Singlish Dialect: History and Characteristics Essay

9737 Words39 Pages
SINGLISH DIALECT: HISTORY AND CHARACTERISTICS Overview Singlish originated with the arrival of the British and the establishment of English language schools in Singapore. Soon, English filtered out of schools and onto the streets, to be picked up by non-English-speakers in a pidgin-like form for communication purposes. After some time, this new form of English, now loaded with substantial influences from Indian English, Baba Malay, and the southern varieties of Chinese, became the language of the streets and began to be learned "natively" in its own right. Creolization occurred, and Singlish then became a fully formed, stabilized, and independent English creole. Singlish shares substantial linguistic similarities with Malaysian English (Manglish) in Malaysia, although distinctions can be made, particularly in vocabulary. Manglish generally now receives more Malay influence and Singlish more Chinese (Mandarin, Hokkien etc.) influence. Initially, "Singlish" and "Manglish" were essentially the same language,when Singapore and peninsular Malaysia were a single geographic entity – Malaya. Many signs in Singapore include all four official languages: English, Chinese, Malay and Tamil. After Singapore's independence in 1965, and successive "Speak Mandarin" campaigns, a subtle language shift among the post-1965 generation became more and more evident as Malay idiomatic expressions were, and continued to be, displaced by idioms borrowed from Chinese spoken varieties, such as Hokkien. The English language in Singapore is a sociolect continuum. The continuum runs through the following varieties: Acrolectal: This is the "highest-class" form of speech, used by the well-educated in formal situations. Acrolectal Singaporean English is roughly the same as formal British English with the exception of some pronunciation differences[5] that occur due to the

More about Singlish Dialect: History and Characteristics Essay

Open Document