Is Singlish starting to fade away?

"Don't like that lah. We will win one..."

Singlish, the Singapore variant of English with all the other dialects thrown in to form phrases and words at the end of sentences or in an irregular sentence structure.

I still remember vividly a few years back, let's say in 2000 where Singlish was widely apparent throughout the little nation state. Perhaps it was due to the influences of Phua Chu Kang (the local sitcom delight of a contractor), but after the Speak Good English Campaign, now in the year 2008, there is by far lesser occurrences of Singlish being spoken.

The aunty at the market will now speak in proper sentence structures (though we cannot ask for it to be perfect) and teenagers down the street would probably be speaking in accents foreign to this metropolitan city. In this place and time of society, the value of a locally infused language has by far decreased.

However, my personal opinion is that Singlish is what actually defines the nation state we are. We can speak perfect English but then again we are no different from our European counterparts. The same goes for speaking Mandarin or Pu Tong Hua. With the tongue of our numerous forefathers of different descents, we have created our own national identity and the fact that our youngsters are shifting towards accents and perfect english, would it then mean a greater loss culturally?

While it is right to speak proper English as for the benefit of the economy while conducting trade or impressing an impression of others upon ourselves, I think while we are at home, we can still retain that sense of uniqueness within our language.

To be professional in speech while in work, and to retain our roots while at home, I believe that should be the true mark of the Speak Good English Campaign such that as Singapore progresses, we do not lose the achievements of National and Cultural Identity.

3 comments:

At June 7, 2008 at 8:42 AM xXxXZHAOZHENxXxX said...

TALKING PROPER ENGLIS HIS IMPORTANT.BUT SOMETIMES TALKING IN SINGLISH QUITE FUNNY AND FUN.BUT DON'T MAKE IT A HABIT.WE CAN'T BE PERFECT!ENGLISH IS IMPORTANT BUT WE WON'T LOSE TO OTHERS.WE MUST SHOW WE CAN DO IT.TALK PROPER ENGLISH.HAHA!

 
At June 16, 2008 at 3:49 AM Anonymous said...

wow, xXxXZHAOZHENxXxX has strong words!!
Do you really believe you will lose to other nations by not appropriating the RP way of speaking? I'm not sure.... I'm with J2K3 on this.
Singlish is a very very unique aspect of Singaporean culture. To lose it completely is the homogenise and culturally castrate.
In 50 years time, when we all speak with Californian accents, playwrights will iconise Singlish and what it stands for.
But then again, what do I know, I am a half-foreigner !?! ;)

HP

 
At June 16, 2008 at 4:50 AM silverzerox | justin said...

Hi HP,

thanks for commenting!
You are right, perhaps in the near future, even overseas artists will be using Singlish as the one iconic language of Singapore. Haha.

You are a half-foreigner?

J2K3

 

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