What’s there to boast when we’re speaking Manglish? (The Star 21 Jul 2009)

Link: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2009/7/21/focus/4355461&sec=focus

WE Malaysians have always been praised by foreigners because we can speak several languages and dialects.

Most of us are able to at least master basic English and a few other languages.

We like to boast before our Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese and Korean friends that our English is better than theirs.

We even like to make fun of their English pronunciation and we feel superior to them.

But what is there to boast when we are just speaking Manglish most of the time?

Many of us fail to improve our English because of a complacent mindset.

We ignore grammar and include lots of Malay and Chinese words such as lah, arr, hor or de instead of using standard English expressions to convey our thoughts and feelings.

We think this is fine as long as our Manglish is understood by others.

For a long time, we have been living in complacency while the standard of English in the North-East Asian region has been improving fast.

More and more professionals and graduates from that region have made efforts to enhance their English in native English-speaking countries and more and more of them are able to shine internationally.

Meanwhile we are still speaking Manglish like “you got see Ali arr?” “Got arr, you never see him mie?”

While our Asian counterparts are going the extra mile to master English, we may still be thinking our English is better than theirs.

In actual fact, the number of their professionals and graduates who are proficient in English may even exceed our population!

YEOW BOON KIAT,

Petaling Jaya.

One thought on “What’s there to boast when we’re speaking Manglish? (The Star 21 Jul 2009)”

  1. I think it’s unfortunate that people value the western accent so much to the point of looking down on their own accent. It’s just like in Korea, where they would only hire English teachers from certain countries so that their kids can acquire the “right” accent. I don’t know… I think that it’s our accents that make us special. Why does it have to be such a bad thing to have, say, a Japanese accent when you speak English? It just means your mother tongue is Japanese, and what’s so bad about that… you would then be, in fact, a Japanese person speaking English.

    I do agree with you, that people have to stop belittling others because of the way they speak English. It’s like, hey, at least they’re practicing and trying to improve… why rain on their parade you know? It’s no wonder so many Koreans have learned English, but are reluctant to speak it… because there are too many people out there who are so insecure about their own abilities that they are ready to make fun of others.

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