Kucing Gatal Speaks

Friday, July 29, 2005

English - Doing my bit

Every generation loves to generalise about other generations. For example, Gen X-ers say that their generation is the best, and that Generation Y are all spoilt. Baby Boomers say that both X & Y generations are spoilt and don't know the value of money.

Generation Y say that the older generations are old-fashioned and stingy (the older generations describe these characteristics as conservative and money conscious - the latter undoubtedly a result of hardships suffered during the war and colonial periods).

One thing everyone seems to agree on however, is that the younger generation's English sucks. They all bemoan the fact that the "kids these days can't even string a proper sentence together." I do know of some teenagers and 20-somethings who speak and write perfect English but these are the exception rather than the norm.

There's no need to apportion blame here or highlight how important the language is, since the topic has been debated enough, even at the highest levels. What I want to say is that we bloggers can certainly do our bit to improve the level of English in the nation.

I have lapsed into Manglish all too often, since it's familiar to me and sometimes it just helps to get the message across better. However, from now on, I will try to blog at least once a week using proper English in my posts. More often than that, I can't guarantee, since lapsing into Manglish is like putting on your favourite underwear - you feel so comfortable in it that you wear it as often as you can. Hopefully other bloggers will follow suit. I know my English isn't perfect, so if I make mistakes, and you spot them, please let me know. I also want to improve :)

I remember watching ETV while I was growing up, especially the English lessons with Bing and Bong the clowns. "Learning English is lots of fun, it's so fun, for everyone", went the theme song, or something along those lines. I wonder why they discontinued it - pretty educational, in my opinion (although of course, back then there was no Astro or even TV3, so we didn't really have much choice!)

Ever notice how we allow youngsters to speak broken English to us and we never bother to correct them? Maybe it's because we think they may feel insulted if we point out their errors, or maybe we're just so used to it. Some kids actually ask me once in a while to correct their English, and I'm happy to help them whenever I can. But if they don't voice it out, I don't correct them. So, young ones, if you're really keen on improving your grasp of the language, don't be shy to ask. I'm sure people would be more than happy to guide you. Don't go and ask someone who speaks broken English too, that's like the half-blind leading the blind!

I think the standard of English in Western countries is also going down - too many times I've seen "there" instead of "their" and "it's" instead of "its" on various websites. Youngsters here will probably see such grammatical errors on the Internet and assume that the sentences are correct, since they don't know better. Very dangerous place, the Internet.

So I'm going to do my bit to try and arrest the decline of English in this country. Any other blogger with me?

Till next time, this is Kucing Gatal signing out with a non-Manglish Meow.


  • I've noticed your excellent English from the very beginning. That's also part of the reason as to why I'm inclined to be a reader of your blog; because it's a nice read, ^_^

    Speaking of the writings on the Internet: I wouldn't mind if people who couldn't speak English very well, wrote in a dastardly manner. As I can't blame them for it, I try to help them.

    But I become very, very annoyed when I see people who can speak good English, write like a 7-year old when they're on the realms of the Net. I'd probably give them a nice whack on the head if I could.

    How the hell should I properly read a sentence when it's WrItTeN lIkE tHiS or wr1tt3n l1k3 d1z, b3c4z 1ts l33tz?

    I'm with you, Kucing. I'm all for good and proper English.

    By Blogger xaph, at July 29, 2005 9:04 PM  

  • Thanks Xaph :)

    By Blogger Kucing Gatal, at July 30, 2005 11:56 AM  

  • LoL. errk do i need to spell it out?

    anyway, i thought i've seen so many of "its" than "it's" - such as "its very hard, bla bla bla"

    it'd be nice to have heard them speaking in english, as well. the accent, oh is so sexy. hehehe what was i thinking? *grin*

    By Blogger em, at July 31, 2005 7:43 AM  

  • In my not so humble opinion, u r missing the bigger picture.

    it is all about being able to articulate and communicate well and clearly.

    it does not matter whether it is filled with slang, dialect, metaphors, idioms etc.

    language like everything else evolve.

    By Blogger Pantani's 2nd Cousin, at August 01, 2005 11:47 AM  

  • TheRoadie: When you're trying to get a job, slang and dialect plays a big role. If you can speak English properly, it's a big bonus in the business world.

    My attempt is not to teach people to blog in perfect English ;) Like I said, sometimes the message comes across so much better in different dialects. That's why I only committed myself to one perfect-English post a week. The rest of the time, semua boleh jalan.

    By Blogger Kucing Gatal, at August 01, 2005 12:08 PM  

  • Agree! I hate it when people spell my->muh, thought->tot, know->knoe. It might be useful in sms since the space is limited, but we have ample space in the internet. My English is not that good, but I'm willing to learn and improve myself.

    By Blogger Butterflyn, at August 01, 2005 4:50 PM  

  • i've been a silent reader all this while, but was called to comment on this entry. i'm with you on improving the quality of english on the net - it annoys me when people use bad english to write (as mentioned by xaph & butterflyn), not to mention broken grammars and inappropriate use of bombastic words in a sentence. i don't mind the ocassional use of colloquial malaysian english (manglish), but please, use it discriminately.

    By Blogger ieda, at August 01, 2005 6:29 PM  

  • I must say your blog compelled me to leave a comment. I'm in total agreement that the standard of English is on the decline with our young folk. The only issue is that these young puppies are our future leaders. If you think our minister's English is bad, just wait 10 - 15 years.

    Just another note: Bong of Bing & Bong is my cousin.


    By Blogger seraniforever, at August 03, 2005 3:22 PM  

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