Abstract Singapore’s multilingual and multicultural sociolinguistic ecology probably makes it one of the best places in the world to nurture strong bilingualism. However, English is fast becoming the mother tongue of Singapore Chinese children. This is due to the fact that over the years of building the country’s economy, English has taken over as the medium of instruction in schools and the working language of the society, as well as the main language spoken in the homes. This paper examines the Chinese language education in Singapore preschools and explains how a change in preschool education policy can help children lay a better foundation for bilingualism, giving them a higher chance of success in later years (Yip and Matthews 2007. The bilingual child: early development and language contact . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press). This paper will address the issue of Mandarin in particular, although it is true for other ‘mother tongues’ (Malay and Tamil) as well.
Global Chinese – de Gruyter
Published: Sep 1, 2016
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