Singlish vocabulary

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Singlish is the English-based creole or patois spoken colloquially in Singapore. Although English is the lexifier language, Singlish has its unique slang and syntax, which are more pronounced in informal speech. It is usually a mixture of English, Mandarin, Tamil, Malay, and other local dialects like Hokkien, Cantonese or Teochew.

Word origins[edit]

Singlish vocabulary formally takes after British English (in terms of spelling and abbreviations), although naming conventions are in a mix of American and British ones (with American ones on the rise). For instance, local media have "sports pages" (sport in British English) and "soccer coverage" ("soccer"—originally slang for Association football—while used in Britain, is more usually called just "football"). Singlish also uses many words borrowed from Hokkien, the Chinese dialect native to more than 75% of the Chinese in Singapore, and from Malay. In many cases, English words take on the meaning of their Chinese counterparts, resulting in a shift in meaning. It is also taken from Indian words such as "dai" meaning "hey", "goondu" meaning 'idiot" etc. This is most obvious in such cases as "borrow"/"lend", which are functionally equivalent in Singlish and mapped to the same Mandarin word, "借" (jiè), which can mean to lend or to borrow. For example: "Oi, can I borrow your calculator?" / "Hey, can you lend me your calculator?"

Singlish dictionaries and word lists[edit]

The Coxford Singlish Dictionary, a light-hearted lexicon of Singlish published in 2002

There have been several efforts to compile lexicons of Singlish, some for scholarly purposes, most for entertainment. Two early humorous works were Sylvia Toh Paik Choo's Eh, Goondu! (1982)[1] and Lagi Goondu! (1986).[2] In 1997 the second edition of the Times-Chambers Essential English Dictionary[3] was published. To date, this is the only formal dictionary containing a substantial number of Singaporean English terms. Such entries and sub-entries are arranged alphabetically amongst the standard English entries. A list of common words borrowed from local languages such as Hokkien and Malay appears in an appendix. It appears that no subsequent editions have been published.

2002 saw the publication of the Coxford Singlish Dictionary,[4] a light-hearted lexicon which was developed from material posted on the website Talkingcock.com. In 2004 a website, A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English, was launched to document the actual usage of Singlish and Singapore English in published material, in the way that the Oxford English Dictionary does for standard English. Compiled by an amateur lexicographer, the Dictionary appears to be one of the more comprehensive and professionally-written dictionaries dealing exclusively with Singlish and Singapore English available so far.

The Singapore Tourism Board and tourism-related businesses have also produced short lists of commonly used Singlish terms, ostensibly to allow foreigners visiting Singapore to comprehend the local language better. Such lists have been printed in brochures or booklets, and also published on websites.

The lack of an officially-printed version of a Singlish dictionary is due to the fact that the Singapore government frowns upon the use of Singlish, their official stand being that the speaking of Singlish will make Singaporeans difficult to understand when communicating with foreigners who are not familiar with Singlish. Thus, the government has made an effort to quash the use of Singlish and to promote the use of standard English through the Speak Good English Movement over the past few years. Though failing to discourage the use of Singlish, it has resulted in Singlish having a bad reputation in recent years, further stalling efforts to document actual Singlish usage.

Letters contributed to the forum of The Straits Times, the main local newspaper, by readers have called for Singlish to be kept alive in Singapore. Community efforts to do so include the aptly named "Speak Good Singlish Movement". The idea of promoting Singlish was raised as part of a larger debate on creating a uniquely Singaporean identity. However, the government has yet to officially change its stand regarding Singlish.

A list of Singlish terms and expressions widely used in Singapore is set out below. It is not exhaustive and is meant to provide some representative examples of Singlish usage in Singapore. The origins of the Singlish terms are indicated where possible, and literal translations are provided where necessary.

0–9[edit]

Term Origin Definition
4D Singlish Local 4 digit lottery game run by Singapore Pools.
5Cs Singlish Refers to the 5 C's of Singapore (cash, car, credit card, condominium, country club membership). Commonly associated with materialistic success in modern Singapore.
11B Singlish 11 basic information. Army official vernacular. Refers to the Singapore Armed Forces Identity Card held by servicemen during their draft. Servicemen's original civilian identity cards before their enlistment are exchanged with these SAF identity cards.

A[edit]

