ENGLISH, as spoken by Singaporeans, is ‘weird’. At least, that’s what some Taiwan celebrities think.
Singaporeans pronounce ‘uncle’ and ‘auntie’ in a strange way – Actor-host Ma Guoxian
And they wasted no time in making their opinions known on a variety programme in Taiwan.
In the 28 Jan episode of the popular variety show Mr Con and Ms Csi, the hosts and guests were seen making fun of the way Singaporeans speak English.
Arroy Shen, a former member of Taiwanese pop group Comicboyz, described Singapore English as ‘weird’, because Singaporeans intone the second syllable of words upwards instead of downwards.
He said he was taught to shorten ‘thank you’ to ‘thanks’. Only problem was, it sounded more like ‘dance’ when he said it.
Arroy also demonstrated how Singaporeans pronounce ‘sorry’ while he was on a recent two-month visit to Singapore.
He repeated ‘sorry’ exaggeratedly, to much laughter from the show’s hosts, Tsai Kang-Yung and Selina Ren.
He then showed how Singaporeans pronounce ’tissue paper’, and this was again met with roaring laughter from the hosts and other guests.
SAME AS THAI ACCENT?
One host then laughingly likened the Singaporean accent to the way Thai people speak English.
Xu Wei, an English teacher who was also a guest on the same episode, described an encounter with an immigration officer on a trip to Singapore.
Immigration officer asks me if I was ‘pegnan’ instead of ‘pregnant’. – Xu Wei, an English teacher
She said in Mandarin: ‘I was wearing a loose-fitting dress, and the officer asked me ‘pegnan? pegnan?’
‘It took me a while before I realised he was asking me if I was pregnant.’
Another guest, actor-host Ma Guoxian, also made fun of how Singaporeans refer to older people as ‘uncle’ and ‘auntie’.
‘They’re always ‘uncle’ and ‘auntie’ – just don’t understand what they mean,’ he said.
After the episode was broadcast last week, a segment of it was uploaded by a netizen on video-sharing site YouTube.
It has been widely circulated online, and has caused an uproar among Singaporean netizens.
Since the clip was uploaded, it has attracted about 4,000 views and numerous responses both on the video’s comment section and on a popular local forum.
Mr Ben Wong, 25, said he was offended by the celebrities’ comments.
He said: ‘It’s true that our English may not always be perfect, but I feel that the general standard of English here is still higher than that in Taiwan.
‘Some Taiwanese pop stars have started singing in English, and they sound really odd.’
In a heated blog post, blogger Xinndified wrote in Mandarin: ‘This episode makes me really angry.
‘Especially that English teacher Xu Wei, who thinks her English is so good… if she dares, she should try coming here to teach English.’
She added in English: ‘Stop insulting us. Every country has its own culture and accent. We don’t have to learn a British or American accent.’
Added a netizen, who posted a video comment under his nickname itsreallymylife: ‘Singaporeans have the ability to speak and write proper English when required – when communicating with foreigners, on overseas trips and so on.
‘However, many tend to speak Singlish within Singapore or to fellow Singaporeans because it sounds more cordial. It’s about culture, not the lack of ability to use proper English.’
ONLY FOR ENTERTAINMENT
Asked whether the station felt the episode was offensive, a spokesman for CTi TV, the Taiwanese cable TV network which produces Mr Con and Ms Csi, said the programme is ‘only intended for entertainment purposes and not to inform’.
Non-Singaporeans The New Paper spoke to offered a different perspective.
Said Mr Angelito Mojito, 35, a Filipino who has been working in Singapore for four years: ‘When I first arrived in Singapore, it was difficult to understand the locals. Singaporeans have a very different accent from ours.
‘There were also phrases that I was not used to, for example, when you say ‘go back’ in Singapore, it means to go home, but I thought it meant to go back to my own country, or go back to work.’
Agreeing, Ms Nicole Arizzoli, 36, a Swiss who has been living in Singapore for four years, said it was initially difficult to understand the short phrases Singaporeans are fond of using.
She said: ‘Singaporeans speak fast, and they use abbreviations, like ‘can’ and ‘cannot’. Turn off the lights becomes ‘off the lights’. These short phrases took a little getting used to.’
