Archive for accent

Do Singaporeans Speak English Badly??

Posted in Singapore with tags , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by Aloysious Wong

Over the years, Singaporeans have always been criticised for their poor command of English and even our very own brand of English (Singlish) which is labeled as WEIRD and SUB-STANDARD by some, can create misunderstanding at times especially when communicating with expats… Once again this topic had found it’s way into the Sunday Times recently, with headline news on our very own beauty queen Ris Low video interview.  With the government efforts to discourage the use of Singlish, and for Singaporeans to speak better English to enable more effective communication with other english users through the Speak Good English Movement over the years to emphasise the point, it all just seems futile to me …   At the recent annual National Day Dinner at the Tanjong Pagar constituency, MM Lee also mentioned “The command of English is the decisive factor for the career path and promotion prospects of all Singaporean.” Coincidentally a couple of weeks back, Deejay Soowei from 98.7fm was taken off air because her English language isn’t proficient enough and was offered to return to being a promotions executive and radio programmer which she rejected. She then deciding to leave the radio station. She claimed that the station’s management had also told her to ‘listen to American radio jocks and learn an American accent. OMG!!! Do we really need to speak with an American accent to attract listenership?? I personally feel that we shouldn’t discourage the use of Singlish. It gives us a sense of identify and I’m definitely proud of it. It has become our culture and an infusion of all things Singaporean. Singlish is uniquely Singaporean and it incorporates the elements the 4 national languages forming a one common special language that is common to all Singaporeans. Its our heritage and it’s what makes us true Singaporeans!!! So to those “ang moh” wannabes, away with those fake accents!! We can still speak beautifully without having an accent. Nevertheless, I must also stress the point that speaking good English is equally as important and that Singlish should only be used at the right time and place.  Generally Singaporeans are fluent in the English language and can hold good converstion even with expats but not always accurately. That’s just because we are more comfortable communicating in the way we do, be it whether it is in Singlish or English with a mixture of our mother tongue. So we just got to work harder on our syntax and to improve on our vocabulary. Gosh, this entry is getting way too lengthy so I better stop here. Do check out the video.. I simply enjoyed it 🙂

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