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Formal or informal? Part 1

Students who grow up in English-speaking family usually face the problem of not catching up with English syllabus at school after lower primary. Similarly, students who grow up in Chinese-speaking family usually face the problem of not catching up with Chinese syllabus at school after lower primary.

Why?

It is because there are differences between languages used at home and at school. Generally, communication language can be divided into formal language and informal language. When we are talking to our family or friends at home or out of school, we use informal language. On the other hand, when we are talking to our superiors, teachers at school or strangers, we tend to use formal language to show our professionalism.

That’s where the problem arises. Consider the following sentences:

At school we learn: Let’s go for a walk after the meal.
在学校,我们学:用餐之后,我们出去散步。

At home we speak: Let’s go walk walk after dinner.
在家里,我们说:吃完晚餐,我们出去走走。

The sentences above, both English and Chinese Language, have the same meaning. But if you say the same sentence that you have learnt at school to your grandfather, he may think that you are talking an alien language. Vice versa, if you use the home-speaking style to write a composition for your school homework, you will not get high marks.

Thus, it is important for us to continue learning the formal language at school. We should not feel satisfied when we can speak well in English / Chinese Language at home, because the vocabulary used in daily life is not sufficient for you to be used in school. We do not discuss how the DNA mutates with our parents, unless our parents are lecturers or professionals in Biology. Do keep on learning to improve ourselves.

~ To be continued… ~


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