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LoriW
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Postby LoriW » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 9:41 pm

I notice when writing a good many Chinese use the past tense of a word when they should be using the present and vice-a-versa.


And a confusion with he/she too.

There is no tense in Chinese as in English other than a referral to now, then, the future. As with gender, it is simply "they".

Waay waay back when, before my time, the Singaporean school system was divided into Chinese education or English education where it was totally a two standard system (were there Malay schools and Indian schools too?? I don't know?). This may explain why some older people 60s onwards may struggle with English.

Those in their mid 50s and younger were all educated in a system similar to today's. I think quite a bit of the poor English/Singlish spoken is simply due to people speaking a mixture of languages as their everyday speech.

LoriW
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Postby LoriW » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 9:46 pm

LoriW,
Sorry for the misinterpretation, not sure how I came to that conclusion.


No worries SMS :) I'm one of these people who sort of blends in everywhere and I've been mistaken for being Eurasian, Thai, Malay, Vietnamese - and that was in Thailand as a Thai, Malaysia and Singapore for being a Malay!

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Postby Addadude » Sat, 20 Jun 2009 12:50 am

People really get SO worked up about 'proper English'. The thing is, the English language is ever evolving and changing constantly. Its greatest defenders love to quote Shakespeare - which is kind of ironic as in many of his plays you can find the same word spelled in 4 or 5 different ways and tenses rearranged to suit the mood of the story. English as it is spoken in Newcastle sounds VERY different to English as it is spoken in London's East End. And it would take a very brave person indeed to try and 'correct' the person using such 'dialect'. And this is obviously the point Vaucluse is trying to make.

For me as a writer, when it comes to 'rules' for writing, I always refer back to George Orwell's 'Politics and the English Language'. You can read it in its entirety here:

http://www.orwell.ru/library/essays/pol ... sh/e_polit

He lists 6 rules any writer would be well advised to follow - particularly the 6th one:

1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Postby LoriW » Sat, 20 Jun 2009 1:26 am

English as it is spoken in Newcastle sounds VERY different to English as it is spoken in London's East End. And it would take a very brave person indeed to try and 'correct' the person using such 'dialect'.


But surely English dialect is exactly the same as Chinese dialect? Yorkshire is different from Geordie which is different from Dorset which is different from Cockney - just as Cantonese is different from Hakka, Hokkien, Hainamnese?

Mandarin Chinese is the same as RP in English.

I'm a West Londoner by birth, Hakka by blood and Cantonese speaking, but am able to speak RP and Mandarin Chinese correctly, as well as sounding as though I'm straight from the back streets of the queen of the suburbs or the Chinatown district of Singapore!

I may well be considered to be up my own arse, but surely if you call a language your first, you would have the ability to write and speak it correctly as well as in your dialect and its associated slang?

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Postby Vaucluse » Sat, 20 Jun 2009 9:16 am

LoriW wrote:Ooops! :oops: Apologies for causing yet more offence! ;)

I'm afraid that I'm pretty direct in the way I speak, write or whatever.

I don't believe in mincing my words so if I have something to say, I'll say it as it is.


It's great being straightforward but there is also some things called tact and manners . . . perhaps you should look into those words seeing as English is your mother tongue, or first language or whatever you call it.

LoriW wrote:I may well be considered to be up my own arse, but surely if you call a language your first, you would have the ability to write and speak it correctly as well as in your dialect and its associated slang?


You may well be, Hakka, right? Would you care to define 'ability'?

Singaporeans are in a transitional period where the old values, including language, are eroding. I wouldn't be so presumptuous as to criticise someone's linguistic ability or capability lest the boomerang comes straight back at me.

As for the 'Look how many languages I speak, I speak more languages better than you do' schtik, it's really getting tiresome.
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Postby Addadude » Sat, 20 Jun 2009 10:58 am

Lori, this is why I put the word 'dialect' in inverted commas. To a Cockney or Geordie, they are speaking perfectly good English - all the people around them understand what they are saying perfectly. But to an outsider it does indeed sound like a foreign language or dialect.

