Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Reason 0009 : Singaporeans Cannot Speak or Write Properly

One of the things that bug me the most is that Singaporeans in general cannot speak or write properly. This is despite the fact that we were trained to be bilingual from a very young age. You see university graduates who cannot string a proper sentence together without creating spelling or basic grammar mistakes, people interviewed on TV who cannot speak in complete Mandarin sentences without including some choice English words in, and others who choose to speak in Singlish and broken English.

Don't get me wrong, I fully support Singlish as a mark of Singaporean identity. I also think we should speak proper English or Singlish when appropriate. I especially applaud those heartlanders who try to speak English even though they might not have had much education. At least they are trying to speak a new language on top of speaking their dialects fluently. It only bugs me when youths and adults who have had the privilege to receive a formal education are too lazy to speak and write properly. For example, "three" is pronounced as "th-ree" and not "tree". "Their" is pronounced as "th-air" and not "dee-are". Lastly, it is "Singapore I-dole", not "Singapore Idle".

I shudder especially whenever I hear the "their" being mispronounced. I think Singaporeans are the only people in the world who pronounce it this way, including MPs, radio DJs etc. It really boggles my mind why the Education Ministry has let this mistake go on for decades.

Also, with the proliferation and increased use of blogs, sms, and the Internet, people are getting more and more lazy with punctuation, spelling, and grammar.

Just think about it, if you cannot speak English or your second language properly and you cannot speak a dialect as well, what does this show about you?

19 comments:

Dancing raindrops said...

Yes,we all had an opportunity to learn how to speak and write well!
But many chose to speak\write the Singlish way instead.

If you were to speak in a grammatical right way ,people in my school would discriminate you.
If you aced an English test, they would say you're a stuck-up smartass wannabe or something.

What is with these people.
If they can speak in Singlish, i don't see why i can't speak\write the way i want!

What stupidity, really.

Anonymous said...

It goes to show that most Singaporeans are stupid. Jibye don't even know what an atheist is.

Anonymous said...

Enjoying this blog, I'm Aussie and we pronounce Idol like Idle xD

Anonymous said...

Haha, yes I agree that people here have little idea of what an atheist is! I've read articles about the way Singaporeans speak and pronounce. The general populace here speaks in Singlish, so if someone chooses to speak otherwise, it is inevitable that it will stand out among the rest. And when someone stands out, it will also be inevitable that some will find that an eyesore. Therefore isn't up to yourself to decide whether you want to speak English as it is, or blend in the crowd and speak as they do? Such is life :(
With regards to the standard of written and spoken English in Singapore, I'd like to defend them by saying that not everyone is linguistically-inclined. For speech, there has to be a constant environment, and many people might live in very non-english circles. I've seen people who can speak well but can't write well. I've seen people who can write well but can't speak well. But I've also seen people who can do both superbly. Although, something should be done to teach students on reading the pronunciation keys in the dictionary! Beefing up the vocabulary and grammar content would definitely help too.

Anonymous said...

to add to this, sometimes these people who insist on speaking Singlish also insist that the English /Mandarin spoken by English/Mainland Chinese are of 'funny/weired' accents. OH MY GOD.
For f' sake! ITS YOU WHO HAS A PROBLEM.

Anonymous said...

^ its 'weird' not 'weired'
enjoying this blog too :)
i never liked singlish. its such a disgrace

Anonymous said...

it's "it's" not "its".

Girlfrommars said...

"I also think we should speak proper English or Singlish when appropriate."

Should it be "I also think that we should speak proper English or Singlish when appropriate?" How much of a loser are you.

Anonymous said...

Then seriously, get out of Singapore. We don't need you either.

Anonymous said...

Although I must agree that it's very off-putting to listen to people speaking Singlish/Manglish, here you are being a hypocrite, complaining about Singlish when in every other blog post of yours you state "Wake Up Your Idea Lah Dey!".

WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT SENTENCE SUPPOSED TO MEAN??

Anonymous said...

I definitely don't understand on what basis are you criticising Singaporeans when you yourself arent perfect in your english as well. A very obvious and good example will be you title of this post. It should be " Singaporeans Cannot Speak NOR Write Properly" instead of " Singaporeans Cannot Speak or Write Properly". Please look into the mirror and correct your flaws before you start speaking about others. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

It is the teachers who taught badly at the local schools who do not speak so well. What can you expect from the students? Blame it on the Singapore Education system.

Me said...

How to 'communicate' properly has been miscommunicated to these people. I have heard broken sentences, various aa's ee's and oo's stretched out. One wonders...why not speak mandarin or whatever, not english! It is the most horrible horrible horrible accent I have heard, ever! But I cannot not say I hate them for this, that would be absurd!

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Anonymous said...

You are bloody prejudiced. Not all Singaporeans have broken English. I have Chinese as my second language but my English grammar is perfect. Don't judge a nation from one person.

Anonymous said...

Whether a Singaporean speaks Singlish or not depends on the environment they were raised and educated in. And if you think that all Singaporeans can't speak properly, you, sir are badly misguided. It's not because they're lazy that they can't "speak and write properly". A lot of it has to do with what influences your speech.

Cass said...

The problem with your spot is SOME Singaporeans. Most of us have proper education and speaks good English. My father is a doctorate in applies linguistics. Does that mean my father's language skills is horrible? Because according to your post and the way you phrase, it's condemning all Singaporeans and that is VERY insensitive. It's embarrassing for you, really. You are a very pathetic hateful human being and we feel sorry for your self centered and disgusting attitude.

Anonymous said...

Singaporeans can't English well neither can we speak mandarin, malay or tamil well. However, almost everyone here is at least bilingual with many even able to speak a third language albeit not very well in anyone of them. For the Chinese its the norm to be able to pick up a few dialects.

I am able to speak my mother tongue, teochew, i can speak a little cantonese in hk, use mandarin and hokkien in taiwan, speak mandarin in China, ask for directions and order food in malay when im in Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei, understand and speak enough vietnamese to differentiate between the northern and southern accent and not forgetting the ability to communicate in English with many native and non native speakers. My sister can have a conversation in French and i have many friends who can speak thai.

No I'm not good in any one of the above languages but i know enough to get by. Im not an exception because there are many in Singapore like me. Its our bilingual ability of eastern and western languages that allow us to easily pick up a new language. Go to hong kong and tell them that you are a Singaporean and you will be asked how many languages can you speak. That is the result of living in a truly cosmopolitan city and that my friend, is my singapore heritage.

Anonymous said...

"One of the things that bugs me the most is that Singaporeans in general cannot speak or write properly...."

fyi