Should Singapore schools adopt American English?

Tuesday afternoon at the launch of the English Language Institute of Singapore, Prime Minister Minister Mentor (what is his official title now again?) Lee Kuan Yew expressed his thoughts on the state of our nation’s English;

“The increasing dominance of the American media means that increasingly our people, teachers and students will be hearing the American version, whether it is ‘potatoes’ or ‘tomatoes’. They will be the dominant force through sheer numbers and the dominance of their economy, I believe we will be exposed more and more to American English and so it might be as well to accept it as inevitable and to teach our students to recognise and maybe, to even speak American English.”

I personally disagree with this action. We’ve been brought up in a British English learning environment and we’ve all managed to pick up any differing American versions, I don’t really see this as an issue or does esteemed Mr. Lee have any other agenda or reason to putting this thought forward?

2011-09-08

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