Term Origin Definition
ABC English English (language). Acronym for "American-born Chinese." English-speaking person, i.e. Anglophone Singaporeans. Could also describe when the mentioned subject has western elements or influences.
Abit the English To mean a little bit.
Action English In this context, the term means that the person being described is arrogant and haughty.
Act Blur English and Cantonese To play innocent.
Act Cute English and Cantonese A phrase which describes behaving in a cutesy manner. Can be used as both verb and adjective.
ACBC English and Hokkien Acronym for "Act Cute Buay Cute." Phrase which describes somebody attempting to behave in an exaggeratedly cute or adorable fashion. However, they come across more annoying than cute.
Agak-Agak Malay An estimate[5]
Agak-Ration Malay and English An estimate or estimation.
Ar? Cantonese and Mandarin Used within questions and rhetoric where opinions and affirmations are being sought. Originated from the Chinese term "啊".
Ar Hokkien Used as either noun or a verb to denote a very cozy, non-sexual relationship with someone that might result in special considerations or leeway not available to anyone else without such a relationship. As in "I ar with the boss because I'm his golf buddy so I can occasionally come to work later without getting into trouble with him." Or "You got ar with him or not?" to inquire as to the status of the relationship between two people. Similar to the American slang expression "having juice with someone."
Ah Beng Hokkien A hillbilly, someone with little dress sense. Also used to refer to a gangster[6] The expressions came about because Ah Beng is a common Chinese male name. A transliteration of the Chinese name "阿明" (a-bêng).
Ah Lian Hokkien A hillbilly, someone with little dress sense. Also used to refer to a gangster[6] The expressions came about because Ah Lian is a common Chinese female name. A transliteration of the Chinese term "阿莲" (a-lián), female form of Ah Beng,
Ah Long Cantonese A transliteration of the Chinese name "阿窿", which is a shortened form of "大耳窿". Slang term for "loanshark".
Ah pu neh neh/Ah neh Hokkien Refers crudely to Indian nationals.
Ah Qua/Gua Hokkien A transvestite, who will often be assumed to be a Thai transsexual. From Hokkien "阿倌 a kuann" (the word "kuann 倌" is a term used to politely refer to a person, usually a bridegroom, or a female).  
Ah Tiong Hokkien A transliteration of the Hokkien term "阿中" (a-tiong), usually used simply as 'Tiong'. Refers crudely to Chinese nationals.
Ai See Hokkien/Teochew Transliteration of the Hokkien term "爱死" (ài-sí, Mandarin 要死). Used to describe someone on thin ice.
Ai See Buay See Hokkien Transliteration of the Hokkien term "爱死袂死" (ài-sí buē-sí, Mandarin 要死不死). Used to describe someone on thin ice.
Ai Sui Hokkien Literally means "Love beauty". Refers to a person who is beauty conscious. (Usually used on females).
Ai Tzai Hokkien Used in a reassuring manner to calm people down. From Hokkien term "愛在 ài tsāi"- must be firm, calm and solid)
Aiyah Chinese / Tamil Sometimes used as "Aiyoh".(Tamil: ஐயோ) Transliteration of the Chinese terms "哎呀" and "哎唷". Chinese equivalent of "Oh No!", "Oh Dear!". Another derivative of the term, Ai-Yoh-Yoh (Chinese: 哎唷唷)(Tamil: ஐயையோ) Extreme of "Aiyoh", was popularized by the Mediacorp drama series Good Morning, Sir!.
Akan Datang Malay Means "coming soon", as seen in movie trailers. Used to reassure an impatient person.
Alamak Malay Phonetically close to the Chinese term "Oh, my mother!". It expresses shock or surprise.
Amacam Malay A contraction of the Malay word "Apa macam", which is used as a greeting, similar to "What's up?".
An Zhua? Hokkien Hokkien equivalent of "What's up?." Transliteration of the Hokkien term "按怎" (án-chuáⁿ).
Ang Moh Hokkien Literally means "red hair 红毛" (âng-moo). A term for people of Caucasian descent.
Ang Moh Pai Hokkien Literally means "red hair faction." From Hokkien term 红毛派" (âng-moo-phài). A pejorative term for a Chinese Singaporean who speaks poor Chinese and usually prefers to speak or often uses a lot of English in a conversation. It can sometimes refer to "westernized Chinese Singaporean."
Ang Pau Hokkien/Teochew Red packet with money to be given on Chinese New Year or during some occasion like wedding, birthday party and so on as a wishes to the receiver. Hokkien or Teochew transliteration of the Chinese term "红包" (hong bao).
Ar Bo Hokkien/Teochew Means "What else?" or "How else?". Usually used as an answer to a question with an obvious answer. Transliteration of the term "阿無" (á-bô).
Arrow English To delegate an unpleasant or boring task to someone. Term derives from the military and government's practice of stamping a tiny arrow next to the name of the person in official documents.
Atas Malay Literally means "above". Used to describe a snobbish and arrogant person.
Auntie English A generic address for middle aged or elderly woman.[7] It may also refer to a young woman who dresses very unfashionably.
Ayam Malay Literally means "chicken". Used to describe someone who is easily intimidated.
Abuden Manglish Obviously; of course.

B[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Balik Kampong Malay Pack up things and go home.
Banana English Chinese Singaporean who can only speak English. ‘Yellow on the outside, white on the inside.'
Berak Malay It means to poo
Belanja Malay To give someone a treat.
Blur English Clueless. In a daze, unaware of what is going on.[8]
Bodoh Malay Idiot , ignorant.[8]
Boh Chup Hokkien Hokkien for don't care.
Boh Gay Hokkien/Teochew Hokkien or Teochew pronunciation of "无牙" (bô-gê), which literally means "no teeth". Usually used to describe someone with a missing tooth.
Boh Liao Hokkien/Teochew Hokkien or Teochew pronunciation of "无聊" (bô-liâu), which means "boredom". A slang expression to describe being in a situation of idleness. Also used to describe an act of doing something silly.
Boleh Malay Can; possible.
Bo Jio Hokkien/Teochew You didn't invite me
Bo Ta Bo Lan Pa Hokkien Literally means you have no balls if it's not dry. Usually used in drinking for "bottoms up".
Bo Pien Hokkien No choice.
Botak Malay Used to describe someone bald. This term inspired the famous Botak Jones in Singapore.[9]
Buay Hokkien Hokkien pronunciation of "袂" (buē). Means "cannot".
Buaya Malay Literally means "crocodile". Refers to a womanizer or flirt.[10]
Buay Song Hokkien Hokkien pronunciation of "袂爽" (buē-sóng, Mandarin: 不开心). Means pissed off and not happy.
Buay Steady Hokkien/English Usually used to reply to someone whose conduct spoils the pleasure of others. A spoilsport.
Buay Tahan Hokkien and Malay Combination of the Hokkien term "buay" and Malay term "tahan". Means "unable to withstand" or colloquially "cannot stand it"
Buay Pai Hokkien Hokkien pronunciation of "袂歹" (buē-pháiⁿ, Mandarin: 不错). Literally means "not bad". This is commonly used for food, saying that it isn't very bad or no bad. It can also be applied in people too.

C[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Chao Hokkien/Teochew Used to refer to foul smells. From Hokkien or Teochew 臭 (chhàu). It may also be used to describe cheating or playing foul (Jiak Chao) in a game.
Chao Keng Hokkien Feigning sickness or injury. Commonly used during National Service to describe recruits who pretend to be unwell to avoid participating in certain activities. Sometimes shortened to Keng.
Chao Mugger Hokkien Someone who mugs a lot because he is kiasu.
Char Bor Hokkien/Teochew Girl/Woman. From Hokkien or Teochew 查某 (cha-bó).
Chang Hokkien BINO CHANG. From Hokkien Bond, BINO CHIA YU BIN
Cheena Peranakan A derogatory term used to denote people exhibiting very unpolished behaviour or mannerisms, deriding their Chineseness. Basically to denote the uncultured (from an Anglophone standpoint). See definition for "Ah Beng" and "Ah Lian" in the relevant section.
'Cher (Tcher) Singlish Corruption of "teacher".
Chicken Business English and Cantonese Direct translation of the Cantonese slang "做雞", which means to prostitute oneself ("chicken" is the slang term for a prostitute).
Chee Bye Hokkien Means vagina but used mainly as a swear word.
Chiong Hokkien To rush .
Chee Ko Pek Hokkien/Teochew Hokkien or Teochew slang for "pervert" or "dirty old man".
Chim Hokkien/Teochew Hokkien or Teochew pronunciation of "深", which means "deep". Used to describe something or a situation that is extremely hard to understand or comprehend. Variants include nouns such as chim-inology, chim-ness.
Chin Chai Hokkien/Teochew Hokkien or Teochew pronunciation of "凊彩" (chhìn-chhái). When applied colloquially, it means "anything" or "whatever". Used in situations when one does not feel like making a decision and wants another to help him/her make a decision. Can also be applied to situations to do something in a half-heartedly manner.
Chio Bu Hokkien Hokkien pronunciation of 俏母 (chhiò-bú). Hokkien equivalent of "buxom woman". Used to describe a voluptuous woman but in a degraded manner.
Chinaman English A crude term to call immigrants or foreign workers from the PRC.
Chop Singlish Refers to stamp or seal.[11] From Malay cap, which is from Hindi छाप ćhāp (stamp).[12]
Chop Chop English Used to tell someone to do something fast. As heard in Mission Impossible films.
Chope Singlish Slang for reserving a seat.[12] Derived from chop; to leave a mark. Singaporeans have a habit of leaving objects on seats/tables to reserve places (usually tissue packets)
Confirm plus Chop Singlish Shortened from "confirm plus guarantee got chop" To mean that you are extremely sure of something (derives from National Service/Military situations where one needs to be absolutely sure about something; guarantee got chop denotes that the action and whatever subsequent paperwork, if any, will be approved). Basically "officially sanctioned."
Corright Singlish Shortened from "Correct and Right" Singaporean Way to confirm something is Correct or Right "

