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MOE says Native English teachers needed!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 16 Jun 2006 6:51 pm

dyslexic_alien wrote:knock knock... hallo??

Who says Singlish has no grammatical rules and hence should not be considered a language. Check this out ...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Singlish

Lah... is indeed disatrous when used wrongly by wrong people. and btw, adding a random lah (and for the more advanced, meh,hor and huh) does not make a phrase Singlish.

Good luck mastering Singlish.


As you know, Wikipedia.org is written by ordinary people or morons and can be edited by ordinary people or morons. There have been many cases of incorrect information being disseminated on wikipedia. Seems like you found another one. :cool:

Sorry, just couldn't help it. No way do I want to "master" it. I've already seen the site and the Cocksford Singlish Dictionary as well. Doesn't mean that we have to accept it. :wink:

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Postby Canes » Sat, 17 Jun 2006 3:12 am

Wow! Talk about opening a can of worms. Languages evolve over time, the root of most indo-european languages was latin, that was what the scholars learnt but at home, each ethnic region spoke its own variation and hence we now have the cultural diversity that is Europe. Its the same with Sino-Tibetan languages and so forth....all came from a similar root but evolved over time. What we think of as the bastardization of a language is what our ancestors felt was being done to latin and all other root languages in the past. And if we human beings didn't evolve culturally, didn't change, didn't create....we'd still be painting graphics on the walls of caves. So the truth is, who cares, if Singlish really is so dominant then it will stand the test of time with or without your help. And if its just a phase, it will dissipate by itself. We are just a tiny island, what does it matter that we have come up with our own little dialect? I think its pretty cool :).

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 17 Jun 2006 9:22 am

Canes,

Good post. Hope I can give a decent rebuttal. :wink:

I agree with your theory of language evolving over time. This is something that happens over several hundred years and usually because of the lack of communication with other parts of the world/countries.

How many new languages have been developed in the last 300 years? None that I'm aware of. All of a sudden "Singlish" has evolved in a short space of 30 years (the generations prior to that either did not speak english at all or were "queen's english" educated by the British colonists of the time.

The Native English Teachers were replaced with local teachers with maybe a firm grounding in the language but most did not. A big problem in the local educational system - you are not encouraged to ask questions in class as the teacher usually is only disseminating MOE guidelines without a degree in the subject at all - hence the poor knowledge in the subject matter and the unwillingness to answer questions. (This I know - having put two children through the local system).

So, what we have here is not a new language evolving but an existing language being taught improperly leaving large chunks of the population with the inability to speak standard english due to no other reason other than ignorance - they weren't taught properly. This does not make a new language, just a badly spoken existing language mixed up with other languages.

As far a standing the test of time? It's doubtful as eventually, the lack of communication skills both in standard english and putanghua will hamper the economic drive of the country. Between poor language in the international arena and the demand for higher and higher wages, I think Singlish will die a natural death. There is no reason for speaking a language badly with the interconnectivity with the rest of the world. One is not cut off from world society like some Papua New Guinea tribe.

Dominant? Hardly. Only in Singapore with what 4 million people maybe. Nobody takes it back with them to their own country other than something to relate down at the pub and laugh about just like Banning Chewing Gum, Kiasuism and being a "Fine" city. It's cute, but it's just one more thing that tends to make Singapore the butt of lots of Jokes. Not sure if that's the world opinion that the government really wants. Hence the campaigns.

My 2¢ worth this morning. And I haven't even finished my tea yet!

sms

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Postby Canes » Sun, 18 Jun 2006 1:32 am

Ah, but i didn't say that it is dominant, i said IF it is dominant it will stand the test of time....and that only time will tell. And i didn't call it a language, i called it a dialect, which is what it is. The belgians still speak flemish, the latin americans speak spanglish (mixture of spanish and english), the people in the carribean speak creole (mixture of english, french and the native language)...the list just goes on and on. It is not just singapore that does this, its not something new. People all over the world do it. The americans were the first to bastardize the english language, they pronounce things differently, spell things differently and they stand proud. The truth is no one i know really cares that much, it is what it is, its not something we specifically decided to do, it just happened, like everything else in life. So the question is...so what if we speak singlish? Do you think if we spoke perfect queen's english people would hold us in higher regard....i don't think so, i've met many many people who couldn't string a sentence in english together whose character have outshined anyone with perfect english. And if you do meet people who judge you by the way you speak......why on earth would that matter? Who cares what shallow judgemental people think anyway?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 18 Jun 2006 10:34 am

