Should we Stop Speaking Singlish Lah?

Social Documentary Proposal 2012

What is your research question? Our research question is “Should we „Stop Speaking Singlish Lah?”. We chose this interesting and unique topic because in Singapore, a multi-ethnic society, there is a language that is commonly used by all walks of life. This language is spoken by almost all races – Chinese, Malays, Indians, and even some Europeans. Moreover, it is spoken by Singaporeans regardless of his socio-economic status. In fact, it is not uncommon to see a hawker, a taxi driver, or even a CEO speak Singlish to his friends and family. This language is called „Singlish‟, Singapore‟s very own hybrid language. We aim to investigate if Singlish should be spoken in day-to-day life. Background of Social Issue – history, current status and why it is controversial 1. History of how Singlish developed Singlish is a hybrid language of English, Malay, Chinese dialects (Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese) and Indian dialects (Tamil, Bengali and Punjabi) widely spoken by local Singaporeans.

2. Why Singlish is commonly spoken amongst Singaporeans (effectiveness, quick) With the rising emphasis on pragmatism and efficiency in Singapore in 1980s, Singlish started to abandon the Standard English grammatical rules and adopt a simpler rule to allow faster communication (Choo, 2011). Singlish has become a topic-prominent language often begin with a topic (or a known reference of the conversation), followed by a comment (or new information) compared to the unimportance of the semantic relationship between topic and comment in English. Moreover, some of the linguistic devices such as pronouns and articles are omitted. 3. Government‟s stance on Singlish and why it should not be spoken (believes that Singaporeans only have a superficial knowledge of Standard English and are unable to speak Standard English in full) Yet, Singlish is rendered by the government as a barrier for Singapore to play a big bigger role in global economy. Singlish that Singaporeans use can be only understood by other fellow Singaporeans. This will be counterproductive in today‟s globalized marketplace. Hence, in 2000, then Prime Minister Goh

I thought this was something to be proud of. only Singaporeans can understand and use effectively 2. National identity Language.Chok Tong launched the Speak Good English Movement (SGEM). This kind of integration is common in other area where hybrid languages are widely used and accepted by the residents. seems to spread multi-cultural understanding. Why is this issue important? 1. 2010). is also a sign of identity. hybrid languages is crucial in national identity building. which to me. launched the Save Our Singlish Campaign to counteract the SGEM. many Singaporeans hold an alternative point of view. TalkingCock. Multicultural Integration Hybrid languages allow citizens to have a better understanding and perspective of other cultures and thus help to integrate people from different cultures. They declare that they “completely support the writing and speaking of good English” but they believe “Why we‟re fighting for Singlish. In fact. For instance. a Singaporean satirical website.” They argue that speaking good English should not be promoted at the expense of Singlish. different races are bonded together and live together harmoniously in an integrated society. . where a hybrid language of Singlish is widely used by her citizens. as a symbol of culture. It mixes all the various languages. is because it‟s simply a part of our culture. Improves Communication between one another During the process of interacting with one another. which aims to ensure that Singaporeans recognize the importance of speaking Standard English and also to encourage them to use it (Toh & Cai.Sense of familiarity and homeliness . in Singapore. When in a countries where people of different races are living together.Proud of Singlish. . However.Able to unite various races . it may be the ONLY thing that makes us uniquely Singaporean. In 2002. In addition. Chinese understand some words of Malay and Indians also understand what is Kuay Teow (a traditional Chinese cuisine from Teochew) and Siew Mai (a delicious Cantonese Dim Sum). the Speak Good Singlish Movement on Facebook in response to SGEM 2010 is another case in point.Hybrid Language is unique to each nation state .

Singaporean citizens from different ethnicities (builds national identity and sense of belonging) 2. Government 2. Government 3.Speak Good English only when necessary (business negotiations. Singaporeans 4. is because it‟s simply a part of our culture. Suggest and encourage a high value to learning and using good English. It mixes all the various languages.3. seems to spread multi-cultural understanding. I thought this was something to be proud of. Singlish is rendered by the government as a barrier for Singapore to play a big bigger role in global economy.Still important to learn Standard English . work. which to me. For: They declare that they “completely support the writing and speaking of good English” but they believe “Why we‟re fighting for Singlish. Schools 4. Schools 3. speaking to foreigners etc) . Students What are some possible perspectives to it? 1. Teachers. Government Strong Stance against Singlish Against: The Speak Good English movement should help create the right conditions so that the degree of immersion is increased.” Who should it concern? 1. Foreigners? What are some suggestions/resolutions to the issue? . it may be the ONLY thing that makes us uniquely Singaporean. Start with the leaders of society and the iconic figures.Unnecessary and a waste to get rid of Singlish completely (culturally important) . In fact. The rest will slowly fall into place.

colleagues . hawkers.Speak Singlish during informal conversation to friends..'Speak Good English' (when necessary) .