Tuesday, May 12, 2009

You Speak English, Izzit?

"your country what month very good go?"

awful. simple. and amazing enough, the meaning goes through crystal clear. mr. khairul had wanted to ask this guy from turkey which month is the best time to visit his country. and you know what, the turk understood, and mr. khairul eventually got his answer.

as much as i cringe at this 'english' he was using at that time, mr. khairul stood his ground and thought it was a perfectly fine way of communicating.

this is him. those who know him well enough knows that he's able to speak english fairly well but he strongly believes that you don't need grammatically perfect sentence to be able to understand and be understood.

haiya! of course-lah! true one! that's how manglish becomes manglish-maa! i agree loh. but very difficult izzit? you get me or not? english hor - dident belong to the english anymore you see. global ohledi loh! everywhere oso people speak english their way. everyone oso understand. who needs grammar kan?


mr. khairul strongly advocates this especially in dubai where you might encounter people with limited grasp of the english language, he would rather ask the economical, "where, park?" rather than the more compact, "where can i park?" or "where is the parking lot?". even "where to park?" is still forgivable. he believes that this way:

  • we eliminate any language barrier as the person would be able to understand the simple english
  • the person therefore is willing to be more helpful as he understands us better
  • i am no better than you are in the english language, so help us
  • and we don't come across as a snobbish mat salleh sound-a-like

i understand his reasons and in fact do agree with some. however, being a teacher of the english language, i abhor the fact that he was willing to risk his command of the english language by speaking this way, be it by choice or necessity!

it's one thing if you're green in your command of the english language, and another thing if you're fine, yet you *choose* to speak it badly!

yes, practice makes perfect and if you don't practice, you lose your perfection!

next, saying "where do i park?" over "where, park?" does not necessarily throw the listener off from his understanding. he can still hear the word 'where' and 'park' and would be able to respond in the same way he would when we use the broken english.

whenever i brought this up (always after an intentionally bad english is spoken by mr. khairul in exercising his theory) he would tease me by doing a bad immitation of a british accent. and i don't even sound like that!

i'm not saying lets use thee thou thy, speak very quickly with a heavy accent and the works - "do you mind telling me the location in which i would be able to park my vehicle preferably in a safe spot?" ha, ternganga mamat tu karang.

all i'm saying is, by using a *simple* grammatically correct sentence, we're also fulfilling our social responsibility by also helping the listener improve his command of the english language. if he keeps hearing bad grammar, that's what he would pick up.

jika kita mampu, apa salah guna bahasa inggeris mudah yang elok grammarnya? he still understands, and we would still be able to uphold the dignity of the english language.

op op - before you start saying lupa diri or bahasa jiwa bangsa - this is a posting about good grammar versus intentionally bad grammar. bahasa melayu is in a different league altogether. and i'm not puting the english language on a pedestal here. i'm just saying that (if you can and able to) a language ought to be spoken in its truest form - just as arabic words should be pronounced well and mandarin in its many different inflections or else it loses its meaning.

oh-kay. see you peoples in the later time. i is going to taking a eat.


Anonymous said...

super cool posting.
kudos to you, linguisticawomen.

diyana anwar said...

super duper puper(ade ke puper?) posting! adore ur skills:))

yp. dubai- mmg mcm tu lah. :p

tk bole lupa when along starts saying, "car park where?" dgn 'r' die tekan habis.. "carrrrr parrrk wherrrre?" sama naik dgn those indians.. *sigh*

once i experienced tis guy, time tu kat gold souk dgn mak.. teh tanye, "how to go to naif? u know.. the bazaar. the burning bazaar(nak bgtau terbakar. ade word burn2 ok la tu)" .. and he replied, "oo.. the burning bazaar? naif? naif? u go strrraight, on left u see bus station..u took the bus across in fifteen minutes u therrrre."

teh n mak mcm, what d h*^%$#%*& is he sayin????????

lastly, die mcm nak explain lg, sbb maybe muka kitorg blur sgt kot.. but we just goyang2 sket kepala, its ok. its ok. thank u. then blah!!

Baba dah Separuh Abad said...

apanama english you blog write?
me so so lah understanding can one?
so you teacher english where one?
my wife also telling me english like you telling husband one.
you tuisyen tuisyen english me cheap cheap RIYAL can can?
sssshhhhhhh .... private tuisyen OK?
i shame shame lah.

ziah said...

aku ni pun org yg lupa diri. sendiri punya english x betul. I get irritated when people dont speak properly as well... seolah2 bahasa inggeris itu bahasa ibunda ku!!! heheheheh...

Silent Scribbler said...

This is your best post to date! I was definitely entertained... He he he he. Salam to mr. khairul, ya mrs khairul. ;-)

Syigim said...

anon - thanks. nxt time leave a name lah okay! jgn malu2 hoho ;)

teh - along nk gelak baca komen teh. patutnye kak syigim mention jugak psl 'rrrrr' tu! hihi.

uncle, really ah? u oso shame-shame meh? if you shame shame one ah, can try long distance learning one woh. manyak sinang woh. haha.

ye ziah - kalo da mmg xreti takpe. but if one can, and does not - my blood go upstairs lah!!

aisha - thanks dear! that means a lot! :)) wah tgh honeymoon pun smpat singgah my blog. cheers! :)

wai said...

syigim, hillarious! thanks for making my day! hehehe :))
simplicity is da way to go-lah!
u know, sumtimes i can't help to use manglish maaaa esp the overly used 'lah' suffix! i misssssss mesiaaaaa!! huhu:((

Syigim said...

hey thanks for dropping by, wai! really appreciate it!

'lah' is a must! that's what makes us malaysian! hihi..

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