D[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Double Confirm Singlish Confirm and reconfirm. Used to emphasize the confirmation.Also to emphasize the seriousness of the topic, 'Triple Confirm' is used
Du lan Hokkien Can mean "very pissed." Can also be used to describe someone who is very picky and who insists on following the rules literally and blindly with no accommodation for circumstances. Literally means "poke dick"
Dey Indian To call someone in a friendly informal way.Same as "Hey!". Only to be used towards friends or someone of the same age. Example:"Dey! what are you doing?"

E[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Eeyer Unknown To express disgust.
Eye-Power English Sarcastic remark to describe someone who does not contribute in group work and watches while others do the work. The term probably originated from the X-Men character Cyclops from Marvel Comics. It is also often associated with army officers who stand around doing nothing, getting things done by using their eye power and watching their subordinates.
Encik Malay Literally means "Mister" in Malay. When used in military context, it is used to address warrant officers in the Singapore Armed Forces.

G[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Gabra Singlish Used to describe confusion or disorganisation.[13]
Gahmen Singlish Mispronunciation of the word "government"; the omitted "v" is especially common among people from Chinese-speaking backgrounds. In the modern context, it is used as substitute for the actual word when criticizing the government in written form to prevent possible legal action taken against the writer.
Garang Malay Literally means "fierce". Used to describe someone as courageous or enthusiastic.
Geh Geh Hokkien Means faking. Usually used to describe those who are hypocritical.
Geh Kiang Hokkien Literally means "Fake smart". Making decisions quickly and rushly without thinking about the consequences.Normally ends up bringing trouble.
Ger Singlish Corruption of "girl".
Gone-case English Means that one's doom is confirmed.
Goondu Tamil Tamil equivalent of "idiot".[14]
Gostan English Probably from the word ' go astern'. Means to reverse or go in the backward direction. Originates from the nautical phrase "go astern".

H[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Hao Lian Teochew Slang term for "boast". From Teochew word “好臉 haon3 liêng2” (love to boast, show off).
Hor Liao Hokkien Marked by superiority or distinction
Heng Hokkien/Teochew Hokkien or Teochew pronunciation of "幸" (hīng), which means to be lucky or fortunate.
Horlan English Deliberate mispronunciation of "Holland". Of uncertain origin, the term is used to denote finding oneself in a far-off place, or unexpected consequence, usually unpleasant.

I[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Ini Macam Malay "Like this" Means to be very certain.

J[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Jiak Hokkien/Teochew Hokkien or Teochew pronunciation of the Chinese term "食" (chia̍h), which means to eat.
Jiak Chao Hokkien/Teochew Literally means to eat grass. From Hokkien or Teochew "食草" (chia̍h chháu). It may refer to being in a situation of having no money for daily expenses (i.e. broke). It may also mean to play foul in a game (slightly different pronunciation).
Jiak Kantang Hokkien and Malay Literally means 'eat potato'. Formed by the Hokkien term "Jiak" (eat) and Malay term "Kentang" (potato). It is a pejorative term referring to pompous condescending intellectuals who are slightly more educated about Western cultures. "Eating more potato" means more westernized than being Asian (eating rice). Also refers to someone displaying a western English accent that is not authentic: referring to the sound that one would make while attempting to speak with a mouthful of potato.
Jiak Zua Hokkien Literally means 'eat snake'. Formed by Hokkien term "Jiak" (eat), "Zua" (snake). It basically means 'slacking'.
Jia Lat Hokkien/Teochew Literally means "sapping strength". Used to describe being in trouble or a terrible situation.
Jibra Singlish Corruption of "zebra".
Jilo Singlish Corruption of "zero".
Jibai Hokkien Vulgar term for the female sexual organ; or the English equivalent of 'cunt'. Also a general negative expletive/interjection in colloquial speech. Alternatively spelled "chee bye", "ci bai", or "chee bai" (abbreviates to "cb" in digital communication).

K[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Kayu Malay Used to hint that soccer matches have been fixed with shouts from fans of "referee kayu" (i.e., that the referee was so blind to foul play from the opposing team by refusing to penalize them that he might as well have been a block of wood). Also used to describe lack of spontaneity or wooden behaviour. (Lit. "wood")
Kampung Malay Means "village". Sometimes spelt as "kampong".[15][16]
Kar Chng Hokkien/Teochew Buttocks. From Hokkien or Teochew 尻川 (kha-chhng).
Kar Pak Singlish Parking Lot (Car Park).
Kaypoh Cantonese Hokkien transliteration of the Chinese slang term "雞婆" (ke-pô), which refers to a busybody.[17] Sometimes abbreviated to "kpo".
Kena Malay Means to be afflicted with or to suffer from something.[18]
Kena Sai Malay and Hokkien A pejorative term in which "kena" means to be afflicted with and "sai" (屎) means "shit". Means to "get into deep shit" or get into deep trouble.
Kilat Malay Means "excellent". Commonly used in the military. (Lit. "shining")
Kiasu Hokkien/Teochew Literally means to be afraid of losing. Transliteration of the Chinese term "惊输".[15][18]
Kiasi Hokkien Literally means to be afraid of dying. Used in the same manner as "kiasu". Transliteration of the Chinese term "惊死".
Kiam Hokkien/Teochew Transliteration of the Chinese term "咸" (kiâm) which literally means "salty". Used to describe a stingy person.
Kope Singlish Means to take from someone without permission.
Kopitiam Malay and Hokkien Literally means "coffee shop". "coffee shop" in Singapore refers to "food centre". From Hokkien 咖啡店 (ka-pi-thìam).
kiam pa Hokkien Directly translated - Asking for (kiam) a beating (pa). Used to say that (the appearance or actions of) an individual evokes a desire to physically hit them.
Ku Ku Jiao Singlish Male genitalia (crude). Also "ku ku bird".

