Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/129362
Title: Almost a Creole: Singapore Colloquial English
Authors: Gupta, A.F. 
Issue Date: 1991
Source: Gupta, A.F. (1991). Almost a Creole: Singapore Colloquial English. California Linguistic Notes 23 (1) : 9-21. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Singapore Colloquial English (SCE), spoken by approximately 20% of Singapore children as a native language, is analyzed historically in terms of creolistics. SCE, seen as the L-variety of a diglossic situation in which the H-variety is Standard English, emerged from a complex contact situation in the English-medium schools of the Straits Settlements in the early twentieth century. When pupils began to use English as a means of social interaction, SCE developed; unlike most speakers of creoles, native speakers of SCE tend to have a social status. In a sociohistorical study of English-medium instruction in the Straits Settlements since 1816, the language use of different ethnic groups is reconstructed. It is argued that features of SCE syntax originated from structural intersections of the Standard English superstrate with Cantonese, Hokkien, Baba Malay, & "Bazaar Malay" substrates, all of which were in partial contact in the school environment at the turn of the century. SCE is, in general, more creole-like than the substrates. It is suggested that universal grammar might account for the selection of structures in SCE & for the facility with which native speakers appear to learn them.
Source Title: California Linguistic Notes
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/129362
ISSN: 07411391
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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