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Putting Singlish aside and picking up Grammar Rules

Putting-Singlish-aside-and-picking-up-Grammar-Rules

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Do Singaporeans really need to be told to speak proper English?

Singapore is known for its own brand of English that is Singlish, which has been extensively studied by linguists all over the world.

However, Singaporeans' preference to speak this colloquial form of English could threaten the mastery of standard English, turning it into a cause for concern.

The Speak Good English Movement was first launched in 2000 by former Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong, to combat the use of broken English among Singaporeans.

On Mar 20, the Speak Good English Movement launched Grammar Rules, a free guidebook to help Singaporeans speak and write proper English. All 10,000 copies were snapped up within two days and a PDF copy is now available for download.
 
Putting-Singlish-aside-and-picking-up-Grammar-Rules
DUE TO POPULAR DEMAND, THE GRAMMAR RULES E-BOOK WAS MADE AVAILABLE ON WEDNESDAY.
PHOTO CREDIT: FFURIOUS FACEBOOK PAGE

However, the 105-page guidebook has received mixed reactions by netizens.

What's going on?

Grammar Rules encourages Singaporeans to take note of grammar and to use standard English given any situation. Some examples from Grammar Rules, presented in a video by The Straits Times, corrected several grammatically incorrect phrases commonly used by Singaporeans.

For example, the grammatically correct way of saying "I need to draw money from the ATM" is "I need to withdraw money from the ATM".

However, some Singaporeans feel the use of Singlish is justified in certain social contexts. 

Putting-Singlish-aside-and-picking-up-Grammar-Rules
DEPENDING ON THE SITUATION, SOME SINGAPOREANS ARE ABLE TO
SWITCH BETWEEN 
STANDARD ENGLISH AND SINGLISH.
PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM FACEBOOK

Fresh polytechnic graduate Malorie Ang felt that the use of Singlish is perfectly reasonable and should not be viewed negatively.

The 20-year-old said: "Singlish is not too much of a stretch from standard English. I think it is okay because everyone understands you anyway. Someone's ability to speak proper English should not be a benchmark for intelligence, so why look at it that way?"

Hanis Husin, 23, echoed her sentiments. 

The undergraduate, who felt that Singlish is part of Singapore culture, said: "Singlish gives us our distinctive identity. You can still speak good English yet use Singlish. It's our very own local language in a sense. Just because I speak Singlish, doesn't mean my English is not good." 

Putting-Singlish-aside-and-picking-up-Grammar-Rules
AS LONG AS SINGAPOREANS ARE UNDERSTOOD,
DOES SPEAKING GOOD ENGLISH REALLY MATTER?
PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM FACEBOOK

For undergraduate Rajesh Kumar, Singlish is a product of biligualism and a harmonious multi-racial country.

The 24-year-old explained: "We tend to mix words from different languages, translate them directly into English, and infusing them into our sentences. That's what Singlish is. 

"It is the voice of Singapore and most Singaporeans celebrate it. Instead of criticising how Singaporeans speak to each other, why not celebrate this wonderful thing we created?"

While many defend our country's unique variation of English, others recognised the importance of speaking standard English.
 
Putting-Singlish-aside-and-picking-up-Grammar-Rules
IS SINGLISH BECOMING THE COUNTRY'S MAIN LANGUAGE?
PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM FACEBOOK

21-year-old Anita Abdul-Rahman is often annoyed by the inappropriate use of Singlish.

The private school student said: "I think it's something people take too lightly. Singlish sounds really unprofessional and too casual. I can order my food in Singlish but if I'm in class, I'm going to speak proper English. People use it in too many situations and the guidebook is a good reminder."

Similarly, Reynold Lim, a polytechnic student, felt that it is important for youths to use standard English.

Reynold, 19, said: "Coming from an entirely English speaking background, I was not exposed to Singlish. I think many young people have taken Singlish as their main language, and that would be a problem for them in the future. 

"I'm glad there are measures to rectify this issue and to promote standard English as our main language."

What's your take?

  1. When is it appropriate for Singaporeans to speak in Singlish, rather than standard English?

Tell us what you think by leaving a comment on our article or social media platforms! Submit the best response by May 23 and win a $10 Coffee Bean voucher!

BANNER PHOTO CREDIT: SPEAK GOOD ENGLISH MOVEMENT FACEBOOK PAGE
TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: FFURIOUS FACEBOOK PAGE

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