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第1课 A NEW COLLEAGUE

2006-07-29 09:53

  Follow this series of 30 SGEM Phone-in Lessons to learn about the adventures and misadventures of using the English language, from a group of young dynamic whizz kids at HotDotCom, a fictional company. Watch out for Mei Ling, the Singaporean Managing Director, Jaya, the Indian Webmaster, Jane, the recently-arrived British Marketing Manager, Nora, the Singaporean secretary and Gary, the Singaporean admin assistant. Each day, there will also be one point left unexplained for you to find and then check your answer in the newspaper the following day.

  Jaya is at the airport, waiting for Jane to arrive from England……

  Voice on tannoy: This is a call for Jane Wheeler, arriving from Manchester on flight PQ004. Would Jane Wheeler please come to the information desk?

  Jane: Hello, I'm Jane. Are you Jaya, by any chance?

  Jaya: Yes I am! Hi Jane! I'm Jaya from HotDotCom. Pleased to meet you.

  Jane: Jaya?……Ah yes, you're the Webmaster, aren't you? Pleased to meet you, too!

  Jaya: Oh - looks like we're going to need a big cab……

  In the taxi, on the way to Jane's hotel……

  Driver: This way can?

  Jaya: No, lah! - this way cannot! Miss turn already! Mus u-turn back!

  Driver: Traffic heavy already-cannot change lane!

  Jaya: Now mus enter CBD and pay ERP!

  Jane: Oh dear! Are we breaking the law or something?

  Jaya: Don't worry, Jane.

  Jaya: (To driver) Here! Pass red light. Now all the way straight.

  Driver: Drive up or what?

  Jane has just checked in at her hotel……

  Jane: Thanks for meeting me, Jaya. I hope I'm going to manage all right in Singapore. I didn't realise I'd have to learn Chinese to work here.

  Jaya: (Puzzled) Chinese?

  Jane: Or was it Malay? Anyway, you seem to have picked it up so well, or Did you learn it before you left India?

  Jaya: (Still puzzled) Learn what?

  Narrator: Well, our new colleague seems to be confused before she's even unpacked her bag……     Hello. I'm Mei Ling - and I'm the boss of HotDotCom. Our business is growing and Jane is one of two new members of staff I've taken on. First impressions are very important; in her first few hours in Singapore, Jane has heard mostly 'Singlish' and she's clearly not impressed……

  Driver: This way can?

  Jaya: No, lah! - this way cannot! Miss turn already! Mus u-turn back!

  Narrator: Jaya - now he's been in Singapore for some time, so he and the taxi-driver can banter in Singlish. But, like many other people in Singapore, he is much more comfortable speaking good English such as this:

  Jaya: Can we go this way?

  Jane: No, we can't. We've missed the turn, so you'll have to turn round.

  Narrator: The way that Singlish sounds to non-Singaporeans makes it seem more like a foreign language.

  Replay……

  Jane: I didn't realise I'd have to learn Chinese to work here.

  Jaya: (puzzled) Chinese?

  Jane: Or was it Malay?

  Narrator: It's spoken quickly, and doesn't have the features of good English that people outside Singapore are used to hearing. This creates a very poor first impression for visitors, customers from overseas and well-spoken Singaporeans. It can also sound very bossy, and uses terms that you only find in Singapore, like ERP and 'all the way straight'.

  Jaya: What I should've said is: 'Go through the next set of traffic lights, then straight on.'

  Narrator: Because we want to give people the best possible impression of Singapore, speaking good English has an important role to play.

  Jaya: That's right, Mei Ling - and that's why we've created this series of telephone lessons - to help Singaporeans understand why Singlish is inappropriate.

  Narrator: And to point out some common mistakes and offer alternative ways of saying things.

  Jaya: So dial in tomorrow and catch up with the team at HotDotCom for lesson number 2!

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