Singapore started off as a multiracial country and its population was made up of a melting pot of different immigrants from different countries. Over the years, our medium of communication between the different races has been modified and peppered with numerous phrases from different languages from different dialects such as Hokkien and Malay. These phrases include “lah”, “waliao”, and “makan”. This Singaporean Slang is known as Singlish. Singlish is widely recognized by both local Singaporeans and foreigners alike, and anyone who can speak a fluent Singlish is considered a true-blue Singaporean.
Singlish has been, and still is, the top favourite medium of communication in Singapore. However, Singlish has raised much controversy over the past few years. Many Singaporeans viewed Singlish as a diluted version of English, with its twisted grammar and simplistic vocabulary. The opponents of Singlish feel that “Singaporeans’ usage of Singlish has created such a bad impression of our conversational skills to foreigners when they visit us, that we are no longer remembered by our incredible evolution from a fishing village to a leading financial hub of the world, but by the slang that we speak.” (seanGng, 2010). These Singaporeans have discouraged Singlish and some even moved to ban Singlish among our society. One of the by-products of this opposition is the Speak Good English Movement, a popular campaign that encourages Singaporeans to speak accurate English. The opposition of Singlish largely feel that Singlish casts negative light on Singapore’s English standards and that if Singaporeans are unable to speak proper English, then we cannot use English as a medium of communication at an international level. After all, what is the use of English if we cannot even be understood among our foreign peers?
Others feel that Singlish is acceptable as an informal language among Singaporeans, and protested against the movement to ban Singlish. "Singlish, as a language and a linguistic phenomenon, is absolutely fascinating and we should be trying to learn more about it, not pretending it doesn't exist," (Koh, 2013) stated a passionate Miss Koh when interviewed on the Straits Times, gaining many virtual thumbs-up from Singlish supporters. Mr Shawn Tan, a Singaporean studying in America, also said that "Singlish should not be perceived as broken English. It's just the way we Singaporeans speak to bring our meanings across emotionally and efficiently." (NG, 2012) These Singaporeans firmly believe that Singlish ought not to be discouraged, but to be preserved as a “linguistic phenomenon”, as Miss Koh mentioned. Hence, there is much debate about whether Singlish should be preserved or discouraged.
I intend to research on why Singlish should be viewed as a Singaporean heritage that should be preserved.
Framing My Research Topic
Singlish is a fascinating phenomenon that invites both approval as well as criticism. Some feel that it...