Tue, Aug 25, 2009
my paper
New media to get youths to speak English well


AN ONLINE drama will soon be aired through social-networking websites - Twitter, Facebook and blogs - to encourage young people to speak English properly.

The six-episode series, Six Lives, will portray how speaking English poorly can be detrimental to one's life, through events in six young people's lives.

Its website will be launched on Friday by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

The drama series is one of the initiatives under this year's Speak Good English Movement, which is in its ninth year.

The campaign is focusing on young people aged 18 to 29 this year, because many of them do not feel that they need to improve their command of the English language, said its spokesman.

A survey conducted last year by the movement showed that of the 1,243 Singaporeans aged 15 to 39 polled, nearly half of those in their late 20s felt using Singlish is acceptable.

But the movement hopes to impress upon youth that 'learning a language is a lifelong process and one can continue to improve one's proficiency in it', said its spokesman.

Mr Goh Eck Kheng, who chairs the movement, said: 'With the growing importance of digital communication and rise in popularity of socialnetworking tools among youths, the movement will be using new media to reach out to them.'

Other initiatives that make use of new media include citizen-journalism website Stomp's online column - English As It Is Broken - that answers readers' queries on English, and the Schools Digital Media Awards Competition, which gets students to produce advertisements, dramas and documentaries on the theme of speaking English well.

The tagline for this year's campaign - Impress. Inspire. Intoxicate - stresses that speaking English well involves expressing oneself well in English, beyond just getting the grammar and vocabulary right.

This year's campaign will feature the Young Men's Christian Association Plain English Speaking Awards competition for students, and a radio programme by 938LIVE - Communicate Confidently - for executives, businessmen and managers.

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