Chris postulates a theory for the declining standard of English which seems to be prevalent amongst Singapore youths too. He attributes it to the frequent use of SMS text messaging. And he may be speaking some sense for once here. Our PM also gave a Korean definition of youth in his 2004 National Day Rally speech: "A young man is somebody who can do an SMS with one hand with the phone in his pocket."
Consider the following SMS text:
tku v m lol. imho altho u oredi hv dat. dis r gr8. rotfl. btw wru nw? bbl ttfn luv.
Laudies (another good example of the
Thank you very much. (Laughing out loud.) In my humble opinion, although you already have that, these are great. (Rolling on the floor laughing.) By the way, where are you now? Be back later. Ta ta for now. Love.
As you can see, the use of abbreviations has shorten a more than 200-character SMS to about 90 characters, achieving a compression ratio of less than half. Not bad, considering that no technology was involved at all, only a little ingenuity.
We can almost always tell that a blog is likely to be written by a youth, typically from 20 to 30-year old. People of this age group tend to make scarce use of punctuations, especially capitalization. See for example the passage below. How easy is it for one to read it?
yes boba milk tea is the best! when i lived in l.a. i used to go over to a place called "volcano tea house" in the japantown section of west l.a. for one when i wanted a treat, or to monetery park, where you could get them in just about any chinese bakery. i have been disappointed with the "bubble teas" you can get in beantown (chewy, dry tapioca pearls and oddly flavorless tea), but lately my favorite bakery in chinatown here was replaced by a place called "bao bao tea" that served up a boba milk tea that reminded me of the good old days--rich tea flavor, sweet and milky with nice soft tapioca pearls. a friend of mine who did field research on formosan macaques on taiwan was very familiar with them and turned me on to this, one of my favorite beverages. all hail boba milk tea!
Then there are shop signs that don't make good English sense. This one seems more appropriate for a psychiatry clinic:
And this one is not even pronounceable. I tried but I sounded like I was spitting:
So how can our youths learn good English when our environment is not conducive for them to do so?