The Pros And Cons Of Standard English

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“No Abuse of Fire Hose,” says a sign in the local carpark of my real estate.

Is the meaning of the sign clear? Yes it is. But, is it written in, “Standard English?” I doubt it. In Hong Kong this sign is viewed as something quotidian and straightforward, the use of Simple English gets the message across readers who graduated from different levels of education. However, imagine putting this sign 12,719 kilometers across the world in the United States, it will no longer be one of those ordinary signs that people look at and walk pass. Instead, it will be considered as one of those, “language errors” that gets on the headlines of The New York Times, being criticized and ridiculed.

During the years, 1841 to 1997, Hong Kong was a colony of the British Empire. As a result, the official language of the British Empire 一 English, has been introduced to our Cantonese-speaking society. Since the
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Even now, in 2017, twenty years after, “the Handover” we are still told to speak like them in order to be, “high class.” Our local English dialect was never treasured and still is not. Due to the lack of Standard English usage in our dialect, our dialect is labeled as a “sad state.” “ Often, we are told to improve our English standards and speak more like a westerner. Yet, if every one of us learns to speak like them, will Hong Kong English still be Hong Kong English? Our speech will no longer reflect upon the colonial history of our city nor will it reflect upon our Cantonese-speaking

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