American English vs Singaporean English

A comparison between the way English is used in USA and in Singapore. Not an exhaustive list, shall update whenever I think of more!

American English Comments / Meaning Singlish
Greeting: How’s it going? What’s the ‘it’? Life?Usual reply: “Good!” Oei!
Greeting: What’s up? The ceiling? The sky? No.Usual reply: “Not much” What you doing?
Have a good one! What’s ‘one’? Synonymous with ‘day’. Have a nice day?
What’s the deal? Similar to What’s up? or What’s happening? Si-mi?
Let’s bounce! Let’s leave from this place. Let’s go!
Scoot over to the left Move slightly over to the left to let someone/something pass Siam lah! / Move leh!
Bus your table Clear your table after eating Auntie! Come here pls!
After a food order: To go? Takeaway
After a food order: For here? Having here
Road sign: Do not pass No overtaking
Road sign: Yield Give Way
Metro Bus A form of public tranport SBS Bus
Subway MRT
Highway / Freeway / Interstate Expressway
Traffic light sign: Left turn yield on green When light turns green and you are turning, give way to opposing traffic
Water Pronounced as “Wall-der”. If you say “Wa-ter” in some restaurants, the waiter will not understand you. Pronounced as “Wa-ter”
Flour Pronounced like “flower” Pronounced as “flar”
Cowell College Pronounced as “Cowl” Pronounced as “Co – well”
Class Modules are termed as classes. Module is pronounced is “mod-dool” and not “mod-due” Module
College College is used interchangebly with university most of the time University
Orange Chicken Sweet and Sour Chicken
Bok Choy Chinese Cabbage Xiao 白菜
Jello Jelly Dessert Jelly/Agar Agar
Hot Sauce Tabasco Sauce Tabasco
Sriracha Sauce / Rooster/Cock Sauce Thai Garlic Chilli Sauce Chilli Sauce
“Stop Requested” lights up when you pull the string on the bus “Bus Stopping” lights up when you press the bell
E-con Short for Economics Econs
Spot me some? Borrow/Give me some [money, food, etc.] Gimme some? Can I kope some?
Sidewalk The path beside the road for pedestrians Pedestrian Path
Parking Lot/Garage/Structure Car Park/Multi-Storey Car Park
Block A measure of distance between traffic junctions e.g. the building is 3 blocks away In contrast, blocks refer to HDB flats e.g. I stay in Block 155.
Legit Slang for awesomely authentic/real and good TOK KONG: Hokkien term meaning “superb” or “top of the line”. (from TalkingCock.com)

Some other favorite words: Sweet! For sure?! Awesome!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *