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Singaporean's singlish

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Postby taxico » Sun, 08 Aug 2010 7:08 pm

singaporeans can't speak mandarin either... and leeky says it's okay.

what gets my goat is when a singaporean changes the way he/she speaks only when talking to a white person/tourist.

..especially when they end almost every damn sentence in a sing-song way... like jean danker the pretend american.

WHY????????????

i wish i can slap her cheeks. just once. okay, once on each cheek.
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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Postby JR8 » Sun, 08 Aug 2010 7:25 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Interestingly enough, according to a recent post by JR8, American English is more English than British English as our English still follow a lot of British English from the 1700's while British English has evolved/devolved as the case may be. SA English? Not sure there, but with Afrikaans all mixed in with it, I'll stay clear of that topic. :cool:



Well, I wasn't referring to the entire American English language as such. I think the point I was trying to make was that some words that the British consider Americanisms are in fact archaic Anglocisms (is there such a word :) ). Calling trousers pants (a truncation of pantaloons) is the perfect example.

Another thing that has recently struck me, living in Germany, is the similarity of several words I'd had to look up in German with American words that derive from Yiddish! Can't think of any examples off the top of my head (which makes me feel rather a dummkopf... though I doubt that's from Yiddish)... hang on, how about schleppen, the German word for to drag, with the American word schlepping. I recently heard my sister in the UK use that word (it has come into use presumably via American TV shows), so it has almost gone full circle back to Germany!

Singlish also has archaic Anglocisms. Saying 'Go stan' for example meaning go backwards/reverse is a mashed version of 'Go astern'. There must be other examples...


Talking about the Caucasion race... This is what Wikipedia has to say. So I can see how a 50% (or even 100%) Indian child could be classified as caucasian... AND why this must cause confusion to Americans :?

============
The term Caucasian race (also Caucasoid, Europid, or Europoid[1]) has been used to denote the general physical type of some or all of the indigenous populations of Europe, North Africa, the Horn of Africa, West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia.[2] Historically, the term has been used to describe the entire population of these regions, without regard necessarily to skin tone. In common use, the term is sometimes restricted to Europeans and other lighter-skinned populations within these areas, and may be considered equivalent to the varying definitions of white people.[3]

In common use in American English, the term "Caucasian" (rarely supplemented with "race") is sometimes restricted to Europeans and other lighter-skinned populations within these areas, and may be considered equivalent to the varying definitions of white people. The term continues to be widely used in many scientific and general contexts, usually with its more restricted sense of "white", specifically White American in a US context.
=============


For the record my wife was also categorised as 'Other' certainly until right through her schooldays, after which at some point she was changed to 'Eurasian'.

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Postby poodlek » Sun, 08 Aug 2010 9:12 pm

JR8 wrote:Talking about the Caucasion race... This is what Wikipedia has to say. So I can see how a 50% (or even 100%) Indian child could be classified as caucasian... AND why this must cause confusion to Americans :?


:D I enjoyed that definition of Caucasian. I was also amused to learn once upon a time that the term "Aryan race" as applied to the blond-haired, blue-eyed and proud types is a misnomer. Aryans are actually northern Indian/Persian types.

Perhaps to avoid confusion, next time I'm asked I'll just write WASP, since it's so important to people here (as if they couldn't guess from my name and nationality).

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Postby Ryan_ » Sun, 08 Aug 2010 9:33 pm

There's nothing WRONG with ESL for some of the Singaporeans... I have observed that some locals were able to "pronounce" properly.. but there are some who sounded like a dork specially when someone is trying hard and keep on using the "F word.. " "Oh Sh_t" and "what the F?" to start in a sentence and you can hear them talking loudly on the phone, in public places for example on a train pffft - it's not cool to hear :P

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Postby vozzie » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 9:53 am

My take on this is ...

Firstly .... Orstralian is the only proper English, mate!

Secondly, I have come to the conclusion that Singaporeans can't understand an English word, unless it's spoken exactly as they know it. For example, I spent 10 minutes at the Hawker Centre saying "take away" . Finally, he said, "Oh, you mean take away". Whereas, western English speakers tend to be more broad in their interpretation or understanding of words... if you know what I mean? We can hear a word that has been "butchered", but still understand what the word is meant to be. Singaporeans seem to have a very narrow band of recognition. Perhaps that is a result of who taught them English in the first place.

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Postby nakatago » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 10:05 am

My take is most English-speakers from any country will more or less understand each other barring heavy accents or territory-specific words (e.g. spanner vs. wrench). Sure, you sometimes have to clarify certain things or ask the other fellow to slow down but you'll understand each other.

Now, here's the weird thing that I've observed. Non-English speakers, such PRC Chinese, Koreans, Japanese and other ASEAN countries may struggle with their grammar and vocabulary they still communicate pretty well, considering they don't speak English. Ditto for non-English speaking Europeans or Latin Americans.

But here's the weirdest part: You come here to Singapore. You understand the signs, the ads (well, most of them), the newspapers but talk to someone who doesn't code switch or read the local forums and you might as well be communicating in Klingon. That's Singlish for you, baby.
:???:

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Postby local lad » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 11:43 am

vozzie wrote:
Singaporeans seem to have a very narrow band of recognition. Perhaps that is a result of who taught them English in the first place.


