English in Southeast Asia: Features, policy and language in use (Varieties of English Around the World) 9027249024, 9789027249029

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English in Southeast Asia: Features, policy and language in use (Varieties of English Around the World)
 9027249024, 9789027249029

Table of contents :
Table of contents
Acknowledgements
Abbreviations
Introduction
chapter 1:
Theoretical issues
part I: Features
chapter 2:
Singapore English
chapter 3:
Malaysian English
chapter 4:
Brunei English
chapter 5:
Philippine English
chapter 6:
Thai English
chapter 7:
Hong Kong English
part II:
Policy (Historical context & languageplanning)
chapter 8:
The development of English in Singapore
chapter 9: Pragmatics of maintaining English
in Malaysia’s education system
chapter 10: Language planning in its historical
context in Brunei Darussalam
chapter 11:
Diffusion and directions
chapter 12: The effect of policy on English
language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand
chapter 13:
Language policy and planning in Hong Kong
part III:
Language in use
chapter 14:
English in Southeast Asian law
chapter 15:
The view from below
chapter 16:
Curriculum and world Englishes
chapter 17:
English in Southeast Asian pop culture
chapter 18:
Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships
chapter 19:
Transfers of politeness strategies
part IV:
Bibliography
chapter 20: Works on English in Southeast Asia
Author index
Subject index

Citation preview

English in Southeast Asia

Varieties of English Around the World (VEAW) A companion monograph series devoted to sociolinguistic research, surveys and annotated text collections. The VEAW series is divided into two parts: a text series contains carefully selected specimens of Englishes documenting the coexistence of regional, social, stylistic and diachronic varieties in a particular region; and a general series which contains outstanding studies in the field, collections of papers devoted to one region or written by one scholar, bibliographies and other reference works. For an overview of all books published in this series, please see http://benjamins.com/catalog/veaw

General Editor Edgar W. Schneider Department of English & American Studies University of Regensburg Universitätsstraße 31 D-93053 REGENSBURG Germany [email protected]

Editorial Assistant Alexander Kautzsch

Editorial Board Laurie Bauer

Peter Trudgill

Manfred Görlach

Walt Wolfram

Wellington Cologne

Fribourg

Raleigh, NY

Rajend Mesthrie Cape Town

Volume G42 English in Southeast Asia. Features, policy and language in use Edited by Ee-Ling Low and Azirah Hashim

English in Southeast Asia Features, policy and language in use Edited by

Ee-Ling Low Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Azirah Hashim University of Malaya, Malaysia

John Benjamins Publishing Company Amsterdam / Philadelphia

8

TM

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences – Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ansi z39.48-1984.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data English in Southeast Asia : features, policy and language in use / edited by Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim. p. cm. (Varieties of English Around the World, issn 0172-7362 ; v. G42) Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. English language--Variation--Southeast Asia. 2. Language policy--Southeast Asia. 3. Language planning--Southeast Asia. I. Low, Ee-Ling. II. Azirah Hashim. PE3502.A83E54   2012 427’.959--dc23 2011038485 isbn 978 90 272 4902 9 (Hb ; alk. paper) isbn 978 90 272 8183 8 (Eb)

© 2012 – John Benjamins B.V. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm, or any other means, without written permission from the publisher. John Benjamins Publishing Co. · P.O. Box 36224 · 1020 me Amsterdam · The Netherlands John Benjamins North America · P.O. Box 27519 · Philadelphia pa 19118-0519 · usa

Table of contents Acknowledgements Abbreviations

Introduction Ee-Ling Low and Azirah Hashim

ix xi

1

chapter 1

Theoretical issues Andy Kirkpatrick

13

part i.  Features chapter 2

Singapore English Ee-Ling Low

35

chapter 3 Malaysian English Azirah Hashim and Rachel Tan

55

chapter 4 Brunei English James McLellan and Noor Azam Haji-Othman

75

chapter 5 Philippine English Danilo T. Dayag

91

chapter 6

Thai English Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk

101

chapter 7

Hong Kong English Tony T.N. Hung

113



English in Southeast Asia

part ii.  Policy (Historical context & language planning) chapter 8

The development of English in Singapore: Language policy and planning in nation building Lubna Alsagoff

137

chapter 9 Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system Asmah Haji Omar

155

chapter 10 Language planning in its historical context in Brunei Darussalam Gary M. Jones

175

chapter 11

Diffusion and directions: English language policy in the Philippines Isabel Pefianco Martin chapter 12 The effect of policy on English language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd

189

207

chapter 13

Language policy and planning in Hong Kong: The historical context and current realities Kingsley Bolton

221

part iii.  Language in use chapter 14 English in Southeast Asian law Richard Powell chapter 15 The view from below: Code-switching and the influence of “substrate” languages in the development of Southeast Asian Englishes James McLellan

241

267



Table of contents 

chapter 16

Curriculum and world Englishes: Additive language learning as SLA Paradigm James D’Angelo

289

chapter 17

English in Southeast Asian pop culture Andrew Moody

307

chapter 18

Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships: Electronic English in Malaysia Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

325

chapter 19

Transfers of politeness strategies: Some preliminary findings Beng Soon Lim

343

part iv.  Bibliography chapter 20 Works on English in Southeast Asia Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip

