‘Lepak’, ‘teh tarik’ added into Oxford English Dictionary

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 12 May 2016

SINGAPORE: Who needs the Queen's English when you can use Singlish?  

In its March quarterly update, the hallowed Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has added 19 new "Singapore English" items in its lexicon.  

There are new senses of common English words, loanwords from Chinese and Malay, and formations in English that are only used in Singapore, OED said on its website. 

The examples it cited: "blur", meaning slow in understanding, "ang moh" (a light-skinned person, esp of Western origin or descent; a Caucasian), "shiok" (cool, great; delicious, superb), "sabo" (to harm, inconvenience, or make trouble for; to trick, play a prank on) and "HDB" (a public housing estate).

OED also noted that terms like "lepak" (to loiter aimlessly or idly; to loaf, relax, hang out) and "teh tarik" (sweet tea with milk) are characteristics of both Singapore and Malaysian English.

"Wet market" (a market for the sale of fresh meat, fish, and produce), on the other hand, is used all over South-East Asia.

It is also now considered acceptable to use "wah", which OED says is used - especially at the beginning of a sentence - to express admiration, encouragement, delight and surprise, among others.  - The Straits Times/Asia News Network



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