Singlish is great. It is utterly unique to our country and essentially makes us who we are. Most of all, it gets the job done when every Singaporean knows what you're talking about when you speak Singlish. But it bothers me when Singlish has prevented us from properly pronouncing English words, and preventing us from being properly understood by the rest of the world. Most of us have even spent our entire growing up years never realising that a word was supposed to be pronounced a certain way.

Here's a list of 10 words that Singaporeans tend to mispronounce, along with their correct pronunciations for us all to learn from:

1. Algae

We see the 'A' at the end of this word and proceed to pronounce it like "el-gay." The correct way to say it is with a hard 'G' so it's pronounced "el-gee" 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Library

"Want to go to the lie-bree to mug later?" Singaporeans just love to cut things short. Why waste breath on one more syllable, amirite?  The proper pronunciation is closer to Lie-bruh-ree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Vegetable

"Veggie-teh-ber" - So many ways to mispronounce this word. Instead of a "ber" at the end, try saying it with a rounded 'L' sound at the end. The proper way to say it is closer to Veg-ter-ble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Tuition

It's important to get this one pronounced properly, seeing that you might find yourself saying "I cannot go to Orchard this weekend, I've got tuition" quite often. It's "too-ish-uhn" instead of "tuu-tion". 

Fun fact: He/She is not a tuition teacher. The proper term is tutor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Minced

We can be forgiven for pronouncing it as "Mai-in-ced" meat noodles instead of "Mints-ced" meat noodles when ordering at a hawker centre, considering we often say 'bah chor mee' instead! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Flour

I personally love this one the best. It’s pronounced "Flah" only in Singapore and Malaysia. So uniquely Singapore and Malaysia, truly Asia. It’s pronounced like ‘flower’ almost everywhere else, including both British and American English. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our version is clearly superior because you won’t mistakenly have this happen: 

flours.gif

7. Wednesday

By pronouncing it as it's spelt, we often say "Wen-ness-day". But the proper way to pronounce this middle of the week is "Wens-day". (You don’t say ‘sat-day’ for Saturday, right? Sigh... English is a strange language.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. Picture

Guys. It’s “pic-tchur”, not “pitch-er.” This is very important, because both pictures and pitchers are items you might have lying around your house. You want me to hand you that water pitcher on the table, or the photo frame on the table? Make sure to enunciate that hard “c” so everyone knows for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. Athlete

This word may pop up a lot more these days especially now that Joseph Schooling has thrust Singapore into Olympic limelight. Say "airth-leet", don't say "air-ter-leet". Two syllables are enough for athletes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10. Espresso

This one goes out to all the students who enjoy studying at the hipster cafes with free Wi-Fi,
it's pronounced "ess-presso", not "ex-presso" ;)