:x .....generalization at play.

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Postby carteki » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 1:24 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Yeah, but now I no longer classed as "Others" like I used to be! Others as in Alien? Now I'm Caucasian but the problem with that is both of my Children are also Caucasian even though their mother is Tamil! :???: As more and more Singaporeans marry inter-racially, the Government is having a hard time remaining profiling racists! :P


good-job you can't do the "pencil test" which was infamous in apartheid SA

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 1:45 pm

Had to look that one up! I always thought the pencil test was to determine if your boobs or butt was sagging too much!

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Postby Barnsley » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 2:25 pm

taxico wrote:singaporeans can't speak mandarin either... and leeky says it's okay.

what gets my goat is when a singaporean changes the way he/she speaks only when talking to a white person/tourist.

..especially when they end almost every damn sentence in a sing-song way... like jean danker the pretend american.

WHY????????????

i wish i can slap her cheeks. just once. okay, once on each cheek.


Most of the women on the radio here seem to be working hard to sound as American as they possibly can!!

Maybe its in their contract. :D

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Postby ex-pat » Wed, 11 Aug 2010 9:24 pm

Most of the women on the radio here seem to be working hard to sound as American as they possibly can!!

Maybe its in their contract. :D[/quote]

I can understand why, most of them are dating caucasians...and dating caucasian are becoming a trend for local women.... :???: So they need to straight up thier tongue and speak properly or else thier ang moh friends wont be able to understand them.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 12 Aug 2010 8:24 am

JR8, et al, I removed that whole string of posts starting with my off colour initial post. My bad! :oops:

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Postby JR8 » Thu, 12 Aug 2010 3:41 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:JR8, et al, I removed that whole string of posts starting with my off colour initial post. My bad! :oops:


Yah sorry too, went a bit nutz there... :roll:

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Postby morenangpinay » Fri, 13 Aug 2010 9:10 pm

ex-pat wrote:Most of the women on the radio here seem to be working hard to sound as American as they possibly can!!

Maybe its in their contract. :D


I can understand why, most of them are dating caucasians...and dating caucasian are becoming a trend for local women.... :???: So they need to straight up thier tongue and speak properly or else thier ang moh friends wont be able to understand them.[/quote]



like this?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIW8WfqoJUA

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Postby Flabbit » Mon, 13 Sep 2010 1:23 am

Singaporeans seem to have a very narrow band of recognition.


It does depend on the different groups of people in the Singapore society who use Singlish. The hawker centre example highlighted by vozzie is one that should not be over-generalized with the general population :) that group of people would be the typical HDB heartlanders who commonly communicate with local dialects, such as Hokkien, Cantonese, etc. Keeping in mind that they are the older generation of Singaporeans who were not exposed to initiatives such as the Speak Good English Movement (SGEM), it wouldn't be fair to judge their linguistic capabilities. Moreover, while hawker centres are areas non-locals would visit for authentic local food, majority of the people eating there are locals. As such, the usage of Singlish would create a sense of familiarity (albeit a perceived one) which might help increase hawkers' businesses :)


Hmmm i can't seem to find the comment which suggested that we should be taught by native speakers o.o

Standard English (SE) is highly codified for non-native speakers but not at all codified for native speakers. (Hudson, 2000) Linguists have agreed that native speakers (largely) do not have a clear picture of what the most important distinctive features of Standard English are i.e. there is no clear codification of SE for native speakers. As such, non-native speakers would tend to be more proficient in SE due to highly-codified publications.

Most of the women on the radio here seem to be working hard to sound as American as they possibly can!!

Maybe its in their contract. :D


One of the language criterion set by the Media Development Authority is that Singlish should not be used (with few exceptions). As RP is commonly perceived to be the 'correct' accent of SE, most people try to master RP. However the strong American cultural influences might cause some confusion as to which accent is the 'correct' one. I believe that many of these women subscribe to this misconception, and thus speak in that manner :?

singaporeans can't speak mandarin either... and leeky says it's okay.

what gets my goat is when a singaporean changes the way he/she speaks only when talking to a white person/tourist.

..especially when they end almost every damn sentence in a sing-song way... like jean danker the pretend american.

WHY????????????

i wish i can slap her cheeks. just once. okay, once on each cheek.


Haha i think those are their attempts at code-switching! Give them a chance. The next generation would probably be better at code-switching.

Also, Singapore values a bilingual education. One linguistic outcome characteristic of bilingual education is lexical borrowing, where lexical items from either languages are borrowed and substituted with corresponding lexis of the other language. This is common not only in Singapore, but in Scotland where children would insert English terms into a fully constructed Scottish sentence. It's not really their fault then for not speaking 'proper' Mandarin or English. If required or forced, you'd be surprised to find that many Singaporeans can speak Standard Singapore English :)




Instead of viewing Singlish in a criticizing/derogatory manner, why not view it with from a linguistic perspective? One characteristic of Singapore that makes its English special is the fact that the four official languages are all completely unrelated!

'The emergent maturity of the English of Singapore in a society with such a rich mixture of languages makes it of special interest.' - Dr David Deterding

:D :D


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