This post is taken from a comment in the previous article published yesterday in this blog, by our reader-thinker klm. I think there is a lot of logic in this if we want Malaysia to be globally competitive:
Teaching Science and Maths In English – Another Perspective
1. Why English?
There are about 500,000 words in the Oxford English dictionary. There are 1 million words if one include scientific and technical terms.
In contrast, there are 49,000 entries in Kamus Dewan. Therefore,it is very challenging to use BM to describe the concepts and science of the technological civilization that we are in.
A language with 49,000 words is definitely inadequate to handle the technological civilisation we are in. Even, the French language with about 200,000 word is finding it a big challenge to stop the onslaught of English.
2. English is not one language
I would like to suggest that modern English is not one language but it is made up of many distinct and different sub languages based on a common structure. Each sub language uses words defined and known in each community of interest. Unlike the ancient time words evolved by geographic regions, today words evolved by community of interest. Words are defined and adapted by each community of interest without regard of geography or linguistic origin. But they all end up in the universal English language of the community of interest.
Take the word Tsunami. It is of Japanese origin. But it had been adopted by the science community as an English word to describe the super wave phenomenon.
3. Structure of contemporary English
We can view contemporary English structure as one with common language base and silos of usage for different community of interests.
|—-Englishg Grammar and Structure——–//–|
English in one community of interest may not be comprehensible to another community of interest.
4. Teaching of English
Therefore the teaching of English requires:
(1) teaching the grammar and structure of he language. This is what the new policy promised
(2) teaching the words and knowledge of each community of interest. This is what the new policy withdrew.
If Malaysia is to part of the world community, then we need our students to deal with both. Unfortunately, our politicians dont seem to see the picture in totality.