A Comparison of ‘little’ and ‘small’ in English and Thai: A Corpus-Based Study

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Vilaivan Aroonmanakun
Wirote Aroonmanakun


This paper studies the two English synonymous words little and small, and their Thai equivalents nᴐːj4 and lek4. In addition to monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, British National Corpus, Thai National Corpus and an English-Thai parallel corpus were used in this study. It is found that little and small and their Thai equivalents are not precisely identical in meaning. In addition, there are some meanings that can apply to all these four English-Thai synonymous words. Therefore, a Thai learner of English may not be able to simply equate the use of little and small with nᴐːj4 and lek4, and vice versa. Moreover, it is also found that little and small can be translated into Thai with some other words rather than nᴐːj4 and lek4. This indicates the complexity of meaning in which little and small can connect to other related meanings and be translated into Thai with other words. This study suggests that information provided in dictionaries alone is not sufficient. Learners should learn how to use corpora as a resource to enhance their lexical knowledge in both languages.


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Aroonmanakun, V., & Aroonmanakun, W. (2023). A Comparison of ‘little’ and ‘small’ in English and Thai: A Corpus-Based Study. LEARN Journal: Language Education and Acquisition Research Network, 16(1), 296–319. Retrieved from https://so04.tci-thaijo.org/index.php/LEARN/article/view/263443
Research Articles
Author Biographies

Vilaivan Aroonmanakun, Language Institute, Thammasat University, Thailand

An Assistant Professor in the Language Institute, Thammasat University. Her research interests are language studies and corpus linguistics.

Wirote Aroonmanakun, Department of Linguistics; Corpus Linguistics for Digital Humanities Research Unit, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

An Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics; Corpus Linguistics for Digital Humanities Research Unit, Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University. His research interests are corpus linguistics and computational linguistics.


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