L[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Lah Singlish Tagged at the end of a sentence as an exclamation but pronounced differently in questions.[19][20][21] Used mainly at the end of both phrases and sentences. Most speakers prefer "ah" at the end of questions.
La Sai Singlish means to "stir shit", or create trouble.
Lan Jiao Hokkien/Teochew Chinese transliteration of "卵鳥" (lān-chiáu). Means guy's private part (crude).
Lao Lan Singlish See "Xia Lan".
Lao Sai Hokkien/Teochew Means diarrhoea and you made so much noise that it sounded like bombs going off during world war 2.
Leh Singlish Tagged at the end of a sentence in a similar manner as "lah". Used to emphasize the sentence.
Lepak Malay Has the same meaning as relaxing, for example "Let's go lepak one corner."
Liao Hokkien/Chinese Means "already" or "over", or generally indicates the past tense. Sometimes used as a substitute for the "already" used in Singlish, especially by Chinese-speaking people. Chinese transliteration of 了 (liáo). Sometimes also pronounced as the Mandarin "le" (light tone) by Chinese speakers.
Lombang Hokkien/Chinese Pronounced with a round "o" ("lomh-bang") is from Malay "tumpang" which means "to hitch a ride".

M[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Mah Mandarin Usually tagged at the end of a sentence to seek agreement or argue a point. For example, "Cannot like that, mah."
Macam Malay Like; Means to resemble something.
Makan Malay To eat.[22]
Malu Malay Embarrassing; Usually used when one makes a fool of him/herself.
Mampat Malay Tight/firm. Usually referring to a woman's posterior or clothing.
Masak-Masak Malay Child's play. "Masak" by itself refers to cooking.
Mata Malay Literally means "eye". Used as a reference to the police.
Meh Cantonese /Chinese Usually tagged at the end of a negative question to indicate someone is exploiting a possible loophole as in "Mata said cannot park here but I'm parking over there. Cannot, meh?" Or to (somewhat derisively) indicate capabilities heretofore unknown as in "Just because you never see me running, you think I cannot, meh?" From Cantonese word "mēh 咩".
Mati Malay Literally means to die. "Die" in the Singapore context means to be doomed.
Mong Cha Cha Cantonese To behave in a "blur" manner and be unaware of what is going on around. From Cantonese word "Mong Cha Cha 幪查查"
Mug English To cram (for academic tests). Used interchangeably with/instead of the word "study".

N[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Ngeow Hokkien/Teochew Literally means "cat". Transliteration of Chinese 貓 (niau). Used to describe someone who is overly meticulous or tries to find fault in everything. Can also be used to refer to someone stingy.[23]
Neh Neh Pok German Neh Neh is commonly used to refer to a woman's chest or 'breasts'. Pok is nipples.
Nia Teochew Common used to depict the meaning of "only". It is of a belittling tone.
Nia Gong Teochew Direct Translation "Your Grandfather".
Nia Gong De Ji Dan Hokkien/Teochew Direct Translation "Your Grandfather Egg".

O[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Obiang Unknown Used to describe someone or something that is desperately out of fashion. Other variations include "orbit".
Obasan Japanese Used to describe someone sloppily dressed and out of fashion. Usually women in an old faded T-shirts and cheap shorts carrying a plastic bag.
Orbi Unknown May be used as a single term or combined to form "orbi kwek" or "orbi good", which means "serves you right".
ORD English Short-form of "Operationally Ready Date", which refers to the date on which a National Serviceman completes his full-time stint of National Service. And what older National Servicemen called their "ROD" or "Run Out Date."
ORD loh Singlish Army slang. An exclaim made by servicemen close to completing his two-year mandatory service term in the army to provoke jokingly his counterparts who have yet to see the end of their service terms.
Orh English Shortened from okay, meaning yes, understood.
Orh Hor Singlish Used when someone has done something wrong, and will now be in trouble.
O$P$ Singlish "Owe Money Pay Money". Used in threats from loan-sharks who would usually scrawl this in markers or spray paint outside debtors' units. From Chinese expression 欠钱还钱.

P[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Pang Chance Hokkien/Teochew To give chance.
Pang Sai Hokkien/Teochew To shit. Chinese transliteration of "放屎" (pàng-sái).
Pang Jio Hokkien/Teochew Meaning to "pee" or "pass urine"
Pang Seh Hokkien Hokkien slang for 'to be stood up (at an appointment), or cancelled upon at the last minute'=. Not to be confused with 'pang sai', which means 'to defecate'.
Pak Zam Hokkien/Teochew Literally means "needle injection". Used to describe something faulty or not usable.
Pariah Tamil Used to describe something unsightly or disgusting. Used to describe the lowest and most unsightly caste (gravediggers and sewerage in Ancient India). In modern times, it is also used to describe something or someone of low quality.
Pasar Malam Malay Refers to the night markets.[24][25]
Pai Kia Teochew Teochew slang for "hooligan" or "gangster". Literally means "bad kid". From Teochew 歹囝(pháiⁿ-kiáⁿ). Commonly used to scold kids who doesn't appreciate their parents.
Pai Seh Hokkien Means to be embarrassed. Usually used as an apology after making an embarrassing mistake. From Hokkien 歹勢 (pháiⁿ-sè).
Pak Tor Cantonese Dialect pronunciation of the Chinese slang term "拍拖", which means to go on a date. Colloquially refers to general physical intimacy.
Photostat English Photocopy.
Pia Hokkien/Teochew To work hard at something, or to rush something (such as homework). From Hokkien word "拼 piànn“
Piak Piak Hokkien To have sexual intercourse.
Place English A place of residence. For example, "You want to come to my place (house) and sleep over tonight?"
Pon Malay Short form of "ponteng". To play truant ("Want pon school today?").
Pok Kai Cantonese Means to go broke. Also used to curse people. Lit. "to fall into the street" where the dispossessed are tossed into the street. Not normally used as a general expletive as in Cantonese-speaking societies like Hong Kong.
Power English Usually means to praise someone or something.
PRC English A Chinese national (abbreviation of "People's Republic of China"). Often used disparagingly.

