<blink> NBB, old boy, you really should look at, say, any half-assed guidebook for a bit of a grounder on these things. Singapore's official flavor of Chinese is Mandarin (putonghua), which is the official language of both Chinas as well. But since it's based on a northern dialect (Beijing style), and almost all Singaporean Chinese come from the south, there are very few native Mandarin speakers here and most learn Mandarin as a second (or third) language.NBB wrote:It's one of those whimsical ideas I think of occassionally. Although, having said that, I'm sure that being fluent in Chinese (Mandarin) opens up immensely useful avenues to any Angmoh (local speak for 'white guy' - actually literally it means 'red-haired monkey', but it's more of a tongue-in-cheek term than really derogatory) active in this region. Especially in China.
So perhaps we should seek out a Chinese Mandarin school, or at least learn about the main differences between Singapore-Mandarin and Mainland- Mandarin as we go through the various phases.
OK -- it would have been uncharacteristically dense of you not to know!NBB wrote:JP, I wasn't suggesting that the 3 main languages are mere dialects of the same language. I was aware of the fact that they are different languages altogether.
AFAIK what Singaporeans are taught in schools is 100% standard China Mandarin. But you're right, there is a distinctly Singaporean flavor of Mandarin born out of the need to communicate, with slightly wonky intonation and imported vocabulary from other dialects -- just enough to make it difficult for Singaporeans to speak "proper" Mandarin, and just enough to allow others to spot them quite easily.What I was suggesting was that if we're going to learn Mandarin we should slant towards mainland China Mandarin, as opposed to Singapore-style Mandarin. My reasoning being that Singaporeans are regarded as a little uppity in China (and dare I say, the rest of S.E. Asia), as well as the fact that China will be a more happening place in the next few decades than Singapore will be.
Ordering in hawker centres and giving directions to cab drivers in Chinese after one year, sure. Negotiating multimillion dollar contracts in Chinese, bu keyi.miso wrote:But is it possible to learn a little chinese, say in one year? It looks extremly difficulty especially because of its writing and pronounciation.
No. (Very useful in Indonesia and Malaysia though.)What about the Malay? Is it usable in any way in Singapore?
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