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Singapore's English standard. The World. And much more!

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Artemias
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Postby Artemias » Thu, 18 Jun 2009 11:52 pm

Skppp wrote:
My opinions are not personal at all, Singaporeans may like to claim English as their first language but to do so is erroneous - simple question: what do most speak in their own homes and what language do they drift into?


You are right. No one speaks English at home in Singapore.



:roll: :roll: :roll:
I speak English at home.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 12:09 am

Artemias wrote:
Skppp wrote:
My opinions are not personal at all, Singaporeans may like to claim English as their first language but to do so is erroneous - simple question: what do most speak in their own homes and what language do they drift into?


You are right. No one speaks English at home in Singapore.



:roll: :roll: :roll:
I speak English at home.


Yeah, but you don't seem to understand what you read though, do you? Do you know what sarcasm is? I thought not.

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Postby TommyD » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 10:33 am

thought Australia was "The Land of Opportunity"??

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Postby LoriW » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 3:18 pm

Yeah, but you don't seem to understand what you read though, do you? Do you know what sarcasm is? I thought not.


Heehee ........... something I've noticed is that in general (forgive the sweeping statement) the majority of Singaporeans don't understand sarcasm/altruism/piss taking, whatever!

I frequently find that I have to be very careful what I say - or cause offence without meaning to!!

When I was visiting Singapore a few weeks ago prior to my imminent move, I visited my new place of work to meet some of my new colleagues. My Prof left me with three terrified faces saying "OK, I'm off for a bit, get to know each other"! Whether it was the uncertainty of meeting some rather strange female who was going to be possibly making them do something unfamiliar or simple shyness .......... getting words out of them was like getting blood out of a stone!

As for "why perfection?" - surely if you speak a language which is considered to be your first language, you would want to speak it correctly?

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Postby Vaucluse » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 3:32 pm

LoriW wrote:
As for "why perfection?" - surely if you speak a language which is considered to be your first language, you would want to speak it correctly?


Are you referring to Singapore, NSW or Singapore, Berkshire or Singapore, New Hampshire? Is this your first trip outside your country?
......................................................

'nuff said Image

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Postby LoriW » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 4:20 pm

Are you referring to Singapore, NSW or Singapore, Berkshire or Singapore, New Hampshire? Is this your first trip outside your country?


Uuhhh?? I'm referring to the fact that surely if you call a language your first language, you ought to speak it correctly! Maybe it's because I was brought up by a dreadful snob of a mother who insisted that if I spoke a language, any language it had to be correct!

I speak English as my first language being born and brought up in England, Cantonese Chinese as my mother tongue, Mandarin Chinese out of necessity as a regular visitor and soon to be working in Singapore, French having spent a fair amount of time in France and having French friends.

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Postby dazzlebabe » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 5:06 pm

LoriW wrote:I speak English as my first language being born and brought up in England, Cantonese Chinese as my mother tongue, Mandarin Chinese out of necessity as a regular visitor and soon to be working in Singapore, French having spent a fair amount of time in France and having French friends.


So would that mean if you were born and bred in Singapore (or anywhere else besides England) English will not be the first language?

I have friends of different nationalities born and bred in Canada, the UK and Australia and some still consider their mother tongue their first language and English as a second. They speak horrible Japanese/French/Mandarin and very good English. I suppose to each his own in terms of how well you want to excel in a particular language.

On a separate note, is it just me or is LoriW a tad arrogant in her postings? or is she just too open with her life? Sorry LoriW, I do not know you personally and you do post good replies but sometimes, like the above, you come across as F O S.
Just me

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Postby TommyD » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 5:15 pm

Now now kiddies, if you can't learn to play nice together then you won't be allowed in the sand pit anymore. . . and there'll be no ice cream for dessert.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 6:02 pm

dazzlebabe wrote:On a separate note, is it just me or is LoriW a tad arrogant in her postings? or is she just too open with her life? Sorry LoriW, I do not know you personally and you do post good replies but sometimes, like the above, you come across as F O S.


I think it's just you. My life is an open book on here as well. So? Nobody is forcing you to read her or my posts are they?

dazzlebabe wrote:
So would that mean if you were born and bred in Singapore (or anywhere else besides England) English will not be the first language?


Guess it depends on what race your parents were wouldn't it. A person's 1st language is not necessarily the language of the country you are residing in, although in the case of mixed parentage like LoriW, Her 1st language could well have been Mandarin or English. Has she been in Singapore, her mother tongue would have been English as Singapore recognizes the mother tongue only as the fathers tongue which in her case I believe is English (similar to my children). Her first language could have been either English or Mandarin.

