In today's lesson, we learned about another outer circle English, Singaporean English.
Origins of Singapore English:
Singapore was part of the "Straits Settlements" that the British established in 1826. Singapore was an important trading post in the region. English was therefore the administrative language of the colonial government. During this time, many immigrants from China and India settled in Singapore. As a result, languages from those areas have influenced the development of Singapore's dialects. After Singapore gained its independence, the government decided to keep English to maximise economic development and to serve as a lingua franca among all the different ethnic groups.
We then looked at the social varieties of Singapore English. They can be divided into three types. (1) The acrolet is Standard Singaporean English (SSE). It is very similar to Standard British English, and is seen as a "prestige" dialect. It's used in education, government and in other formal situations.
(2) The mesolect is a combination of the acrolet and basilect dialects that has features of both.
(3) The basilect (Singlish) is similar to a creole language since it mixes languages together. It is used as an identity marker, and in informal situations. It is considered a "low prestige" dialect, and the government has campaigned to have locals switch to SSE.
Speak Good English Campaign:
In the last part of class, we discussed some socio-linguistic issues connected to Singapore's "Good English Campaign." This campaign became a part of the government's language policy to improve the use of English in the country.
However, most Singaporeans code-switch between SSE and Singlish depending on the situation. Also, many Singaporeans view Singlish as an identity marker and refuse to give it up.
1. Discussion Notes for "Speak Good English Campaign"
2. Research for Presentation
3. Lecture preparation #9