22 Mar '11, 10am

Keeping in touch with your dialects does as much for the future as it does for the past. Read all about it:

WRITER Chong Zi Liang said he could not take part in conversations with 50-year-old members of his extended family because he could not speak Cantonese, which prevented him from bonding with them ("Confessions of a Canto flop"; last Saturday). He was also unable to order roast duck in a Cantonese restaurant in New York. These are really the least of our Chinese language worries. In 30 years' time, Cantonese will be extinct in Singapore. We are allowing a beautiful language to die in Singapore. Listen to a pop song that is sung in Cantonese, then in Mandarin, and you can hear the difference.The Cantonese version sounds so elegant and sonorous, the Mandarin one, clinical and flat. When I visited Shantou last year, it was joyous to hear my mother tongue, Teochew, spoken everywhere. It was such a culturally enriching experience. Street life was just that much more colourful, b...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/STForum/OnlineStory/STIStory_...

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