Odd Couple Chronicle

Singlish : Singaporean English March 9, 2005

Filed under: Singapore — ambar @ 2:20 pm

Although English is my third language I found English in UK was difficult to understand. But the Singlish even harder. It’s bit more like American English mixed with hokkian* dialect. I have to think first before give an answer. They tends to speak in long sentences no pause for educated people and speak very little for ordinary people.

“Can’t I buy this book?”
“Oke, you pay cas-lah”
“How much for this?”
“Six dor-lar**, ha..”
“That’s too expensive!”
“No..no…no…six dor-lar only…”
“Can I have for four dollar?”
“No..no..no…I only sell six dor-lar, ha”

English is been taught in every stages at school. Officially English is their first language. But as multicultural country, S’pore welcomed another languages such as Chinese (in many dialect), Malay, or Bengali. You will find different channel of TV or newspaper with different languages. I learnt that as happen in Indonesia, English not been use widely except in international business level. I know English but to speak, it was a big problem.

Fact about S’pore now more American than British also interresting for me. Even though S’pore was one of British colony but american’s nail were very strong in every aspect of this country. That’s why their English refer to American including their lifestyle. The Singaporean were crazy about junk food, Starbuck cafe, Hollywood babe’s, or have an elite American Express credit card.

The only English spirit left for the Singaporean is football (even they call it soccer like american do) and of course David Beckam. How’s he became ‘celebrity most talk about’ was an euphoria. Anyway if David speaks in cockney manchester accent, no one in S’pore will understand.

Note :
* Hokkian is a province in China where most of Chinese Singapore came from
** Singapore dollar


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