The spread of English language in Singapore and the birth of Singlish phenomenon

English in Singapore, Singlish in Singapore, English, Singlish, Singapore

Why English language is so widespread on global scale?

To the vitality and prosperity of whatever language contribute intellectuals with their ideas, ambassadors and state officers with their diplomatic skills, but above all the armies with their military power and the strategic skills of their generals.

In this juncture, the establishment of British East India Company by Queen Elizabeth I opera della regina Elisabetta I, is to be considered an essential cornerstone of the spread and dominance of English Language on a global scale. Not least, with reference to the maintenance of such status proved to be the extraordinary contribution of the United States of America, especially in the years after World War II1.

If success acheved by General Robert Clive in the historic battle of Plassey is the cornerstone of British domination in Asia, the foresight and committment of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles constitute two elements of undeniable importance, especially for what concerns the unexpected arrival of English Language on the strategic island of Singapore.  A lasting confirmation of the undissoluble relationship whereby the area of expansion and influence of a given language increases in direct proportion to the military power of its speakers2, note how the unespected Japanese occupation of Singapore caused a clear and immediate decline of English Language in the whole Singaporean territory, phenomenon that lasted until the next British reconquest and the Japanese surrender.

Why does English Language in Singapore evolved and changed giving birth to that extraordinary sociolinguistic phenomenon called Singlish?

For what concerns the birth and development of Singlish, it should be recognized that, although the origins of this linguistic reality are traced back to the late Seventies of last century3, in conjunction with a second generation of English Language speakers born after the expulsion of Singapore from Federation Malaysia,  the roots of Singapore Colloqual English find their lifeblood in the heart of colonial period, more precisely since the opening of Suez Canal, key event that marked the rise of Singapore as the crossroad par excellence of Asian trades and, at the same time, trigger factor of the first economic boom in Singapore, which became the favourite destination of merchants, speculators and immigrants coming from all over Central and South-east Asia.

It was just during this period that the colouful linguistic and cultural Singaporean environment took shape, in particular thanks to the different populations that in those years arrived in Singapore, which, together with their cultures and traditions, carried in “Lion City” also their their respective languages and dialects.

Obviously, within a cultural and linguistic “ecosystem” where coexist more than 20 different languages and dialects, linguistic interferences are inevitable.

For what concerns the the contribution of all these languages and dialects coexisting in Singapore on the quantity of lexical borrowings detected in Singapore Colloquial English, we can observe a certain, but not absolute, proportionality between the demographic rate of their speakers and the quantity of lexical borrowings that these languages and dialects have progressively converged into Singlish.

Which languages have mainly influenced the pronunciation, sintax and morphology of Singapore Colloquial English?

From the analysis of phonetic phenomena inherent Singapore Colloquial English emerges that the typical pronunciation of Singlish appears to be predominantly, if not totally, influenced by those languages and dialects belonging to the branch of Sinitic Languages, while, with reference to the morphology and syntax of Singlish (Singapore Colloquial English), as well as being strongly influenced by adstrate languages active in the area, them both still show clear traces of the influence of substrate languages.

In order to make an accurate assessment of the current “health status” of Singapore Colloquial, wi might take into consideration the countless infiltrations of Singlish into different contexts of Singaporean cultural production, from cinema to theatre, from comics to music, to marketing and advertising sphere.

NDespite all fierce government campaigns aimed to curb the use and spread of Singlish among local population, Singapore Colloquial English, in addition to being considered a vital and extremely functional glue for the integration of all different ethnic groups living in Singapore, it is also seen as a radiant “icon” in which today reflect all linguistic and cultural traditions belonging to the various populations that over the centuries have crowned the island of Singapore “the home of linguistic interferences par excellence”.

Further readings and recommended books:

1Graddol David, The Future of English? A guide to forecasting the popularity of the English Language in the 21st century, The British Council, London, 1997, 2000, United Kingdom, op. cit.

2Crystal David, English as a global language, second edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1997, 2003, United Kingdom, op. cit.

3Low Ee Ling and Brown Adam cit. in. Schneider Edgar Werner, Postcolonial English: Varieties Around the World, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2007, United Kingdom, op. cit.

Dr. Biagio Faraci, traduttore tecnico, interprete di trattativa ed international web business consultant

Did you lke this article? Did you find useful information or interesting ideas?

Thank me by sharing it with your friends and colleagues, you just need one click!

It doesn’t cost anything to you, for me it is a great satisfaction and gives me energy and motivation!


