Tone in Singlish

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This paper focuses on aspects of tone in Singlish, the (mesolectal/basilectal) variety of English spoken in Singapore, which take up the claim of tone being a marked feature in contact varieties. While the source of tonal properties may well be the dominant Sinitic substrates, the actual patterning, at both word and phrase level, would appear to actually be a consequence of prosodic patterns found in another, non-tone language substrate, Bazaar/Baba Malay. Such observations support the notion of the founder population in the ecology paradigm: This paper suggests that, as the early English speakers in Singapore, the Peranakans, with Baba Malay as their vernacular, may well have been the community of speakers whose influence on Singlish has been most significant and persistent.


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