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Saturday, 14 January 2012

English language in Malaysia in dire straits!

English Language Camp 2008 SMK Taman Rinting 2...
Image by Roslan Tangah (aka Rasso) via Flickr

English is in dire straits

IT can no longer be denied that the state of the English language in our country is in dire straits. One does not have to look far to see how inferior we as a society have become when it comes to mastering this global language.

I am a first-year student in a reputable private university in Cyberjaya and I am appalled at some of the English used in announcements on its online portal as well as in the notices and circulars pasted on campus.

Grammatical mistakes are not uncommon and not a few of them are a direct translation from languages such as Bahasa Malaysia.

Even members of the student council are not spared from this problem as a good number of their announcements and occasional public speeches in English betray their command of the language.

I am not in a good position to judge my varsity mates in terms of proficiency in that language but the Average Joe will have no difficulty learning just how low their command of English is by having a two-minute chat with them.

Even in the Government, the standard of the English language has dropped drastically.

The recent “poking-eye” debacle in the Defence Ministry website as well as howlers in other government websites are a matter of serious concern and are no laughing matter.

As these websites are an online representation of our country, can we afford to make ourselves a laughing stock on the world stage?

While the government in countries such as China, South Korea and Japan have consistently tried to improve their society’s command of English, the same cannot be said of Malaysia.

In fact, based on the latest decision by the Education Ministry to abolish PPSMI (the teaching of Science and Mathematics in English), it appears that we are taking a giant leap backwards.

Are we going to be more competitive in this globalised world in doing so?

I am definitely sure the answer is “No”.

It is my hope that the powers-that-be understand the seriousness of this situation and will take the necessary steps to arrest this “linguistic-recession” before it comes to a point where we are no longer able to fully participate and, worse, become “paralysed”, in this globalised world due to our lack of proficiency in English.

JSZ, Klang to The Star Friday January 13, 2012

Related posts:

“Clothes that poke eye”, Melayu English; Lost in translation!

‘Poke-eye’ Melayu English blunder, Mindef blames Google, my God!

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