357

Author index Subject index

383 389

Acknowledgements We’ve always found that the highlight of reading any book or dissertation appears to be the acknowledgements page. If this is the only section of our book that you have time to read, then we want to ensure that it’s worth your while reading it. We owe our first debt of gratitude to Professor Edgar Schneider, who first invited us to chair a symposium on English in Southeast Asia at the 13th Conference of the International Association of World Englishes (IAWE) held in Regensburg, from 4–6 October 2007. From the wonderful panel of presenters at our symposium, we first mooted the idea of initially, a special issue in the English World-Wide journal of which Edgar serves as Editor-in-Chief. Edgar counter-proposed that we did a volume in the Varieties of English around the World (VEAW) series, of which he serves as series editor. Though ambitious in scope and coverage, we both deeply felt that a volume focusing solely on English in Southeast Asia in the VEAW series was indeed timely, and something we felt passionately about doing. We conceptualised this volume in the last quarter of 2008 and in early 2009, we submitted a book proposal complete with the abstracts submitted by our contributors. We wanted this volume to be a seminal work and a reference text for all scholars interested in English in Southeast Asia and felt that a focus on features, language policy and language in use would nicely cover the topical areas of interest to researchers in the field. Our next vote of thanks go to each and every contributor in this volume, who have kept to our tight timelines set and who have efficiently responded to each and every query at every stage of the book’s production, whether they be from us, from the external reviewers or the copy editors. We also want to acknowledge the deep professional bonds and friendship that we share with most of the contributors in this volume, arising from another conference network, namely, the English in Southeast Asia (ESEA) conference, first started in 1996. We hope that all of you see this as a culmination of years of professional collaboration, collegiality and deep passion we share about English in Southeast Asia and sincerely hope that our collective scholarship can make an international impact through this volume. We have grown academically, intellectually and professionally because of all of you and our heartfelt appreciation goes out to each and everyone of you. We also need to acknowledge our respective institutes for the funding of this project. To the National Institute of Education, Singapore for the research funding provided by the Research Support for Senior Academic Administrators’ (RS-SAA) grant, the brainchild of NIE Director Professor Lee Sing Kong implemented to help busy



English in Southeast Asia

university administrators continue to be research-active and to the University of Malaya for research funding and sabbatical leave. We thank our external reviewer and Edgar himself for the constructive comments made which have helped us to shape this volume to the quality necessary for publication. To our professional copy-editor Dr. Christopher Ward, we owe a huge thank you for your most careful editorial work. To Kees Vaes of John Benjamins, we cannot thank you enough for your prompt responses to each and every one of our publication queries. Finally, we owe a huge debt of thanks to our Research Associate and Assistant Mr. Ao Ran and Mr. Yee Chee Leong respectively, without whom, quite frankly, we could not have, given our impossible administrative loads, pulled this volume off. Any errors or omissions remain, therefore, our sole responsibility. Ee-Ling Low National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Azirah Hashim University of Malaya

Abbreviations

all als AmE asean b.u. bbc bep bmbi BrE BrunE Brunei ce ched cmc cmi coe com DepEd efa efl eil elf elis elt emi eo erp esea esl esm f0 ftas

Additive Language Learning Alternative Learning System American English Association of Southeast Asian Nations Boston University British Broadcast Corporation Bilingual Education Policy Bahasa Melayu Bahasa Inggeris British English Brunei English Negara Brunei Darussalam China English Commission on Higher Education computer mediated communication Chinese as the medium of instruction Certificate of Entitlement Cultural Orientation Model Department of Education Philippine Education for All English as a foreign language English as an international language English as a Lingua Franca English Language Institute of Singapore English Language Teaching English as the medium of instruction Executive Order Electronic Road Pricing English in Southeast Asia English as a second language English in Singapore and Malaysia fundamental frequency Face Threatening Acts

 English in Southeast Asia

gbp gce o-Level gdp gpm gtg H heis hke hksar i&e iawe icq ict ims imt-gt zopfan irc iu ives je kje kwf l1 l2 la Legco llb lld llm lpp lrt lsp MalE mba mib mle mlf moe

British Pound General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level Gross Domestic Product Gerakan Mansuh PPSMI got to go hearer higher education institutions Hong Kong English Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Innovation & Enterprise International Association for World Englishes I Seek You Information and Communications Technology instant messages Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality Internet Relay Chat In-Vehicle Unit Indigenized Varieties of English Japanese English Kranji Expressway Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino [Commission on the Filipino Language] first language second language language alternation Legislative Council Bachelor of Laws Doctor of Laws Masters of Laws language policy/planning Light Rail Transit Language for Specific Purposes Malaysian English Masters in Business Administration Melayu Islam Beraja [Malay Islamic Monarchy] Main-language English Matrix Language Frame Ministry of Education



Abbreviations 

mp3 mtb mle mtpdp mwl nat NE’s neda nep ngos nie ns nst ntu nus obec ofw oic pap pbs peri PhilE pie ppsmi prc psle pvi rp rs-saa S sap sar sars scolar sea sel sgem Sida sil SingE

Information Technology Masterplan 3 mother-tongue based multilingual education Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan main working language National Achievement Tests native varieties of English National Economic Development Authority new Economic Policy non-governmental organizations National Institute of Education native speaker New Straits Times of Malaysia Nanyang Technological University National University of Singapore Office of the Basic Education Commission Overseas Filipino Workers Organisation for Islamic Conference People’s Action Party Public Broadcasting Service Primary Education Review and Implementation Committee Philippine English Pan Island Expressway Program Pengajaran Sains dan Mathematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris People’s Replublic of China Primary School Leaving Examination Pairwise Variability Index Received Pronunciation Research Support for Senior Academic Administrators speaker Special Assistance Plan Special Administrative Region Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Standing Committee on Language Education and Research Southeast Asia Social and Emotional Learning Speak Good English Movement Sweden’s International Development and Cooperation Agency Summer Institute of Linguistics Singapore English

 English in Southeast Asia

SingMalE sl sla sm sona spn21 st ThaiE timss tllm tme toefl tsln tsme turn umespp umsep unesco untac veaw vi vips vvip wdys we wika wto

Singapore/Malaysian English second language second language acquisition Standard Malay State of the Nation Address Sistem Pendidikan Negara Abad yang ke-21 [national education system for the 21st century] Straits Times of Singapore Thai English Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study Teach Less, Learn More initiative English as the medium for teaching Mathematics Test of English as a Foreign Language Thinking Schools, Learning Nation Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English Turning Around Low Performance in English University of Malaya English for Special Purposes Projects University of Malaya Spoken English Project United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia Varieties of English Around the World variability index Very Important Persons very very important person What did you say? World Englishes Wika ng Kultura at Agham Incorporated [Language of Culture and Science Incorporated] World Trade Organisation

Introduction Ee-Ling Lowa and Azirah Hashimb aNational

Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and bUniversity of Malaya, Malaysia

