Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Cute Singaporeanisms

They pronounce 'Ross' as 'Rose' much to the consternation of a guy at work. They pronounce 'Ian' as 'Yen', as in Chinese fang bian. They have difficulty with the 'woo' sound, leading to pronunciations like '...ooden ladders'.

But the most useful native phrase I've encountered is 'free thinker'. As in, "So, are you a Buddhist? Christian?" "No, I'm a Free Thinker" meaning of no particular religion but with an open mind to all practices.

Ian works at the cafeteria and tried to correct the pronunciation of his name.

Ian: Wo de ming bu shi "Yen", shi "Ian". [My name is not Yen, but Ian.]
Loud Chinese girl: Ee-yen?


Sam said...

Strange that Singaporeans would have so much issue with "woo" -- I mean, HOW many people with the surname Woon are there in the area??

David said...

I think it's the the mapping of the W letter to the 'w' sound. I think they associated the 'w' sound with a diphthong, e.g. ua, rather than with a consonant.