Not just an “Outer Circle”, “Asian” English

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Englishes like Singapore English (SingE) are oft-used examples of “Outer Circle” or “Asian” Englishes – categories intended as sociohistorical or regional groupings, but which cannot suggest shared linguistic properties. To discuss structural similarities or differences between Englishes in an empirical way, we must engage with a typological comparison of adstrates in the specific linguistic ecology, not rely on “classification”. Crucially, ecologies are dynamic, and their careful reconstruction is vital for ascertaining specific and potentially different sources of features at different moments in a language’s development, illustrated here with the framework of linguistic eras in SingE’s evolution, focusing on particles. Change across different eras can, moreover, lead to convergence or divergence between different Englishes, regardless of the circles they move in.


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