Episode 247: Singlish (featuring Sean Yeo)

We’re talking about Singapore Colloquial English, or Singlish.

The Singaporean government would love to wipe it out, but Singlish is gaining prestige in the English-speaking world. Oxford is even adding Singlish words to its dictionary. But what is this language like, and what does it mean to its speakers?

Singlish speaker Sean Yeo joins Daniel, Ben, and Kylie on this episode of Talk the Talk.


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Promo with Scott Quinn


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Show notes

Brain pattern predicts how fast an adult learns a new language
http://sciencebulletin.org/archives/925.html

Brain waves predict speed of second language learning
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/310181.php

Languages come naturally, so some. Oui?
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/languages-come-naturally-so-some-oui/news-story/b5d717d7f3235fa25c1c14650590290e

What is the function of the various brainwaves?
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-the-function-of-t-1997-12-22/

Foreign Language Skills Wired In The Brain
http://primemind.com/articles/struggling-to-learn-a-new-language-maybe-it-s-all-in-your-head

Crosstalk between left and right brain is key to language development
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-05-crosstalk-left-brain-key-language.html

The rise of Singlish
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-33809914

10 Bizarre Things Singaporeans Do That The Rest Of The World Won’t Understand
(Good example of words from several languages in one sentence.)
http://thesmartlocal.com/read/singaporean-culture-quirks

xSinglish-English-Chinese-Malay-Tamil-Dialects--Sentence.jpg.pagespeed.ic.eh7srapJT-

Singapore Infopedia: Singlish
http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/infopedia/articles/SIP_1745_2010-12-29.html

Singapore Colloquial English (Singlish)
http://www.hawaii.edu/satocenter/langnet/definitions/singlish.html

The ‘Speak Good English Movement’
Google Books Link

Me Singlish Damn Powerful One, Ah?
http://www.escapeartistes.com/2011/08/20/me-singlish-damn-powerful-one-ah/

Oxford: New Singapore English words
http://public.oed.com/the-oed-today/recent-updates-to-the-oed/march-2016-update/new-singapore-english-words/

Shiok! 19 Singlish items added to the Oxford English Dictionary
http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/shiok-19-singlish-items-added-to-the-oxford-english-dictionary

What’s a ‘Chinese helicopter’? Latest Singlish entry in Oxford Dictionary has us scratching our heads
http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/whats-chinese-helicopter-latest-singlish-entry-oxford-dictionary-has-us-scratching

‘Chinese helicopter’: Singlish OED entry baffles Singaporeans
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-36283670

Some find new Singlish terms in Oxford dictionary ‘ridiculous’
(Note the language attitudes.)
http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/some-find-new-singlish-terms-oxford-dictionary-ridiculous

Wah, now can act blur and lepak: Oxford English Dictionary
http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/wah-now-can-act-blur-and/2776828.html

Inky’s Daring Escape Shows How Smart Octopuses Are
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/160414-inky-octopus-escapes-intelligence/

Anthea Fraser Gupta: Singapore Colloquial English? Or deviant Standard English? (PDF)
http://anthea.id.au/papers/sicol.pdf

mr brown tries to explain the Meaning of Lah
http://www.mrbrown.com/blog/2005/04/mr_browns_meani.html

Singlish Dictionary
http://www.singlishdictionary.com

Singapore scene is entering golden age of indie music
http://www.straitstimes.com/lifestyle/singapore-scene-is-entering-golden-age-of-indie-music


Show tunes

Find the tracks we play on the RTRFM webpage for this episode.

Image credit: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/wah-now-can-act-blur-and/2776828.html

1 Comment

  1. A Hungarian word ‘már’ has the same paradoxical nature that ‘lah’ has. It originally means ‘already’ or ‘at once’, so putting it in an imperative sentence would imply something harsh like ‘do it already’ or ‘do it at once’. That is sometimes the case, but most of the time it actually functions as a softener, being even synonymous with ‘please’. I’ve noticed that, when saying ‘please’ sounds too formal, e.g. asking a family member to pass the salt at the dinner table, we’ll put it in the sentence to soften up ‘pass the salt!’, even though ‘pass the salt already!’ doesn’t sound much nicer.

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