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Not British or American: for Hong Kong to get better at English, put the accent on the basics

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2018, 7:00pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 24 July, 2018, 7:00pm

I would like to echo Adrian Lam’s point of view on mastering the English language through comprehensive learning in school, and that it is best taught according to local needs (“Local parents need to drop the idea that English Language is best taught by foreigners”, July 20).

Many parents have the misconception that good pronunciation and accent equal excellent command over the English language. They tend to forget that a good grasp of the foundations, such as grammar and vocabulary, is more important in learning and mastering a language, and vital for effective communication in everyday life as well as in the workplace.

The logic is simple. Ask yourself why an American doesn’t speak in a British accent and vice versa, but they can converse well and work together? Singaporeans and Malaysians have their own unique local accents, yet also manage to communicate with the world in good and effective English. They speak in neither the authentic American nor British accents, but they excel at the language all the same.

Watch: US accent booms in Hong Kong language schools

Hence, the mindset must change. If your children don’t speak with a Western accent, that is fine. We are unique and we have our own way of learning that is different from that of the Western world. So, do what is best for your children and embrace comprehensive learning methods in mastering the English language.

Tan Chee Yong, Kwai Chung