Shasha Luo and Tawatchai Chaisiri, Rajamangala University of Technology Thanyaburi, Thailand
This paper presents the findings of the work in progress on investigation on the role of English used in cooperation between two counterparts, China and Thailand, derived from the Sino-Thai project entitled “People-to-People Exchange”, or known as “Jingshi Project.” This preliminary study aimed to identify a variety of the use of English at work, the data of which were administered by a questionnaire and follow-up interviews were conducted to find out in more detail on particular subtopics. The purposive sampling method was used to select the questionnaire respondents in this study, comprising 30 of both Chinese and Thai staff members working under the project during the Thai academic year of 2022. Four interviewees voluntarily participated in the follow-up interviews conducted afterwards. The data were analysed using frequency, percentage, mean, and standard deviation, while the content analysis was used to interpret the interview data. The findings reveal the importance of English in relation to live meetings, document writing, presentations, business trips, and chatting informally on social media. Communication breakdowns often occur when the staff had difficulties communicating in English effectively via their conversational skills. Of the four macro skills, reading is the most commonly used in the cooperation, while the other three skills of listening, speaking, and writing need more attention for language skill improvement. Implications for the upskill training should put an emphasis on the context where the personnel work, English skills they need to improve, and the type of texts or specific situations they are exposed to in the Sino-Thai cooperation.
Sino-Thai Cooperation, People-to-People Exchange, Jingshi Project, the Role of English, English for Specific Purposes