Looking South: A Sociolinguistic Look at an English Learning Environment in Thailand


  • Kathleen Nicoletti Department of Languages and Linguistics, Faculty of Liberal Arts, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai Campus


Thai English learners, communities of practice, investment


This small instrumental case study (Stake, 2005) used a sociolinguistic framework with the goal of expanding current understanding of learning environments, particularly as they affect Thai learners' investment in learning and using English. Drawing on Gee's concept of "big D" Discourse (1996; 2001; 2005), the study examined how the communities in which a group of Muslim Thai undergraduate English learners were members, might have intersected in ways that led to the creation of an environment that encouraged and nurtured their investment in learning and using English. The study focused on the community (and its attendant Discourse) found on the campus of the Islamic university the students attended. Embedded within this community were core values and cultural practices that appeared to align with the learners' out-of-school communities. The findings suggest that the result of this alignment was a campus environment in which the students felt a great sense of comfort and belonging, and which was highly supportive of the learning and use of English. As universities across Thailand attempt to create campus environments that encourage and support students' use of and investment in English, the findings of this study might prove useful.


How to Cite

Nicoletti, K. (2016). Looking South: A Sociolinguistic Look at an English Learning Environment in Thailand. Journal of Liberal Arts Prince of Songkla University, 8(1), 21–47. Retrieved from https://so03.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/journal-la/article/view/61684