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

Brain waves predict speed of second language learning

Languages come naturally, so some. Oui?

What is the function of the various brainwaves?

Foreign Language Skills Wired In The Brain

Crosstalk between left and right brain is key to language development

The rise of Singlish

10 Bizarre Things Singaporeans Do That The Rest Of The World Won’t Understand
(Good example of words from several languages in one sentence.)


Singapore Infopedia: Singlish

Singapore Colloquial English (Singlish)

The ‘Speak Good English Movement’
Google Books Link

Me Singlish Damn Powerful One, Ah?

Oxford: New Singapore English words

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

‘Chinese helicopter’: Singlish OED entry baffles Singaporeans

Some find new Singlish terms in Oxford dictionary ‘ridiculous’
(Note the language attitudes.)

Wah, now can act blur and lepak: Oxford English Dictionary

Inky’s Daring Escape Shows How Smart Octopuses Are

Anthea Fraser Gupta: Singapore Colloquial English? Or deviant Standard English? (PDF)

mr brown tries to explain the Meaning of Lah

Singlish Dictionary

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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