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A couple of days ago, I was watching TV in the living room, getaway for a while from my notebook, when suddenly someone knocked on the door. I mean, it was a rare occasion since people in Singapore tend to be secluded and rarely have a conversation with the neighbours. And sure, it gives me a wonder.

So I walked to the door, open up, a lady, about 40sh, stood just outside, wearing a moslem head scarf. First come to my mind, she probably malay. And then she started to talk, offering me tickets to a neighborhood party for our blocks. With some VIP guests, door prizes, entertainment, etc. And from that moment, I surely notice, she’s not Malay, she’s JAVANESE. How did I know that? EASY, by her thick Javanese accent. She was talking in Singlish mixed with a bit of Indonesia (or Malay) and enriched with javanese accent. English, add with mandarin dialect of “lah”, a bit of Indonesian with the unique javanese “stresses” in few words. And to be honest, it’s hard for me to hide my smile and giggles. Later we have a conversation in Indonesian (still with a bit of malay and javanese accent). And after few minutes of conversation, I found out that she has been living in Singapore for 15 years.

This reminded me of a colleague, very senior one, who also javanese, fluently speaks English, in a conversation with an expat who speak Indonesian and understand a bit of Javanese. The two was talking about job related matters in English of course and somehow ended with “Yo wis…”

I am not asking you to take those accent away, no, not at all. Those accent, dialect, enriched the variety of language spoken. Welsh has their own dialect, and so does Irish, Scottish, Aussies, Texan, even though they speak the same language, English. Those dialect, makes it unique and easily identified from which part of the world you came from.

The problem is if you are not a native speaker it’s hard to understand what they are talking about. And somehow, it can be amusing to hear people speak English with a unique dialect or accent.

Scottish says “FINE” more like “FAINT”. Singaporean says “COKE” close to “COCK”, hear it here.

One Comment

  1. Love this piece. Ever tried to listen to Amien Rais speak English? I can only bear one sentence before being distracted by his unbelievably thick, uncompromising, and relentless Javanese accent. @_@


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