Defining Singlish

Topics: Singapore, English language, Speak Good English Movement Pages: 4 (1235 words) Published: October 31, 2012
Speaking Singlish has its advantages and disadvantages. Singlish is the colloquial English spoken and written by many Singaporeans. As much as 70% of Singaporeans, regardless of race – Chinese, Malays or Tamils speaks Singlish, according to the Singapore census 2000. It is a form of colloquialism that creates an affable atmosphere for all Singaporeans; it is also known as the “Broken-English” that one too many Singaporeans speak on a daily basis. Defining, distinguishing and understanding the term ‘Singlish’ in one day, may not be the easiest thing for a tourists to do; however, as time goes by, and one spends ample time, dwelling, residing and connecting with the natives, one will soon learn how to define, distinguish and understand the term ‘Singlish’ at the tip of their fingers. Gradually, as immigrants inhabit in Singapore, he or she will soon realize that Standard English alone is not enough to efficiently and resourcefully converse with the inhabitants. Due to the multi-cultural society that Singapore has, the English from one ethnic group may differ from another group through intonation and pronunciation. In the long run, this creates a new form of ‘English’ through creolization – a pidgin language that has been accepted; it is what we now call Singlish. The vocabulary of Singlish constitutes of words originating from English, Malay and Tamil Language; it consists of dialects such as Cantonese, Teochew and Hokkien too. It is the fusion of different ethnic group living in Singapore, which creates the local “English” that many speak presently. Hence, in my opinion, Singlish is generated and cemented by the abundant influences of the many cultures that Singapore has to offer. One can also peg that Singlish is in fact English, of the product of a blended culture in Singapore. Just to name a few, terms such as “lah”, “leh”, “lor”, “meh” and “mah” are used as a finishing touch and enhancement to almost any sentence open in social chatter. For example, a true...
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