Thursday, May 23, 2019

When a linguist writes ungrammatically.

I must make it clear that I generally do not care much about grammar and correctness. People who know me well will readily testify that such 'correctness' and I are worlds apart and  never the twain shall meet but when a teacher of linguistics at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) writes an article in the local newspaper about Singlish, you will doubtless accept that I can't be faulted if I expect her to write grammatical sentences which are clear and unambiguous. That is the least anyone should expect of a teacher of linguistics.

When a friend on Facebook referred me to an article in the Straits Times written by one Tan Ying Ying,  Associate Professor of Linguistics at NTU, I read it immediately because I could see that unlike Singlish bashers (and there are many, particularly language ignoramuses such as that disgraceful Speak Good English Movement), she accorded some respect to Singlish and regarded Singlish as a colloquial form of a Singaporean language and I totally agree with her there. But I was disappointed to see that her article did not do justice to the weighty subject of her discussion because it was fraught with errors of all kinds, some of which I am prepared to attribute to an oversight on her part but others of which I cannot help but suspect to be errors which are more serious than mere carelessness.