Convergence-to-substratum and the passives in Singapore English

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Singapore English is a non-native variety of English that has emerged from intense contact with the local languages, mainly Chinese and Malay. It has two passive forms appropriated from the local languages, in addition to the English passives (be V-en and get V-en). In this paper, I study the usage patterns of the four passives in the Singaporean component of the International Corpus of English, and show that the locally derived passives are adversative and the English-derived passives exhibit clear adversity bias. The quantitative analysis supports two distinct mechanisms of substratum influence: the abrupt substratum transfer (the locally derived passives) and the gradual convergence-to-substratum (the English-derived passives).


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