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an article talking about simplified and traditional chinese

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Sophie Lee:

I am afraid your observation is not so valid. Let's read what Lee Hsien Loong (son of Lee Kuan Yew) said:



Since 1984, Chinese language has been reduced into an isolated subject in primary and secondary schools, and all other subjects are taught in English, which has ever since dominated the country's education system. According to statistics from Singapore's ministry of education, 9.3 percent first year pupils of primary schools of Chinese origin used English at home in 1980, but the figure soared to 45 percent last year. What's more noticeable is, according to Singaporean population census in 2000, 35.8 percent children at the age group of 5-14 of Chinese origin mainly used English at home, while in the age-group of 15-24, only 21.5 percent used English in family conversations. If the trend remains unchanged, English will become the No.1 language for the Singaporean Chinese in one or two decades, while the Chinese language be reduced into an "alien tongue" to be learnt only in class.


It is not just some toddles who learn to speak in English as you wrote, almost half of the ethnic Chinese kids have English as their mother tongue in Singapore!

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English as their mother tongue

One often hears that a particular variety of English/Chinese etc. has a foreign language as a substrate, i.e., the particular variety in question has a strong influence from the original native language. Well, Singlish is a living example in action. Now that Singaporeans have 'English as their mother tongue', Singlish can take its place alongside British, American, Australian etc. as a native variety of English. This is in contrast to, say, 'Japanese English', which is not a native variety of English, merely a style of English spoken as a foreign language. (Sometimes there is resistance from native speakers of English to recognising Singlish as a valid variety of real English.)

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>I am afraid your observation is not so valid. Let's read what Lee Hsien >Loong (son of Lee Kuan Yew) said:

I'm not sure if my observation actually implies that English "is not" widespread. I don't disagree with the fact that Singaporeans probably in most instances--especially the younger generations--have a higher English proficiency than the older ones. On the other hand, I don't think they reject Chinese despite what the newspaper says. Perhaps I say this because I studied in a business environment and during those times the students were very aware of the necessity to learn Chinese, lamenting that their level is not good enough.

>It is not just some toddles who learn to speak in English as you wrote, >almost half of the ethnic Chinese kids have English as their mother >tongue in Singapore!

My apologies if I made it seem the contrary, but it's true that English should be considered their mother tongue. I don't see this as contradictory to what I wrote, but Singaporeans do speak both English and Chinese.

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First, I apologize that my post offended you. Second, I want to make it clear that it was not directed to you, but to a historical Chinese attitude in general, and not limited to "character consultation." The "barbarians," "disown them" statements can attest to this point. I wasn't trying to personally analyze or extend your mindset. I was trying to make a point that elements of the xenophobic sinocentrism present in the late Qing, can still be found in modern China (and has been increasing for the past 5 years). In fact, the stance taken by most modern Chinese historians reveals this attitude, and hence I said: nothing has really changed. As bathrobe said, your post just served as a trigger for my little rant, I used "character consultation" as a prop. It didn't have much to do with character consultation really, it was a discussion with bathrobe about new/old order in East Asia, the popular attitude of the Chinese (that is encouraged by the governments). Once again, I apologize for having offended you.

ok, thanks for the clarification, in fact, I do have that kind of impression after reading your post that you're going sort of personal... anyway it's very clear now, thanks for the explanation.

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