Answer: Well, nothing actually. Willie writes well (hint: the answer is in here as well). But the question is kinda weird — all words start with the same letter: “w”.

Welcome to the world of alliterations and some writing fun. For starters, here’s a definition of alliteration from (citing second entry of first listing):

the commencement of two or more words of a word group with the same letter, as in apt alliteration’s artful aid.

You can get a formal description of alliteration at Wikipedia, which talks about stressed syllables, consonance and assonance, etc.

It doesn’t have to be that all words begin with the same letter; in fact, doing so is much harder if you need to watch your grammar. The next example is perfectly fine (personal aside: Leticia would have said “perfectly pine“, ha ha — hey, this is yet another allit, yet!) and is oft quoted:

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

Enjoying the fun so far? Here’s an alliteration I wrote not too long ago. I was teasing my wife’s friend and colleague, Stephanie (UnohuUr), when I sent her this via WhatsApp:

Stephanie says she should start shoe shop soon.

This is as close as I can recall, since I had deleted that message (and her response; read on). Should have kept it for posterity — one more reason why I now have WittyCulus, which is somewhat way past due.

I know Stephanie as someone who is very “powderful” (Singlish [see footnote] for powerful) with the English language, as I have been told her co-workers are frequently flabbergasted (Allit Alert!) by her linguistic prowess. I got her witty reply almost immediately — yup, that’s Stephanie alright…

Maestro Mark makes magnificent music masterpieces. (Something to that effect; I’ll ask her if she kept that killer line. Update: Steph said to add the word “magnificent”.)

As you can see, alliterations are really fun and quite easy to create. Go on, write some yourself and amuse your friends.

Wondering which website works well with witty words? Welcome, we’re watching 😉

And I just made that up!


What is Singlish?

Singlish is the colloquial form of English that is widely spoken in Singapore. Wikipedia has a farily accurate account of Singlish, citing our “Speak Good English Movement” and providing a glimpse of the Singlish vocabulary with fairly amusing examples.

The way I see it, Singlish is English “formatted” in Chinese syntax and “sprinkled” with Malay words. With the Chinese being the majority in Singapore’s population, learning Mandarin is compulsory in primary schools for Chinese kids. It just turned out that little ones started “thinking in Chinese” while they speak English.

And due to our closely-knit multi-racial society, we picked up a smattering of Bahasa (Malay language) along the way, while our Malay friends learned some Mandarin too. This meant that it is just as easy for a Chinese to order nasi lemak (coconut-flavoured rice with sides) from a Malay food stall as it is for a Malay to buy Chinese char kway teow (flat noodles in sweet black sauce).

The Indian language, Tamil, is much harder to learn for non-Indians, so very few words crept into Singlish. However, our Indian friends are equally conversant with the common vocabulary of Malay and Chinese words. And somehow, English in Chinese-syntax became understood by all and stuck. These factors help explain why Singlish is a unique blend that is deeply entrenched in the culture.

Let’s look at an example of how Singlish “sounds” like. A mother exhorting her young son not to dart around would say:

“Don’t run here run there, wait you fall down then you know.”

In Singlish, the phrase “run here run there” is a direct translation from Mandarin but its meaning is obvious. Less so is “wait you fall down”, also a translation, as the word “wait” sounds strange for the uninitiated; a close equivalent in English would be “lest” in this context.

The popular phrase “then you know” is often used to end a sentence, as a warning of negative consequences of an action. Thus, the entire sentence carries the meaning of “If you dart around, you might fall and get hurt; and you’d regret not heeding my advice”. Everyone in Singapore understands it.

For those interested to explore further, an extensive Singlish dictionary can be found at Visitors to Singapore may find it useful to understand what Singlish is all about.

2 Responses to “What’s Wrong With Willie’s Way With Words?”

Comments (2)
  1. Watch Wittyculus whips-up whacky wordplay! 🙂

    To your question… throw in the word “magnificent”, if you may.

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