Sunday 17 July 2011

Explore English

Last weekend, I attended a workshop with the man on, "Helping your child to speak good English."It was conducted by Mr Paul Edward Osgodby from UK. I attended it for the kids and for ourselves, as parents. If we speak well, I'm sure the kids will.

In Chinese, we are clear in using only the modern Chinese writing in our local context, no qualms about it. Whereas in English, we are still very much mixed up between the British and the US lingo. In school, we adopt the British style of learning, we spell the British way. Yet in media, we are very much influenced by the US - Movies, cartoons, educational programmes, magazines, books and even software like microsoft word, corrects English to its US style. I'm not sure about you, but I'm always confused by the different spelling of UK and US English. Although, in an examination, one shouldn't be penalised when colour is spelt as color, or organise as organize. It's all about being consistent with the style adopted.

Anyway, back to the workshop, I walked out with some fruitful learning and here are some tidbits I walked away with to share. We learned on the commonly mispronounced words and how to pronounce the 'th' sound. Here are some samples to try on the 'th' sound:
  • three
  • healthy
  • teeth
Notice the 'th' within the different parts of the words? I didn't much appreciate the 'th' sound until attending this workshop. To pronounce this sound, stick your tongue out between your teeth, try blowing air out between your tongue and front teeth. Got it? Now try the above words and see if you've got 'three' as THree and not tree. The commonly mispronounced 3, even myself at times. Then we went through some of the commonly mispronounced words:
  • tuition (too-i-shion)
  • salmon (sa-mon, a silent 'l')
  • calender (care-len-der)
  • sachet (sa shey, a french word, so kind of tricky)
  • photography (fur-tog-rur-phy)
  • wednesday (wenz-day, as a two syllabus word, not three)
Figured them right? I'm limited by the sound ability of this blog, hope the side notes helped. And there are many more words to explore. So then, to get ourselves easily understood across the countries, I doubt it's the accient, it's about getting the pronunciations right. Speak clearly and accurately, we won't go too far wrong.

English takes a whole life time to explore, we stop learning and writing Chinese once we're out of school. But English is never neglected, it's just as important in our everyday life. A well spoken and written person, impresses much. Everyone can speak and write, but not many can speak and write Good English, it really is a skill to master. Some say English is crazy, just like how you can't find egg in eggplant, ham in hamburger or apple in pineapple.

With that to conclude, I must admit that singlish is still very much practiced at home. I don't foresee ourselves being able to doing away with the la, lor and lei. So see la, how speak good English. Never mind, this makes us unique as Singaporeans, just get the pronunciations, grammar and tenses right, I think we're good enough.

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