Singapore Colloquial English: Issues of prestige and identity

Singapore Colloquial English: Issues of prestige and identity Singapore Colloquial English (SCE) or ‘Singlish’ is a variety very distinct from Singapore Standardised English (SSE), and its use is a polarising issue in Singaporean society. In stark contrast to the results of most language attitude studies in which non‐standardised varieties are rated positively along solidarity dimensions, participants of matched‐guise studies investigating Singaporean attitudes toward SCE have assigned lower solidarity ratings for SCE than for SSE. This is in stark contrast to anecdotal and public opinion that SCE is a language of solidarity and identity for most Singaporeans. By including participants from non‐tertiary sectors and a wider range of stimulus guises as well as supplementing matched‐guise results with interview data, this study seeks to reveal the covert prestige that SCE does, in fact, appear to enjoy in Singaporean society. While the matched‐guise results of this study largely conform to previous findings, the interview data suggest that many participants were basing their ratings on perceptions of SCE use in the public domain rather than the private domain. The study has implications for the extent to which we can extrapolate results from matched‐guise studies, a widely used instrument for the study of language attitudes in the last 50 years. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png World Englishes Wiley

Singapore Colloquial English: Issues of prestige and identity

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd
ISSN
0883-2919
eISSN
1467-971X
D.O.I.
10.1111/weng.12096
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Singapore Colloquial English (SCE) or ‘Singlish’ is a variety very distinct from Singapore Standardised English (SSE), and its use is a polarising issue in Singaporean society. In stark contrast to the results of most language attitude studies in which non‐standardised varieties are rated positively along solidarity dimensions, participants of matched‐guise studies investigating Singaporean attitudes toward SCE have assigned lower solidarity ratings for SCE than for SSE. This is in stark contrast to anecdotal and public opinion that SCE is a language of solidarity and identity for most Singaporeans. By including participants from non‐tertiary sectors and a wider range of stimulus guises as well as supplementing matched‐guise results with interview data, this study seeks to reveal the covert prestige that SCE does, in fact, appear to enjoy in Singaporean society. While the matched‐guise results of this study largely conform to previous findings, the interview data suggest that many participants were basing their ratings on perceptions of SCE use in the public domain rather than the private domain. The study has implications for the extent to which we can extrapolate results from matched‐guise studies, a widely used instrument for the study of language attitudes in the last 50 years.

Journal

World EnglishesWiley

Published: Jan 1, 2014

References

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