Wed, Aug 02, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Singaporean salespeople told to leave the "ah" off

People shopping in a store in Singapore.
民眾在新加坡商店購物。 (照片:法新社)


Singaporean salespeople are being encouraged to drop local slang and speak proper English to their customers.

Expressions such as “Can fit or not?” and “No more this color” -- part of the local way of speaking known as Singlish -- should be dropped and replaced with complete grammatical sentences.

The effort is part of the city-state's yearly Speak Good English Movement, under which sales clerks will be given information on commonly misused phrases.

“On many occasions, they don't even realize that the Singlish phrases they use may sound rude and abrupt,” Lau Chuen Wei of the Singapore Retailers Association was quoted as saying.

Cambridge-educated Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said last year that Singaporeans should strive to speak correct English to help the city-state keep its competitive edge.

He went on to say that since three-quarters of Singapore's population are literate in English, the republic has significant competitive advantages over other Asian nations.

Singaporeans speaking colloquial English will often end sentences with “lah,” “lor” or “mah” -- endings that come from the local Singaporean Chinese.

They may also literally translate sentences from Mandarin to English, which makes odd and grammatically incorrect phrases such as “I go toilet” and “You go where, ah?”

Most people who live in Singapore, which used to be a British colony, are ethnic Chinese but there are significant ethnic Malay and Indian communities in the regional business hub, which is home to thousands of multinational corporations.(AFP)


像是「Can fit or not? 」(大小適不適合)和「No more this color」(別再看這種顏色)等星式英語應該被摒棄,改以符合文法的完整句子代替。

Today's Words 今天單字

1. abrupt adj.

唐突的 (tang2 tu2 de5) ,突然的 (tu1 ran2 de5)

例: My seatbelt tightened as the car came to an abrupt stop.


2. strive v.i.

努力 (nu3 li4)

例: Whitney always strives to please her parents.


3. literate adj.

識字的 (shi4 zi4 de5)

例: Sweden has a highly literate population.


4. colloquial adj.

口語的 (kou3 yu3 de5)

例: Phrases like "I am" and "have not" are almost always shortened to contractions in colloquial speech.

(例如「I am」與「have not」等片語在口語中總是會變成縮短形。)






他們也可能將中文逐字翻譯成英語,造成了像是「I go toilet」和「You go where, ah?」等怪異又不符合文法的語句。



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