6. Governing English in Singapore

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A critical assessment of Singapore’s language policy, focusing specifically on issues and challenges that arise from the government’s positioning of the English language, shows how the policy needs to be understood in relation to the government’s attempt to maintain harmony in an ethnolinguistically diverse society while ensuring that the society as a whole is economically competitive in a globalizing world. A number of particular challenges for the language policy are discussed as regards the management of English. The paper ends with some observations about how this policy might ultimately have to be modified in order to address these challenges. In particular, it suggests that there is a need for greater autonomy in language policy, in order to accommodate the increasingly diverse identities and experiences of Singaporeans.


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