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HSSRP - Foreign Expatriates' Attitudes towards the use of Singlish

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Pang Seok Mun

on 8 November 2013

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Transcript of HSSRP - Foreign Expatriates' Attitudes towards the use of Singlish

Humanities & Social Sciences Research Programme 2013
Singapore Colloquial English (SCE)
Research Questions
1. What are expatriates' perceptions towards the use of SCE and SCE speakers?

2. What do the results from above reflect about the integration of expatriates into the
Singapore colloquial culture?

attitudes towards SCE in
formal settings

attitudes towards SCE in
informal settings

Cheng Wai Yee & Pang Seok Mun
Nanyang Girls' High School
Mentor: Dr Chiang Wai Fong, IPS, NUS
Teacher-supervisor: Ms Ong Lee Hua, NYGH

Past Research
3.1 million non-citizens
in Singapore by 2030 as projected in the White Paper 2013.
"Foreigners today might become citizens tomorrow."
However, Singlish is one of the
least attractive
among the English varieties around the world.
Respondents' attitudes towards SCE speakers
Top 3 descriptions were
It has been argued that speaking poor English makes one seem less "intelligent or competent". However,
results have shown otherwise
SURVEY - Questions had multiple-choice and Likert scale options
Results & Discussion
responses towards the use of SCE in formal settings.
SCE is deemed a lower colloquial variety of English.
58% agree that SCE is
in informal gatherings
Foreign expatriates' ability to tell when to use the appropriate variety of English
Possess necessary awareness of Singapore colloquial culture that can help the integration process.
Bex, T. & Watts, R. (1999). Standard English: The Widening Debate. London: Routledge.
Cavallaro, F., & B. C. Ng. (2009). Between status and solidarity in Singapore. Retrieved June 29, 2013, from http:www3.ntu.edu.sg/home/cfcavallaro/Pdf%20files/Cavallaro%20and%20Ng%20WE2009.pdf
Chng, H. H. (2003). You see me no up? Is Singlish a problem? Language Problems and Language Planning, 27(1), 45-60.
Chan, R. (2005, June 6). Unflattering mix. The Straits Times.
Chan, Y. W. W., & Leow, C. Y. R. (2012). Teenagers’ Attitudes Towards the Use of Singapore Colloquial English in Speaking Amongst Peers. Humanities and Social Sciences Research Programme, 250-61
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Ong, C. C. (2008). Language, Identity & Culture: The Case of Singapore Colloquial English. Retrieved June 29, 2013, from http://ldtprojects.stanford.edu%20/~cong2811/doc/ap/20100812C.pdf
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Xu, D., Chew, C. H., and Chen, S. (1998). Language use and language attitudes in the Singapore Chinese community. Language, Society and Education in Singapore, 133–55. Singapore: Times Academic Press.
Responses to Questions portray a
attitude towards SCE.
These positive attitudes towards SCE might be able to help foreign expatriates integrate into society.
Cindy Ong's study (2008)
Some foreign expatriates have begun to
Singapore Colloquial English. They even attempted to
master Singlish
Tan Ying Ying's study (2013)
SCE is
more likeable
than American English
feelings amongst foreigners

Certain degree of
conformity to social norm
Expatriates' Attitudes Towards Singlish
attitudes towards SCE speakers

4. Expatriates' integration is

not hindered
by perception of SCE/ SCE speakers

- Speaking SCE is

- "Sentences are not only
but often
, especially to foreigners."
40% do not like speaking Singlish.
Q & A
Thank You
- "Reflects badly on us and makes us seem
less intelligent
Singapore's international communication
(SGEM, Mr Goh Chok Tong, 2000)
of the respondents think that SCE helps to foster friendship bonds
Goh, C. T. (2000). Speech at the Launch of the Speak Good English Movement 2000. Retrieved June 24, 2013, from http://www.goodenglish.org.sg/movement/over-the-years/2004/official-speeches-2004/pm-goh-chok-tong-2000/
Harada, S. (2009). The Roles of Singapore Standard English and Singlish. Information and Communication Studies, 40, 6981. Retrieved January 10, 2013, from http://www.bunkyo.ac.jp/faculty/lib/slib/kiyo/Inf/if40/if4006.pdf
Kang, M. K. (1992). Definitions of and attitudes towards Singlish in Singapore. Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore.
Kirkpatrick, A. (2007). Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. World Englishes. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mufwene, S. S. (2001). Language Birth and Death. The University of Chicago: Division of the Humanities. Retrieved August 10, 2013, from http://humanities.uchicago.edu/faculty/mufwene/publications/languageBirthAndDeath.pdf
National Population and Talent Division (2013). Population White Paper: A Sustainable Population for a Dynamic Singapore. Retrieved August 10 , 2013, from http://www.nptd.gov.sg/content/NPTD/news/_jcr_content/par_content/download_98/file.re s/population-white-paper.pdf
Expatriates do not necessarily hold SCE and SCE speakers in a negative light.
Surveys were disseminated by two means:

1. Online survey
2. Printed survey
Profile of Expatriates
Attractiveness of Accents
Full transcript