Thais, Foreigners, and Englishes: Communicative Differences in Spoken Exchanges

  • John S. KnoxEmail author
Part of the The M.A.K. Halliday Library Functional Linguistics Series book series (TMAKHLFLS)


This chapter reports on the discourse of two interviews conducted in English at a Thai university: one between a Thai learner of English and a Thai teacher of English, and one between a Thai learner of English and a Canadian teacher of English. In each interview, the teacher asked the learners about student and teacher roles and responsibilities. Analysis of the interviews was conducted using Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), and revealed that the Thai-Thai interview involved a considerable degree of ‘joint construction’ of student contributions, whereas the Canadian-Thai interview involved the student taking on a higher degree of ‘discursive independence’. The data involves only two instances of discourse, and generalisation is not possible. Nonetheless, the differences raise questions about the relations between varieties and registers of language, and illustrate the contributions that SFL can make to understandings of World Englishes in and beyond Southeast Asia. Such issues also have implications for the teaching and learning of English as a second or foreign language.


Student-teacher interviews EFL Thai English Contextual configuration Thailand 


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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Macquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia

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