Go big or go home…

Turning Japanese

Posted on: May 15, 2009

I haven’t subconsciously picked up any Singlish yet, but I do find myself deliberately modifying my speech.

On my way to work this morning I had the following exchange with a cabbie:

Me: Nets can?
Him: Ah, money can?
Me: Eh, no money for lunch, ah!

Which means:

Me: Please could I pay using my Nets bank card?
Him: Waiting five minutes for the card reader to process is something of a hassle. Perhaps you could pay by cash?
Me: Well, I *could* pay cash, but I don’t have much on me at the moment, let’s stick to Nets shall we?

Incidentally, if the card reader were actually broken (or he pretended it was) it would have been:

Me: Nets can?
Him: Nets cannot. Money can.

The definite ‘cannot’ changes ‘Please could you pay cash’ from a question to a statement.

The grammar in Singapore is more Chinese, yet the alphabet and vocabulary is more English. Which is the sensible way round – combining English verb declensions with Chinese characters could trigger some kind of language apocalypse.

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