1. Introduction English is the de facto working language of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (henceforth ASEAN) as set out in the ASEAN charter introduced in 2007, whose article 34 stipulates that “the working language of ASEAN shall be English”. One thing that is fascinating about Southeast Asia (henceforth SEA) is that, historically, the forces of colonization, international trade and religion were responsible for the spread of English to the region. Today, the region is characterized by its linguistic diversity, and English plays a dynamic role in both intra- and international communication. The use of English no longer serves as just a means of communication with foreigners from outside SEA but, increasingly, English serves the role of a lingua franca unifying the different ethnic groups that live in the region. English in SEA falls into two broad types: the first includes the varieties of English used in the Outer Circle countries as described by Kachru (1992), i.e. the varieties in the countries that were formerly colonies or protectorates of an English-speaking power, e.g. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore; the second type includes the varieties of English in the Expanding Circle countries (Kachru 1992), used as foreign languages in countries like Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. In Singapore, which typically represents the first type, English is the sole medium of education, and there are now native speakers of Singapore English (henceforth SingE). On the other hand, in the second type, students learn English in school as a foreign language and English is used in relatively limited domains such as foreign trade, tourism, etc. However, the spread of globalisation and economic growth in the region will see the emergence of varieties of English in these Expanding Circle countries. To date, there has been much research on the English language used in SEA, especially in the first group of countries. Considered as a whole, the body of research literature on English in this region has the following characteristics. First, asymmetry exists in the research of varieties of English used in this region. Some of the Outer Circle varieties of English, especially SingE, have received considerable attention and have therefore been well-documented (e.g. Brown 1999; Gupta 1989; Lim 2004; Low & Brown 2005; Pakir 1993) whereas, at the other end



Ee-Ling Low and Azirah Hashim

of the scale, there is a relative paucity of literature on the Expanding Circle varieties of English used in countries such as Indonesia and Vietnam. English used in Malaysia has also attracted growing interest in research over the last decades (e.g. Asmah 2000; Azirah 2002; Wong 1983) while English in the neighbouring country, Thailand, has not as yet received due attention. Second, literature on English in SEA is mostly, if not only, available through compilations of conference papers and proceedings (e.g. Azirah & Norizah 2006a, 2006b; Kirkpatrick 2002; Noss 1983; Prescott 2007). While the originality of these works is unquestionable, there may be an insufficiency of systematicity and representativeness in these existing compilations due to the fact that there are, more often than not, many submissions of papers and proceedings from one country while there are none from some others. Although there are existing publications that have included English in SEA as a chapter or section within a larger volume (e.g. B. Kachru, Y. Kachru & Nelson 2006; Y. Kachru & Nelson 2006; Kirkpatrick 2007; Melchers & Shaw 2003; Schneider et al. 2004), none have as yet dedicated an entire volume solely to the topic. Third, there is an exigency of concerted research effort to document the English language used in SEA, taken as a region, to bridge the serious gaps in the collective knowledge of the English varieties that are emerging in these Expanding Circle countries. The research that has been done in this respect either over the last few decades or in recent years also calls for an update on its development and an expansion in its breadth and depth since language evolves and language policies change in the course of time. This is where the present study, which is a comprehensive account of language features, policy, and use in SEA, fits in. This volume provides a first systematic, comprehensive account of English in SEA based on current research by scholars in the field. Considering that English is the de facto working language of ASEAN, and that, historically, English was spread to the region mainly through colonization, religion and international trade, a volume such as this is timely. A unique feature of this volume is that it provides a rigorous theoretical overview that is necessary for an understanding of the study of English in SEA in relation to the burgeoning work on World Englishes (henceforth WE) as a discipline. Indeed, the question of what constitutes SEA distinguished either by geographical or political dimensions is itself a moot point which will be covered in the opening theoretical chapter. This body of research will help to develop an understanding of the spread and development of the different sub-varieties within each country in the region that reflect both the political developments and cultural norms in the region. Another unique feature of this volume is that it aims to do three things: firstly, it provides a systematic account of the linguistic features across all sub-varieties found within each country, secondly, it has a section dedicated to the historical context and language planning policies to provide a background to understanding the development of the linguistic features covered in Part I and, finally, the vibrancy of the sociolinguistic and pragmatic realities that govern actual language in use in a wide variety of domains such as the law, education, popular culture, electronic media and actual pragmatic encounters are also given due coverage. This volume also includes an



Introduction

extensive bibliography of works on English in SEA, thus providing a useful and valuable resource for language researchers, linguists, classroom educators, policy makers and anyone interested in the topic of English in SEA or WE as a whole.

2. Outline of volume The volume begins with a consideration of the main theoretical issues surrounding the study of Englishes in SEA followed by four different sections which were briefly mentioned in the preceding section. Specifically, Part I focuses on features of English in SEA. Part II presents a section on language policy, namely historical context and language planning. Part III looks at language in use while Part IV offers a precious resource, an extensive and comprehensive bibliography of research done on English in SEA. Chapter 1 begins with a consideration of the theoretical issues surrounding the study of Englishes in SEA by Kirkpatrick. His chapter discusses the linguistic and sociolinguistic motivations that lead to the creation of distinctive linguistic features in new varieties of English. This includes a review of issues connected to language contact, nativisation and the nature of code-mixing. Relevant Southeast Asian examples from phonology, lexis, syntax and discourse are provided. The role of local cultural conventions and pragmatic norms in the development of new varieties of English is also considered and exemplified. The second part of the chapter focuses on the major issues confronting regional language policy makers associated with the teaching and learning of different languages for different needs. Typically, these include the need for English as the international lingua franca and language of modernization, a local lingua franca as the national language for national unity, and local languages as languages of identity and community. Choices faced by policy makers include which languages to use as the media of instruction and when, and how, to ensure that the languages complement each other rather than compete with each other. A consideration of the continuing use of local languages given the domain spread of English and regional lingua francas, including the increasingly important Putonghua, concludes the chapter.

