This substitution is called "Gliding of Liquids". I have heard some Thai students substitute W for R. but it is very common in native English speaking Children too. Think about Elmer Fudd and that “waskally wabbit”. Thai has an L sound (ล) very much like our English L, but they also have an “R” sound (ร) which is quite close to the L sound (NOT the same as the English R sound). In everyday speech, they often use (ล) in place of (ร). See here for more details on Thai consonants.The student says weading instead of reading. I read that r often presents a problem to Thai speakers even in their own language. My understanding is that Thai speakers often substitute it with I, however the student is substituting it with W. What is the reason?
There is no “Th” sound in Thai, so you will have to teach it from scratch. In my experience, almost all Thai students have huge problems with “th”. Even fluent adult speakers sometimes slip and substitute “t” or “d” sounds. I taught maths to Thai kids (in English) and I would hear them say “maat” almost every day, no matter how many times I reminded them.Student can’t pronounce th in maths and says marts or some other strange variation . I am aware of the problems Thai students have with consonants, however I have read that Thai students don’t specifically have a problem with th unvoiced pronunciation. So what is going on here?
The Thai word for German is something like “Yer-a-man”. Foreign language education in Thailand can be terrible. Just because they studied German, it doesn’t mean they can speak even a single word.The student told me they studied German in Thailand (when I asked them what they studied), however I know this is defiantly not true (I can speak German and the student can’t say anything in German). Any idea what they were trying to pronounce? They seem to really struggle pronouncing the word German – what do you think they meant to say? Is there a subject in Thailand that sounds like German?
I expect you will encounter more pronunciation issues too. Of the top of my head: consonant clusters (huge issue), SH/CH, V/W, problems with final "S", "L", "J", "V", sounds. Good luck!