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Title: Why You Talk Like That?: The Pragmatics of a Why Construction in Singapore English
Authors: Alsagoff, L. 
Bao, Z. 
Wee, L. 
Issue Date: 1998
Citation: Alsagoff, L., Bao, Z., Wee, L. (1998). Why You Talk Like That?: The Pragmatics of a Why Construction in Singapore English. English World-Wide 19 (2) : 247-260. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Investigation of one wh-construction in Singapore English, which signals a demand for justification, shows that there is a systematic correlation between its structural & pragmatic properties. It is suggested that this wh-construction is based on the imperative, & inherits the structural properties associated with the relatively more polite version of the imperative. In Singapore English, this is the version that makes explicit mention of the second person subject, whereas in Standard English the use of you in the imperative decreases politeness. After a careful comparison of the pragmatics of the imperative in Standard English, Singapore English, & Chinese, it is concluded that the asymmetry between the wh-construction in Standard English & in Singapore English can be accounted for by substrate influence from Chinese, from which the Singapore construction has inherited its politeness constraints.
Source Title: English World-Wide
ISSN: 01728865
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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