Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Wo bu ming bai!

That's "I don't understand!" for you non-Mandarin speakers (listen to me - as if I'm really one of them!). I have mentioned in the past that there are obvious direct translations in Singaporean English from Chinese such as "no have" (mei you) or "can" (keyi). That's why I'm a little baffled by something I've noticed recently.

In Chinese, they don't pluralize anything. The number of anything is indicated simply through context. Why is it then that in Singaporean English, they pluralize things that we don't? For example, instead of math they say, "maths." Instead of staff they say, "staffs." I have no explanation.

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