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ERIC Number: EJ864246
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 20
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 79
ISSN: ISSN-1461-0213
Beyond Fear and Loathing in SG: The Real Mother Tongues and Language Policies in Multilingual Singapore
Lim, Lisa
AILA Review, v22 n1 p52-71 2009
This paper considers the real mother tongues of Singapore, namely the Chinese "dialects" and Singlish, the linguistic varieties which, respectively, arrived with the original immigrants to the rapidly developing British colony, and evolved in the dynamic multilingual ecology over the decades. Curiously these mother tongues have been regarded with fear and treated with loathing in the official language policies and accompanying prestige planning that have been developed and executed in Singapore since independence, being actively denigrated and discouraged in official discourse, viewed as not having a place in the globalization goals of the nation. Looking beyond the official line and census figures, actual linguistic practices of the community of speakers testify to the vitality of these varieties, in spite of the official sanctions; moreover, in spite of itself, the government does in fact allow itself the use of these mother tongues when certain contexts call for it. This paper suggests that an enlightened consideration of native "dialects" and nativized Singlish and the plurilingual practices in which they are used, as well as of the question of intelligibility, must point policy makers in directions where fears are assuaged and spaces made for the natural existence and evolution of such varieties in multilingual ecologies. (Contains 10 notes.)
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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