LINGUIST List 31.1105

Fri Mar 20 2020

Books: The Culture of Singapore English: Wong

Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 20-Mar-2020
From: Katie Laker <>
Subject: The Culture of Singapore English: Wong
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Title: The Culture of Singapore English
Published: 2019
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Book URL:

Author: Jock O. Wong
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108790437 Pages: Price: U.S. $ 32.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108790437 Pages: Price: U.K. £ 24.99
Paperback: ISBN: 9781108790437 Pages: Price: Europe EURO 29.17

This book provides a fresh approach to Singapore English, by focusing on its cultural connotations. The author, a native Singaporean, explores a range of aspects of this rich variety of English - including address forms, cultural categories, particles and interjections – and links particular words to particular cultural norms. By using the Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM) approach, which is free from technical terminology, he explains the relationship between meaning and culture with maximal clarity, and an added strength of this study lies in its use of authentic examples and pictures, which offer a fascinating glimpse of Singaporean life. Through comparisons with Anglo English, it also explores some difficulties associated with Standard English and cultural misunderstanding. Lending a unique local perspective and written with an incisiveness that makes it ideal for both academic and non-academic readers, this book will appeal to all those interested in Singapore English and its cultural values.

1. English in Singapore; 2. The language of culture and the culture of language; 3. Singlish forms of address; 4. Cultural categories and stereotypes; 5. The discourse of 'can' in Singlish; 6. Expressions of certainty and overstatements; 7. The tonal particles of Singlish; 8. The enigmatic particle lōr; 9. Interjections: aiya and aiyo; 10. Making sense of Singlish.

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 20-Mar-2020