Monday, March 22, 2010

Malaysians Are Multilingual ?

It is so often that when Malaysian come to have ice breaking introduction with Taiwanese or Chinese from mainland, the conversation will go like this :

TW/CN : Where are you from ?

MY : Malaysian

TW/CN : you speak 5 languages then ?

I came to realize that ever since my years in England that Malaysians are reputable as multilingual. And I realize how important it is for you to master a few different languages. Malaysian in general speaks 3 languages. We should be thankful that there is at least freedom for us to speak our mother tongue as well as few different dialects. As for me myself, I do have 5 languages under my belt. Foo Chow as my mother tongue, english, malay, mandarin and cantonese.  Knowing an extra language has always been an advantage for us especially when we are overseas. I may not realize the usage when I was little, I used to question the usage of learning Malay. I questioned how many country in this world that speak Malay. Now that I'm wise enough to operate my poor brain, I fully aware that you dare not freaking call yourself a Malaysian if you cannot speak the national language. 

I do have a feeling that my mother tongue is going to stop at my generation. I highly doubt my children is going to communicate in Foo Chow. My younger brother does not speak Foo Chow that fluent as he converse in Mandarin with my parents. This is a sound example that our mother tongue have been taken over by Mandarin and English. The next generation will be encouraged to learn Latin languages like Spanish, Italian even French. It is pretty much me myself to play the role of rotating our mother tongue down to my next generation.

May God Bless Our Mother Tongue.


suituapui said...

Good for you! The Chinese culture is in the dialects - the Foochow traditions for childbirth, weddings, funerals etc...the cuisine...the customs and when the dialects die, the culture dies. Mandarin is just a language, there are no Chinese people who belong to a group thus named... This is one of the reasons why Singapore abolished its Speak Mandarin campaign of the 80s - they could see the ultra-rich culture disappearing.

Charles said...

Well said...true enough that the dialect itself isn't just a language but inherit a rich culture.

gill gill said...

Truly agree! all the 80's born all spoken in Mandarin.
Since your mother tongue is FooChow, i wish to introduce a Podcast Blog which is mainly about Hokkien Dialect. In the way to keep the dialect in touch.
try to visit this blog, their audio show are quit fun! here is the link:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails