English as a Contact Language: Singapore English
Echeverría Echániz, Markel
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Singapore English is a perfect variety to analyse in order to stress the importance of linguistic contact in shaping languages.English is undoubtedly considered a universal language today. However, as it is the case with all languages in the world, there is a major factor that has had an enormous impact on the English that is spoken nowadays: linguistic contact. English has been shaped as a result of language and dialect contact and this phenomenon is likely to continue in the future. Besides, English has been one of the main languages of colonization throughout the world during different periods in history. Consequently, a number of vernacular languages have been in direct contact with English and this has led to the flourishing of diverse varieties of English, known as ‘New Englishes’. The situation of each of these New Englishes varies considerably depending on several historical, sociolinguistic and geographical factors; and the consequence of this is that most of them can be considered or are close to be ingconsidered independent and autonomous linguistic systems. One of the most paradigmatic examples of this situation is Singapore English. Singapore is a multi-ethnic country in which English serves as a lingua franca for Chinese, Malay or Tamil speakers, as well as being the language used for formal purposes such as administration and education. At the same time, there is another variety in Singapore, called Singapore Colloquial English or Singlish, which differs considerably from Standard English and is mainly used in informal settings. Thus, both the Standard variety and Singlish live together in Singapore. Since all these conditions make Singapore English a perfect variety to analyse,and the main objective will be to stress the relevant role that contact plays in shaping languages, this paper will focus on analysing some of the most relevant syntactic and morphological features of Singlish, together with describing the way in which both the Standard and the Colloquial variety co-exist.