Part I: Features In Chapter 2, Low describes the features of SingE against the backdrop of the historical context and language planning policies which help to account for the variation that exists within this variety of English found. This chapter provides a broad historical overview of how English came to be used in Singapore alongside the other languages spoken in this multilingual city state. Landmark language policies are also mentioned in order to provide an understanding of the status and roles that English has attained in relation to the other languages used in the country. The description of the phonetics and phonology of English in Singapore takes into account the acoustic research done





Ee-Ling Low and Azirah Hashim

to account for earlier impressionistic descriptions. Wells’ (1982) lexical word sets are used in the description of vowels in order to provide a standard means of comparing the realisation of vowels across the different varieties covered in this volume. The grammatical and lexical description draws from the work of previous researchers in the field. Chapter 3 focuses on English in Malaysia. Azirah and Tan attempt to describe how Malaysian English (henceforth MalE) has developed. The socio-historical and sociopolitical context and the processes that are involved in the emergence of English and in maintaining its importance are also examined. The linguistic diversity of Malaysian society is illustrated through a description of the different groups of speakers in the country and the linguistic processes that are common in this multilingual and multicultural society are also discussed. MalE is a distinct variety that contains features of nativisation brought about by contact between the different languages in the country leading to words being borrowed and assimilated from local languages and dialects. This chapter provides an overview of the status and features of MalE and describes its general characteristics. Phonological, lexical and grammatical features are discussed with examples to illustrate these features. Our next chapter by McLellan & Nor Azam on Brunei English (henceforth BrunE) begins with a brief outline summarizing current research perspectives into BrunE, including those which challenge its existence as a distinct variety. The argument underlying the description of features is that BrunE can be distinguished from closelyrelated Englishes in neighbouring Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore through the study of the linguistic ecosystem that prevails in Negara Brunei Darussalam or Brunei. The distinctiveness of Brunei Malay, the major in-group code choice of Bruneians, from other Malay varieties is especially salient. The outline of phonological features draws on recent work by Salbrina Haji Sharbawi (2006) and studies conducted in the 1990s by Mossop (1996). The description of the syntax and morphology of BrunE refers to the work of Cane (1996) in the 1990s, whilst lexical and discoursal features are outlined principally with reference to work done separately and collaboratively by the authors. The chapter concludes with a discussion of possible future research directions for studies of BrunE. Dayag writes about the features of Philippine English (henceforth PhilE) in Chapter 5. English is the language used by Filipinos in controlling domains such as science and technology, the judiciary, the legislature, bureaucracy, higher education, scholarly discourse, and the like. While it shares some of the linguistic properties ascribed to other varieties of English, especially those used in Asia, it has features that are unique to it. Based on findings of previous empirical studies, this chapter aims to describe the core linguistic features of PhilE at the phonological (segmental and suprasegmental), lexical, grammatical and discourse levels. It likewise touches on the intelligibility of the spoken register of this variety. Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk provides a comprehensive description of Thai English (henceforth ThaiE) as a variety spoken in the expanding circle, as a possible emerging



Introduction

variety of WE. In the first section, an overview of English in Thailand, its use, users, and status as an influential international language are discussed. Then, information on the distinctive features of ThaiE gathered from many studies is presented. Finally, a conclusion on the ways that ThaiE can be viewed as a new variety of WE is drawn. Part I ends with a description of the features of Hong Kong English (henceforth HKE) by Hung. Unlike SingE and MalE, the status of HKE as a ‘variety’ in its own right is still open to question, which makes it an interesting case study into the fine line between a ‘nascent’ variety of English and a fully-fledged one. The phonological features of HKE are relatively distinctive and homogeneous. Suprasegmental features include syllable-timed rhythm, distinctive stress patterns, a lack of vowel reduction and liaison, etc. Lexically, HKE exhibits novel expressions, though most distinctive HKE words are borrowed from Cantonese. In grammar, though it is not always easy to distinguish genuine HKE expressions from “learners’ errors”, there remain grammatical structures which may fairly be categorised as part of HKE grammar, as they are used by the whole spectrum of speakers.

Part II: Policy (Historical context & language planning) In Chapter 8, Alsagoff draws on seminal works in the literature (e.g. Foley et al. 1998; Gupta 1994; Platt & Weber 1980), and presents a historical account of the sociolinguistic landscape of Singapore from the time of post-British colonial rule to the present day. In particular, she examines the way in which English use in Singapore has undergone rapid change especially in recent years, very much because of the speed at which Singapore has developed as a nation (Lim & Foley 2004), and the way in which globalisation has accentuated the duality of the roles of English, which on the one hand, acts as a local bridge language, and on the other hand, acts as a “cash language”, valued in relation to its economic capital. The development of English use is examined against the background of national language policies that have been enforced through the education system to ensure that the English in Singapore instrumentally serves Singapore’s political agenda and economic interest, but that marginalize the cultural role of English as a local language. Asmah Haji Omar presents a comprehensive overview of language policy in Malaysia. She describes how the Malaysian government’s ruling that Malaysian schools use English as the medium for teaching Science and Mathematics starting from the beginning of the school year January 2004 has engendered various reactions from the people. These reactions, supportive or otherwise, cut across the boundaries of the racial groups, Malays, Chinese and Indians. For these three groups, English has always been a neutral entity but is only identified with those who had the privilege of being educated in English-medium schools in the colonial era up to the early years of Malayan independence. Even in this race-neutral position, English education had accommodated mostly those with financial means, and the majority were the wealthy Chinese and a handful of Malays and Indians. The language policy after independence





