The Singlish Controversy: Language, Culture and Identity in a Globalizing World

The Singlish Controversy: Language, Culture and Identity in a Globalizing World

by Lionel Wee


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Singlish is the colloquial variety of English spoken in Singapore. It has sparked much public debate, but so far the complex question of what Singlish really is and what it means to its speakers has remained obscured. This important work explores some of the socio-political controversies surrounding Singlish, such as the political ideologies inherent in Singlish discourse, the implications of being restricted to Singlish for those speakers without access to standard English, the complex relationship between Singlish and migration, and the question of whether Singlish is an asset or a liability to Singaporeans. These questions surrounding Singlish illustrate many current issues in language, culture and identity in an age of rapid change. The book will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of World Englishes and sociolinguistics. Its detailed analysis of the Singlish controversy will illuminate broader questions about language, identity and globalization.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781107181717
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 01/25/2018
Pages: 220
Product dimensions: 9.25(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Lionel Wee is a professor in the National University of Singapore's Department of English Language and Literature. He has written extensively about New Englishes and language policy, particularly in relation to the Singapore context. He served for a number of years on the Singapore Government's Speak Good English Movement.

Table of Contents

1. Language policy in Singapore: English, Singlish and the mother tongues; 2. Ideology pooling and metadiscursive convergence in the Singlish debate; 3. Language experts, linguistic chutzpah and the Speak Good Singlish Movement; 4. Voice: who speaks about Singlish?; 5. The commodification of Singlish; 6. Singlish, migration and mobility; 7. What is Singlish? Language, culture and identity in a globalizing world.

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