Creole Singlish In Multilingual Society

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Introduction Singapore’s multicultural, multilingual society lends itself to the convergence of languages and related sociolinguistic ramifications such as diglossia, conflicting attitudes and the desire to define an identity. For Singaporeans, their uniqueness lies in that they differ from each other at every level, from language, customs to religion. Probably the only thing that they have in common is their creole Singlish they develop together to facilitate easier communication. If ever anybody should try to point out a most distinguished feature about a Singaporean abroad, be they of Chinese, Malay or Indian descent, it would be their unmistakable Singlish accent. And it is this very characteristic that has been acting as a bulwark in the…show more content…
In this theory, there is no clear-cut division between a high and a low variety, but rather a gradual transition from the highest, most prestigious degree of language to the lowest. Such ideas provide grounds for describing Singlish as basilectal and SSE as acrolectal while leaving space for a medium level between these two extremes. “Mesolect”, as it is called, represents a half-way combination of the standard language and its colloquial form, resulting in a not too formal and not too casual communication device (Bickerton, 1975). In this sense, Singlish is not so much an entity independent of SSE but a case of basilectization away from the standard version of English (Mufwene, n.d.). Then, it can be said to be a variety of SSE used for daily purposes, which reinforces the argument that Singlish, at the lowest extreme on the continuum, is part of a diglossic case involving two related but quite distinct variants of the same…show more content…
It is not uncommon for there to be debate concerning the status of the low variety of a language; however, Singlish is different in that it is widely regarded, among all the tongues used in Singapore, to be most representative of Singaporeans and something that helps them overcome linguistic and cultural hurdles between races to be more united as a people (Yoong, n.d.). Unlike most other creole languages enjoying certain amounts of recognition and official status, Singlish has come under harsh criticism from the Singapore Government, who makes constant official efforts to eradicate it from daily uses. They even went so far as to deny it as part of Singapore’s identity, and a full-scale program called the Speak Good English Movement has been erected to promote a switch to Standard Singapore English among the general population (Rubdy, 2001). Probably there is not a country anywhere in the world where the administration is more adamant in ruling out a medium of communication native to so many speakers. This hard-line attitude towards such a language policy can be attributed in large part to Singapore’s realistic need for its citizens to be proficient in using English, an extremely necessary

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