Chapter 8. The development of English in Singapore

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Drawing on seminal works in the literature (e.g. Foley et al. 1998; Gupta 1994; Platt & Weber 1980), this chapter presents a historical account of the sociolinguistic landscape of Singapore from the time of post-British colonial rule to the present day. It examines how English use in Singapore has undergone rapid change because of the speed at which Singapore has developed as a nation (Lim & Foley 2004), and the way in which globalization has accentuated the duality of roles of English, as a local bridge language and as a “cash language”. Such development is examined against the background of national language policies enforced through the education system to serve Singapore’s political agenda and economic interest, but which marginalizes the cultural role of English as a local language.


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