The ASEAN Journal of Education ASEAN Journal of Education

Thai Words in English Dictionaries

Pairote Bennui,


English dictionaries have been understood as lexical corpora that consist of mainly native varieties of English, namely British and American English. However, this understanding has shifted. Such dictionaries appear to have a number of indigenous words with Asian origins. This phenomenon occurred mainly during the British Empire when English interfaced other non-Anglophone cultural and linguistic items. Thailand has never been colonized by any European country but certain Thai words or English words based on Thai socio-cultural elements are found in English dictionaries. This brings an interesting shift into the facet of English in Thailand. This paper attempts to reveal and describe linguistic characteristics of such Thai words in dictionaries of British English, American English and Australian English in order to discuss their implication towards a Thai variety of English. Using an integrated framework that combines concepts on World Englishes and Lexicography by Kachru (1983), Görlach (1988; 1998), and Schneider (2007), an analysis shows that there are 31 words in which lexico-morphological and lexico-semantic elements are outstandingly structured. They seem to represent Thai English words because of the codifying process and the uniqueness of a Thai way of English usage.

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Key words: Thai Words, Thai English Lexis, English Dictionaries,
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