Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/138782
Title: Attitudes Towards Varieties of Tamil in Singapore
Authors: Helen Dominic
Issue Date: 13-Nov-2017
Citation: Helen Dominic (2017-11-13). Attitudes Towards Varieties of Tamil in Singapore. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The Tamil language has a unique position in Singapore’s linguistic landscape for it is an official language chosen to represent the Indian community, but is spoken by less than half of the Indian population in the country. Its unique and important position in Singapore and the larger Indian diaspora has produced much research on the diglossic nature of Tamil with two varieties being used in Singapore; Literary Tamil and Spoken Tamil. This research paper shows that there is further variation within Spoken Tamil that has been unexplored so far in literature on Tamil, and that this variation can be explored through the lens of the different waves of immigration to Singapore. Through a sociolinguistic survey taken by 109 respondents, this paper studies the existence of multiple varieties of Tamil within Spoken Tamil in Singapore, people’s awareness of these varieties, and the attitudes they have towards them. This paper studies the awareness and attitudes of the three immigration waves identified, the New Wave, Inter Wave and Old Wave, towards the varieties of Singaporean Tamil, Indian Tamil, Brahmin Tamil, Chennai Tamil, and Literary Tamil. The results from the survey show that there are speakers of all the varieties listed above, solidifying their existence in Singapore’s Tamil linguistic landscape. The respondents’ attitudes towards these varieties also show that they favour certain varieties over others and view them higher on either the status or solidarity scale. Language purity is also discussed in this paper, with findings showing that the New Wave is most concerned about the purity of the Tamil varieties they encounter and consider the variety they speak as pure and the ‘correct’ way to speak Tamil. This paper then concludes by suggesting how this knowledge of the variation within Singapore’s Spoken Tamil can help greatly in the ongoing language maintenance efforts within the Singapore Tamil community.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/138782
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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