like Syntactic Representation: An Investigation of L2 English Article Substitutions by L1 Thai Learners

Journal of Asia TEFL Volume 17, Issue 3, Fall 2020, Pages 906-920

This research explored L2 English article substitutions by L1 learners. The participants were two groups of advanced L2 learners from different L1 backgrounds, i.e., French and Thai, the former a language with articles, and the latter an articleless language. The tasks were a perception task, i.e., a grammaticality judgment task, and a production task, i.e., a forced-choice elicitation task. The results confirmed the hypotheses in that correct English article use in the Thai group was significantly lower than that in the French group in both perception and production (p <.001). Moreover, while appropriate L2 English article use in both perception and production in the L1 Thai group was rather low, that in the L1 French group was at high rates. The findings confirmed the Failed Functional Features Hypothesis (Hawkins, 2000, 2003) and contradicted the Missing Surface Inflection Hypothesis (White, 2003, 2017) in that, unlike the French learners, as definiteness was not grammaticalized in Thai, the Thai learners’ representation was non-target-like and English articles were therefore unattainable. 

The English Present Perfect in Authentic Use and Textbooks: A Corpus-Driven Study

PASAA Volume 60, July-December 2020, Pages 275-308

One of the reasons why EFL learners have difficulties with the English present perfect tense is that little attention has been paid to the relationship between patterns and meanings of the tense (Yoshimura et al., 2014). To fill this gap, the present study takes a corpus-driven approach to the pattern-meaning interface of the present perfect, using British and American English corpora. It is found that the present perfect can express seven groups of meanings: ‗accomplishment with relevance to the present‘, ‗continuing from the past to the present‘, ‗change of condition‘, ‗experience‘, ‗recency‘, ‗discovery‘, and ‗possession‘. These meanings are found to be associated with distinctive co-occurrence patterns. The corpus-informed insights were then applied to an analysis of present perfect instances presented in textbooks used in Thailand‘s universities. It is found that the corresponding patterns and meanings can also be found in the sampled textbooks, but the textbooks tend to under-present a core meaning and highlight only a few uses of the present perfect. The study thereby offers a new perspective on the English present perfect and also provides empirical evidence for development of EFL textbooks and teaching materials.

The Genesis of Dynastic Legitimacy in Absolutist Siam

Dynastic succession of kingship is commonly considered a defining characteristic of monarchy. Accordingly, descent though the bloodline is also seen as an essential prerequisite to legitimate claims to the throne. There are, however, no indications that this was the view in early-modern Siam, known since 1939 as Thailand. Rather than royal blood, merit acquired through virtue over many lifetimes according to the Buddhist teachings was understood as legitimizing kingly authority. As merit is not passed on through the bloodline, kingship remained always contestable and both contested successions as well as palace coups were not uncommon. This changed from the mid-nineteenth to the early 20th century, when for the first time in Siamese history succession rules were devised and codified leading to the Palace Law of Succession of 1924. These modern changes to the traditional practice of royal succession in the Kingdom of Siam, can be understood in part as an adoption of foreign practices, in order to appear ‘civilised’ according to European royal norms, against the backdrop of colonial expansion in Southeast Asia. Simultaneously, they can also be seen as a continuation of the long-standing attempts of ruling monarchs to express and extend their authority by determining their own successor.

The Significance of the Inao During the Reign of King Chulalongkorn: A Transitional Period in the Thai Panji Tradition

Wacana Volume 21, Issue 1, 2020, Pages 42-68

There are two main versions of the Panji story in the Thai literary tradition, entitled Inao and Dalang respectively. Both versions were first composed at the Thai court in roughly the eighteenth century and have provided inspiration for Thai arts ever since. Of the two stories, the Inao has become much more popular than the Dalang. The most influential Inao work was composed by King Rama II (r. 1809-1824) and his reign is widely accepted as the heyday of Inao. There was also another period of time in which the Inao theme was popular: the reign of King Chulalongkorn (r. 1868-1910). This article is an examination of the presentation of the Inao story during the reign of King Chulalongkorn and also presents an assessment of the significance of these Inao works to the Inao tradition. The findings of this article reveal that, during this period, the Inao story was presented in an increasingly diversified number of art and cultural works in both traditional and new styles. These Inao works marked a significant turning-point in the Inao culture and indicate that not only was the reign of King Chulalongkorn “a Golden Age” of the Inao in Thailand, but it was also “a transitional period” in the Thai Panji tradition.

Machine Hermeneutics, Postphenomenology, and Facial Recognition Technology

I would like to introduce the notion of machine hermeneutics in this paper. The notion refers to hermeneutical activity performed by machines. Machines are now capable of making the very interpretive tasks, using artificial intelligence algorithms based on the technology of machine learning that used to be the exclusive domain of human beings. In making this claim, I am not talking about possible conscious machines of the future, but those existing here and now. With facial recognition algorithms, for example, machines are now performing routinely what must be regarded as hermeneutical analyses with astounding accuracy and power. Thus, machine hermeneutics supplements Don Ihde’s notion of material hermeneutics. In the latter, it is still human beings who do the interpretation, through the lenses provided the natural sciences; in this case, the natural sciences, or the technology afforded by the sciences, intervene between the human being and the world. In machine hermeneutics, on the contrary, the intervening comes in two layers. On the one hand, there is the usual intervention that Ihde talks about, but on the other, the artificial intelligence algorithm performs its own kind of intervention and interpretation, presenting an already interpreted result to the human beings, who then perceive it through the aid of the usual intervention such as the normal eyeglasses. Then the paper discusses the problem of how to justify the kind of perception that undergoes this process. In what sense can it be said that the algorithm is performing the right action, i.e., one such that the process comes up with a right picture of the world? I contend that this does not merely consist of technical excellence for the technology involved, but also ethical excellence. The two cannot be considered one apart from the other.

