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第16课 SINGAPOREAN COWGIRL

2006-07-29 10:12

  In Singapore people often use the word 'zap' to mean 'photocopy'. This use is uncommon outside Singapore. Jane is British, so would be used to seeing this word in comics. Americans might interpret it as “to microwave”。

  Nora is chatting to Jane in the office……

  Nora: So, Jane, do you notice anything different?

  Jane: Yes, you look a bit different, but I can't quite tell what it is.

  Nora: Last night I went to the saloon.

  Jane: Saloon? I thought you didn't drink. Anyway, saloons are for cowboys. Have you become a cowgirl?

  Nora: Cowgirl? You're kidding, right? No, I cut my hair.

  Jane: Goodness! How did you do that?

  Nora: I went to the saloon and cut my hair. What's wrong with that?

  Jane: I just can't imagine you in a bar first of all, then for them to make you cut your own hair. It sounds terrible!

  Gary: She's very havoc, ah?

  Nora: No, I didn't cut it my own self. I went to the hair saloon and cut it.

  Jane: Now I understand. You went to the beauty salon and you had your hair cut. If you say you cut your hair it means you did it yourself.

  Nora: Thanks. Of course I didn't do it my own self.

  Jane: You must mean you didn't do it yourself. I think “your own self” must be Singlish, too, because I've never heard it before.

  Narrator: So, there were a few more misunderstandings at HotDotCom today. Firstly, Nora made a pronunciation error. The place where we ladies get our hair cut is called a beauty salon or hairdresser's. A “saloon” is a wild west bar - hardly the sort of place Nora would go. She made matters worse by telling Jane that she cut her hair, which in good English means that she did it herself. Imagine the picture Jane must have had in her mind.

  Replay……

  Nora: I went to the saloon and I cut my hair. What's wrong with that?

  Jane: I just can't imagine you in a bar first of all, then for them to make you cut your own hair. It sounds terrible!

  Narrator: She should have said “I went to the salon and had my hair cut”。 Also, we Singaporeans often have a problem when contrasting things we have done with things we do ourselves. We often say “my own self” or “your own self”。

  Replay……

  Nora: Thanks. Of course I didn't do it my own self.

  Jane: You must mean you didn't do it yourself. I think “your own self” must be Singlish, too, because I've never heard it before.

  Narrator: The words you should use in good English are myself, yourself, himself, herself, yourselves, themselves and ourselves. Finally for today, Gary used a slang Singlish word to describe Nora:

  Replay……

  Gary: She's very havoc, ah?

  Narrator: Havoc is an English word, but it's pronounced havoc and means chaos and confusion. So, if you use this with foreigners, they might not understand you. Well, thank goodness Nora's not off to the wild west and prefers having others cut her hair to doing it herself. So, that's all for today from HotDotCom. Call in again tomorrow!

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