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Postby QRM » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 6:20 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote: Has she been in Singapore, her mother tongue would have been English as Singapore recognizes the mother tongue only as the fathers tongue which in her case I believe is English (similar to my children). Her first language could have been either English or Mandarin.


You mean her mothers, mother tongue, is in fact her mothers, fathers mothers tongue?

As to speaking English properly well thats a can of worms, I remember a Scottish bloke teaching the Japanese students English, with quite humorous result.

Interesting to note there are school advertising "American" English lesson.

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Postby LoriW » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 6:42 pm

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.

LMAO at QRM's post though!!


Let me attempt to clarify a little

So would that mean if you were born and bred in Singapore (or anywhere else besides England) English will not be the first language?


"First language" and "mother tongue" are different. There are plenty of countries with English as the first language - Singapore included! Although ..... ;) .......... at the risk of causing further offence ........... of course, the UK and USA are two countries divided by a common language!!

My mother tongue would, in Singapore be considered as Mandarin Chinese since I'm not actually of mixed parentage but both my parents are Chinese.

Interestingly enough though, waaay back in the 1970s, schoolchildren in Singapore were all taught Malay for a couple of years at Primary school - for the very reason that then it was very much recognised as the "National Language" ........... after all ......... listen to the national anthem ;)

Oh and my beloved laughs at the fact that one of my cousins who is a secondary school teacher in Singapore probably speaks the worst Singlish ever!! I'd like to think she only speaks like that to family rather than to her puplis too!! ;)

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Postby Plavt » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 6:59 pm

LoriW,
I found your post a little curious as I have always thought of my native tongue as my first language and anything else as supplemental as do many others. Seems your views could be for cultural reasons;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_language#Mother_tongue

Worth noting since I have misunderstood Singaporeans when they say English is their first language having noticed their not infrequent difficulties or misuse of the language.

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Postby LoriW » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 8:15 pm

Plavt, perhaps it is a cultural thing ....... I would consider English to be my first language since it is the language of the country I was born in and educated in. However, I am not English, but of Chinese origin so my mother tongue is that spoken by those of my ethnicity.

Singapore is, IMO very different from most of the rest of the world since it is a truly multi cultural and multi lingual society which is why there really does seem to be a huge thing about language and ethnic origin - as well as dialect and religion which I've not really come across anywhere else.

I tend to refer to myself as "British" - over the phone, I sound English, at my local working men's club I've been asked several times why I have a foreign face and an English voice.

Worth noting since I have misunderstood Singaporeans when they say English is their first language having noticed their not infrequent difficulties or misuse of the language.


I'd say that with Singaporeans, it's not "difficulties" as such with the English language but a standard misuse. As a young child, my cousins used to laugh at the way I spoke both English and Cantonese because I used different grammar to them. Recently one cousin reminded me of a curious phrasing I used to use for a term in Cantonese. Someone else pointed out that I was in fact correct, because I used the gramatically correct term rather than the abbreviated term.

I see all too frequently and even here on these forums, the use of "dun" instead of "don't", "u" instead of "you" as well as many other shortened or slang words. However, in Singapore, these words are part of their culture - just like the shop which never fails to make me giggle "Precious Thots". The first time I saw that, I took a photo just to show my chums!

Accent is fine, IMO, but poor spelling and grammar is inexcusable. (obviously, dyslexia is also excusable)

Why do so many Singaporean parents spend so much time and effort paying for private tuition (or tu-shun) for this children while bemoaning their offspring are failing English or Chinese?

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Postby Plavt » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 8:41 pm

LoriW wrote:
I'd say that with Singaporeans, it's not "difficulties" as such with the English language but a standard misuse.


I am not sure I agree entirely as 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. However, you could be referring to spoken English, written always take considerably more skill even one's native tongue. :-|

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 19 Jun 2009 9:07 pm

QRM wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote: Has she been in Singapore, her mother tongue would have been English as Singapore recognizes the mother tongue only as the fathers tongue which in her case I believe is English (similar to my children). Her first language could have been either English or Mandarin.


You mean her mothers, mother tongue, is in fact her mothers, fathers mothers tongue?

As to speaking English properly well thats a can of worms, I remember a Scottish bloke teaching the Japanese students English, with quite humorous result.

Interesting to note there are school advertising "American" English lesson.


From what I've been told, that's the "English" of choice in China.

LoriW,

Sorry for the misinterpretation, not sure how I came to that conclusion. But my wife, while born and raised here in Singaporean is always mistaken for being English on the phone. Probably had something to do with the fact that she went to school and was raised in Seletar Air Base when it was a British base up till '64.


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