The Singaporeans and Mainland China folks adopted an easier form of written Chinese some 50 years ago and called it Simplified Chinese. Malaysians have taken a cue from them and are doing a better job by adopting this approach in a spoken Language instead of written – Simplified English (SE)!
Though much easier than many other foreign tongues like French, Dutch etc., regional language school kids in India still find the grammar and tense in English tough. We Indians have come up with many transliterations and introduced numerous new words and phrases to the language like –wala, Avtar, rain is coming, prepone etc. but you just can’t beat the SE.
Though the language Nazis would condemn it, I am not really against it, specially when everyday becomes laugh-roll day. How else do languages evolve? We don’t speak the 15th century version of Thou, Thee, Thy and Thine anymore! More importantly, I won’t be around when the language dies 😉
Yet, I find this way better than the SMS slang– ma (Mairu?) , whr (where or whore?), m8 (meet or mate?), drnx, hvng, txt (why do you hate the beautiful vowels?). We aren’t using the keypad Nokias to say that it’s quicker. (Even that had the dictionary mode!) The Text app auto fills words! R wl it evlv nto a wrtn SE? :O Kll me nw.
Here’s how you speak SE –
The 3 most important words in SE are: Can, Cannot, Got.
Memorize these like a prayer. They can help you in any life or death situation and in anything in between.
Can – Use it in place of all Auxiliary Verbs such as Can, Will, Must, Shall, Ought, May, Yes, Could, Would, Should and in some places of Want.
When in doubt, use it. To break ice, use it. Pick up line, use it. For precaution, use it. Use this goddamn word anywhere.
Cannot – Rule: You aren’t supposed to shrink it to Can’t. It has to be pronounced as Can-Not.
Use it to denote No, Not, Can’t, Won’t, Mustn’t, Shouldn’t, Couldn’t, Ought not, May not…
Got – Use it in place of Available, Got, sometimes in place of Have.. Usually preceded by a ‘there’.
If the verbs appear more than once in a sentence, you could replace the first one and just drop off the remaining ones. And if building a sentence looks tough, break it into single word sentences. There, just 3 words that solve so many grammar problems!
Picture Courtesy: The Grammarly page on Facebook
Now, let’s get to the examples: (I kid you not; these are all real world exchanges, mostly spoken, some written)
Come here, can?
I take 50 for a pair, can?
Cannot Miss, Cannot for 40. 45 can.
You can come to the station at 5. (Means could you because the tone is soft and eyebrow is raised, 5 dragged!)
Can / Can can / Also Can / Can already. (Means Yes) (This is a valid sentence in SE.)
You cannot open the window, it is raining. (Means shouldn’t)
I cannot join the party but I try. (Means might not)
You cannot kill me please. (Don’t)
Do you know where I could find a jar of mayo? Go to Aeon. There Got.
Do you have a smaller size? Got got got.
Where is the tofu & cheese section? Behind milk, there got tofu. Lot. But no got cheese, girl.
Got 10 sen change? No got, OK no problem.
To sound a little sophisticated, use terms such as Never Mind, Free and Easy and include some Alreadys here and there.
For Tenses, if you know the present tense (or any one form) that will do. And always remember to keep the sentence crisp and short by dropping unnecessary verbs.
How old you? (Initially, I always responded with a “I am fine, thank you” for this question because l and d are silent here and so it sounds like how are you! 😛 )
You try Ice Kacang, very nice. I try, but I no like peanuts and read beans in ice-cream. (Yeah, you read it right, Malaysia’s most favourite Ice Cream or rather shaved ice comes with sweet corn, peanuts and fruit flavoured syrups. Cendol, another national favourite, is shaved ice with cooked read beans, plain jelly and a jaggery equivalent called Gula Melaka. Here’s me eating it –
Well, there are a lot of purists who speak impeccable English too but, come on, who’s interested in talking to them!
OK, enough, I go now. If you got any questions or clarifications on SE, don’t contact me – however you speak it, it is right. There got no rules OK. The only goal: Conveying the message. If the other person understands makes out what you want to say, then you succeed. Flavour up the conversation with some gestures, sign language and please grab yourself..er.. I mean speak SE! Can?
P.S: If you think I am a Subramaniam Swamy’s Arnab Goswami, please come to Malaysia to see for yourself. (While you are at it, I am sure you’ll get some Desi Ghee, Vadams, Sambhar Powder and Krishna Sweets Badam Halwa & Spinach pakoras for me. Add in some Karachi Biscuits if you can; pistachio flavour preferably. Don’t forget the jar of Mango Pickle from my mother. And, some Pani Puri take-away, can?)