Singapore English refers to varieties of English spoken in Singapore.
Singapore is a cosmopolitan city with 42% of its population born outside the country. Singaporeans, even those of the same ethnic group, have many different first languages and cultures. For example, within the Singaporean Chinese group, nearly a third speak English as their main home language while almost half speak Mandarin as their main home language and the rest speak various mutually unintelligible Chinese dialects as their main home language. However, amongst the younger generations of Singaporeans, Mandarin is fading as a spoken and written skill with most youth extremely adept at speaking and writing English. The English language is now the most medium form of communication amongst students from Primary school to University. Many households use two or three languages on a regular basis, and English is often one of them. In the past, some children received lesser English education than others. As such, the level of fluency in English among residents in Singapore varies comparably greatly from person to person.
Most reasonably educated Singaporeans do speak Singapore Standard English, alternatively known as Educated Singapore English, which, grammatically, is not different from standard British English, with variations being confined to accent and a few borrowed words, posing few challenges to any Anglophone.
Standard Singapore English (SSE) 
Standard Singapore English is the standard form of English used in Singapore. Standard Singapore English retains the British spelling and grammar. For example, the word "tyre" is used over "tire". Shopping malls are called "centres" and not "centers".
Standard Singaporean accent 
Like in most Commonwealth countries outside of Canada and Australia, the accents of most well-educated Singaporeans who speak English as their native language are more similar to British Received Pronunciation (RP) than General American, although immediately noticeable differences exist. This is the same for second-language speakers of English.
The Standard Singaporean accent used to be officially RP. However, in recent decades, a Standard Singaporean accent, quite independent of any external standard, including RP, emerged. A recent study by the National Institute of Education in Singapore suggests that a standard Singaporean pronunciation is emerging and is on the cusp of being standardised.
Singaporean accents are largely non-rhotic.
History of Standard Singapore English 
Singapore English's roots may be derived from her 146 years (1819 to 1965) under the British colonial rule. Its local character seems to have developed early in the English-medium schools of the 19th and early 20th century, where the teachers were often drawn from India and Ceylon, as well as from various parts of Europe and the United States. By 1900 most teachers were Eurasians and other local teachers were employed.
English was the administrative language of the colonial government, and when Singapore gained self-government in 1959 and independence in 1965, the Singaporean government decided to keep English as the main language in order to maximise economic prosperity. The use of English as the nation's first language serves to bridge the gap between the diverse ethnic groups in Singapore, serving as the lingua franca of the nation. As the global language for commerce, technology and science, the promotion of English also helped to expedite Singapore's development and integration into the global economy.
Foreign accents in Singapore 
A wide range of foreign English accents can be heard in Singapore. American and British accents are often heard on local television and radio due to the frequent airing of foreign television programmes.
The Filipino accent is also commonly heard, due to the fact that there are many Filipino expatriates and low-cost workers living and working in Singapore in a variety of occupations. The Indian accent, spoken by Indian expatriates, can also be heard daily on the streets of Singapore. In addition, accents originating from Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Australia and Malaysia, with some possibly from Hispanic American countries can also be heard amongst the population.
Singapore Colloquial English / Singlish 
Singlish is an English-based creole language spoken in Singapore. Unlike Standard Singapore English, Singlish includes many discourse particles and loan words from Malay, Mandarin and Hokkien. It has a distinctive grammar.
Singlish in media 
Singlish has been used in several locally produced films, including Army Daze, Mee Pok Man and Talking Cock the Movie, among others. Some local sitcoms, in particular Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd, also feature extensive use of Singlish.
Criticisms of Singlish 
The proliferation of Singlish has been controversial. Although many Singlish speakers are also able to speak Standard English, some are not able to do so. Those who are unable to speak Standard English are those uneducated Singaporeans, who are at an older age. But, most youngsters that are educated in Singapore can speak good Standard English when there is a need.
The Singaporean government's official position is that Singaporeans should all be able to speak Standard English. To promote Standard English, the government launched the Speak Good English Movement in the year 2000.
The use of Singlish is greatly frowned on by the government, and two former prime ministers, Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong, have publicly declared that Singlish is a substandard variety that handicaps Singaporeans, presents an obstacle to learning Standard English, and renders the speaker incomprehensible to everyone except another Singlish speaker.
