Let’s revitalize Isaan Lao literacy through translations

Isaan Lao is widely spoken in Thailand, both in and beyond Isaan. But when it comes to reading books, bilingualism has virtually disappeared. A culture of reading that fully incorporates one’s native Lao has been lost — this has to change thinks Peera Songkünnatham

Letter to the editor: Isaan folk stories retold by students in the 1960s

I love the Isaan Record. Fifty years ago (1963-1965), I was a US Peace Corps Volunteer teacher of English as a second language at the then Teachers Training College of Mahasarakham. Although I’ve never been able to go back to Thailand, and especially to Isaan, I long wondered about how that land and its people […]

A long way from home – Isaan villagers’ experience of farmwork in Israel

Since the early 1990s, tens of thousands of Northeastern Thais have left their farms at home to work as agricultural laborers in Israel, often facing exploitation by manpower agencies and employers. Despite a recent push to improve the working conditions of Thai farmworkers in Israel, their situation often remains precarious. GUEST EDITORIAL by Matan Kaminer […]

Letter to the editor: Ratanawan monastery reflects a globalizing Isaan

This weekend I went to Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) to attend a community-based ceremony called Gratitude to the Teacher at Ratanawan Monastery. Located on a hilltop amid perennial green forest, it is considered a forest-tradition temple, a sub-category of Theravada Buddhism. This type of tradition is interspersed throughout Isaan — you may be familiar with Luang […]

NEW SECTION: Letters to the editor

The Isaan Record is happy to announce a new section in the publication: Letters to the Editor. We invite readers to share their thoughts by sending comment to editor@isaanrecord.com. Please be aware that any published letter or comment might be subject to editing for clarity. (We apologize for republishing a Letter to the Editor from […]

Thai has the highest percentage of second-language speakers among major languages

If Ethnologue says 67% of Thai speakers speak it as a second language, what language are those people speaking as their first language? And what does this mean for Thailand’s divided politics? GUEST EDITORIAL by Karl Victor The organization Ethnologue has a peculiar statistic in its 2015 report on Thailand. The Thai language comes in […]

Draft constitution neglects minority rights of millions

This editorial provides an analysis of the 2015 Draft Constitution using the unofficial English translation here. The Thai version is available here. GUEST EDITORIAL by John Draper In the draft constitution, there is no explicit mention of minorities or minority rights, making this constitution the only one in ASEAN to not have a provision for […]

International Mother Language Day: implications for Isaan

Without an official language policy, Thailand’s many ethnolinguistic minorities cannot experience equality. GUEST EDITORIAL by  John Draper This past Saturday marked International Mother Language Day, and while it is not particularly celebrated in Thailand, there were a couple of academic seminars in Chiang Mai and at Mahidol University in Bangkok. It is a difficult day […]

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