Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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This research aims to analyze communicative functions of the Thai final particle na and to explore the use of na by Japanese learners of Thai, comparing to that of native speakers. The study consisted of two parts. The first part involved an analysis of na using data from the Thai National Corpus (TNC). The findingsshowed that na had three main communicative functions. It was used to soften the tone of an utterance, to emphasize an utterance, and to mark a topic of an utterance.The second part of this research concerned conversational data in a pair discussion task of 10 Japanese learners of Thai and 10 native Thai speakers.The results showed that, when different functions and contexts were considered, the use of the Thai final particle na by the Japanese learners was similar to that of the native Thai speakers. That is, both groups used na most frequently to emphasize an utterance and least often to mark a topic of an utterance. This could result from a positive transfer from the learners' first language. However, it was found that the Japanese learners showed significantly fewer instances of na as a topic marker than the native Thai speakers. It is possible that its marked position and low frequency in the learners' linguistic input as suggested by the corpus data made na in this function difficult to acquire. This research also pointed to the importance of proficiency in a second language as a factor affecting learners' use of final particles in conversation.

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