Generally dialects are regional versions of a language within a countries own boarders. Additionally, dialects usually follow the same grammatical structures as the main language but with pronuciation, slang or definitional differences.

In the beginning, the English as spoken by Aussies, Kiwi's and Yanks could have been considered dialects. They all did and still do follow proper grammatical structures. However, once these countries gained their independence, their version of the "dialect" became the language of the new Government and therefore no longer a dialect. But in all those cases the grammar survived intact. Within the US today we have dialects as well, these vary from region to region just as in China taday. American English is the Language of Government just as Putanghua is the Language of Government in China. In the US we have inner city homeboy or getto rap, creole (spoken in Louisiana) & spanglish (spoken in the southwestern US and southern California & Florida), Then there are regional accents (same language just different pronunciations and speech patterns but all use the proper grammatical structure of standard english).

As 'singlish' is not a regional language, e.g., spoken differently in Tuas than in Pasir Ris, nor does is follow the correct grammatical structures of standard english, I am afraid I cannot quite accept your premise that it is a dialect at all. As it is also NOT the language of Government. It is nothing except lousy spoken English. In addition, due to the country being the "fastest texting" nation as well, the written word has suffered in parallel, thus making it all but intelligible to anybody other than another "young" singaporean. Hardly the stuff that a country that harbours the desire to make the leap from "developing country" to "Developed or First World Country"

Those country's you mentioned with the exception of Belgium are not developed countries either. So with that in mind, it looks like the aspirations of this island to become a "1st World Country" are out of sync between the government (who wants it) and the population who are content to be the carribbean of Asia?

Several interesting articles in today's "Sunday Dire Straits" one by Janandas and the other by Sumiko Tan. While I don't quite agree with either, there are some good tidbits in both.

sms

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Postby Canes » Sun, 18 Jun 2006 11:59 pm

Singlish IS a regional dialect, Malaysians speak it too but they call it Manglish (Malaysian-English). There are dialects in every country not just the developing world..... every country, every region has its 'own' differences, i didn't mention any other european countries because Flemish came to mind and its the most spoken. Even in the US the New Englanders speak very differently from the midwesterners, who speak differently from the people in the south. They have their own phrases and their own grammar that is not proper english. As in 'i reckon i'd be doin what i damn well please' :)

Listen if you're embarrased of your own people coming up with their own way of speaking then you go around speaking perfect english. No one cares, but don't force us to change just cause YOU don't like it, just cause YOU'RE embarrased because i'm NOT. i love it that we have our own little unique way of speaking that no one else gets but us. It just makes me so happy when i meet a fellow singaporean or malaysian abroad and we just go at it in Singlish. And i wouldn't change that for the world!

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 19 Jun 2006 12:11 am

Canes wrote:Listen if you're embarrased of your own people coming up with their own way of speaking then you go around speaking perfect english. No one cares, but don't force us to change just cause YOU don't like it, just cause YOU'RE embarrased because i'm NOT. i love it that we have our own little unique way of speaking that no one else gets but us. It just makes me so happy when i meet a fellow singaporean or malaysian abroad and we just go at it in Singlish. And i wouldn't change that for the world!

hello Canes,

first of all, welcome!

secondly, wah why you so fierce? :wink:

ok seriously now. i don't think embarassment is the issue here. to me the problem is that not everyone can master both english and singlish, and the inability to speak and write 'proper' english is a handicap for many. wouldn't you admit that you have an edge in job applications, public perception etc because you speak well?

most kids are exposed to the sounds and grammar of singlish rather than english in their early years, when the synapses for languages are being formed. and because they think it's 'english' it makes it difficult for them to appreciate the differences between the two later in life. therefore most cannot switch at will between the two the way that some of us can.

i guess the question is not so much whether singlish is a dialect or a language, or whether it's right or wrong, or whether it sounds stupid or cute. the question, i think, is whether we want our children to learn proper english, and if singlish is the price then are we willing to pay that?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 19 Jun 2006 1:10 am

Canes wrote:Singlish IS a regional dialect, Malaysians speak it too but they call it Manglish (Malaysian-English). There are dialects in every country not just the developing world..... every country, every region has its 'own' differences, i didn't mention any other european countries because Flemish came to mind and its the most spoken. Even in the US the New Englanders speak very differently from the midwesterners, who speak differently from the people in the south. They have their own phrases and their own grammar that is not proper english. As in 'i reckon i'd be doin what i damn well please' :)

I already brought these up in my post earlier. Also, you seem to be getting confused between what is a dialect and what is an accent difference.

Listen if you're embarrased of your own people coming up with their own way of speaking then you go around speaking perfect english. No one cares, but don't force us to change just cause YOU don't like it, just cause YOU'RE embarrased because i'm NOT. i love it that we have our own little unique way of speaking that no one else gets but us. It just makes me so happy when i meet a fellow singaporean or malaysian abroad and we just go at it in Singlish. And i wouldn't change that for the world!


First of all, I would have to agree with WIMH, Wah, so fierce! Why? This is a discussion. Nobody is saying you cannot have 'singlish'. I accept that fact that is it used here. I don't think there is anything wrong with using it between friends, but when a person cannot write a proper business letter or speak a proper sentence within an international gathering of people then there is a problem and that is what this discussion is about.

This discussion is about is the 80% of other singaporeans than do not fit into you or WIMH's ability to switch between the two at will. It's the 80% who think that they ARE speaking english and cannot carry on a conversation with anybody outside of singapore or malaysia due to that fact. What we are actually discussing is the government's desire to start teaching "standard english" again and bringing in Native English Teachers to do it because of the lack of competence of local teachers to do so. When the teachers are using singlish to teach standard english something is wrong.

Interesting enough you fit to a "T" the description in the Today online website article that I posted earlier in the discussion. It's those who CAN speak decent standard english that are defending their right to use singlish to "prove how singaporean they are". Reread your post to see what I mean after reading the article. :wink:

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Postby earthfriendly » Mon, 19 Jun 2006 1:52 am

Canes and all Singlish Advocates,

I am not asking you to stop enjoying Singlish. By all means indulge as long as it is not at the expense of the primary languages. I think it is critical to posses the ability to converse in standard English, which I find lacking in many Singers.

Being a product of biligual system, English and Mandarin, I find it challenging switching between the two. Both are difficult languages and worse, they are structured so differently. For Mandarin, one needs to master 5000 (?) characters in order to be able to read and write at a functional level. To master both, one needs to devote a lot of time and effort into it. So I ask, why make life more complicated then it already is? I feel it is important to achieve mastery over these two languages, first and foremost, before we throw in Singlish. And Singlish becomes a problem when people confuse it with English. They are actually using Singlish when they say it is English!

And for all Singlish advocates out there, I hope you never have to study or work overseas where you need to use English. Or you will find yourself having to learn a new system of pronuciation and speech so others can comprehend what you are saying :wink: .

I believe the Singers' penchant for Singlish is due to their profound need for a sense of identity and rootedness. Growing up in SG, I feel a sense of rootlessness and being lost. This void results in many social problems e.g. lack of direction, blindly following what others are doing like keeping up with the Joneses, lack of confidence, preoccupation with material goods etc....

SG has been described as a society without a soul. One way to find one's soul is to go back to one's cultural roots. SG being a young nation does not have an evolved culture of its own. However, each group can always fall back on its own ethnic culture. Hopefully in the process, one becomes more enriched as a human and has less need for materialism and the tangibles.

