This statement that Mr. Tan made during class that our generation has better language than the generations before made me think, is that really true?
Somehow when I compare my language with my aunts and my dad, I have better English compared to my aunt and uncles that were Chinese educated (Phor Tay and Chung Ling) but compared to my aunts that were went to school in those with British education systems last time (St. Georges Girls School in Penang), I don't think mine is better. Even if I compare my mandarin with the previous generation, it is still worse.
The way I see it, a number of factors influenced our use of language. One of it is because our generation uses smses and Internet messaging, which causes our language to deteriorate as we cut the words into short forms (you to u, together to 2gether, etc) and use simple words. When we get used to doing so, we also tend to do it while doing tests, and maybe in our assignments, where we might absentmindedly write u instead of you.
Another factor is because our generation spend much less time actually reading books, be it textbooks, story books or even the newspaper. It's sad really, nobody reads books much now, they all want to watch the movie instead or watch drama shows on the TV, or stay glued to the computer. I believe that children should be encouraged to read from an early age, or even before they can read themselves the parents should read them stories, which will get them interested in books. Then the pathways between the neurons at the left hemisphere that has to do with language will be more developed.
Another contributing factor is in my opinion, the environment, or more specifically the type of language that the people around you, such as your family, peers etc, speak. When your family speaks mandarin always to you, obviously your mandarin will be better. Personally I speak English and Hokkien at home since young, which is why I am pretty fluent in both. Mandarin on the other hand, I avoid like the plague, but using it is sometimes unavoidable, especially in UTAR. Also, there's also Manglish that we Malaysians use so much.
Practice makes perfect, or in the words of Mr. Tan, "Use it or lose it." Language can always be improved by constant use and reading. It may be slow, but for sure it will improve bit by bit.
So I shall end this with a question directed to all those reading : Do you agree that your language is better than the older generation? Just compare yourself to the people in your family and so on. Maybe you can explain your perspective on this. So that we can make this blog more lively :D