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Friday, 26 August 2011

Let our children learn “that” language so they don’t fall behind


The English language at Elizabethan times was merely a local “dialect” that’s part of the Germanic language family.

For the nobility and the intellectuals in England at that time, French was used instead to set themselves apart from the “common folks”.

It’s with the advent of Shakespeare that the English developed the self-confidence that it’s OK to speak with pride in their mother tongue.  

Of course, another main driving force of this new found confidence and self-believe is it coincides with the reign of Queen Elizabeth the first - when Britain defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. Spain was the strongest and wealthiest European power at the time.

This set forth the foundation for Britain to rule the waves and the expansion of the British Empire, challenging the other European powers for world domination (Land grab? It’s definitely not spreading democracy and world peace!) And who can forget the spectacular naval victory at the Battle of Trafalgar during the Napoleonic wars?  

New markets emerged for British traders and manufacturers. (Although I wouldn’t call it free trade)

The sun never sets in the British Empire. This empire was so vast that even after the sun did finally set for the British Empire, English is now the most widely used language today – just add all the countries in the British Commonwealth plus USA and you can see how many countries have English as their first or second language. OK, Americans may have a different opinion as they speak “American” – not English. It’s a bonus! So we include additional countries that speak “American” – Taiwan, Philippines, Korea, Japan, and the Caribbean countries.

It’s a combination of three factors: cultural renaissance, economic power and military might that elevates a language to global prominence.

And for those non-British people in the colonies that can speak English, they have more opportunities opened to them and they enjoyed a different social status amongst their “local” peers.


Fast forward a few hundred years to today, and we see a new power emerging from her sleep…

I am amazed at the number of Koreans, Japanese, Europeans, and Americans that are now learning and speaking “that” new language during my travels and work assignments.

Perhaps a financial legacy that we can leave behind to our children has nothing to do with dollars and cents. It’s a gift of language?

Note: I am not advocating giving up English. Oh no! Britain went into decline long ago, but English is still widely used. English will not go away anytime soon. Yes, even if USA one day is no longer the sole superpower of the world.

If you call yourself an investor or trader, surely you would understand diversification or making a hedge. So encouraging our children to be bilingual – in English and “that” 2nd language could be a wise move.

Heads we win; tail we win too!

17 comments:

  1. 我们需要双语人才 ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. $@%!^&*!

    we should scrap all languages and use sign/body language. it will be a more interesting world.

    language is the poorest communication tool! LOL

    ReplyDelete
  3. a tipical communication failure:

    "hey i hate you, i'm going to punch your face, i really do, dare to step forward? i'm doing it, you not scare? $@%!^&*! i count to three......"

    the war is over!

    ReplyDelete
  4. 1) AK,

    "That" language is in fact a northern "Hu" barbarian dialect that merged with our "Han" dialect.

    I don't accept "that" as my mother tongue - I don't care what the govt tells me :) Stubbon like a mule.

    True "Han" spoken during the Tang dynasty is closer to the Hokkien and Teochew tones. Of course I am biased - and its still being debated today - depending whether you are from the North or South. LOL!

    Wah si teochew nang - biased as biased can be!

    ReplyDelete
  5. 2) Coconut,

    I was afraid to publish this post after what you have told me about your academic past... Glad you are not offended.

    Hey! What you describe is very true about Shanghai men. They will scream and shout; but very seldom lead to REAL fist fights.

    My first few weeks in Shanghai was a bit of culture shock! Later on realise ai yeah, NATO only. LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  6. thanks but you should not worry about anything, i like free speech (anyhow speak)

    i bet you didn't realise my meaning behind. its all about trading.

    ReplyDelete
  7. which is, "act first, talk later".

    ReplyDelete
  8. Coconut,

    Were you a pit trader before? I think FAT would love your comment that sign/body language better!

    Live human traders are more romantic and mancho than trading with computer screens. You can stare your counter-party in the face!

    I used to visit the old SGX at Raffles and admire at the TV screens to show live traders trading the futures. Interesting!

    I'm with you on ACTING. Want to buy - BUY! Want to sell - SELL!

    Talk too much the ship has sailed...

    ReplyDelete
  9. no i chicken out. i prefer computer screen. if someone stare at my face i'll melt! i can't even stare at a camera!

    i find much easier to "communicate" with market than human. you know by now, its a disaster.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Me think mandarin is closer to Cantonese or Hakka dialects. Many mandarin pronunciations sound almost exactly.
    Don't believe?
    Try and say bathing in Madarin, Cantonese & Hakka. And many more.
    i think Hakka is the closest.
    Maybe Hakka originated from North China.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Ya coconut,
    during my working life i kenna back-stabbing so many ways and times that i felt how nice if i could deal with people the way i deal with machines/medical equipments.
    You see, machines/medical equipments no matter how complicated to understand are still designed and build by people.
    Can the made be more hard to understand, service, and repair than the makers?

    ReplyDelete
  12. hi Tamperament, we human like to control over everything but ourselves, thats a big problem in life and especially in trading. but at least we can "abuse" the machine rather than human haha.

    market don't lie. it will "stab" you straight on the face, but human lies, or at least they are not telling the whole truth.

    the more i interact in market place, the less i can interact with human. thats the trend for me.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hello Temperament,

    Our Hakka friends are said to have migrated from Northern or Central China to the South in Fujian and Guandong. Some even say they share ancestry with the normadic Xiong Nu tribe in the North...

    And modern Guangdong was formerly part of the Nanyue (南越) kingdom comprising Guangxi and Northern Vietnam. So I guess it's not surprising that once the Han people expanded and migrated southwards, mandarin merged with the local people's dialect - hence the similarity.

    It's interesting that we are the same throughout history. Local Cantonese (本地) never fails to remind the Hakkas (客家) that they are "guests" - just like the feelings local Singaporeans now have of new citizens... I guess we need more inter-marriages and time to blur the divide.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Coconut,

    Quote from Coconut:-
    "we human like to control over everything but ourselves, thats a big problem in life"

    In fact, that's problem with us in everything.
    That's why we are not so sucessful in the market too.

    How do i know?
    The Christian Bible tell me so.
    i am serious.
    No joke.
    No doubt about it
    Shalom.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi SMOL,
    i read up on the Hakka in our library, it say Hakka DNA has some similarity with the Japanese, Koreans, and the Mongolian. Maybe they were related in one way or another at one time.
    Actually, now a days, especially in Singapore, all dialect groups have inter-marriage until "Rojak" already.
    Though for Chinese, we follow our father's dialect in our birth certificate. The joke is our fathers may be of mixed dialects group also.
    There you have it. It's really all "Rojak" already.

    ReplyDelete
  16. don't you guys know we are all african?

    ReplyDelete
  17. anyway, if we are concern with our children future, let them learn the new language - computer language.

    don't learn the chinese or the african language, they are old and can no longer evolve.

    ReplyDelete

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