So who sets the 'international standard' for English as it should be spoken or written? The BBC? The Queen? You? And even if there is an ultimate standard bearer, English is a living language that is constantly undergoing change, embracing new words and complexities.

The English that Chaucer and Shakespeare used is very different to what is used today. Hell, the Great Bard spelled his own name about 5 different ways himself!

English doesn't belong to the English anymore. It is a world language and will change accordingly. As someone who makes his living writing, I don't obsess over it. As long as it doesn't sound damn ugly that is...
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Postby ksl » Sat, 20 Jun 2009 10:22 pm

Addadude wrote:Lori, this is why I put the word 'dialect' in inverted commas. To a Cockney or Geordie, they are speaking perfectly good English - all the people around them understand what they are saying perfectly. But to an outsider it does indeed sound like a foreign language or dialect.

So who sets the 'international standard' for English as it should be spoken or written? The BBC? The Queen? You? And even if there is an ultimate standard bearer, English is a living language that is constantly undergoing change, embracing new words and complexities.

The English that Chaucer and Shakespeare used is very different to what is used today. Hell, the Great Bard spelled his own name about 5 different ways himself!

English doesn't belong to the English anymore. It is a world language and will change accordingly. As someone who makes his living writing, I don't obsess over it. As long as it doesn't sound damn ugly that is...


If I'm not mistaken I believe Cambridge English is looked up to be the best spoken English, and that is probably why, the British Council abroad offer the courses, although i may be wrong, but everywhere i have been in the world , it is there...and while i was in Beijing a met a Chinese guy in his 60's, that learnt every word from the BBC world service, he was a real comic, (parrot) with the English accent :)

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Postby Plavt » Sat, 20 Jun 2009 10:27 pm

ksl wrote:If I'm not mistaken I believe Cambridge English is looked up to be the best spoken English, and that is probably why, the British Council abroad offer the courses


I think that's living in the past; a good many newsreaders now speak with regional accents. However, Cambridge and Oxford by and large set the standards for those learning English as a foreign language. Won't tell you what I think of the British Council......

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Postby ksl » Sat, 20 Jun 2009 10:39 pm

Plavt wrote:
ksl wrote:If I'm not mistaken I believe Cambridge English is looked up to be the best spoken English, and that is probably why, the British Council abroad offer the courses


I think that's living in the past; a good many newsreaders now speak with regional accents. However, Cambridge and Oxford by and large set the standards for those learning English as a foreign language. Won't tell you what I think of the British Council......


You are right Plavt, it was long ago, actually i don't hear my own English language much more in the City of Lancaster, it's anything but English, on the trains, buses, and most other services. It's very well mixed these days.

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Postby morenangpinay » Sun, 21 Jun 2009 2:34 pm

well my only issue is when they are talking in english but I cant understand them lol due to the accents... i had a hard time ordering Pizza on the phone due to this reason. No matter how many times he repeated the flavors i just couldnt understand what the person was sayin! i ended up saying whatever is not spicy. lol

ok just a little story ....go on lol

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Postby Strong Eagle » Sun, 21 Jun 2009 6:33 pm

I'm sorry... what is this 'lol' shit?

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Postby Vaucluse » Sun, 21 Jun 2009 9:02 pm

Three times lol in one short post.

I wonder . . . does she really laugh out loud about such inane and really not funny things?

Odd . . .

Pizza flavours?

Perhaps, it is your accent that is the disturbing factor? No? :roll:
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morenangpinay
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Postby morenangpinay » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 12:10 am

laughing out loud

no my accent is not the problem. i gave the phone to someone else for another point of view but unfortunately we both couldn't understand. Yes i do laugh out loud it is funny . Kind of WTF moment.

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Postby Vaucluse » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 9:18 am

Umm . . . ok. :roll:
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Postby dazzlebabe » Mon, 22 Jun 2009 11:16 am

i am not surprised the Pizza guys could not understand you when you don't even bother putting apostrophes in your posts.
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