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Mastery of dialects with Mandarin and English not pragmatic: PM Lee

Published on Jul 5, 2014 3:58 PM

While there is still room for dialect in Singapore, it is not pragmatic for dialects to be used more widely and mastered alongside English and Mandarin, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday, as he emphasised that Singapore's language policy remains sound.

Giving his speech in Mandarin at the launch of this year's Speak Mandarin Campaign, Mr Lee said he fully understands the desire for the young to learn dialects and protect their use of it as an important part of Chinese culture.

But when Singapore first introduced the bilingual policy, it did so after careful observation and the finding that it is very difficult for most people to master English, Mandarin and dialects at the same time.

"This principle has not changed, 35 years later," said Mr Lee.

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