Q[edit]

R[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Rabak Malay To give you very jialat.
Return English To give back. Direct translation from the Chinese phrase.
Revert English To reply. Often used in email and text messages.

S[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Sabo Singlish Short form of the English word "Sabotage" with a related meaning of "getting someone else in trouble"
Saman Malay Used for traffic summons. (Lit. "to fine/summon")
Sam Seng Cantonese and Hokkien/Teochew or Sam Seng Kia (三牲囝, saⁿ-seng-kiáⁿ) - gangster. From Chinese term 三牲 (Hokkien/Teochew saⁿ-seng).
Sampat Hokkien Mainly used to describe a woman who is a combination of almost all the following: bimbo/ muppet/ uneducated/ crazy/ half-cooked/ short-circuit in the head. Can also use on some men. Can also call them 13 O'clock.
Sargen Singlish Corruption of "sergeant".
Sakar Malay To flatter, to lick one's boots. Derived from Malay meaning 'sugar', which may have been derived from Hindi 'sakar' or 'Sakkar' meaning 'sugar' and 'sweet words', and ultimately from Persian 'shakar' meaning 'sugar', 'sweet'.
Sekali Malay Pronounced SCAR-ly. Lest, what if.
Send Singlish To bring someone somewhere "I will send you to the airport".
Shame Shame Singlish Childish slang meaning of "very disgraceful" or "embarrassing".
Shiok Punjabi Great! An expression of satisfaction. Originally "shauk" in Punjabi.
Showflat English An event held by an estate agency that spans several weeks to promote a housing project, usually condominiums.
Sia Malay An exclamation.
Siam Hokkien/Teochew "Get out of the way!" Considered rude but effective. From Hokkien term 闪 (siám).
Sian/Sien Hokkien/Teochew Bored, tired, or sick of something.[26] From Hokkien (siān).[27]
Siao Hokkien/Teochew Refers to either "crazy" in response to a silly suggestion or an offensive term used to address a friend. From Hokkien or Teochew word "siáu 嬲". Also refers to somebody who is a fanatic. "He Siao bicycles" is saying that someone is crazy about bicycles.
Sibeh Teochew Similar to "very". Originated from Teochew word 死爸 (si2-bê6) (literally a curse vulgar word meaning "dead father"). Interchangeably used in Singaporean Hokkien and Singlish.
Si Mi Hokkien "What?" From Hokkien term 甚物 (sím-mi̍h). Mandarin equivalent of 什么.
Si Mi Lan Jiao Hokkien A much more derogatory term of "What's up?" Literally means "What's up dickhead?"
Si Mi Tai Dzi Hokkien "Si Mi" is translated from Chinese's "什么" and means "What" and when added to "Tai Dzi", it means "What's up?"
Sod Cantonese/English Used to express a machine, person, or object that has gone mental or haywire. Localization of the word "short" from English term "short circuit".
Song Hokkien/Cantonese Used to express pleasure. Lit. "refreshing". From Hokkien/Cantonese 爽 (sóng). Same meaning as Shiok.
Sotong Malay Forgetful or not knowing what is going on. Lit. "squid". Spineless or without principles, like the cuttlefish.
Spoil Singlish Broken down.
Stay Singlish Live (reside) "I stay in Ang Mo Kio". Direct translation from the Malay tinggal.
Stun Singlish To steal. See: Cope. Can be used as part of "Gostan". See: Gostan
Suku Malay/Teochew Meaning of "silly" or "foolish"
swaku Hokkien Not well informed or backward; a country bumpkin. From Hokkien 山龟 (soaⁿ-ku; lit. "mountain tortoise").
Suay Hokkien/Teochew Unlucky.[28] From Hokkien or Teochew 衰 (soe).

T[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Ta Pau Cantonese Take away (used only when cooked food is concerned). From the Cantonese word "Da Bao打包"
Tak Boleh Malay Cannot
Tak Boleh Tahan Malay Literally means, cannot endure. Used when someone is suffering from pain, or when you couldn't wait upon something.
Tau Pok Chinese Literally means 'fried tofu'. By students who throw themselves on one another in a pile, usually for fun or to bully. Special cases with vertical tau pok where a person gets squashed against a vertical object, found in MRTs on a crowded day.
Tai Ko (also spelled "tyco") Hokkien Lucky (only used sarcastically). Literally "leper".
Talk Cock/Tok Kok Singlish Vulgarity meaning of talking nonsense/senselessly and gibberish or engage in idle banter. Probably originated from the English expression "cock and bull story" or its equivalent to talking "gibberish"—an American slang for talking nonsensical things.
Tekan Malay Bully/Torture/Put under pressure. Military slang for punishments.
Terbalik/Tembalik Malay Opposite/Upside-Down/Inside-Out.
Thiam/Diam Hokkien/Malay If used as an imperative, a very rude way of saying "shut up!" or "please be quiet" But it literally means "quiet" and can be used as in "Doing guard duty on holidays is very sian but also very diam since nobody is here."
Tio Hokkien/Teochew To get. Usually used as a verb: "He tio scolded by teacher." Or to accurately choose something: "He always play 4D and this time he tio so he won big jackpot." From the Hokkien word 著 "tio̍h", equivalent to Mandarin 中 "zhong4".
Toot Singlish Stupid/silly [person].
Tahan Malay Handle/tolerate, commonly used as 'I cannot tahan' meaning 'I can't bear it".

U[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Un Unknown Abbreviation for understand.
Understooded English Corruption of understood.
Ulu Malay Used to describe a rural or remote area or country bumpkin.[29] Commonly found in road names around Singapore as well.
Uncle Singlish Used as a generic title for males who are middle-aged or older, especially those who are not well acquainted.[30] Similarly to auntie, used by young children to denote respect for a female adult
Also used to describe a younger person who behaves/dresses in an uncool/unfashionable manner.

V[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Very the Singlish Singlish phrase emphasising 'very', directly transliterated from the Chinese 非常的 (fēi cháng de), which means the same. Usually employed with a clearly sarcastic tone.

