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Title: Education and the Pattern of Language Use among Ethnic Chinese School Children in Singapore
Authors: Kwan-Terry, A. 
Issue Date: 1989
Citation: Kwan-Terry, A. (1989). Education and the Pattern of Language Use among Ethnic Chinese School Children in Singapore. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 80 : 5-31. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Data collected via 3 questionnaires administered to 315 children aged 6-12 attending 2 average schools in Singapore, are used to examine the claims on language use made by the children about themselves, members of their family, & their peers, relating these claims to socioeconomic, demographic, & cultural factors. Analysis shows that education plays a determining role in the language choices of an individual. About 75% of the parents in the survey, many of whom had had a Chinese-medium primary level of education, were reported to use a Chinese language with their spouse in the home, a smaller proportion were reported to use both Chinese & English, & only a very small proportion, almost all of whom had had an English-medium education at the secondary level, were reported to use predominantly English. Education also affects the parents' choice of language in that many of those parents who had the ability to use some English switched to using both English & Chinese when speaking with their children, despite their predominant use of Chinese with their spouse, no doubt with the intention of exposing their children to English, which they needed at school. In the case of parents who spoke predominantly English to their spouse, their concern for their children's ability in Mandarin Chinese, the language studied as the second language at school, was manifested; in a substantial number of cases, one of the two parents would switch to using Mandarin Chinese with the children. In addition, a substantial proportion of parents who spoke predominantly Chinese to their spouse or who spoke both Chinese & English employed a private tutor to help their children with English, whereas parents who spoke predominantly English employed a tutor to help with their children's Chinese. Education also plays an important role in promoting the use of the school or official languages, as demonstrated in the significant increase in the amount of English as well as Mandarin Chinese used among siblings who brought the school languages to the home, at the expense of the Chinese dialects. As the children moved from the home to the school, there was a further increase in the amount of English used, an increase that became even more marked as the children reached higher levels of study. AA.
Source Title: International Journal of the Sociology of Language
ISSN: 01652516
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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