The first-person singular pronouns of English are ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘myself’. Although in daily speech people have been known to use them somewhat interchangeably, IMO it’s worth knowing which roles those different words are supposed to play in a sentence.
Give yourself a quiz. Read each of the sentences below and decide whether it is grammatically correct.
The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely.
So. What shape is the telescreen? Does “oblong” mean “rectangle”?
This box set contains three folk tales told in Singlish style: The Three Little Pigs Lah, The Red Riding Hood Lah, and The Goldilocks Lah.
The plots are not very different from other adaptations of these familiar tales. The characters are not very different, except that the bears in the story of Goldilocks are not bears but wolves, a change presumably made to connect the third book with the first two. The setting for the stories is Singapore. The illustrations are a mix of drawings and photos of objects and places, and each book’s drawings are by a different artist.
The appeal of these books (in general and for me specifically) is that they use and teach Singlish dialect and slang expressions. The target audience includes both those who want to see their own dialect used for humorous effect and those who are unfamiliar with Singlish and interested in increasing their understanding of it.
I am excited to be giving a public talk on language for Funzing Singapore next month. Hope to see you there!
Does your language influence—or even control—your very thoughts? Join us for a scintillating night as we delve deep into the spookier aspects of language. You’ll never think about language the same way again…
In this talk we’ll look at how much we rely on our language to frame our understanding of the world. You’ll be surprised to see how different languages choose to express or emphasise seemingly basic aspects of experience like gender, direction and colour!
Some languages, including Classical Chinese, lack separate words for ‘blue’ and ‘green’. Meanwhile, Eskimos are said to have dozens of words for snow. What do we make of these oddities?
Do differences in our words reflect differences in thought? In other words, do speakers of Chinese view the world differently from speakers of English, Malay, Tamil, and other languages of the world—or do we all talk differently but think somewhat the same?
What would happen if people purposely changed the language we use? Would they be able to improve or impair our thinking as in the film Arrival or the novel 1984? Examining insights from research on ‘linguistic relativity’ and examples from literature and popular culture, we’ll uncover just how much our words affect our lives!
Distrii (a co-working space at 9 Raffles Place, Republic Plaza, 048619)
Date / Time
Tuesday 7th August, 7 p.m. (Talk starts at 7.30 p.m.)
After I bought a Samsung S7 from a friend, I immediately bought a rubbery (thermoplastic polyurethane) case for it at the nearest mobile phone accessory kiosk. (Throw a rock in any direction in downtown Singapore and you’ll hit ten such kiosks.)