My Use of English: Illustrations and Variations of the Usage of Singapore Colloquial English to Standard English
Standard English (StdE) is a language that is internationally understood in formal contexts. However, it is divided into different subsets due to its phonology and the use of a small number of culturally based lexical items (Gupta 1992c, as cited in Gupta 1994). Thus, in Singapore, it is known as Singapore Standard English (SSE). It is useful to think of Singapore English as having two extreme varieties: Singapore Standard English (SSE) and Singapore Colloquial English (SCE).SSE has H-variety which is close to the standard variety taught in schools while SCE has L-variety that is widely used in informal situations.
Singapore Colloquial English (SCE) is sharply different from Standard English, especially in syntax and morphology. This variety of English is used in the home and in some situations by speakers of Singaporean English, who choose this variety as an alternative to Standard English. It is the normal variety spoken to the very young children outside a pedagogical situation. Nearly all children who have English from birth will have Singapore Colloquial English (SCE) rather than Standard Engl
Below is an excerpt of my conversation in SCE with a Chinese friend of mine, Sihui, where the usage of the pragmatic particles is clearly illustrated in our speech. We long time never go and watch movie what. It concerns how different words which are categorized as nouns, adjectives, verbs are combined into clauses which in turn combine into sentences (Wikipedia, 2001). What (are) you doing I (am) listening to music. This essay will look into the various environments and situations in my use of SCE as well as the three different terms of SCE; the usage of pragmatic particles, pronunciation and syntax. In Line D, the conjunction "if" is omitted. Give you face since we good friends!From my conversation with Sihui, I noticed that the three most common pragmatic particles that are being stressed are "lah" (assertive), which shows the speaker"tms commitment to what is said, or to mark a directive, "ah" (tentative), that are used to put forward an idea tentatively, or to mark a request and "what" (contradictory), which show that the speaker is forcefully contradicting something that has been said (Gupta 1992). However, despite the criticisms of SCE and negative pressure from the authorities, Singaporeans can identify the uniqueness of SCE as it distinctively expresses itself a language that symbolize the Singapore identity. Sihui:Today ah Don"tmt"tm want lah, next time canMe:Aiyah! Don"tmt like that lah. This will drive language change everywhere, but it will not threaten the requirement for Standard English anywhere (Tim Richardson, 2000). Verb groups without subject (Gupta 1994)Singapore Colloquial English uses PRO-drop. In Line A and B, () indicates the omission of the words "are" and "am" respectively. (Line D)Me: If that is the case, we go out another time, I hard up for cash myself.