As Lewis the Lion had discovered, Singapore has four official languages: Chinese, English, Malay and Tamil. However, there seemed to be a unique hybrid spoken out on the streets which mixed the four called, ‘Singlish.’ Even though it is not an official language, Lewis the Lion thought it proudly represented the multi-cultural character of Singapore. Firstly, he noticed that the word ‘lah’ seemed to appear in most phrases. Besides that, here are some of the expressions which he learnt.
Can can!: “Yes, definitely.”
Auntie / Uncle: A respectful form of an address for an older man / woman, respectively.
Dohwan: “No, thanks.” / “I don’t want it.”
So how?: “So what do we do now?”
Oh, izzit?: “That’s interesting.” / “Oh, is that true?”
Kiasu: A general term used to describe the highly competitive nature of many Singaporeans. It is originally a Chinese dialect expression that literally means “fear of losing”.
Don’t pray pray ah!: “Don’t mess around!”
Sometimes when Lewis the Lion heard it, he thought it sounded like someone who couldn’t speak English properly but then he realised that it is simply a different dialect of English.
Why don’t you have a try at saying some of these Singlish phrases?