Ee-Ling Low and Azirah Hashim

was for a system of education which was uniform for all in terms of a common curriculum as well as languages (i.e. Malay and English) used. The year 1970 saw a turning point when English schools were gradually converted to national schools, using Malay as the medium of instruction and English as a compulsory second language for all students. Chinese and Tamil schools continued unchanged except that they had to teach Malay and English as compulsory school subjects. Malay opposition to Teaching of Science and Mathematics in English (henceforth TSME) has a nationalistic and historical basis. Chinese opposition uses reasoning based on cognition asserting that their students have a better cognitive ability in the mother tongue. The Indians seem to be neutral for various reasons. This chapter discusses the perception of TSME among Malaysians of various groups in the light of the national language policy and planning and the government’s approach to achieving Vision 2020.1 In Chapter 10, Jones argues that although Brunei is one of the oldest established states in SEA, education planning and language planning in particular are recent phenomena. Basic formal education, limited to a small number of boys only, was introduced in 1912 while language planning was only vaguely described in the 1950s and then formally as a language-in-education plan in 1984. This chapter analyses present language planning in relation to its historical context. In particular, it examines why two non-Bruneian languages, Standard Malay and English, emerged as the current mediums of education in the country’s schools. Brunei’s geography, its recent history and current economic and political events all contribute to the present status of language planning in Brunei. In Chapter 11, Martin presents a brief survey of the language policy situation in the Philippines from the Spanish occupation through the American era to contemporary times, which eventually led to diffusion in language policy formulation. Such diffusion has resulted in conflicting policies and practices that marginalize Philippine languages as well as contribute to the further deterioration in the education of Filipino children. The chapter ends by proposing future directions for effective language policy formulations in the Philippines. Darawasang and Watson Todd discuss in Chapter 12 English in Thailand by focusing on educational policy and its implementation. The authors identify seven sources of English language education policy, namely the National Education Act, national education standards, Ministry of Education recommended textbooks, isolated Ministry of Education initiatives, demand-driven changes in the types of schools, test washback and decentralised decision making. The authors show that these sources present conflicting versions of language policy. To examine how the policies are implemented in practice, the authors interviewed principals and teachers at four 1. Vision 2020 (or Wawasan 2020) is an ideal or aspiration introduced and tabled in the Sixth Malaysia Plan in 1996, for all Malaysians to achieve a fully developed country in all aspects of life ranging from economic prosperity to social well-being, political stability, national unity, psychological balance, spiritual enrichment, quality of life, etc. by the year 2020 (Wawasan 2020 n.d.).



Introduction

representative government secondary schools. The research attempts to find out if the teachers are aware of these policies and how they interpret them in their classrooms. Their findings show awareness of the various policies but a great diversity in how they are implemented. The authors conclude by pointing out that the various sources, taken individually, provide some idea of how educational policy manifests language policy. However, the conflicts between different sources and the power of schools to pick and choose which policies to implement mean that the idea of official documentation providing a coherent language policy for Thailand is an illusion. Bolton discusses language planning and policies in Hong Kong: from colonial laissez-faire to pragmatic post-colonialism. Hong Kong ceased to be a colony of Britain on 30 June 1997, thus entering a new stage in its development and evolution as a uniquely-constituted city and urban metropolis. Consequently, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of China or Hong Kong SAR, which constitutionally came into being at that time, inherited a linguistic ecology that owed much to its previous existence as a British colony, where, until 1974, Chinese had no de jure status as an official language of the territory, and where the colonial government had often claimed to favour a laissez-faire approach to language planning. In the run-up to the resumption of Chinese sovereignty throughout the 1990s, official policy became more interventionist. From 1995, the stated policy of government has been to promote a “biliterate” (Chinese and English) and “trilingual” (Cantonese, Putonghua and English) society, and various measures have also been taken to promote the use of Chinese as a medium of instruction in schools. In addition, immediately after the change in sovereignty, Putonghua became a compulsory school subject for the first time. This chapter examines the issue of language planning and policies partly from an historical perspective, but also through a consideration of current policies and practice across a range of domains in Hong Kong, including government, law and education.

Part III: Language in use This section begins with Powell’s discussion of English in Southeast Asian law, providing an overview of the historical and contemporary roles played by English in Southeast Asian legal systems, before going on to consider the extent to which the English language has influenced the evolution of law in the region. It then considers whether there is evidence of the emergence of distinct Southeast Asian legal Englishes, either at national or at regional level. Finally, the insights that Southeast Asian law brings to sociolinguistic and socio-legal issues surrounding the interface between language and law is highlighted, and the question of whether changing the language in which law is administered leads to changes in legal culture and even in the substance of the law itself is considered. In Chapter 15, McLellan discusses the topic of code-switching and the influence of substrate languages in the development of Southeast Asian Englishes. This chapter takes a synchronic approach, amassing and evaluating evidence of the influence of





Ee-Ling Low and Azirah Hashim

other languages in local linguistic ecosystems in the current patterns of use of some institutionalized varieties of Southeast Asian Englishes. Whilst it would be naive to describe all features as simply the result of transfer from other languages, it is nonetheless important to consider the axiom that all Southeast Asian Englishes are spoken and written by people who have access to other languages and for whom English is used as either a first or second language. It is suggested that all Southeast Asian Englishes are code-mixed varieties, and the main focus is on aspects of code-switching and on broader issues of language contact. Examples are drawn from a range of Southeast Asian Englishes, notably those whose speakers also have access to varieties of Malay. In the discussion section, the notion of ‘substrate’ languages is challenged, through reference to the definition of ‘substrate’ in Pidgin and Creole linguistics, where the term is used to characterize the local languages which supply the grammatical framework, whilst European colonial languages supply lexical items. D’Angelo talks about curriculum and WE in Chapter 16. He discusses the fact that the WE paradigm has made possible the recognition of legitimate Outer Circle varieties, and has made concomitant inroads into pedagogy. This has been followed by a growing acceptance in the Expanding Circle. Nevertheless there is also resistance, rendering the relevance of a WE approach in the Expanding Circle unresolved. Yet like all ideologies, a WE is not of the most value when adopted blindly without continual questioning and openness to modification. Ongoing research and new challenges in areas such as English as a Lingua Franca or ELF, can augment the value of WE. The author outlines the relevance of WE theory to the Inner, Outer and Expanding Circles, and its ramifications for educators and students in those differing contexts, drawing on the work of Kachru (1983, 1990, 2005), Jenkins (2000), Ho (2008), and D’Angelo (e.g. 2008a, 2008b, 2009). He then looks at how a WE-informed curriculum can be implemented in the Expanding Circle. The curriculum development model of J.D. Brown (1995) is of help in designing the macro-level theoretical underpinnings, which can then trickle down into specific course outlines and objectives, and finally to detailed lesson plans. He also addresses the fundamental teacher-education efforts needed to ensure that the theoretical vision is realized in daily implementation. In the next chapter, Moody discusses pop culture in SEA. Southeast Asian media adopt popular uses of English in entertainment media regardless of factors that describe the individual countries, such as linguistic competences, the official or semiofficial status of English, or functional domains of English. This chapter examines the different ways that English is used across Southeast Asian popular culture and argues that English forms an important role in the formation and definition of regional identities within the area. The media examined include popular music, radio and television broadcasting and advertising. One characteristic of the pop cultural examples of English is that the language is often highly edited to affect the intra-ethnic and intranational mass markets. This contrasts with the editing of language according to international norms of usage. While this does not necessarily result in the development of endonormative varieties of Southeast Asian English, it does suggest that the forms



