Some of us might have heard the word Singlish, Singaporean English. Throughout our Twitter sessions, fellas would ask about it occasionally. So in this post, we will some trivia about it based on an interview with colleagues currently living and previously lived in Singapore plus other sources.
Singapore was under the British colonial for 146 years (1819-1965). In the 1950s, those who worked as civil servants or for the government had to speak English. Schools which are available were Chinese schools and English schools.
With English language around them, it was then picked up by non-English speakers, creating another kind of ‘language’. This then becomes Singlish, a “creole language” (constructed from a simplified language). Therefore the present Singlish comes from the general population itself, the Singaporeans.
But, isn’t Singlish a slang?
The answer is.. well, some might say, but it’s actually not.
It is a constructed language based on English itself, different Chinese dialects and Malay (Bahasa Melayu). Singlish is a creole language from those different languages. Apparently Singlish is similar to Malaysian English.
Complicated? Not really. Singlish seems simple and unique. Yet apparently the government is complaining saying it lacks identity, it is an on-going argument.
Note: The information below was gathered through online interview with colleagues currently living and previously lived in Singapore.
Question: As those who uses/used Singlish, what do you think of it as a user?
Della, from Indonesia, stated that she can express herself very well in Singlish. To her, Singlish allows her to express more and has become one of her fluent ‘language.’
Zhen Min, from Singapore, stated she can express herself faster in Singlish. She would speak it to friends and colleagues or use it for casual writing. She would use it as affectation of language.
“I would change (to Singlish) if I am stressing on something” – Zhen Min, Singapore
Mithun, from India, stated he initially could not understand Singlish but then realises how amazing it is as a language itself. Singlish uses very little words to express more or the same.
“For example the word ‘can’. I don’t have to say the full sentence,I can just use it for almost anything and it makes sense” – Mithun, India
Question: So, what is Singlish like?
kinda hard to understand what they are talking about… :/ – @mu_afi
My friend supposed me S’porean ’cause my Singlish – @dyanaamalia
To those who are not familiar with Singlish, the language might sounds new and pretty hard to understand. However, to those who are familiar with Singlish and use it in daily conversation, especially to Singaporeans, the language comes naturally to them… just like how we use bahasa Indonesia in here Indonesia.
- Interview with Della (@della_angelina), Zhen Min and Mithun in London, 14th July 2014
- #IOTW: A few Singlish idioms
- #EngConvo: Singlish
- #EngVocab: Singlish vocabularies (1)
- #EngVocab: Singlish vocabularies (2)
- #EngTalk: Indonesian English for the election