Voices

Room to improve, but are they motivated to?

Room to improve, but are they motivated to?
Telling children that the language is going to link them to their culture and roots may be meaningless because they do not use it now. TODAY file photo
The discussion on whether mother tongue is in decline continued in the extended segment of Thursday’s episode of VoicesTODAY. Here are excerpts
Published: 4:02 AM, September 21, 2013
Updated: 5:15 AM, September 21, 2013
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Luke Lu Jiqun: Many people do not fit into neat categories of race today in terms of Chinese, Malay and Indian. Even if they do, their linguistic practices are different. When you try to foist categories on people, they do not feel the necessary attachment (to the language).

Winston Cheong: We seem to assume that mother tongue is in decline because ... we are going by the assumption that our mother tongue is tied to our ethnicity. Especially for those who come from mixed-race families, it seems artificial that when a child struggles with say, Mandarin, we say either that mother tongue standards are slipping or they are in decline.

Luke: It is about ownership. Telling them that the language is going to link them to their culture and roots is meaningless because, to them, right now they do not use it, their parents do not use it, even their grandparents may not have used it ... which is why many of them are losing interest in their mother tongue.

Bhurgeshwary Shanmugam: When I was teaching in schools, especially for comprehension in primary school, I made it a point to act out the passage ... so that the students understood better.

Adeline Lim Cheng Khim: My suggestion (goes) back to the olden days, when we learnt our language through our environment (with) nursery songs for the younger ones. The older ones would like pop music. So, should there be some curricula where they are involved in music ... where it is not only restricted to the English language?

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