Proponents of Singlish 
Linguist David Yoong has put forward the argument that "Singaporeans who subscribe to Singlish and have a positive attitude towards the code see Singlish as a language that transcends social barriers" and that the language can be used to "forge rapport and, perhaps more importantly, the Singaporean identity". Sociolinguist Dr. Anthea Fraser Gupta argues that Singlish and standard English can and do co-exist. According to Dr. Gupta, "there is no evidence that the presence of Singlish causes damage to standard English".
English language trends in Singapore 
In 2010, there are these following groups of Singaporeans:
1. Those who do not have any knowledge of English (very few people, mostly drawn from those born before the 1950s).
2. Those to whom English is a foreign language: they have limited ability in English and seldom speak it (mostly older people, but also some less educated younger people).
3. Those who learnt English at school and can use it but who have a dominant other language (many people, of all ages).
4. Those who learnt English at school and for whom it has become the dominant language (many people, of all ages).
5. Those who learnt English as a native language (sometimes a sole native language, but usually alongside other languages) and for whom English is still the dominant language (many people -- the most common pattern in children born post-1965 to highly educated parents).
English is the second most commonly spoken language in Singaporean homes, the first being Mandarin. One effect of mass immigration into Singapore since 2000, especially from China, has been to increase the proportion of the population for whom English is a foreign language.
|Language most frequently spoken at home (%)|
|Other Chinese dialects||39.6||23.8||18.2||14.3|
There is an increasing trend of Singaporeans speaking English at home. For children who started primary school in 2009, 60% of Chinese along with 60% Indian pupils; and 35% of Malay pupils predominantly speak English at home. This means that 56% of Singaporean families with children in Primary 1 predominantly speak English at home. As many Singaporeans grew up with English as their first language in school, some Singaporean Chinese may not be able to speak Mandarin.
Other official languages in Singapore 
English is one of Singapore's four official languages, along with Malay, Chinese and Tamil. The national language of Singapore is Malay for historical reasons, as Singapore was part of the Johor Sultanate until the 19th century and was in union with Malaysia for a brief period in the 20th century. However, Malay is spoken today by only a minority of Singaporeans. Unlike in neighbouring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia where Malay is dominant, English is now the dominant language in Singapore. All official signs, legislation and documents in Singapore are required to be in English, although translations in the other official languages of Singapore are sometimes included. English is also the medium of instruction in Singapore's education system.
See also 
- IPA chart for English dialects
- English language
- Mandarin Chinese
- Papia Kristang
- Singaporean Mandarin
- Singaporean Hokkien
- Tamil language
- Indian languages in Singapore
- Speak Good English Movement
|About Singapore English|
- Singapore English for Speech-Language Pathologists
- Dick Leith Social History of English - Page 209 1997 "In writing, the spellings color, program and check (cheque), the form gotten and vocabulary such as garbage and faucet (tap) ... the notion of a native Singaporean English has been separated from that of a Singaporean 'standard' of English."
- Qantas jet damages tyres
- New Englishes: The Case of Singapore.
- Anthea Fraser Gupta, 1994, The Step-tongue. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters
- Anne Pakir (1999). "Bilingual education with English as an official language: Sociocultural implications" (pdf). Georgetown University Press.
- Channel 5 on xinmsn Entertainment
- Background of Singapore and Profile of Singaporean President S.R. Nathan
- Neil Mercer, Janet Maybin, Using English: From Conversation to Canon Page 229 1996 "Another interesting feature of Lee's songs is the (nonstandard) pronunciation of Singapore English speakers in ... playful use of features of Singaporean English that have strong cultural connotations, Dick Lee is successfully able to ..."
- Language Log: Wah piang eh! Si beh farnee!
- "A War of Words Over 'Singlish'". Time. 2002-07-22.
- Asia Times: Quick Quick: 'Singlish' is out in re-education campaign
- Deterding, David (2007) Singapore English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, pp. 90-91.
- Jeremy Au Young (2007-09-22). "Singlish? Don't make it part of Spore identity: PM". The Straits Times.
- Gupta 1998. "The situation of English in Singapore" (doc).. Chapter Four in Foley, J A, T Kandiah, Bao Zhiming, A F Gupta, L Alsagoff, Ho Chee Lick, L Wee, I S Talib, W Bokhorst-Heng. English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore. Singapore Institute of Management/ Oxford University Press: Singapore, 106-126.
- Constitution Of The Republic Of Singapore