Poor English goes all the way to university
REFERRING to the reports “Atrocious English in workbooks” and “Make English our top priority, says CIMB chairman” (The Star, July 22), I truly share the concern of our Deputy Prime Minister and top corporate figures like the CIMB chairman on the poor English of our youth and the effect this will have on Malaysia’s global competitiveness.
The poor English of schoolchildren is reinforced all the way up to university. Sometimes it is difficult to decipher what the student is trying to say as syntactic, lexical and conceptual errors are found in the sentences.
Here are some examples of atrocious English found in graduating Law students in a local university:
1. The study of negotiation strategy became significant provides many benefits which could not be derives from bringing suit to the court.
2. However, this is rather exclusively not very exhaustively.
3. In other classes as well they learnt how to give attention when another person was talking in front.
4. Living in this business-like world of economics, politics, industries and transactions, one cannot escapes the fact that often deals with dealings in our everyday lives.
5. There was evidences deduced by them show accurate information regarding you, Mr. Joshua.
Concerned English Teacher Kuala Lumpur The STAR Home News Opinion Letters July 24, 2015
English here is in really dire straits
THE report “Atrocious English in workbooks” (The Star, July 22) says it all about the dire straits of English in our country. Included in the report were examples reproduced from “actual questions from last year’s Pentaksiran Tingkatan 3 test papers”, for each of which the corrected version was given.
However, some of the corrected versions themselves could do with further correction, as in the following:
(1) “Why can’t the dropper draw the water?” It is inappropriate for a conversational contraction, herein can’t, to be used in formal script. The said version could be amended to “Why can the dropper not draw up water?”
(2) “A solution can be classified as acid, alkali, or neutral”. The sentence construction is unbalanced – acid and alkali are nouns, and neutral is an adjective. The said version could be amended to “The solution can be classified as acidic, alkaline and neutral”.
(3) “Based on your opinion” sounds grandiose for a mere opinion to form the basis of something. The said version could be amended to “In your opinion”.
Besides the test questions, even the report itself needs some tweaking. The quoted speech, “Sometimes, the publishers just cut and paste from the exam papers and do not check thoroughly”, is an example of jumbled tenses.
Granted the quote could be a result of misquoting. In any case, the quote could be amended to: “Sometimes, the publishers just cut and pasted from the exam papers and did not check thoroughly.”
In turn, I now stand to be corrected.
LIM CHIN LAM Lim Chin Lam Penang The STAR Home News Opinion Letters July 24, 2015
No doubt on importance of English
I REFER to your report “Atrocious English in workbooks” (The Star, July 22). As a father, I am very disappointed with the answer of both the publication manager and the Deputy Education Minister.
The publication manager should know the competencies of his employees. It is not enough to say “there shouldn’t be any (errors) because the questions were exact copies of those that appeared in the 2014 test papers.” Based on the sample given, some of the errors were simple grammatical mistakes.
The Deputy Minister’s response, where he tried to shift the responsibility to teachers and parents, was also not satisfactory. He should have realised that the issue was not only about the workbooks but also the PT3 questions and talked about what the Ministry would do to solve the matter.
There is no doubt about the importance of English education. Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad introduced the teaching/ learning of mathematics and science in English (PPSMI) but the policy was abolished at the insistence of certain parties.
It is true that in the early stages, it caused confusion among some pupils. Parents also started to complain because they were worried about their children’s examination result. They were then supported by individuals or bodies with political interests that claimed the policy was against the Constitution and would affect the nationalistic spirit of the youths.
I hope all the parties involved in abolishing PPSMI will compile a report on the benefits of the abolishment. I will be happy if our Sasterawan Negara can be a member of the panel.
Nizam Selayang The STAR Home News Opinion Letters to the Editor July 23, 2015