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John Vu

on 28 October 2012

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Transcript of Singlish

Singlish Development In Singapore, there are two main forms of English Language. Standard Singapore English or known as proper English, and Singapore Colloquial English, also known as Singlish.
Singlish is an English-based creole language, that has a vocabulary of words from English, Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese or Tamil. It can be easily described as a mixture or combination of these languages in order to communicate efficiently.
Singapore was declared independence in 1965, and from then, the usage of Singlish widely distributed around locals. The creole derived from the coming of English Language in Singapore’s schools and was then picked up by non-English speakers who could not learn Standard English. According to a BBC news article, ‘Singlish is the product of Singapore’s history as a melting pot os cultures, combining the influence of an English-speaking colonial master and the firmly multi-racial society. The result is an English-based vernacular, spiced up with terms from Hokkien, Malay, Tamil and whatever other language happens to come along.’ After many years, Singlish has now become a local, stable and independent English-based creole Language. How it is used Function Attitudes Conclusion John Vu The usage of Singlish has expanded throughout a variety of different cultures. The most distinct reason for it’s use is that it is an easy and convenient way for local civilians to communicate. Those that aren't able to acquire English at school find it difficult to speak Standard English and therefore it causes a problem when it is necessary to communicate with an English speaker. They use Singlish to overcome this issue and get the desired message across.
Though, Singlish is commonly regarded as a low prestige in Singapore and give the impression of ‘broken’ or ‘bad’ English. In most occasions, it is avoided in formal situations as it may give indicate low levels of education. The Government strongly disapprove the use of Singlish as it is regarded as a substandard English that handicaps Singaporeans and leaves the speaker incomprehensible to Standard English speakers. Singlish is also not supported at schools as it is believed to restrict the proper learning of Standard English. As discussed before, the Singaporean Government do not support Singlish and sees it as a handicap towards the civilians of Singapore. There has been attempts to eradicate Singlish in public media such as television and radio and says that ‘proper English’ should be used instead. Singaporean schools also discourage the use of Singlish-speaking habits as it impairs the ability to learn Standard English.
A survey was conducted in responses to the attitudes towards Standard English and Singlish by Harada, 2003. An issue with the data is that the educational level of the respondents influence their attitude towards the use of Singlish and speakers of this would provide more positive results. Most respondents had a positive attitude toward Standard English rather than Singlish in all aspects and the results reveal that Singaporeans think Standard English is more suitable as a language of communication, education, and identity. Singlish is widely accepted in the local communities of Singapore. It allows for easier communication between Singaporeans or Singaporeans to Standard English speakers. For example, tourists are able to converse with Singaporeans that never had the opportunity to properly learn Standard English. Which also raises another advantage in which it allows citizens to communicate without the expenses of taking on Standard English.In informal situations, such as during a conversation with friends and transactions in shopping departments, Singlish is commonly used without restrictions to quickly convey a message. It can assist to build rapport and also add a humorous effect by the use of ‘bad’ English. Many local Singaporeans are able to use Singlish to their advantage and allows relationships to form with different cultures The English-based creole Singlish, is a mixture or combination of English, Malay, Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese or Tamil which derived from Singaporean schools once they started teaching English. Non-English speakers picked up the creole and the use increase over time. Civilians use it as an easy and convenient way to communicate without the issue of learning Standard English. Though the government are strongly against it as it handicaps Singaporeans and leaves them incomprehensible to non-Singlish speakers. The government also initiated a program called ‘Speak Good English Movement’ to promote the use of Standard English instead of Singlish. Even though with the governments implications, local Singaporeans still find the use of Singlish beneficial, through informal conversations and transactions at local stores. The results from a survey from 2003 provide statistics that indicate most Singaporeans have a more positive attitude towards Standard English rather than Singlish and suggests that Singaporeans believe Standard English should be the dominant language. Though only time will tell, but for now, and after many years, Singlish is now a local, stable and independent English-based Creole Language. Function Bibliography K. Burridge, 2011, 'Love The Lingo VCE English Language 1 & 2', Viewed 23/10/12

H. Tan, 22/7/02, 'A War of Words is Brewing', Time Magazine, http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,322685,00.html
Viewed 25/10/12

S. Harada, 2008, 'The Roles of Singapore Standard English and Singlish',
Viewed 25/10/12

P. Chandra, 15/9/10, 'Singlish vs. Standard English – a Perspective', Suite 101,
Viewed 26/10/12
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