English as a second Language

A long time ago (January 1993), in China, Barbra, who taught English as a second language  at RMIT, said that I spoke English like and advanced chinese student who spoke English as a second language.

For a long time this caused me very great difficulty. I mean it raised the question of whey was my first language? I mean I tried Chinese as my first language, but that never worked.

It always thought that maybe it was the version of English I spoke. I had been back to Singapore, but at the time had not been pondering such issues. I thought it was maybe it was because I spoke English (foot-a-scary). That was the best fit, but still did not really explain it. I wondered if it was because I made the same mistakes my father made as a chinese speaker of English. That made the most sense.

It was not until I went to Malaysia that it all came together. My current theory is this.

  • First language – English (chinese/Malaysian)
  • Second language – Chinese (Chinese/Malaysian – that is a mix of Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese.)
  • Third language -English (Australian -particularly country NSW and western Melbourne)
  • Forth language -Chinese (mandarin)

My second language was what I learned until I was six, do it is improperly developed, contains multiple dialects and gets in the way all the time. It is the language I revert to when I am being emotional because I am sad and I am very tired.

The english in australia is complicated as it is a mix of my mothers family’s English which is country NSW english, the English of the migrants of western melbourne and the English of the Australians of western Melbourne.

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