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Good English 'is about communicating'

Speak good English does not necessarily mean using big words, Cabinet Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday.
The Straits Times - September 28, 2012
By: Stacey Chia
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Good English 'is about communicating' Host Joe Augustin pointing out language errors spotted in shopping centres, at the official launch of the Speak Good English Movement’s 2012 campaign at the Botanic Gardens yesterday. -- ST PHOTO: RAJ NADARAJAN

SPEAKING good English does not necessarily mean using big words, Cabinet Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said yesterday.

And those with a strong command of the language should use it as much as possible so they can become role models.

"While it is important to have good vocabulary, speaking well is about the ability to communicate our thoughts, ideas and feelings well enough so that others can understand us," said Dr Yaacob, who is the Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts.

Dr Yaacob was speaking at the launch of the Speak Good English Movement's 2012 campaign at the Botanic Gardens.

The movement was started in 2000, amid mounting concern that colloquial English could become the norm here and harm Singapore's efforts to be a First World economy.

To help Make Good English Stick - the tagline for this year's campaign - adverts will be taken out in newspapers while posters will be displayed on buses.

Wall murals, based on figures of speech, will appear in public places around Singapore such as the National Library Building and the Fish & Co restaurant at the Glass House in Penang Road.

Other events will be held with the help of the movement's 29 partners, including the National Library Board and the Raffles Design Institute.

The British Council - which is another partner - has developed a quiz featuring commonly made errors to help people gauge their level of proficiency. It is available on the movement's website.

The site will also offer tips on conversational English and provide a pronunciation guide.

The movement's chairman, Mr Goh Eck Kheng, said: "Awareness is one thing but wanting to improve yourself and taking action to improve yourself is something even more important."

For more information, visit:


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