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Postby Canes » Tue, 20 Jun 2006 12:28 am

I am 4th generation Singaporean. I speak 5 languages, read and write 3. My great granparents only spoke 2 languages and picked up stuff along the way, my grandparents speak 3 and my parents speak 4. Please do not tell me that I am so different from all of the rest of my fellow singaporeans. I went to regular schools...no fancy schooling for me, I went to university in the US and i did just fine there thank you very much. I had Singaporean teachers not 'native' teachers and this is how i speak! I am the product of the Singapore education system! My friends who went to Singapore neighbourhood schools with me speak just fine too. We CAN speak proper english when we want to, its that we just don't want to, not when we are in our own country! I am the person you are talking about, the one you ASSUME cannot speak good english because i choose to speak singlish!

As for job interviews.....unless you are applying for a job overseas, what does it matter? Unless of course your own fellow singaporeans want to discriminate against you for the way you speak! And even if you are applying overseas.... you need to speak the language of the country not english, if you're going to germany, you better speak german etc. Of course i am pissed, this is the one thing we have that binds all singaporeans together and you guys want to take that away from us too. Why don't we just ban singlish then, fine everyone for every lah and meh they say! That's the singaporean way of solving issues right? Don't like what people do, just ban! This is insane, there are people around the world dying of starvation, there are wars going on, people are getting butchered in genocides and our issues are that singaporeans don't speak proper english. WAAAAAH really ah???!!! Seriously, don't you guys have better issues to argue about?

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Postby soulstice » Tue, 20 Jun 2006 1:15 am

earthfriendly wrote:
And for all Singlish advocates out there, I hope you never have to study or work overseas where you need to use English. Or you will find yourself having to learn a new system of pronuciation and speech so others can comprehend what you are saying :wink: .


not really. you probably speak mandarin most of the time in singapore and english only when talking to another race, which is probably why you have that problem.

earthfriendly wrote:I believe the Singers' penchant for Singlish is due to their profound need for a sense of identity and rootedness. Growing up in SG, I feel a sense of rootlessness and being lost. This void results in many social problems e.g. lack of direction, blindly following what others are doing like keeping up with the Joneses, lack of confidence, preoccupation with material goods etc....

SG has been described as a society without a soul. One way to find one's soul is to go back to one's cultural roots. SG being a young nation does not have an evolved culture of its own. However, each group can always fall back on its own ethnic culture. Hopefully in the process, one becomes more enriched as a human and has less need for materialism and the tangibles.


that doesnt really have anything to do with this topic which is language.

in singapore, people can take the effort to learn english well in school and speak well if they wanted to. the thing is, everyone in singapore speaks their own language when talking with ppl of their own race, eg chinese speak mandarin with each other, malays speak malay with each other, only using english or singlish when speaking to people of other races. if you want singaporeans to start speaking better english, then you might as well remove all the other languages and force people to speak english all the time, which is not going to happen. the root of the 'problem' (i don't really think it is) is much deeper than just say, forcing people to speak better english or hiring 'ang mohs' to teach the students.

and anyway, why are you guys picking on singlish? i mean, why take things so seriously? if someone wants to speak singlish, so be it. it's their own choice, what happens when they go overseas and god forbid speak 'bad english' is their own problem. i've been travelling around the world for a few years now, i've met so many people from different countries, and the last thing you think in your mind is 'oh my god what bad english!'. it's about communication, if you can communicate, then what's the problem? when i was speaking with some friends from iran, russia, italy, they can barely speak english, i don't care about that! it's about communication. if you take english so seriously, that's your own problem. in this world, the bigger picture is communication. i don't understand why is it that someone would look down on others just because their english is not up to their standards. if you can judge a person based on that, then good for you.

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Postby Plavt » Tue, 20 Jun 2006 2:03 am

Canes wrote:
As for job interviews.....unless you are applying for a job overseas, what does it matter?



Unfortunately it does matter, a good many companies in Singapore are either international or deal in the international scene in which case both written and spoken English become important. This is also a ' bone of contention' amongst those poor stubborn souls in the airline careers section who fail to realize this and as a result do not succeed in their intentions.

