Language is a manipulative skill like mathematics and music.
The brain uses the same part of the brain to deal with all three and recognises them as manipulative skills.
The brain does not know the difference between language, music and mathematics.
Schools should focus on the brain when taking the students through the three subjects.
The brain can be divided into nine parts or nine intelligences.
It would be wrong to impose a national or official language on the people. It’s about having choices.
If the people are left to themselves, they would find ways and means to communicate.
That exercise would unite the people.
One can score full marks in English literature, for example, and still be poor in the language in other areas viz. writing and speaking. There are also areas like vocabulary, comprehension, grammar skills, listening skills, and thinking.
Spoken English sounds like Tamil, Chinese, Malay, Dusun, Punjabi etc
Can only smile when interviewed in English
Malaysians know many languages but are not good in any of them including their mother tongues.
Very few know English English i.e. Queen’s English.
Most try to pass off Chinese English, Malay English and Tamil English etc as English.
For example, when Waytha Moorthy speaks fast in English, it sounds like Tamil. Only the head shaking is missing. He should slow down. This is not about the ayo amah kadavale melodramas in Tamil.
He stayed in England for years and still speaks English like an estate wallah from a Tamil school. Ayo pavi, enae see erdher!
In fact, perhaps Waytha Moorthy is not too bad.
Lawyer Ramani obviously thinks in Tamil even when he speaks in English. It’s difficult to make out what he’s saying. It all seems so vague and mysterious, a combination of wayang kulit, sandiwara and tai chi.
He doesn’t say what he means, and perhaps doesn’t mean what he says. It’s a sort of kangkung moment.
Printer Krishnan, a mutual friend and Tamil, seems to understand Ramani’s English.
A Danish gentleman’s English comes across as Danish. It takes three days before I can make out what he’s saying. Before that, I need an interpreter.
Then, there was an American who penned his experience at McD in Singapore. He sent it to the Straits Times.
He was surrounded by locals as he was enjoying his burger. He didn’t pay attention to the “Chinese” chatter around him. Slowly, it dawned on him, that the other patrons around him were in fact not speaking in Chinese but in English, albeit Chinese English and/or Chinglish or Singlish.
He was fascinated by the Singaporeans murdering the English language in broad daylight without batting an eyelid.
Likewise, Jeffrey Kitingan’s English comes across as Dusun.
When Jeffrey Kitingan talks to Waytha Moorthy, he (JK) shakes his head.
Non-Indians automatically shake their heads when they talk to Indians even if the latter are not head shakers.
According to myths and legends, an Indian King decreed that his subjects must shake their heads when responding to him or talking.
This was just to show their cringing, grovelling, cium tangan, cium pantat, balls carrying best.
You can learn to speak in English by reading out aloud the same page from a story book daily.
This will get the tongue used to the sounds of the language.
Read out aloud for at least 10 minutes daily. Change the page after four months.
Alternatively, attend an English speaking class. Imitate the teacher. Forget your English. The classes should be held only twice a month.
You can also form an English reading circle. Take turns, every five minutes, reading the same page. The classes should go on for at least 90 mins each time. Meet only twice a month.
re writing skills, read the same story book every day for a year. Next year, switch to a new book. Keep at it and the writing skills will improve.
The secret of good writing lies in rewriting. Ernest Hemingway, for example, used to rewrite every paragraph nine times. That was his formula.
Write to express, not impress. Don’t use a difficult word when a simpler one will do.
Of course, we need to use the right word to describe a situation. If your child fails a subject, are you angry, mad or upset? Upset would be the suitable word. Upset is a mixture of anger and sadness.
The thesaurus is an interesting book but don’t get carried away.
I used to tell my students to throw away their dictionaries. I wanted them to guess the meanings of sentences. Many parents called me about my advice. None quit my class.
Think in English, daydream in English, hold imaginary conversations in English.
Phrases help vocabulary building. Go through a book of phrases.
Work on comprehension skills by reading widely.
Grammar is all about the sounds of the language. Listen to the news on radio, not TV, for 10 mins everyday. That tunes the ears to the sounds of the language.
Later, after 18 months, go through the grammar rules and attempt the exercises.
Teaching is the best form of learning. Tutor poor students foc in the English language.
As you teach, you will learn as well.
How good a teacher becomes depends on the students. The more questions students ask, the better a teacher becomes.