if you think that the writer is being to hard on us, please feel free to write to
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I saw this article in the newspaper. Some writers are debating about how to arrest the plunging standard of the english language in my country, singapore. one author writes:
ON A post-office counter is a little cardboard box meant for litter labelled, 'Please throw your rubbish here.'
Step into any school and read the compositions displayed. You will be appalled at the many errors that have gone unnoticed by the teachers. Also, notices and slogans in classrooms and on staircases. Shouldn't the heads of department pay attention to these?
I pointed out the errors to a teacher. His answer? He was not an English-medium teacher. If the teachers or heads of department do not vet the work, who does?
I simply cannot understand, what's wrong with 'please throw your rubbish here' ... can you please enlighten?
Say: "too hard on us"Originally Posted by ExK
thanks RonBee and NewYorkMike. RonBee, that was a typo but thanks for pointing it out to me :). If you can write to that forum as a teacher from a foreign, English-speaking country, it would be so helpful.Originally Posted by RonBee
What do you mean about the writer being too hard on you? Are you talking about the writer quoted in the original posting of this thread? By "us" do you mean the residents of Singapore?
Maybe they think 'throw' is too strong a word given the location of the box and would prefer 'put'. I can't say that it strikes me as much of a problem, though.
'us' refers to non-native English speakers in Singapore (like me). There has been a lot of discussions about how our less-than-impressive command of English is causing a lot of communications problems, esp when we talk to foreigners from English-speaking countries. While some writers suggest ways to improve the standard of english of the country in a constructive manner, some just take this opportunity to show off by citing some obscure examples of 'bad English'. I found it condescending, so I'm looking for people to rebut that letter in Straits Times, Singapore. (http://straitstimes.com.sg)
Here is my response to the article. It has not been published, but I'm not sure if it would be ...
I refer to Mr. S. Rajamanickam's letter to the ST Forum page. He said that the sentence 'Please throw your rubbish here.' contained error.
As a non-native English speaker who always strives to improve his command of the language, I asked my English-speaking friends from the US and Australia just what was wrong with the above sentence.
These foreigner friends of mine told me that the sentence 'is correct', and they had no problem understanding it.
Are some elitist English speakers being too hard on non-native speakers, or are they grossly over-estimating the foreigners' command of the English language? It is important to assess the standard of our English vis-a-vis that of the English-speaking world fairly to avoid unnecessarily instilling a false sense of inferiority in non-native speakers.
If the writer in question was looking for instances of bad English, he made a poor choice.
You expressed yourself quite well in that letter, making your point clearly.
By "non-native English speakers" do you mean people from Singapore who began learning English relatively late (in adulthood) or people who came to Singapore from somewhere else?
Since you have expressed a desire to improve your English, I will be happy to help. If you wish me to do so, I will point out any errors and offer suggestions for improvement. Since you don't make many mistakes, my job should be an easy one. :wink:
(URL reposted to make it a hyperlink)
Thanks for your kind words :) When I said 'non-native English speakers', I actually referred to those who don't start learning english until relatively late in their life. That in general also include who came to singapore from a non-english speaking country.
My letter was not published today, so that means it was not selected :). But the good thing is, I now learn that it's not a terrible mistake to say 'don't throw your rubbish here' :) What a relief because I say that all the time!