Avoidance of L2 English Phrasal Verbs by L1 Thai Learners

  • Punyavee Kosolsombat Independent Researcher
  • Nattama Pongpairoj Department of English, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University
Keywords: avoidance, English phrasal verbs, literal, figurative, L1 Thai learners


The purpose of this study is to investigate L1 Thai learners’ avoidance behavior with respect to English phrasal verbs. L2 learners are assumed to avoid an L2 feature that is different from or does not exist in their L1 (Schachter 1974; Kleinmann 1978; Liao and Fukuya 2004). It is hypothesized that L1 Thai learners would prefer using single-word equivalents to phrasal verbs, and if an avoidance occurred, they would avoid using figurative phrasal verbs more than literal ones due to their figurative meanings. The research participants were 52 university students of intermediate proficiency level. The data were elicited by administering a comprehension task, followed by a preference assessment task and a translation task. The results showed that the L1 Thai participants preferred using single-word verbs to phrasal verbs due to the non-existence of phrasal verbs in Thai. The avoidance behavior was also more evident with figurative phrasal verbs due to their semantic complexity. The avoidance behavior can be attributed to  L1-L2 differences and the semantic complexity of phrasal verbs.


Download data is not yet available.


British Broadcasting Corporation Learning English. 2016. Phrasal Verbs. https://goo.gl/FJOC8c, accessed September 2, 2016.
Bjers, M., Massicotte, B. 2015. Avoidance of the Relative Clause by Korean Learners of English. Linguistic Portfolio 4(4): 35-43.
Brinton, L., Akimoto, M. 1999. Collocational and Idiomatic Aspects of Composite Predicates in the History of English (1st ed.). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Chen, Junyu. 2007. On how to solve the problem of the avoidance of phrasal verbs in the Chinese context. International Education 8(2): 348-353.
Chotiros, V., Pongpairoj, N. 2012. Avoidance Behavior Among L1 Thai Learners: The Case of the L2 English Passive Construction. Proceedings of the International Conference: Expanding Horizons in English Language and Literary Studies (ELLS 2011), 114–124.
Corder, Pit S. 1967. The Significance of Learners' Errors. International Review of Applied Linguistics 5: 161-170.
Corder, Pit S. 1981. Error Analysis and Interlanguage (1st ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dagut, M., Laufer, B. 1985. Avoidance of Phrasal Verbs—A Case for Contrastive Analysis. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 7(01): 73.
Danvivathana, Nantana. 1987. The Thai Writing System (1st ed.). Hamburg: Buske.
Di Pietro, Robert J. 1971. Language Structures in Contrast. Rowley, Mass.: Newbury House.
Dulay, H., Burt, M., Krashen, S. 1982. Language Two (1st ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
El-Dakhs, Dina. 2015. The Lexical Knowledge and Avoidance of Phrasal Verbs: The Case of Egyptian Learners of English. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature 5(1).
Ellis, Rod. 1994. The Study of Second Language Acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Ellis, Rod. 2008. The Study of Second Language Acquisition. New York: Oxford University Press.
Evans, V., Dooley, J. 2010. Upstream 5 Student's Book (1st ed.). Bangkok: Aksorn Charoen Tat.
Evans, V., Dooley, J. 2010. Upstream 6 Student's Book (5th ed.). Bangkok: Aksorn Charoen Tat.
Fries, Charles C. 1945. Teaching and Learning English as a Foreign Language. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Ghabanchi, Z., Goudarzi, E. 2012. Avoidance of Phrasal Verbs in Learner English: A Study of Iranian Students. WORLD JOURNAL OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE 2(2).
Hakuta, K., Cancino, H. 1997. Trends in Second-Language-Acquisition Research. https://goo.gl/wwvbyQ, accessed May 13, 2016
Hulstijn, J., Marchena, E. 1989. Avoidance: Grammatical or Semantic Causes. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 11(3): 241-255.
Imrose, Veena. 2013. Phrasal Verbs: A Problem for ESL/EFL Learners and Suggested Solution [Special Issue]. Thammasat Review: 109-188.
Iwasaki, S., Ingkaphirom, P. 2005. A reference grammar of Thai (1st ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.
Kleinmann, Howard. 1978. The strategy of avoidance in adult second language acquisition. In Second language acquisition research: Issues and implications, ed. William Ritchie, 157-174. New York: Academic Press.
Lado, Robert. 1957. Linguistics Across Cultures. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Laufer, Batia. 2000. Avoidance of idioms in a second language: The effect of L1-L2 degree of similarity. Studia Linguistica 54(2): 186-196.
Liao, Y., Fukuya, Y. 2004. Avoidance of Phrasal Verbs: The Case of Chinese Learners of English. Language Learning 54(2): 193-226.
Pawachalotorn, T. 2015. Avoidance of English Phrasal Verbs among L1 Thai Learners (MA). Chulalongkorn University.
Phongphio, T., Schmitt, N. 2006. Learning English Multi-word Verbs in Thailand. Thai TESOL 19(2): 122-136.
Rattanasak, S., Phoocharoensil, S. 2014. Avoidance in Processing English Non-restrictive Relative Clauses in Thai EFL Learners’ Interlanguage. Asian Social Science 10(17).
Richards, Jack C. 1971a. Error analysis and second language strategies. Language Science 17:12–22.
Richards, Jack C. 1971b. A Non-Contrastive Approach to Error Analysis. In Error analysis: perspectives of second language acquisition, ed. Richards Jack C., 172-189. London: Longman.
Richards, Jack C., Schmidt, R. 2010. Dictionary of Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics (4th ed.). Oxon: Pearson Education Limited.
Saiya, Chinawat. 2011. Avoidance of Phrasal Verbs by M.6 Students at Triamudomsuksapattanakarn Nonthaburi School (MA). Language Institute, Thammasat University.
Schachter, J., Celce-Murcia, M. 1977. Some Reservations concerning Error Analysis. TESOL Quarterly, 11(4): 441.
Schachter, Jacquelyn. 1974. An error in error analysis. Language Learning, 24: 205-214
Thiamtawan, S., Pongpairoj, N. 2013. Avoidance of the Use of English Participial Reduced Relative Clauses among L1 Thai Learners. Language Education and Acquisition Research Network 6(2): 12-33.
How to Cite
Kosolsombat, P., & Pongpairoj, N. (2018). Avoidance of L2 English Phrasal Verbs by L1 Thai Learners. Journal of Letters, 46(2), 171-216. Retrieved from https://so03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/jletters/article/view/110553