Powderful can?

Isn’t it amazing how our Malaysian/Singaporean English is so “powderful” that we can cut-short phrases and senteces just by adding a particle to a word and have the meaning implied right down to the tone and manner?

From Wikipedia (Singlish article), slightly edited:

Function Example Meaning
  Can. “It can be done.”
Solidarity Can lah. “Rest assured, it can be done.”
Seeking attention / support (implicit) Can hor? “It can be done, right?”
Characteristic Can one. “This can be accomplished.”
Acceptance / Resignation Can lor. “Well, seems that it can be done, since you say so.”
Assertion (implies that listener should already know) Can wat. “It can be done… shouldn’t you know this?”
Assertion (strong) Can mah. “See?! It can be done!”
Assertion (softened) Can leh. “Can’t you see that it can be done?”
Yes / No question Can anot? “Can it be done?”
Yes / No question (confirmation) Can izzit? “It can be done, right?”
Yes / No question (skepticism) Can meh? “Um… are you sure it can be done?”
Confirmation Can ar. (low tone) “So… it can really be done?”
Rhetorical Can ar! (rising) “Alright then, don’t come asking for help if problems arise.”
Change of state (finished) Can liao. “It’s done!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s