Sunday, August 12, 2007

I speak Tamil and 4 Chinese dialects!

Since my freak accident, I have been stuck in my bedroom, spending my free time watching Korean drama VCDs. Not a bad thing though, my eyes have attained a certain glitter from ogling at so many hunks. hehehe.....

And it inspires me to learn another new language - Korean. kekeke..... not bad eh.

I live in a multi-racial country. When I was a child, my neighbours were made up of all races and they speak different languages and dialects then. In order to play with the other kids, I need to communicate in their respective languages and dialects. So I picked them up through our daily play and conversations.

I can speak and write English, Chinese, Malay and Indonesian languages. I speak Teochew, Hokkien, Cantonese, Hainanese, Tamil and a smattering of Thai, Japanese. hahahaha.... what a feat! blekkk.....

I learnt English in school. Chinese was my mother tongue. I picked up Indonesian language from my Indonesian maids, students and their parents. The rest was picked up from the neighbours, foreign students, through watching TV programmes and at the market place. ^-^

Knowing a few languages do give me an advantage when communicating with my clients. Oh, I created lots of jokes too with my 'half-cooked' foreign languages. And it definitely caused unhappiness when other races speak bad about me in their own language, thinking I can't understand. I didn't bring my chopper then, if not........ hahaha.........

Oops. aiyoooooo..... now many people know already lah!

How many languages and/or dialects do you know?


  1. you are good! really good! I only know engrish...cantonese... malay... 1/4-baked mandarin... errrr, 2 words of italian... 2 of japanese... errr...

  2. You are so tanted, ECL! It's a shame that learning a foreign language is not considered important until later.

  3. wah! banyak pandai!

    i can only speak mandirin, hokkien, teochew, hakka, english and malay.

    but i can understand foochow, cantonese and indonesian though. :D

  4. May,
    How come 1/4 baked Manadarin? I thought Malaysian Chinese learn Mandarin in schools too? Ohhhh.... Didn't study hard!

  5. Captain Picard,
    In our Singapore schools, we have to learn two languages. English is our first language and then we have to learn a second language. There are some students who would take another 3rd langugae. Many Singaporeans are bilingual. :)

  6. ehon,
    You're not too bad also!!! :)

    Not many young people can understand dialects now, but you know how to speak some.

  7. You are talented in language.

    I can speak Mandarin and English.

    I can understand common music terminologies in Italian, German and French. Does this count?

    Oh, I can understand simple Hainanese...though can't speak much.

  8. oceanskies,
    Understand common music terminologies in Italian, German and French can be counted meh? Then I know lotsa Japanese. hehehe.......

    You're not too bad either. Bilingual. Can survive in Singapore, western countries, and SE Asia lah!

  9. ECL, 'kahse kude' :) in Tamil, in case my spelling for this sentence is somewhat funny, ahak ahak :P

  10. i don't know mandarin. not all chinese go to chinese school. i attended a state school that teaches primarily in malay. then there are saturday classes for mandarin, in which most of the time i copied and cheated or fail in exams :P

    so, i only know how to write my name, with effort. not bad lor, right?

  11. Wow! You really know lots of languages. I only know Cantonese, English and Mandarian. I tried to learn German before, but it was too hard so I gave up. I always want to learn Japanese but it seems I don't have a chance to do so. My husband keeps saying that I should make sure my English is as good as a native speaker before I could think about other languages... *sigh*

  12. eastcoastlife,
    You're just too good lah! Can sepak so many languages and dialects. I only can speak Mandarin, English, Malay and for dialects, Cantonese, Hakka and Hokkien. All "half bucket water". hahaha!

    Can I ask? What business are you in ah? Just curious. hehe.

  13. *thumbs up*
    But time for you to learn Italian... Spanish... French... Africanese... Swedish... haha, jk!

    Not all M'sian Chinese learn Chinese ler... a lot of us are "banana" ppl...


  14. ECL

    Yo hablo solamente dos idiomas. Oh that was Spanish for you.

    Yes I can speak, read, and write Spanish at the expert level.

    In the late 1990s I went to the island of Aruba [in the Caribbean Sea, just north of Venezuela] for a port visit, was surprised to learn that the average school kid on the island knows seven languages!

    ECL, have a fine SINGAPORE day!!!

