Tuesday, May 06, 2008
For the ears
Someone wrote into the forum page recently. He is proud to be born and bred here. For here, he has pick up many dialects and speaks more than two languages. More recently there has been talk to revitalise the myriad of chinese dialects. I grew up chatting cantonese with mum, and conversing english with dad as he speaks no cantonese. Mandarin bridge their language barrier. Weekly smattering of teowchew with grandma and daily blabber of hokkien and english with classmates. To the language teacher, it's Malay. Picked up mandarin here in singapore and spent 5 years learning japanese. Every chance I have I love to natter my dialects with the fishmonger, the butcher or even the dear old lady selling vegetables. It's dialects that gives the sense of belonging. Bahasa Melayu dengan the dear old nenek next door, a sense of bonding. To her delight the japanese lady behind the snack counter at Isetan supermarket spent the next 20 min telling me her seaweed snacks when she found that I understand japanese. A sense of pride.