Introduction

used in popular culture are not simply random examples of “odd-sounding” English, but instead form patterns within the communities that function locally. However, because these linguistic expressions are not “naturally occurring” or spontaneous uses of language, popular culture data have long been overlooked in sociolinguistic descriptions of Englishes. Therefore, this chapter proposes a rationale and method for the study of pop English in SEA. Chapter 18 explores a burgeoning new area of research: Electronic English with particular reference to Malaysia. Azirah & Norizah note that while many have talked about the linguistic changes emerging in on-line communication, not many have studied the phenomenon and written about it. On-line communication can be seen to be a third medium that shares elements of speech and writing and electronically mediated properties. It differs from prior forms of communication in graphic, orthographic, grammatical, lexical and discourse features. This chapter examines the extent to which the Internet fosters diversity of languages or an English dominance. In addition, it looks at how international standard English competes with various varieties of English in on-line realms in Malaysia and the complex interrelationship between the Internet and English language variation in Malaysia. Pragmatics and cross-cultural communication is the focus of our final chapter in this section. Lim’s chapter presents a small-scale empirical study investigating linguistic politeness in Malay and MalE. The objective of the chapter is to compare the systems of politeness via the use of politeness markers in Malay and MalE to identify levels of directness and typical politeness markers that are common when Face Threatening Acts (henceforth FTAs) are performed in the two languages amongst educated Malay bilingual speakers in Malaysia. It is hoped that the final analysis and conclusion of this comparative study will not only provide statistically supported details of the levels of directness in Malay and MalE used in FTA situations but will also present a clearer picture of the linguistic permutations of the transfers of directness levels in multilingual Malaysia through a focus on the two dominant languages in the country (i.e. Malay and MalE). Lim concludes by comparing the data obtained for Malay and MalE with that of House and Kasper’s (1981) for British English or BrE as the parameters of this chapter has been extensively modelled on that of House & Kasper.

Part IV: Bibliography This final chapter by Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip may be considered the highlight of this volume as it provides a bibliography of works on English in SEA divided according to the foci of this book: linguistic features, language policies and language in use. The aim of this chapter is to provide an updated and useful resource for all researchers and educators interested in the topic of English in SEA. To conclude this introductory chapter, this volume provides a first systematic, comprehensive account of English in SEA based on current research by scholars in the



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field. It is a timely contribution as to date, to the best knowledge of the editors, no other book has attempted such a breadth and depth of coverage of this topic.

References Asmah Haji Omar. 2000. From imperialism to Malaysianisation: A discussion of the path taken by English towards becoming a Malaysian language. In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd. Said & Ng, K.S. (eds), 12–21. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden Malaysia & Macquarie Library. Azirah Hashim. 2002. Culture and identity in the English discourses of Malaysians. In Englishes in Asia: Communication, Identity, Power and Education, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 75–94. Melbourne: Language Australia. Azirah Hashim & Norizah Hassan (eds). 2006a. English in Southeast Asia: Prospects, Perspectives and Possibilities. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Azirah Hashim & Norizah Hassan (eds). 2006b. Varieties of English in Southeast Asia and beyond. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Brown, A. 1999. Singapore English in a Nutshell: An Alphabetical Description of Its Features. Singapore: Federal Publications. Brown, J.D. 1995. The Elements of Language Curriculum. Boston MA: Heinle & Heinle. Cane, G. 1996. Syntactic simplification and creativity in spoken Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 209–222. Ohio IL: Ohio University Center for International Studies. D’Angelo, J. 2008a. The Japan context and the Expanding Circle: A Kachruvian response to Debbie Ho. Asian Englishes 11(2): 64–73. D’Angelo, J. 2008b. The 14th IAWE – Mapping the exploding multilingual feature pool. Asian Englishes 11(2): 94–103. D’Angelo, J. 2009. The 15th IAWE: Form follows function. Asian Englishes 12(2): 96–109. Foley, J., Kandiah, T., Bao, Z., Gupta, A.F., Alsagoff, L., Ho, C.L., Wee, L., Talib, I.S. & BokhorstHeng, W. (eds). 1998. English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press. Gupta, A.F. 1989. Singapore Colloquial English and Standard English. Singapore Journal of Education 10(2): 33–39. Gupta, A.F. 1994. The Step Tongue: Children’s English in Singapore. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Ho, D.G.E. 2008. English in the Expanding Circle – A third diaspora? Asian Englishes 11(1): 36–50. House, J. & Kasper, G. 1981. Politeness markers in English and German. In Conversational Routine, F. Coulmas (ed), 157–185. The Hague: Mouton. Jenkins, J. 2000. The Phonology of English as an International Language. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. Kachru, B.B. 1983. The Indianization of English. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kachru, B.B. 1990. The Alchemy of English. Urbana-Champaigne IL: University of Illinois Press. Kachru, B.B. 1992. Teaching World Englishes. In The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, 2nd edn., B.B. Kachru (ed), 355–366. Urbana-Champaigne IL: University of Illinois Press. Kachru, B.B. 2005. Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.



