Saturday, February 20, 2010

From Singapore To KL: You Speak With A Slang Lah

More language story on the way!

If anything, I thought my Cantonese (& Mandarin) has some very weird slang... but then, recently, I was even told that so does my English!

Did you study overseas?
Well, yes in a way. Studied in Singapore, which is just across the causeway actually... (lol). Btw, how can you guess?
Ah cos you speak with a slang.
Huh? -.-

If anything, I thought, I'll be the no. 1 Manglish speaking person in the entire world! So u can guess how surprised I was when I heard that... especially so, when I thought settling back to KL means getting back into the Manglish roots.

But looking back, maybe he is right...

It's funny that when I first went to Singapore, I was told to have this rather strong Malaysian English accent. Ya lah, you know lah...

Then about 1 year or so later, some Singaporeans say they can't tell the difference between my English & theirs, saying I sounded local.

Though it was nice to 'having to fit in', but I felt a bit weird cos I've never liked Singlish - especially the lei, hor, ah that goes with it. And I clearly avoided using such words in my English-Singlish-Manglish (whichever way you arrange it). Those words to me, are just so painful to the ear!

I still wonder how they associate my English with theirs, though I avoided those words. Maybe they meant that I speak less Manglish - but that clearly doesn't mean more Singlish.

Anyway, I think along the way, apart from not using the lei, hor & ah, I also reduced (if not deleted completely) the lah, mah in my vocab... which of course got some of my Malaysian friends to then point out that I speak funny! Well, well... in any case, I lived with it for a few years on.

And true enough, a Singaporean friend told me few years later:
You know, your 'England' is very cute. It doesn't sound like the locals speaking Singlish. Sound a bit like the ang moh talking one.

For a long time, I thought the Singlish never got on to me. Waaah, damn proud lah I must say! Until just last year, when I met one KL-ite, and she told me:
Ya, but you speak like them what.... you actually have that Singlish in between!
Huh? Really? No lei....
There.. there, you just said the lei!

Alamak! Yes, the lei finally came into my vocab!

From that day on, I made a point to use much more lah again and made sure to curb the lei word. And I thought I've done successfully for the past few months, especially that now I'm living & breathing KL!

So back to the recent conversation, when my friend's friend mentioned I speak English with a slang, I just laughed... for here it goes again: the lost identity of my English.

I've resigned my fate that my English is just a mixture of all sorts, til just 2 days ago, when another KL-ite mentioned:
Come to think of it, you do sound like a Malaccan!
You guys from Melaka all speak different.

Well, there you have it. I guess after all the merry-go-round, I can finally attach some roots to my English. As much as my English is influenced by the ang mor English, the Singaporean Singlish & the Malaysian Manglish, but deep down to its core - the slang & all actually comes from a place so nearby lah - and it's non other than the Malaccan's English! LOL!

*Wahai, orang Melaka, do you agree we speak with a slang?



  1. Even Caucasians speak with slang! :)

  2. Hahaha :D I thing my English no slang. Just got Malay-slang lor. :p

  3. I actually like to listen to English, Singlish, Manglish and Thaiglish too! haha!

    The only thing I don't like is Indglish (Indian English) - don't ask me why! I tolerated it in Slumdog Millionaire. LOL!

    All these are fun cos they enrich the language : )

  4. Thanks for dropping by my blog. Love your entry about giving the best in work. Would love to blog about 9th day of CNY but due to time constraint and being not too familiar as there are too many versions would pass. Perhaps you wanna give it a try? tQ

  5. I think the 'lei' is found in Singlish because basically, Hokkien is the dialect commonly used in Sgp. KLites would speak more with Cantonese thrown in generally. Familiar with Cantonese now? hehe..


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