My letter is concerned about the letter of Mr Claude Rabour ("French vs English",
Post Oct 31-Nov 14).
I think the students with clear objectives of French and English as vehicular languages
won't be so tangled if these languages were introduced into primary school, for French,
and secondary school, for English. Both languages have derived most in common from
the Greeks or the Latins and they are very common in words and meanings, only different
in pronunciation. Students must study hard for sure to fit themselves into the international
For example, in the past in Cambodia the French language was introduced in the primary
school, in the second year (cours préparatoire) and later in the fourth year
(cours Moyen 1ère Année). The English language was introduced in the
second year of secondary school. In those days, HE Heal Sumpha urged Khmerization;
we were proud because our mother tongue was unanimously used inside the country,
but some critics have also said that we were isolated from the international path.
The Philippines speak Tagalog along with English from primary school age; the Malaysians
speak Bahasa with English also from the primary school. I have chatted with children
under 10-years-old of both countries understandably and with interest.
For the reference books, especially in medical training, we cannot isolate ourselves
from French; so the beneficial way is to use French and English.
- Dr Sengly Chuong, Kratie