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ERIC Number: EJ839352
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Jun
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 75
ISSN: ISSN-0883-2919
Between Status and Solidarity in Singapore
Cavallaro, Francesco; Chin, Ng Bee
World Englishes, v28 n2 p143-159 Jun 2009
Language attitude studies have shown that the majority language and its speakers tend to be rated positively along status, intelligence, and power dimensions ("Educated", "Successful", "Intelligent"), while the minority variety and its speakers elicit positive responses in the solidarity semantic category ("Friendly", "Honest", "Responsible"). This study examines subjective reaction to Singapore Standard English (SSE) and Singapore Colloquial English (SCE), widely known as "Singlish", using the matched guise technique. Though SCE has been widely reported to be a strong solidarity marker for Singaporeans, no systematic study has been carried out to attest this observation. In this study, 75 Singaporeans and 19 non-Singaporeans listened to a recorded speech sample in SCE and another in SSE and were asked to rate the "speakers" on a series of semantic traits. The results conformed to widely reported trends of other matched guise studies showing clustering of responses along dimensions of status and solidarity. However, unlike previous studies in other contexts, which tend to show increased solidarity ratings with non-standard varieties, the data from this present study points to a different trend. Contrary to expectations, SCE was rated lower in solidarity traits compared to SSE. This raises questions about the widely perceived role of SCE as a high solidarity language. The discussion evaluates the attitudes of world Englishes in other contexts and seeks to explain the discrepancy in the findings by drawing on the unique and intense language awareness campaigns Singaporeans have been subjected to since independence.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Singapore