  15. I speak English and a little Spanish. I can understand Spanish easier than I can speak it. I think learning different languages is truly a brain exercise! Your blog makes me want to come visit Singapore! I enjoy reading it. I'm embarrassed to say, I know very little about Singapore, so I'm really enjoying your blog and getting a first hand account of someone native to that country. I Googled it today to find out more about it. Thanks for enlightening a girl from Texas. :o)

  16. Waaaahhhh U sooo keng wan ah??? Can speak soo many dialects!!

  17. sweetpea,
    I can't read Tamil, I didn't learn it. I can't read your Tamil either. hahaha....

    Oh, you didn't pick up Mandarin? Are you gonna let Aidan learn it? It's going to be important in the future.

  18. Windy,
    Well, you know the two major languages. But you tried to learn German. That's interesting!

    haha.... your hubby has a point there. I try to learn so many languages but not good in all. :)

  19. english(half bucket), mandarin(half bucket) and singlish! hahahha!

  20. kekeke?? lololol
    love ur laughter!
    wats so good about korean actors??
    i speak japanese, english, thai, hindi.
    my bosses speak tamil but it seems tooo difficult to learn so many languages!
    i get totally mixed up!
    u are soo lucky to have grown up in such international environment :)
    so please speak to me in japanese!

  21. Kok,
    I learn so many languages to communicate with my clients. My knowledge of the languages is also 'half-bucket'. hehe....

    I'm in the education business. I deal with many foreigners wanting to study outside their countries.

  22. My angel,
    Oh... I'm interested in learning Spanish, but don't have anyone to practise with. I can learn faster if I practise it. :)

    Oh, I thought all Malaysian Chinese go to Chinese scholls. I know Malaysian Chinese who speak very good Mandarin. The Chinese standard in Malaysia is better than Singapore's.

  23. tlrb,
    Wow! Your Spanish is at the expert level! Cool! I love Spanish!

    Wow! The people on the island of Aruba are so talented! 7 languages!
    That's a tough feat!

  24. Hi Laura Brittain,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Yes, you should try to make a trip to Singapore. It's an amzing little island! You would love the food and the people. I welcome you to Singapore.

  25. wennnn,
    I had to learn so many dialects so as to play with the kids in my neighbourhood. Also I learn the dialects so I can get favours from the older neighbours. hahaha.... with a motive, one learns faster.

  26. Wah kakak hidup pantai timur bisa bahasa indo. 東海岸生活阿姐好叻啊!

  27. tigerfish,
    If your Englsh is half-bucket, my English is only about one teacup! So humble lah you!

    Singlish is still the preferred language in Singapore. :)

  28. Niki-chan,
    Wow! You speak Hindi! You are not too bad yourself.

    Korean actors are good looking, so are the Japanese actors! I haven't been watching too many Japanese dramas because Korean dramas are the rage now.

    My Japanese is limited. I still need to improve on it. hehe....

  29. Miss Loi,
    Hebat yah! hehehe... Bisa communcasi ajar lah! Masih kurang.

  30. Fuiyohhhhhhhhh...*tabik*..I oni know how to speak cantonese , Hakka, and pasar mia mandarin..and of course Malay ler..After I watched the Korean series oso I had wanted to learn Korean..hehe..but till date..belum lagi..

  31. I speak Hakka, Hokkien, BM, Mandarin, Cantonese and English! You very geng leh! Jap also know!

    I think it's a great opportunity for us over at this side of the globe to learn more than 1, 2 or even 3 languages. We're so rich in cultural diversity.

  32. Eve,
    Funny, Cantonese is so widely used in KL. When I went there, I thought I was in Hong Kong!

    That's why you don't need to know Hokkien and Teochew lah!

  33. narrowband,
    We indeed have lots of opportunities to pick up a few languages and dialects. I encourage my son to learn another language too.

    I need to learn these languages to communicate with my clients. I want to learn Korean so I can impress my Korean idol. hahaha....

  34. Ooit.
    You are too good.
    Pass some of the talent to Jaymes?

  35. yenjai,
    Jaymes knows Indonesian and Tagalog besides English and Mandarin. He's going to learn Japanese during his school holidays. He does have a gift for learning languages. I think he should work on that. :)

  36. you are sooo good - now that it is no more a secret that you are a liguist ... time to let out some more of your precious secrets like this..

  37. Kalidas,
    hahaha... yup. Secret's out. Shouldn't be divulging any more huh. :)

  38. wow, that's fantastic. my foreign friends are constantly amazed at the amount of language dialects Singaporeans can handle. In Taiwan, we can use Mandarin and Hokkien. In HK/Macau and Guangzhou, we can use Cantonese or "Bai Hua" as they refer to it. In China, Mandarin and perhaps some Teochew or Hakka depending on the region and dialectal origination. Not bad for a little red dot-ful of people.

  39. Jas,
    Oh yes. Singaporeans and also Malaysians are good in languages. Even when we go to Europe or western countries, we have no problem as we speak English.

  40. I only speak English. I would love to learn another some day.

    You are always welcome at my blog...Thanks for stoppimg by.

    Take care,

  41. eastcoastlife,
    I think never mind about the "half bucket" language. So long as they understand, then should be alright. haha!

    Haiyo, macam business besar ni! haha!

  42. You are not only popular, you are also talented with all those multi-languages... *applause*... :)

  43. yeah japanese actors are not hot :P
    i prefer bollywood stars!!

  44. wow, u know so many, good for you... me can only manage Hokkien & Khek other than English and Mandarin.

  45. Nanun hanguk mal chokum hapnida.

    Been picking my Korean back up since my missus watches those Korean soaps. Though I speak more German.

    Know a smattering of Japanese, Mandarin, and Cantones. Now I am picking up some Malay.

  46. Wow ... you so talented. As for me, I suck at language. My mother-tongue seems to disappear as time goes by and my English still sucks. The only thing I could write was computer language (was pretty good at it ...) and one time I met with a language professor from my university and he said: I can never understand you people [computer scientists] ... how can you "create" a language?!

  47. Waw... can speak so many language? Tell you what! I've been to Hindu temple for 9 years, But, I guess I only understand, "saperengga?", "SapereK" And "Amma Pune...". How about that?

    Am I considered slow learner? haha....

    BTW, I just wanna say... You are great! :)

  48. **Hangs head down in shame**....

    Don't ask lah, then you won't be told a lie! :P

    In your case, probably easier to ask, "What language can't you speak?" :)

  49. With your bubbly personality, I am not surprised you know a lot of languages/dialects. Most Asians too learn to speak languages other than their mother tongue. But alas for me, I only know two - English, Filipino. A little of Spanish because it was taught in school. I think Japanese and French would be great to learn too. Nowadays though, in the Philippines, most are studying Mandarin.

  50. Hi Connie,
    Thanks for visiting.

    Love your gifts. :)

  51. Kok,
    Right. I was laughed at and teased at my half-bucket foreign languages but as long as I can communicate with my clients and get my messages across, I'm fine with it. hehe....

  52. Niki-chan,
    Ooooo..... You watched Bollywood movies!? The dancing and singing is awesome!

  53. Pinkie!!!
    Hello! How are you?
    That's good enough in Singapore. We don't use dialects that much these days.

  54. simple american,
    Oh, I forgot you speak Korean. Quite a feat for an American to speak dialect, Malay and Mandarin!

    You are picking up Singlish too. hahaha.... Your lah, lor, leh....

  55. wilfrid,
    hahaha.... you one up, speak computer language!!! Now that's something I'm never good at!

    Aren't you learning Indonesian from Cynthia? You know Indonesian, you would be able to communicate with Malays too.

  56. Hi from Xinjiapo!
    I am a French lion roaring in the Lion City! I Can only speak French, English and Spanish. That's why I am learning some Mandarin and Malay! I sometimes trey to speak some Mandarin to aunties or uncles at the kopitiam but they don't understand me. I think my pronouciation of Mandarin is not Correct!! Dui lah! I am not so pandai! Not Chiok at all!

    Oh yes! Saya suka ni de blog! :)


    PS: here is my blog :
    Yes, I wrote some articles about Singapura.

  57. Healy,
    You worship at a Hindu Temple!? You should be able to understand Hindi more. You speak English to the priests?

  58. aiyoooo... Judy,
    Dun say that lah! Make me look like I'm showing off. ish.

    I need to learn more languages because of survival. In order to clinch a deal, it's better to speak the client's language. They would feel closer to me.