Added Mr Hansel Lobo, 49, who moved from India to Singapore 14 years ago: ‘It gets difficult to understand when Singaporeans intersperse English with non-English words.
‘But I’ve interacted with people from many different countries, and Singaporeans are generally easy to understand when they speak.’
Literacy consultant Daniel Jesudason said the way Singaporeans speak English has been subject to various cultural influences.
He said: ‘Different intonations exist because there are certain patterns in the various mother tongues.
‘Though the Taiwanese are also from a Chinese-speaking background, they don’t have the same influences because they aren’t multi-cultural like Singapore is. Their English isn’t influenced by Malay or Tamil.’
Singlish, he said, is just another form of colloquial English.
He said: ‘When languages mix, a pidgin – or colloquial form of English – develops.
‘Colloqualism does have its strength – it helps a developing society build a sense of identity.’
SOURCE: The Electric Newspaper. By Liew Hanqing Feb 06, 2008
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA fucking ridiculous! Of all countries, Freaking TAIWAN is criticizing our engrand. HELLLLO your engrand oso not that good lar hor. lets analyze shall we?
first that comicboyz idiota claims that his friends taught him ‘thanks’ instead of ‘thank you’. thus when he say ‘thanks’ it sounded like ‘dance’.
IMO, this problem is cause by THEIR way of speaking engrand, not ours. I can perfectly say ‘thanks’ without sounding like its ‘DANCE’. as a matter of fact, I’ve never heard of any Singaporeans out there making ‘thanks’ sound like ‘dance’ before. try extending your tongue, morons.
‘Sorry’ and ‘Tissue paper’.
Well I’m not gona be biased and try and say that I’ve never heard of Singaporeans saying ‘solli’ or ‘tiSUE payper’, but then the way they said it sounds exaggerated. a classic case of a taiwanese bad in engrand attempting to mimic singlish. (one very bad + one bad does not = to a accurate representation!) and i see absolutely nothing wrong with pronouncing the word ‘sorry’ like they did. what they want us to do? speak in The Queen’s Engrand like they try to do? posers!
Who in the world says ‘HAry UP’ like they did???????? wtf?! totally inaccurate. nuff said.
‘Anchor’ and ‘An-ty’
for the record, is ANG – cle. not ANCHOR. wtf. you taiwanese oso call male grown ups as pek pek and female grown ups as obasan what(and gods know what else). isnt that even worse? We find that funny too. and that stupid host is totally ignorant when it comes to this word. Don’t call uncle or auntie, then what you want us to call? EH SIAO EH! EH LIAN EH! EH SIAO LIAN EH! like that ar? lol.
‘Airpot pregnant shit.’
if You don’t understand the english language well or have little experience in speaking english, then stop saying that its the other person’s fault for not making him/herself clear. Again, i see no wrong with the word pregnant being pronounced, and please lar hor, I dare say that 95% of you taiwanese don even noe how to pronounce it properly too, and perhaps 99% don’t even noe how to spell it.
This show is seriously a very very and extremely inaccurate analysis of Singaporean’s engrand. Firstly taiwanese’s engrand is already up lolly like crazy, when they try to force their weak tongue to pronounce Singlish, it makes it even worse, and thus making it into some kinda hybrid taiwanese-singlish, and they go spread it around saying that its totally the fault of us Singaporeans, all the while thinking that their engrand is perfect. bunch of BSs.
what they need to do is get a singaporean, or some good singlish teacher to come over and justify what the others have said.
You can see that those ignorant celebrities, who obviously have never been to Singapore before, totally believing in what the others have said lor. bah. misguided sheeps.
I can list many examples of why they shouldnt be criticizing our english, but theres just too many, and im too lazy. just go and watch the xiao zhu and xiao gui variety show lar. sometimes they will speak engrand. go see them speak and come tell me you don find it weird and also, try listening to that Jolin Tsai’s 爱无赦, she’s a Eng lit. Major, if you don’t know.
GO GO MEI MEI! GO GO GE GE!
Crazy shit i tell you.
PS: I noe its more appropriate to write in proper English for this particular post, but then I AM PROUD OF SINGLISH! and the idea of a taiwanese reading this and not understanding any sheetz brings a warm fuzzy feeling inside me. 🙂