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See detailLanguage use and language shift among the Malays in Singapore
Cavallaro, Francesco; Serwe, Stefan Karl UL

in Applied Linguistics Review (2010), 1(1), 129-169

With active language planning policies in force since its independence as a na- tion, the linguistic situation in Singapore has received a substantial amount of scholarly attention. Yet, the focus has ... [more ▼]

With active language planning policies in force since its independence as a na- tion, the linguistic situation in Singapore has received a substantial amount of scholarly attention. Yet, the focus has traditionally been on Singapore English, with issues regarding maintenance and shift of the other official languages of the republic attracting much less interest. Malay Singaporeans have often been enviously described as guardians of their ethnic language, apparently resisting the push and pull factors of English more successfully. This study aims to inves- tigate to which degree the Malays are indeed still maintaining their community language. In this study a total of 233 participants from 12 to 72 years of age were asked to report on their language use across different domains, topics and inter- locutors in semi-structured interviews. The results indicate that for Singaporean Malays the age of interlocutor is the most important factor when deciding on the language(s) of interaction. While Malay is still unrivaled in interactions with senior members of the community, English is making inroads everywhere else. The influence of English is particularly strong for young adults (18–24 years), young women and people of high socio-economic and educational status. This leads to the conclusion that domains that were traditionally considered safe havens for Malay in Singapore are slowly being eroded. [less ▲]

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