“We Wear Face Shield and Mask”: COVID-19 Related Words and Phrases Used by Thai Learners of English

  •  Sita Yiemkuntitavorn    
  •  Chirasiri Kasemsin Vivekmetakorn    
  •  Wannaprapha Suksawas    


Since 2020, measures against the COVID-19 pandemic have been implemented worldwide, and these are reflected in language. The objectives of this study are to explore the use of COVID-19 - related words and terms in Thai learners of English, document their usage, and investigate their varieties and errors, and suggest pedagogical implications for using authentic online materials in teaching English. The data were the written language that were collected from January 2021 to July 2021 from online Facebook groups administered by students of an open university in Thailand. A qualitative descriptive method of analysis was used. Words and terms related to the pandemic were thematically categorized and analyzed considering loanwords and borrowing. Patterns of use were analyzed and compared with corpora. The findings emerged from the analysis. There are a number of COVID-19 related loanwords from English used by Thai learners of English and the conventionalization of these loanwords, varieties and errors are observed. Most of the loanwords were used in code-mixing, and this is likely the source of errors when Thai learners use these words in their English. The findings have some pedagogical implications. The paper recommended that teachers identify and correct students’ errors immediately. Students should sometimes also be given some explanation about the errors in order to prevent potential overgeneralization of word use. Furthermore, the paper recommended that further research be carried out on the new terms that have been transferred to Thai language as loanwords, loan-translations and loan-blends.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.