Introduction Kachru, B.B, Kachru, Y. & Nelson, C.L. (eds). 2006. The Handbook of World Englishes. Malden MA: Blackwell. Kachru, Y. & Nelson, C.L. (eds). 2006. World Englishes in Asian Contexts. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kirkpatrick, A. (ed). 2002. Englishes in Asia: Communication, Identity, Power & Education. Melbourne: Language Australia Ltd. Kirkpatrick, A. 2007. World Englishes: Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lim, L. (ed). 2004. Singapore English: A Grammatical Description [Varieties of English around the World G33]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Lim, L. & Foley, J. 2004. English in Singapore and Singapore English: Background and methodology. In Singapore English: A Grammatical Description [Varieties of English around the World G33], L. Lim (ed), 1–18. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Low, E.L. & Brown, A. 2005. English in Singapore: An Introduction. Singapore: McGraw-Hill Education (Asia). Melchers, G. & Shaw, P. 2003. World Englishes: An Introduction. London: Arnold. Mossop, J. 1996. Some phonological features of Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 189–208. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Noss, R.B. (ed). 1983. Varieties of English in Southeast Asia: Selected Papers from the RELC Seminar on ‘Varieties of English and Their Implications for English Language Teaching in Southeast Asia’, Singapore, April 1981. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Pakir, A. (ed). 1993. The English Language in Singapore: Standards and Norms. Singapore: The Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Platt, J. & Weber, H. 1980. English in Singapore and Malaysia: Status, Features, Functions. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. Prescott, D. (ed). 2007. English in Southeast Asia: Varieties, Literacies and Literatures. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press. Salbrina Haji Sharbawi. 2006. The vowels of Brunei English: An acoustic investigation. English World-Wide 27(3): 247–264. Schneider, E.W., Burridge, K., Kortmann, B. & Mesthrie, R. (eds). 2004. A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Wawasan 2020. n.d. The Way Forward – Vision 2020. (15 May 2011). Wells, J. 1982. Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wong, I.F.H. 1983. Simplification features in the structure of colloquial Malaysian English. In Varieties of English in Southeast Asia: Selected Papers from the RELC Seminar on ‘Varieties of English and Their Implications for English Language Teaching in Southeast Asia’, Singapore, April 1981, R.B. Noss (ed), 125–149. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre.

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chapter 1

Theoretical issues Andy Kirkpatrick

Griffith University, Australia The chapter begins with a discussion of the linguistic and sociolinguistic motivations that lead to the creation of distinctive linguistic features in new varieties of English. This will include a review of issues connected with language contact, nativisation and the nature of code-mixing. The second part of the chapter will focus on the major issues confronting regional language policy makers associated with the teaching and learning of different languages for different needs. A consideration of the continuing use of local languages given the domain spread of English and regional lingua francas, including the increasingly important Putonghua, concludes the chapter. Keywords: language contact, varieties of English, English as a lingua franca, English as medium of instruction

1. Introduction This chapter begins with a brief introduction to the arrival of English in the six countries under consideration in this volume, namely Brunei, China (Hong Kong), Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Singapore.1 This includes a discussion of the significance of five of these countries being “exploitation” colonies to the development of local varieties of English (Mufwene 2001).2 The first section of the chapter concludes with an analysis of the linguistic motivations which have led to the development of the distinctive linguistic features in these new varieties of English, along with a small number of illustrations of these features. The significance of the role that English plays as a lingua franca across these countries will also be considered.

1.

Hong Kong is not a country, but a Special Administrative Region of China.

2. Mufwene distinguishes exploitation colonies from settlement colonies. The former developed from trade colonies, where the colonizers had little interest in developing local roots. In contrast, settlement colonies were “intended as new, permanent and better homes than what was left behind in Europe” (2001: 208).

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The second part of the chapter focuses on the major issues associated with the teaching and learning of different languages for different needs which confront regional language policy makers. Typically these issues include the need for the school curriculum to find space for English as the international lingua franca and language of modernization, a local lingua franca as the national language for national unity, and local languages as languages of identity and community. Choices faced by policy makers include which languages to use as media of instruction and when, and how to ensure that the languages complement, rather than compete, with each other.

2. The arrival of English Of the six countries, Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore were colonies of the British Empire and the Philippines was an American colony. Only Thailand escaped this fate, which is significant when considering the roles and development of English in each place. English came to what is now known as Malaysia in the early nineteenth century. In 1826, after several years of trading in the region, the British established the colony of the Straits Settlements in three major trading posts, namely Penang, Malacca and Singapore. The first English medium schools in Penang and Singapore had been established a few years earlier than this, and the school in Malacca opened in 1826. The British gradually expanded their area of control to Malaya itself, with the 1874 Treaty of Pangkor, resulting in the installation of the first “British Resident”, as the official advisor to the Sultan of Perak was rather quaintly called. Despite the title, the real power lay in the hands of the Resident. In 1888, fourteen years after the Treaty of Pangkor, Brunei became a British Protectorate. The British had also been trading in Southern China since the beginning of the nineteenth century (Bolton 2003). Hong Kong became a British colony in 1842, as one of the spoils of victory of the Opium Wars. The missionaries established the schools, the first of which was St Paul’s, which opened in 1851. As many of the early missionaries had a great interest in Chinese languages and cultures, these were taught as part of the curriculum (Bolton 2003) and students were mainly taught through Chinese (Boyle 1997). At this time, the Philippines was a Spanish colony. Only after the Spanish-American war of 1898 did the Philippines become an American colony. It is an irony of history that President McKinley felt that Cuba was mature enough to be granted independence after the Americans had won the Spanish-American war, but that the Philippines was not yet ready for this (Thompson 2003). The colonial government, which saw English as crucial to the development of the Philippines, introduced English as the medium of instruction (henceforth EMI) and English teachers were duly sent to the Philippines from the United States. Thailand is the only country among the six which was never colonized. English arrived in Thailand through the invitation of King Mongkut, Rama IV (who reigned



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues

from1851 to 1868). He encouraged Western learning in general and the learning of English in particular, as he was keen to ensure that Thailand modernized itself before having modernization thrust upon it (Luangthongkum 2007).

