The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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SMS spells ‘nitemare’ for English

Singapore, Nov. 1 (AFP): The standard of written English is getting sloppy among students in Singapore due to the overwhelming popularity of the short message service, better known by its acronym SMS.

Eight out of 12 secondary schools told The Straits Times, island’s leading English daily, there was no cause for alarm yet, but said students were increasingly using SMS-style English in their class assignments. For instance, some students now spell the word “before” as “b4”, “night” as “nite” and “with” as “wif”.

Neo Tick Watt, a principal at Tampines Secondary School, said he was concerned efforts to promote the use of good English are “being undone by sms,” a report in the daily said.

But Montford Secondary School’s principal Simen Lourds said it was natural for students to use sms as it was the “in-thing”.

The majority of Singapore’s 3.2 million people are proficient in English, which is one of four official languages and the language of the administration.

But the widespread use of Singlish — a hybrid combining English, Chinese, Malay and Indian — was enough to spark a national campaign held annually in recent years to promote the proper use of the English language.

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