This article has 1.124 Comments

  1. 🎁 Congratulations I don’t need to tell you how important it is to optimize every step in your SEO pipeline. But unfortunately, it’s nearly impossible to cut out time or money when it comes to getting good content.At least that’s what I thought until I came across Article Forge…Built by a team of AI researchers from MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Harvard, Article Forge is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered content writer that uses deep learning models to write entire articles about any topic in less than 60 seconds. Their team trained AI models on millions of articles to teach Article Forge how to draw connections between topics so that each article it writes is relevant, interesting and useful.All their hard work means you just enter a few keywords and Article Forge will write a complete article from scratch making sure every thought flows naturally into the next, resulting in readable, high quality, and unique content. Put simply, this is a secret weapon for anyone who needs content.I get how impossible that sounds so you need to see how Article Forge writes a complete article in less than 60 seconds! 🎁

  2. The Bonus Drop is a no deposit required game that’s available daily at William Hill. It is a coin drop style game and it’s very to easy to play like playing scratch cards. Open a new account using William Hill promotion code ‘H30‘ on the registration page. Deposit ВЈ10 or more and then place a ВЈ10 bet at odds of 1 2 (1.5) or greater with the company. William Hill will then credit your account with ВЈ30 in free bets (2 x ВЈ15 free bet tokens). There are a number of key terms and rules you should be aware of regarding William Hill’s Bet ВЈ10 Get ВЈ30 in free bets joining offer. We’ve detailed the main ones below although you can find the full T&C’s on the William Hill website. William Hill admitted the bet, which clearly states ‘ВЈ100 double’ on the slip, was only made because of ‘human error.’ Dice are a great way to generate secure random numbers, since there is no software involved. The most straightforward way to generate a highly-secure Bitcoin private key is to use a pair of 16-sided hexadecimal dice: The Dice Tips Any dice game you use should be deposit based, like With your own bitcoin game, you can sure get additional bitcoin profits. Bitsplay is indeed a good Bitcoin gambling site to those who want a fast route to gain more. As mentioned, this is site is new so there are still few players testing the waters. Want to have a taste of what Bitsplay offers? Read more now! cryptothrift: The main difference between traditional and blockchain-powered dice games is the provably fair nature of the letter. Being open-source, crypto dice games allow everyone to check smart contracts and see whether the odds are accurate.

  3. I was excited to discover this website. I want to to thank you for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely liked every part of it and i also have you book-marked to look at new things on your website.

  4. Wenn Sie Ihre eigene Anforderungsliste erstellen, die auf Ihre Vorlieben zugeschnitten ist, stellen Sie sicher, dass Sie kein Geld für kostenlose Slots verschwenden, die Sie nicht mögen. Das Spielen von kostenlosen Spielautomaten ist perfekt, um sich zu entspannen und seine Lieblingsbeschäftigungen zu genießen, ohne dabei zwanghaft Geld zu bekommen. Wir zeigen dir in der Rubrik Spielautomaten die wichtigsten Grundregeln und Funktionen namhafter Slots auf und führen dich durch zahlreiche Neueinführungen, die erst vor wenigen Tagen und Wochen auf den Markt gekommen sind. Während die Spielerklärungen in den Casinos selbst meist recht dürftig ausfallen, testen wir die Games von A bis Z, um dir einen möglichst umfassenden Überblick zu bieten. Dass sich Spielautomaten in vielen Punkten voneinander unterscheiden, wird in dieser Rubrik deutlich. Es gibt nach wie vor klassische Games, die aus nur drei Rollen und einer Linie bestehen. Auch wenn mit dem Namen NetBet vermutlich in erster Linie der Sportwetten-Anbieter in Verbindung gebracht wird, können die Spieler hier auch einen erstklassigen Casino-Bereich nutzen. Dieser beinhaltet zahlreiche Spielvarianten des beliebten Casinoklassikers Roulette. So können die Spieler hier nicht nur im regulären Casino spielen, sondern auch im Live-Casino an den zahlreichen Tischen Platz nehmen. Gleichzeitig besteht das Casinoangebot natürlich nicht nur aus den Roulettetischen. Daher wollen wir uns nachfolgend auch die weiteren Spiele, die Zahlungsmethoden und die Arbeit des Kundensupports ansehen. Die meisten Roulette Spiele folgen den gleichen Gewinnchancen und Auszahlungen, weshalb die Auszahlungsraten der verschiedenen Varianten des Französischen Europäischen Roulettes die gleichen in Echtgeld Casinos sind. Der einzige Unterschied ist die Implementierung der La Partage Regel. Beim Amerikanischen Roulette liegt der RTP wegen der zusätzlichen Doppelnull entsprechend niedriger.