After living in Germany for years, my English is a bit rusty and needs to be reactivated. But this is usually not a bad thing and works almost by itself abroad. That’s what I thought when I arrived in Singapore…
After a few days I was still surprised and wondered, what the hell do they speak for a language or have I completely forgotten English? Even after a few more days it was very hard for me to understand the locals. They seemed to mix English with Chinese and Indian accent. The speed caused me stress. So I sat down and researched what the people here actually speak.
It’s Singlish and is the name of this dialect and a crude mixture. The locals have simply created a new English over time, which contains words from all the cultures represented here. And they are very proud of it.
A characteristic is that they simply shorten many words, omit letters at the end and “efface” hard consonants, e.g. from the p to b or the t to d.
Nevermind = nehmind
I don’t want it = dowan
Like that = liddat
Find = fin(e)
The word “lah” is appended everywhere and means nothing at all. It is similar to the word “gell” in German.
“Aiyoh” is used as an exclamation when you are astonished about something negative.
“Siao” simply means crazy.
“Wah lau eh” is an exclamation when you can’t believe something or are shocked.
And there are several hundred other examples…
So I have to learn a few words and phrases so that I understand people better and do not doubt myself. If you have noticed something similar, or if you want to deal with it, here are some links to practice and understand.
The Coxford Singlish Dictionary: