March 31, 2012
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(This is from a log that I write on renren.com, a Chinese Facebook site.)
A very good friend of mine, a lovely Brazilian girl who I love dearly (she's married, don't worry), used to ask me how to say things properly in English. One of the funny ones I remember was when she asked me how to say 'a piece of paper'. She had been saying 'a shit of paper' because to her, sheet was pronounced shit. She couldn't hear the difference between sheet and shit. She knew it was funny and wrong and we both laughed about it. I helped her many times and we became good friends.
The point of my status updates this morning was to find out what you guys think about making fun of people from other places, other races, you know? Then I got to thinking about English and Engrish and Chinglish and so on. I want you to know my point of view on this.
Language is communication. I want to say something and I want you to understand what I mean. Does it matter how I say it? As long as I get my point across, that is communication. If all you want to do is meet and talk to foreigners, your English doesn't have to be perfect. As you know, I live in an area full of people from around the world. On my short street, we have Chinese, Greek, Japanese, Indian, Philippino, Caribbean, Polish, Sri Lankan, Pakistani and maybe some others that I don't know about. Somehow, we all communicate with each other quite well. Not everyone is like me, however. There are older people who are quite racist to newcomers. There are newcomers who don't quite fit into the neighbourhood. Basically, it's good but not perfect.
My point is that it doesn't matter if your English is perfect. You can communicate in whatever way you feel comfortable. If you use Chinglish to make a point, what difference does it make? Here in North America, no one, not even the big TV stations or newspapers use perfect English all the time. I wish I could show you the mistakes they make. If you want to be a scholar, learn perfect English. If you want to communicate, just do whatever you are doing when you communicate with me. It's all good!
Thanks for reading!
More entries: English sucks...but don't give up. (2), Learning English is never easy, but it's worth the effort. (1), Easy English Stories, English vocabulary - another way to learn, A Shit of Paper (3), Break a leg - another English idiom. , Repost: Are all Chinese girls lesbians? (3), How language affects your life. (3), Chinese Writing (5), Some times, sometime and sometimes...confusing! (3)
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