I do not say there is anything wrong in speaking singlish to your friends, my Singaporean friend does that but for many it becomes habitual to the point where they simply cannot use English correctly at times when it is necessary as I have, in so many words, pointed out above.


Plavt.

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Postby earthfriendly » Tue, 20 Jun 2006 4:20 am

I was educated in SG all through JC and obtained my degree in USA !. I don't see myself being any different from any Singers.

The world is your oyster. If you must, then enjoy Singlish in all accounts. I am not picking on Singlish per se. I just hope Singers are not hampered by it when they are learning English. And they are able to learn 2 systems of enunciation - English and Singlish :wink: .

Soulstice, I agree. Hiring angmohs to teach English may or may not improve the standard of spoken English. Students will revert back to the Singlish speech pattern when they are socialising with their family and friends ! I have a few angmoh teachers between Secondary and JC. Also attended British Council. Apparently, they had no effect on my spoken Englis back then.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Tue, 20 Jun 2006 11:10 am

Canes wrote:I am the person you are talking about, the one you ASSUME cannot speak good english because i choose to speak singlish!

no offence, but we're not talking about you. we're talking about those who can't string a proper sentence together the way you can. and if you have worked in an average enough environment to have seen resumes / reports / proposals / presentations where the impact is lessened for lack of command of the language, you would perhaps appreciate the point more.

Canes wrote:As for job interviews.....unless you are applying for a job overseas, what does it matter? Unless of course your own fellow singaporeans want to discriminate against you for the way you speak!

have you spoken to HR people or recruiters and asked if this matters?

Canes wrote:This is insane, there are people around the world dying of starvation, there are wars going on, people are getting butchered in genocides and our issues are that singaporeans don't speak proper english. WAAAAAH really ah???!!! Seriously, don't you guys have better issues to argue about?

the question is, would we be doing anything about those weighty issues if not posting here? sorry but the world doesn't come to a halt until world peace is achieved. never has, never will.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Tue, 20 Jun 2006 1:34 pm

Canes,

The following is from the Article I asked you to read and then to reread your own post:

Singlish is, however, also a means of class differentiation. Although many argue that Singlish should be celebrated as part of national identity, in reality, this argument comes only from the English-proficient middle class.

We revel in its down-to-earth factor and wear it like a badge of honour to show how unashamedly Singaporean we are. Meanwhile, we overlook the many Singaporeans out there who cannot speak anything else but Singlish.


What becomes obvious here it that you did not bother to read the article (or only scanned through it looking for what 'you' hoped to find) because you then fired back so fiercely:

Canes wrote:I am the person you are talking about, the one you ASSUME cannot speak good english because i choose to speak singlish!


I had already had given you credit for being in the class of people who DID have the ability to switch at will.

sundaymorningstaple wrote:This discussion is about is the 80% of other singaporeans that do not fit into you or WIMH's ability to switch between the two at will. It's the 80% who think that they ARE speaking english and cannot carry on a conversation with anybody outside of singapore or malaysia due to that fact.


Again, it's the other 80% to which this discussion is about. We are not worried about you. We are worried about those who do not know the difference and cannot switch because they already think they are speaking English as it's the way they learned it in school. As for denying it, why bother when the government already has acknowledged it. It does this country harm to have it's better educated citizens acting like ostriches and burying their heads in the sand and refusing to admit there is a problem.

Fair enough, I'm not a Singaporean but I've been here 24 years and put my kids through the local system and can vouch for what happens at schools here. WIMH & EF are Singaporeans who do not have their heads in the sand. I've had to deal with the problem first hand. Do you have any children yet? School aged? Carrying a chip around on your shoulder doesn't help anybody including yourself. If you are as proud of your fellow citizens as you profess, then you would be doing whatever possible to help them address a very real problem when you consider that this little red dot depends on "International" commerce to survive (and not pretending a problem doesn't exist).

Again, nobody here has said that singaporeans shouldn't be able to speak singlish. They should have the ability, however, to speak standard english if necessary. Eighty percent of the locally "percieved" speakers here cannot speak standard english.

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