1. In 1810, Sir Stamford Raffles founded the island of Singapore and later claimed it in an attempt to create a trading post for the British. This trading post was located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, which was important for trade from East Asia and India. In the early 19th century, Malays, Chinese, and Indians came to Singapore to begin trade. The language spoken by these ethnicities affected one another and resulted in a choppy, sing-song version of the Queen’s English with heavy accents from the Hokkien, Malay, Cantonese, Tamil, and more.
2. While Singlish may be based off British English, most of its influence comes from Chinese and Malay. Words from Hokkien, Mandarin, Malay, Cantonese, and Tamil are often added to everyday conversation. Singlish has many distinct and unique features. One of the first things you notice when speaking to a native Singaporean is the way they drop grammatical endings, linking verbs, tenses, and plurals. For instance, if you wanted to say, “You walk so slowly,” in Singlish, you would say, “You walk so slow.” Or if you wanted to say, “She sho...
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...nister for Information and the Arts, to improve and maintain Standard Singapore English. He finally decided to keep Singlish as a part of their culture but prohibited in schools and formal gatherings. Even today, SGEM strives to expand the efficiency of English in school, reminding students that while Singlish may be an important part of our culture, it is even more important that the rest of the world can understand us and we can understand them.
4. Singlish is a melting pot of many different languages that can sound fun and upbeat to some people, but can make others cringe at the sound of misused grammar. You know you’re speaking with a Singaporean when you hear the reduplication and discourse particles, and the elimination of linking verbs. Singlish is a crucial part of their identity and their culture as it brings everyone together despite their social class.
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