W[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Wah Lao/Wah Piang/Wah Seh/Wah Kao Hokkien/Teochew Exclamation of shock. Wah Seh is from Hokkien word "Wa Seh哇塞"
Wah Lan Hokkien/Teochew Crude derivative of "Wah Lau". Literally "Oh, my penis"
White Horse English The son of a government official or other influential person. The term is derived from the drawing of a white horse that used to appear at the bottom left hand corner of the computer screen displaying patient information when said scion visits his camp's Medical Officer.
Womit Singlish Mispronunciation of "vomit".

X[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Xia Lan Hokkien Arrogant; egoistic; pretentious.
Xia Suay Hokkien/Teochew Disgrace; embarrassment.

Y[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Your Head Singlish Mild curse used to disabuse someone of his or her erroneous assumption. Directly transliterated from Chinese "你的头".
Yandao Hokkien A handsome male. Transliteration of Hokkien term "緣投" (iân-tâu).

Z[edit]

Term Origin Definition
Zai Hokkien to be very good in something. From Hokkien 才 (tsâi).
Zhun Hokkien/Teochew Means accurate. From Hokkien 準 (chún).
Zhun Bo Hokkien/Teochew From Hokkien 準無 (chún-bô). Literally means accurate or not. Means "Are you sure or not?"
Zi siao Hokkien means to disturb, ridicule or tease. From Hokkien term 恥笑 (thí-siâu).

Food and beverages[edit]

Singlish is prominently used in local coffee shops, or kopitiams (the word is obtained by combining the Malay word for coffee and the Hokkien word for shop), and other eateries. Local names of many food and drink items have become Singlish and consist of words from different languages and are indicative of the multi-racial society in Singapore. For example, teh is the Malay word for tea which itself originated from Hokkien, peng is the Hokkien word for ice, kosong is the Malay word for zero to indicate no sugar, and C refers to Carnation, a brand of evaporated milk.

Food[edit]

Names of common local dishes in Singapore hawker centres are usually referred to in local dialect or language. However, as there are no English words for certain food items, the dialect terms used for them have slowly evolved into part of the Singlish vocabulary. Ordering in Singlish is widely understood by the hawkers. Some examples of food items which have become part of Singlish:

Term Origin Definition
Char Kway Teow (Hokkien/Teochew) Fried flat rice noodles with bean sprouts, Chinese sausages, eggs and cockles, in black sweet sauce, with or without chilli.
Chwee kueh (Teochew; 水粿) cup shaped steamed rice flour cakes topped with preserved vegetables (usually radish) and served with or without chilli
Hokkien char mee (Hokkien/Fujian fried noodles; 福建炒麺) Refers to the Kuala Lumpur Hokkien noodle. It is a dish of thick yellow noodles braised in thick dark soy sauce with pork, squid, fish cake and cabbage as the main ingredients and cubes of pork fat fried until crispy.
Hokkien hae mee (Hokkien/Fujian prawn noodles; 福建蝦麺) Refers to either the Penang prawn noodle or Singapore prawn noodle. Soup based (Penang) and stir fried (Singapore). Egg noodles and rice noodles with no dark soya sauce used.Prawn is the main ingredient with slices of chicken or pork, squid and fish cake. Kang Kong (water spinach) is common in the Penang version
Ice Kacang Crushed ice with flavoured liquids poured into them. Beans and jelly are usually added as well.
Kaya (Malay) Local jam mixture made of coconut, sugar and egg of Straits Chinese origins
Roti-Kaya (Malay) Toasted bread with Kaya
Mee Goreng (Chinese/Malay) Malay fried noodles
Otah (Malay) Fish paste wrapped in banana leaf or coconut leaves and cooked over a charcoal fire. South East Asian influence - you can find similar versions in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia
Popiah (Hokkien) Chinese spring rolls (non fried). Various condiments and vegetables wrapped in a flour skin with sweet flour sauce. Condiments can be varied, but the common ones include turnip, bamboo shoots, lettuce, Chinese sausage, prawns, bean sprouts, garlic and peanut. Origins from China. Hokkien and Straits Chinese (Nonya) popiah are the main versions.
Rojak (Malay) local salad of Malay origins. Mixture of sliced cucumber, pineapple, turnip, dried beancurd, Chinese doughsticks, bean sprouts with prawn paste, sugar, lotus buds and assam (tamarind).
Roti John (Malay/English) Indian version of western hamburger consisting of two halves of French loaves fried with egg and minced beef/mutton. Colonial origins.
Tze Char (Hokkien; 煮炒, POJ chí-chhá) Literally means cook and fry. General term for food served by mini restaurants in local hawker stalls serving restaurant style Chinese

dishes, like fried noodles, sweet and sour pork, claypot tofu etc.

Beverages[edit]

