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Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics (Second Edition)

2006, Pages 387-389

Singapore: Language Situation

Author links open overlay panelL.Lim*U.Ansaldo []Get rights and content

Singapore's population is characterized by a high degree of multilingualism, with four official languages and numerous vernacular varieties. As such, it is a true laboratory for sociolinguistic enterprises. It is rich in language planning and policy making, shows complex patterns of polyglossia, and code mixing is very common.

Baba Malay code mixing language contact language planning policy Malay Mandarin multilingualism Papia Kristang polyglossia Singapore English Tamil

Umberto Ansaldo is Lecturer in Theoretical Linguistics within the Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication, Faculty of Humanities, Universiteit van Amsterdam. He teaches, among other things, Creole Studies, Language Contact, Perspectives on Universals, and Linguistic Typology. His main interests and publications lie in linguistic typology and language contact and change, with recent work including creolization in Southeast Asian varieties, theories of contact and change in language, as well as the notion of grammaticalization and its application to isolating languages. His current activities also include linguistic fieldwork in communities of the Malay Diaspora: on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island and in Sri Lanka.


An assistant professor at the National University of Singapore until 2003, Lisa Lim is now with the Universiteit van Amsterdam, as a guest researcher at the Institute of Phonetic Science and lecturer in the English Department. Her research has focused largely on prosody (stress, intonation, focus and prominence), with particular interest in social-indexical variation and substrate influence, centering around Singapore English and other languages in Singapore and the region. Recent preoccupations include restructured diasporic Malay varieties and endangered languages, involving linguistic fieldwork in communities on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands and in Sri Lanka. She is a co-editor of foNETiks, the network newsletter for the International Phonetic Association, and is also a consultant and contributor to [email protected], the e-newsletter for Singapore's Speak Good English Movement. Arising from the compilation of a corpus on colloquial Singapore English, she wrote for and edited the volume Singapore English: a grammatical description, published by John Benjamins in 2004.

Copyright © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.