ENGLISH LANGUAGE: Why the fuss about perfect English?
I READ the letter "We have got to arrest the rot" (NST, March 30) from Dr Elizabeth Jaya Joseph.
I disagree with her on some points.
Firstly, all Malaysians must accept that the Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English policy (PPSMI) has been abolished. Let's focus on the policy of upholding the Malay language and strengthening the English language.
All Malaysians must master, or have at least 60 per cent competency, in Bahasa Malaysia.
English should be a second language and nothing more.
If we do not safeguard our national language, who will?
I read an article quoting Dutch linguistic expert Professor Wim A.L. Stokhof that Bahasa Malaysia would become extinct if people kept using English widely every day.
Secondly, why are Malaysians so obsessed with the English language? According to David Crystal in the Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language, English is only the third most popularly spoken language, based on population usage. Mandarin is first, followed by Spanish.
Yes, no doubt globalisation has affected our life academically, economically, technologically, culturally and politically, but the question is: why English?
Aren't there other foreign languages such as French, German, Russian, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Korean?
Thirdly, the sentences mentioned by the writer, such as "I busy nowlah, nanti saya panggil you on my cellulite phone" and "Today, while coming to school ah, I see a died kucing, you know", are just Malay-English code mixing or code switching. This is natural and happens in conversation.
The point is, why are we so concerned about accuracy and perfectness? There is nothing wrong in making mistakes in the usage of English, as we learn from making mistakes.
My point is, we must uphold the use of the Malay language and continue to strengthen the use of the English language.