  59. Lynn,
    It is good to learn Mandarin. Even people in western countries like USA and Europe are learning Mandarin.

    The rise of China has fueled such interest. It would be good for your children to learn another language, especially Mandarin.

  60. Hi Charly,
    Welcome to Singapore. I hope it has been a beautiful experience for you despite some bad experience. ^-^

    Don't bother about the unpleasant messages. Such things happen all over the world, not only limited to Singaporeans. There are still many Singaporeans who are pleasant and courteous to our guests.

    You seem to adapt well to our city when you've only been here 6 months! You can understand and write simple Malay n Chinese. Impressive.

    Enjoy your stay here. All the best. :)

  61. I learned French when i was in high school. i'd like to learn Korean becase a lot of Korean car companies and automtive supplier factories are moving to our area.

  62. I learned French when I was in high school. I'd like to learn Korean becase a lot of Korean car companies and automtive supplier factories are moving to our area.

  63. Oh, fave my current site too please.

  64. Hi Martin,
    Nice to see you again. You have a new site. :)

  65. I know a little bit of French - wanna learn? *wink*

  66. giddy tiger,
    Oo... oo... French! Yes yes yes!!!
    Ahhhh... so romantic!

  67. You so smart! I did take a class on Bahasa Indonesia and manage to speak a few words. That is the "secret language" Cynthia and I have when we are on the phone with people around us .. hahaha.

    Still, I suck at that.

  68. Hi jacelyn,
    Korean is not so difficult to learn. Go learn with a good language centre, can pick it up by yourself also. :)

  69. Wilfrid,
    But Cynthia can still understand what you are saying, right? So tat would be the secret language between you two lor. Even Indonesians also catch no ball what you are saying. hahaha.....

  70. Hey ... I did converse with my driver back in Indonesia in BI in front of my sister and she had no clue what we were talking about you know ... no joke joke ... lol

  71. Wilfrid,
    So your BI is good lor! Even Indonesian also can understand. Good job! :)

  72. You're a very good polyglot! Learning new languages is always fun. I really need to polish my Mandarin. Thanks for the inspiration!

  73. Hi Issa Jimenez,
    Thanks for stopping by.

    Yes, it is fun to learn new languages and it is not so difficult if you put in effort to learn it. Mandarin would be useful in the future. Best wishes.

  74. Wow, you do know a lot of languages and dialects. I speak Spanish, Swedish and English fluently and I understand French, Portuguese, Italian, Catalan, Gallego, Danish, Norwegian, Moroccan Arabic and some German.

    This is my first visit to your blog but I'm bookmarking it so I can come back.


  75. Hi Mayogi,
    Wow! Wow! Wow! You know many more languages than I do! You are really good!

    Thanks for dropping in and sharing. Would love to see you again. Cheers. ^-^

  76. Just discoverd your blog (txs for adding at Blogcatalogue) and I am really surprised by your language knowledge.

    I can only speak English, Spanish and Catalan although I also defend myself in French, Portuguese and Italian due to the similarities of Latin origin languages. And I have a basic knowledge of Basque and Classical Arabic but I couldn't afford a conversation. I only know single words.

    But Asian peolpe seam to know lots of languages, each very different from one another. I really admire you.

  77. Hi Quiveringstar,
    Thanks for visiting and sharing. I appreciate that. :)

    In Asia, many races live closely together. I think, Asians are very practical people and can easily adapt to their surroundings. They have good heads for business too. They learn other languages in order to communicate and to survive.

    Also Asians work hard to get what they desire. So with these motives, they tend to achieve much.

    You know quite a few languages too. I'm sure there are people who admire you as well. :)

  78. Hmmm....

    I can speak Chinese, English, Malay, Hokkien. A tiny bit of French.

    At work, the languages I know are: ASP, PHP, Perl, a tiny bit of Java, VB.

    what else ah...

  79. keropok man,
    You speak French! Ooooo.... romantic wor. :)

    You and your computer language ah!

  80. You are a very lucky person who can speak many languages. I am also from Singapore. I only can Speak Mandarin, English, Hokkien and Cantonese.

  81. Hi ACSBR2E107,
    Thanks for stopping by. You are young, you can still pick up more languages and dialect, if you want.

    Not many teenagers speak dialects these days. :)