Types of tea[edit]
Term Origin Definition
Teh (Hokkien/Malay) Tea (from Hokkien word "茶 tê“)
Teh-O (Hokkien) Tea without milk but instead with sugar. From Hokkien 茶烏 (tê-o) (literally means "black tea")
Teh-O-ice-limau (Hokkien-English-Malay) Home brewed iced lemon tea
Teh-C (Hokkien/Hainanese) Tea with evaporated milk. The C refers to the evaporated milk, derived from Hainanese "See"/"Xi" which sounds like alphabet "C", in hainanese "See Gu-Nin" refers to Evaporated or Fresh ("See/C") Milk ("Gu-Nin") e.g. King of Kings or Carnation as many Coffeeshops and related businesses are operated by Hainanese people in earlier days and even today.
Teh-cino (Hokkien/Roman alphabet) Milk layered with tea on top (similar to latte macchiato), though its name hints towards a tea version of cappuccino.
Teh-Peng (Hokkien) Iced milk tea sweetened with condensed milk. From Hokkien 茶冰 (tê-peng).
Teh-Poh (Hokkien) Weak or thin tea. From Hokkien 茶薄 (tê-po̍h).
Teh-kosong Plain Tea.
Teh-kah-dai Hokkien/Foochow Milk tea sweetened with condensed milk, with more sugar.
Teh-siu-dai Hokkien/Foochow Milk tea sweetened with condensed milk, with less sugar.
Teh-pua seo Hokkien Luke-Warmed tea. From Hokkien 茶半燒 (tê puànn-sio)
Teh-O-kah-dai Hokkien/Foochow Tea with more sugar.
Teh-O-siu-dai Hokkien/Foochow Tea with less sugar
Teh-C-kah-dai Hokkien/Hainanese/Foochow Milk tea with more sugar.
Teh-C-siu-dai Hokkien/Hainanese/Foochow Milk tea with less sugar.
Teh-packet or Teh-pao Hokkien Tea to go. From Hokkien 茶包 (tê pau)
Teh-Tarik Hokkien/Malay 'Pulled' tea with milk, a Malay specialty.
Teh-Halia Tea with ginger extract.
Teh-Halia Tarik Pulled tea with milk (tarik) and Ginger
Types of coffee[edit]
Term Origin Definition
Kopi Malay/Hokkien (Hokkien/Malay) Coffee. Originated from Hokkien word 咖啡 (ka-pi)
Kopi-O Malay/Hokkien Coffee without milk. From Hokkien 咖啡烏 (ka-pi-o) [literally "black coffee"]
Kopi-C Malay/Hainanese Coffee with evaporated milk. The C refers to the evaporated milk, derived from Hainanese "See"/"Xi" which sounds like alphabet "C", in hainanese "See Gu-Nin" refers to Evaporated or Fresh ("See/C") Milk ("Gu-Nin") e.g. King of Kings or Carnation as many Coffeeshops and related businesses are operated by Hainanese people in earlier days and even today.
Kopi-Peng Malay/Hokkien Coffee with ice. From Hokkien 咖啡冰 (ka-pi-peng).
Kopi-packet or Kopi-pao Malay/Hokkien Coffee to go. From Hokkien 咖啡包 (ka-pi-pau)
Kopi-pua seo Malay/Hokkien Luke-Warmed coffee. From Hokkien 咖啡半燒 (ka-pi-pua-sio)
Kopi-gao Malay/Hokkien Thick coffee. From Hokkien 咖啡厚(ka-pi kāu)
Kopi-poh Malay/Hokkien Weak or thin coffee. From Hokkien 咖啡薄 (ka-pi-poh)
Kopi-kosong Plain coffee.
Kopi-kah-dai Malay/Foochow Coffee with more sugar.
Kopi-siu-dai Malay/Foochow Coffee with less sugar.
Other beverages[edit]
Term Origin Definition
Bandung (drink) (Malay) Rose syrup-milk drink, of Indian origins. (Goat's milk was used in the old days)
Ice kosong (English-Malay) Iced water
Horlick-dinosaur Iced Horlicks with extra scoop of Horlicks powder on top
Horlick-sio Hot Horlicks
Horlick-peng Iced Horlicks
Milo-sio Hot Milo.
Milo dinosaur Iced Milo with extra scoop of undissolved Milo powder on top
Milo-Peng Iced Milo
Tak Kiu (Hokkien) literally means football or soccer) Milo; Nestlé Milo often uses soccer and other sports as the theme of its advertisement.
Tak Kiu-Peng Iced Milo
Tiau Herr (Hokkien; literally means fishing) Tea with the tea bag. Reference to dipping of tea bag. From Hokkien 釣魚 (tiò-hî).

The above list is not complete; for example, one can add the "-peng" suffix (meaning "iced") to form other variations such as Teh-C-peng (tea with evaporated milk and ice) which is a popular drink considering Singapore's warm weather.

English words with different meanings in Singlish[edit]

Word Meaning Example/comment
follow - to come along/accompany[31] "Can follow anot?"
having here to eat in at a restaurant The antonym is "take away" or "tah-bao". Used by fast-food restaurant counter staff as in, "Having here or take away?" (Are you eating in here or do you want to have it for take-away?)
help, lah please, do lend me a hand by desisting from whatever it is you are doing; help me out here "Help lah, stop hitting on my sister"
last time previously, in the past[32] "I last time want to go Africa, but now don't know 'ready."[33]
lightbulb an unwelcome companion in a couple; a third wheel Originates from colloquial Cantonese term 電燈膽 (lit: electric light bulb). "You two go ahead lah, I don't want to be lightbulb."
mug to study Derived from British 'mug up'. Common expression amongst all students. Instead of 'He's mugging up...', locally used as 'He's mugging for...'
smug to study (SMU students) The term smugging or smugger refers to mugging by SMU students. Derived from SMU and mugger.
marketing going to the market or shops to buy food Rare expression."My dad may help in the marketing side, by going to the market to get some things."[34]
never did not "you never tell me"
next time in the future "Next time when you get married, you'll know how to cook."[33]
on, off to switch on/off "I on the TV"
on ah It's settled then?
open to turn on something "I open the light."[35] (Derived from Chinese, which uses the verb "to open" in this manner. Use of "open" to mean "turn on" is limited to electric appliances.)
pass up to hand in "Pass up your homework". Although once common, usage is now discouraged in schools.
revert to get back (commonly used in business emails) "Please revert your decision to us" doesn't mean "Please change your decision", but rather "Please get back to us with your decision".
send to take (i.e. drive) somebody somewhere "She gets her maid to send the boy in a cab."[36]
solid/steady capable; excellent "Solid sia, that movie." See also "Kilat"
sabo to play a trick on someone Short for "sabotage", but with an everyday usage.[37] - "Because he sabo me, now boss mad at me!"
stay to live (in a place).[38] From Malay "tinggal". - "My grandmother, my aunt and uncle also stay next door."[34]
steady attached (in relationships) OR agreeing over something, usually over an appointment "Eh u two steady liao ah?", "Today, come 3 o'clock? Steady."
- cool, capable (to praise integrity or strength) - "Wa you sick also turn up for work ah? Steady!"
stone to space out; to do nothing - BAKED
take to eat; to have a meal[39] "Have you taken your lunch? I don't take pork."
tok kok (talk cock) Probably from the English "cock and bull story". Talking senselessly/rubbish; "Don't tok kok lah!"
earpiece Earphones/headphones In standard English it is used by handphone/mobile phone manufacturers to refer to the little speaker above your phone screen that you use to listen to a caller, but in Singlish it refers to a pair of earphones or headphones. Can be used as in, "Ah boy, don't wear your earpiece while crossing the road!" (Boy, don't use your earphones/headphones while crossing the road.)

