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Expat YouTuber: Is Singapore stuck in the 1800s?

expat youtuber is singapore stuck in the 1800s v1

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menses featured image 1

Yeah, “Menses”. It’s a very commonly used word in Singapore. Even if you don’t hear it often, it’s probably the go to word to describe the monthly cycle.

If you google the word, you will be surprised to see that the last time “menses” was a popular word, it was in the 1800s.

menses over time

Surprised? YouTuber Georgia Caney posted a video about the words Singaporeans choose to use in their conversation. These words seemed outdated to her and unheard of in the UK. We did check up on the words to see if they were really outdated.

Thrice

Georgia Caney : What the hell does thrice mean? Never heard before in my entire life.

thrice over time 1

Verdict: Last popular in the 1800s.

Troublesome

Georgia Caney : No one says troublesome. We say painful.

troublesome over time

Verdict: Last popular in the 1800s. She wins again.

Seldom

Georgia Caney : Sounds like a funny way of saying I don’t do something. A lot of people in UK won’t understand it.

seldom over time

Verdict: Yet, again.

Dear

Georgia Caney : Only really ever used by the elderly in the UK. No one calls their partner dear. We call bae or honey.

dear over time

Verdict: 1800s. How can it be?

Doneness

Georgia Caney : Never heard of this word. Didn’t think it’s a word. Googled but it’s a real word. We’re the idiots.

doneness over time

Verdict: Finally, Singapore is in trend.

Spoilt

Georgia Caney : Sounded really old fashioned. We would say it was broken instead.

spoilt over time

Verdict: That’s kinda old fashioned.

Stuffs, Luggages, Footages

She goes on to say that Singapore likes to add “s” behind many words. Stuff, luggage and footage are already plural.

How did Singapore get stuck in 1800s English?

Singapore’s Bilingual Policy commenced in 1966, one year after independence. This policy set Singapore on the path where English became the common working language.

Singapore’s English syllabus doesn’t promote vocabulary either or extensive usage. If a word serves it’s purpose, it gets used for every magnitude of it’s purpose. Singaporeans will say they are hungry, everything that they are hungry. They will very seldom use peckish, famished or sharp-set. This leads to a very limited vocabulary.

Singapore is also a young country with a short history. We still have people who are alive and have seen independence. Considering that our very first English speakers are from the Colonial Period and subsequent generations are conversing English mainly with local Singaporeans, it doesn’t bring too many new words to the table. “Seldom” probably got passed on from parent to child. The Bilingual Policy has made Singaporeans capable of conversational English, that’s all.

Singapore isn’t without great English speakers. Chiefly, there is the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who could make you go on a googling spree when you watch his videos.

Singapore is proud of Singlish but it’s a rather skewed thought that a language that can ONLY work in one country, is a language at all. Singlish is a amalgamation of many languages. You can call it a “melting pot of culture” or you can recognize that it’s a product of confounding and wrong pronunciation. You choose.

You can watch Georgia’s video to know all the words.

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