A Corpus-Based Comparative Study of Lexical Bundles in Authentic and Textbook English Business Emails

LEARN Journal: Language Education and Acquisition Research Network Volume 13, Issue 2, 1 July 2020, Pages 41-63

This study investigates lexical bundle types found in authentic English business emails and sample emails in business English textbooks in order to identify their similarities and differences. The data employed in the study were sample emails from 77 business English textbooks and emails sourced from the Enron Corporation, representing authentic English business emails. The structural and functional categorizations of lexical bundles from Biber et al. (2004) and Biber (2006) were used as frameworks for the analysis. Findings show that structural categories of lexical bundles in textbooks and those in authentic emails are generally similar while functional categories are noticeably different. Although there are more lexical bundle types in the textbook email corpus, most of them actually belong to the same categories, pointing to a limited range of functional categories of lexical bundles presented in business English textbooks. This leads to a major observation that forms of expressions tend to outweigh their functions in the way textbooks present emails for pedagogical purposes. It is therefore suggested that the functional dimension of linguistic expressions be given more attention in business English teaching. 

Queering the Harem: Queerness in Reverse Harem Manga and Anime

This article discusses the representation of queerness in reverse harem manga/anime. The first part of the article examines the problematic depictions of queer characters in Sensual Phrase by Shinjō Mayu and Fushigi Yûgi by Watase Yuu. My argument is that, although the queer characters in Shinjō’s and Watase’s works appear to crystallise the notion of gender fluidity, they still reinforce binarism and fixed gender roles. In other words, queerness in these two manga is merely ornamental. These queer characters are only meant to highlight idealised femininity, which is commonly ascribed to female protagonists in shōjo manga and anime. Apart from the two works mentioned, I will also analyse Cardcaptor Sakura, a shōjo manga series by Clamp. I shall contend that, in comparison with the other two works, Cardcaptor Sakura, which contains some elements typically found in the harem genre, proves to be more revolutionary in the way it plays with queerness and gender fluidity. While the characters who epitomise queerness in Cardcaptor Sakura show their love towards the protagonist like other queer or gay characters in the reverse harem genre, these characters gain more autonomy in their romantic pursuit.

The Initial Functional Unit When Naming Words and Pseudowords in Thai: Evidence from Masked Priming

Journal of Psycholinguistic Research Volume 49, Issue 2, 1 April 2020, Pages 275-290

Cross-linguistic research indicates that the initial unit used to build an ortho-phonological representation can vary between languages and is related to the particular characteristics of the language. Thai is particularly interesting as it has both syllabic and phonemic characteristics. Using the masked priming paradigm, we examined the functional unit that is initially activated when naming monosyllabic Thai words (Experiment 1) and pseudowords (Experiment 2). In Experiment 1, the response times to the onset prime and identity (onset + vowel) conditions were not significantly different but were both significantly faster than the control prime (onset different). In Experiment 2, pseudowords were used so that the effects of orthographic vowel position could be examined. In Thai, vowels can precede the consonant in writing but phonologically follow it in speech (e.g., the written word ‘odg’ would be spoken as /dog/) whereas other vowels are spoken in the order that they are written. Similar results were found as in Experiment 1, as the identity prime did not have a greater facilitatory effect than the onset consonant prime. Notably, there were no orthographic effects due to orthographic vowel position. These results support the view that the onset is the initial functional unit that is activated when naming Thai visual words/pseudowords using the masked priming paradigm. 

The Tai Ahom Sound System as Reflected by the Texts Recorded in the Bark Manuscripts

Journal of the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society Open Access Volume 13, Issue 2, 2020, Pages 14-42

Tai Ahom (Southwestern Tai) mostly survives in manuscripts. (Terwiel 1988; Morey 2015). It has long been held that Ahom retained many archaic features lost in most modern Tai languages. For example, Li (1977: 87-89) reconstructs the cluster *phr-as evidence from Ahom in words like phra ‘rock’ and phrai ‘walk’. However, Diller (1992), argues that Ahom exhibited the “pan-Tai consonant mergers of the sort in which the sounds of the “low series consonants presumably fell together with certain of the others” and hence is not archaic. In order to uncover the true nature of Ahom, this paper investigates how each of Ahom graph relates to the reconstructed phonemes in Proto-Southwestern Tai (Li 1977; Pittayaporn 2009). Our analysis was based on eight carefully analyzed manuscripts, identified allographic variations, suggesting mergers and retentions of Tai phonemic contrasts are common among the modern Shan varieties and the lack of archaic features claimed by earlier authors. 

Intercultural Communication in the Spanish Language Classroom in Thailand: Differences in Power Distance, Individualism and Expressiveness

Journal of Intercultural Communication Volume 20, Issue 3, July 2020, Pages 17-30

This study aims to explore cultural differences between Thais and Spaniards in the classroom setting to identify problems caused by cultural differences and propose guidelines for coping with those issues. We interviewed forty Thai university students majoring in Spanish and ten Spanish teachers working in Thai universities about their expectations and experiences with regards to teachers’ and students’ behaviors and interactions in the classroom. The results highlighted the two cultures’ stark differences in power distance, individualism and expressiveness and revealed insights that can help international teachers cope with the learning disposition of students from hierarchical, collectivist, and reserved cultures.

Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University