Expressions[edit]

Term Definition
Blur like sotong literally blur like a squid. To be extremely clueless. Squids squirt ink as a self-defence mechanism to get away. The ink makes it hard to see, thus "blur". - "Wah! You damn blur leh! Liddat also dunno!"
Don't fly my kite/aeroplane Rare expression. A Singlish expression which means 'Do not go back on your word' or 'Do not stand me up'
Don't play play! Uncommon expression, popularised by the local comedy series Phua Chu Kang Pte Ltd. Used only to evoke humour. Means 'Don't fool around' or 'Better take things seriously'
Got problem ah? an aggressive, instigatory challenge. Or an expression of annoyance when someone is disturbed. 'Do you have a problem?'
He still small boy one a remark (Often offensive) made against someone who is not of a legally median age allowed by the law. Or expression used to excuse someone because he is either immature or still too young to know the difference.
Issit/Izzit? Abbreviated form of "is it?" used as a standard tag question. E.g.: You going home now issit? E.g.: You not going home issit? E.g.: Someone comments: "You look good today." Answer: "Issit??"
Last time policemen wear shorts! a retort made to someone who refers to how policies were made in the past. Or in response to something which is passe. Or to brush aside old references or nostalgia. Direct reference to the British colonial police forces who wore three-quarter khaki pants in the 1950s and 60's.
Liddat oso can!? (English - Like that also can?) In response to feats of achievement or actions which are almost impossible, or unexpected. Usually with tinge of awe, sarcasm or scepticism.
My England not powderful! (English - My English is not powerful (good)) Uncommon expression, used only to evoke humour. Literally means 'My English is not good'.
no fish prawn oso can accepting a lesser alternative (From the Hokkien idiom "bo hir hay mah hoh." literally translates as "no fish, prawns also ok" -)
Not happy, talk outside! Used as a challenge to a fight to settle an argument, by taking it outside. (Hokkien: Ow buay gong (settle it at the back/alley way))
No horse run! (Hokkien - 無馬走, POJ bô bé cháu) Original Hokkien expression used in horse racing jargon to describe a champion horse which is way ahead of the field. Used to describe things (food usually) which are ahead of its peers.
On lah!/On!/Set! "It's on!"; expression used to voice enthusiastic agreement or confirmation (of an arranged meeting, event etc.)
Relak lah! (Malay-English for Relax) Expression used to ask someone to chill, cool it. 'Relak one corner' means to skive, or to literally go chill out in one corner.
..then you know! Expression used at the back of a sentence to emphasise consequence of not heeding advice. 'Tell you not to park double yellow line, kena summon then you know!'
Why you so liddat ar? (English - Why are you so "like that"?) 'an appeal made to someone who is being unreasonable.'
You thought, he think, who confirm? army expression used during organisational foul ups. Generally used as a response to "I thought..." when something goes wrong.
You think, I thought, who confirm? army expression used in uncertainty during questioning. Generally used as a response to "I think..." when a higher ranking abuses someone of a lower rank, which is a norm in the nation's army.
You want 10 cent? Means to "buzz off!" Refers to public phones that require 10 cents per call.
Your grandfather's place/road ah?, Your father own this place/road? Used to cut someone down to size in terms of their obnoxious boorish behaviour, behaving as if they owned the place.
You play where one? Used to challenge someone to state his gang affiliations (if any)

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Toh, Paik Choo (1982). Eh, Goondu!. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. ISBN 9971-71-168-0. 
  2. ^ Toh, Paik Choo (1986). Lagi Goondu!. Singapore: Times Books International. ISBN 9971-65-224-2. 
  3. ^ Times-Chambers Essential English Dictionary (2nd ed. ed.). Singapore: Federal Publications. 1997. ISBN 981-01-3727-3. 
  4. ^ The Coxford Singlish Dictionary. Singapore: Angsana Books. 2002. ISBN 981-3056-50-9. 
  5. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 3.
  6. ^ a b Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 5.
  7. ^ Wong, Jock (2006) 'Contextualizing aunty in Singaporean English', World Englishes, 25 (3/4), 451-466.
  8. ^ a b Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 33.
  9. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 35.
  10. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, pp. 37-38.
  11. ^ Tongue, R. K. (1979) The English of Singapore and Malaysia, Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 69.
  12. ^ a b Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 50.
  13. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 92.
  14. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 95.
  15. ^ a b Wee, Lionel (1998) 'The lexicon of Singapore English'. In J. A. Foley et al. (eds.) English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore, Singapore: Singapore Institute of Management/Oxford University Press, pp. 175-200.
  16. ^ Deterding, David (2007) Singapore English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 75.
  17. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 121.
  18. ^ a b Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 123.
  19. ^ Richards, Jack C. and Tay, Mary W. J. (1977) 'The la particle in Singapore English', in William Crewe (ed.), The English Language in Singapore, Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, pp. 141–56.
  20. ^ Deterding, David and Low Ee Ling (2003) 'A corpus-based description of particles in spoken Singapore English', in David Deterding, Low Ee Ling and Adam Brown (eds.), English in Singapore: Research on Grammar, Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education (Asia), pp. 58–66.
  21. ^ Wee, Lionel (2004) 'Redupliation and discourse particles'. In Lisa Lim (ed.) Singapore English: A Grammatical Description, Amsterdam: John Benjamins, pp. 105-126.
  22. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 135.
  23. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 147.
  24. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 158.
  25. ^ Deterding, David (2007) Singapore English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 76.
  26. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 195
  27. ^ Hanji character
  28. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 215.
  29. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 229.
  30. ^ Tongue, R. K. (1979) The Engish of Singapore and Malaysia, Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, p. 68.
  31. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, pp. 85-6
  32. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 128.
  33. ^ a b Deterding, David (2007) Singapore English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 80.
  34. ^ a b Deterding, David (2007) Singapore English, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 81.
  35. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 154.
  36. ^ Deterding, David (2000) 'Potential influences of English on the written English of Singapore'. In Adam Brown (ed.) English in Southeast Asia 99: Proceedings of the 'English in Southeast Asia' conference held at NIE Singapore, Singapore: National Institute of Education, pp. 201-209.
  37. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, pp. 187
  38. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 211.
  39. ^ Brown, Adam (1999) Singapore English in a Nutshell, Singapore: Federal, p. 217

References[edit]

  • Ho, Mian Lian and Platt, John Talbot (1993). Dynamics of a contact continuum: Singapore English. Oxford: Clarendon Press; New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-824828-8.
  • Lim, Lisa (2004). Singapore English: a grammatical description. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins. ISBN 1-58811-576-3.
  • Newbrook, Mark (1987). Aspects of the syntax of educated Singaporean English: attitudes, beliefs, and usage. Frankfurt am Main; New York: P. Lang. ISBN 3-8204-9886-9.
  • Platt, John Talbot and Weber, Heidi (1980). English in Singapore and Malaysia: status, features, functions. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-580438-4.

External links[edit]