3. Colonial status and the development of English The five colonies, namely Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore under Britain and the Philippines under the US were “exploitation” and “trade” colonies (Mufwene 2001: 8–9), as distinct from “settler” colonies, such as Australia and New Zealand where populations of British people settled. Settler colonies were thus characterized by relatively large numbers of settlers who came to the colonies in order to stay and build new lives there. The local aboriginal people were in no position to be able to offer much more than token resistance to the arrival of these powerful invaders. Linguistically speaking, the indigenous peoples of the settler colonies of Australia and New Zealand had relatively little influence upon the language of the colonizers and settlers. To be sure, English had to borrow aboriginal words for local flora and fauna, so that, for example, the most iconic words of Australian English, kangaroo, koala and boomerang, are all words from aboriginal languages, of which there were some 250 at the time of Captain Cook’s arrival in Australia in 1770 (Dixon 1993). In terms of syntax and grammatical structure, aboriginal languages had little influence upon English. The influence of Australian aboriginal languages and Maori upon the Englishes of Australia and New Zealand is mainly reflected in Maori and Australian Aboriginal English (Harkins 2000; Eades 1991). Exploitation colonies played a different role from settlement colonies. They were colonized for the income and wealth they could provide for the colonizers. “Colonial possessions which drained the imperial purse were anathema” (Kratoska 1983: 5). To take the example of Malaysia, tin and, later, rubber, were to prove the major sources of wealth to the empire. The different role of exploitation colonies also ensured that the languages of the local people had more contact with the language of the colonizers for a number of reasons. First, there were relatively few colonizers in comparison with the number of local people. Second, the colonizers needed the local people to help administer the colony, so there was much more contact between the colonizer and the local population. Third, the colonizer imported labour from other countries to provide the workforce for colonial enterprises. In Malaysia, for example, Chinese were brought in to work in tin mining and Tamils from India to work in the rubber plantations (Azirah 2002: 77). Thus, the local language, Malay, varieties of Chinese, and Tamil have all had a role to play in the development of the varieties of Malaysian English (henceforth MalE). The different roles English played in the home country, settler colonies and trade and exploitation colonies, and other countries have been classified by Kachru and described in the introductory chapter (see Low & Azirah, ‘Introduction’ of this volume) using a three circles model. He classified the Englishes of Britain, America, Canada,

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Australia, New Zealand and South Africa as Inner Circle varieties. The Englishes of exploitation and trade colonies where English had developed an institutional role, he called Outer Circle varieties. Countries where English was learned solely as a foreign language – Thailand was an example – he called Expanding Circle countries. The Inner Circle refers to the traditional cultural and linguistic bases of English. The Outer Circle represents the institutionalised non-native varieties of English as a second language (henceforth ESL) in the regions that have passed through extended periods of colonisation. The Expanding Circle includes the regions “where the performance varieties of the language are used essentially in EFL contexts” (1992: 366–367). While this classification was very useful when it first appeared, historical events have overtaken it, not least in the Southeast Asian region. For example, English is now used as the official language of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (henceforth ASEAN). Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand are all members of ASEAN, as are five other countries, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. Of these five, four – Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam – would have been classified as Expanding Circle countries. However, as will be illustrated below, the role and importance of English in Expanding Circle countries has developed exponentially since Kachru’s classification. Scholars have proposed a predictable sequence of stages through which varieties of English proceed as they develop (Kachru 1992; Moag 1992; Gupta 1997). The most rigorous and complete of these theories has been presented by Schneider (2003a, 2003b, 2007). In agreeing with Mufwene (2001) that, “postcolonial Englishes follow a fundamentally uniform developmental process” (Schneider 2003a: 233) and that the differences are differences only of degree, Schneider has identified five stages in the developmental cycle of “new” Englishes. In summary, these are: The “Foundation” Stage. This is when English first arrives and borrows names of places, flora and fauna. The Stage of “Exonormative Stabilisation”. This is when the English of the colonial ruler provides the linguistic standard and norms. Thus Standard British English (henceforth BrE) provided the linguistic model in Brunei, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore, while Standard American English (henceforth AmE) provided the model for the Philippines. At the same time, lexical borrowing from local languages continues. The Stage of “Nativisation”. This occurs when ties with the colonial rulers weaken and interethnic contacts increase. Bilingual and multilingual speakers create a new variety of English, characterised by the transfer of phonological and grammatical features from the local languages. Typically, at this stage, the educated elite tend to look down on this new variety and consider it to be an inferior or deficient variety of English. The Stage of “Endonormative Stabilisation”. This occurs when the new variety of English becomes socially accepted and is considered, for example, an appropriate model for the classroom. The Stage of “Differentiation”. This occurs when the new variety of English itself develops new varieties. These can be based on specific speech communities.



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues 

In identifying which stage of development each of these six countries has reached, Thailand remains at the second stage, the stage of “exonormative stabilisation”, as a local variety is still developing (see Trakulkasemsuk, Chapter 6 of this volume) and an Inner Circle variety of English is considered the model. However, whether BrE or AmE is the preferred external standard remains an open question. On the one hand, AmE is associated with modern technology, communication and, very importantly, popular culture. This makes it the preferred choice for many Thais. On the other hand, Thailand is a monarchy and many Thais have great respect for Britain’s political system of constitutional monarchy, and thus lean towards BrE. Identifying the developmental stages for the other five countries presents an intriguing challenge. There is great debate among scholars of Hong Kong English (henceforth HKE) over whether it has become an established variety of English (see Hung, Chapter 7 of this volume; Bolton, Chapter 13 of this volume). Some scholars (Kirkpatrick 2007a; Bolton & Lim 2000; Hung 2000) argue that HKE has developed distinctive and systematic linguistic features that allow it to be classified as a variety in its own right. Others (Li 2000) argue that Hong Kong remains firmly at Schneider’s second stage of development, not least because the relative linguistic homogeneity of the people of Hong Kong and the role of Cantonese as the language of identity mean that Hong Kong people routinely use Cantonese. The relative linguistic homogeneity of Hong Kong can be contrasted with the multilingual environments of Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines, where English is often used as a lingua franca among the local population, especially among the more educated. Linguistically, there is evidence that the varieties of English in these countries have reached Schneider’s final stage of differentiation (see Low, Chapter 2 of this volume on Singapore English; Azirah & Tan, Chapter 3 of this volume on MalE; see Dayag, Chapter 5 of this volume on Philippine English). For example, the linguistic features of MalE may differ depending on whether the speaker is a Malaysian Chinese or Malaysian Indian. There is also a dialect continuum of English varieties in these countries, typically ranging from an informal colloquial variety (often called ‘Manglish’, ‘Singlish’ or ‘Taglish’) to a formal, educated variety. It is also common for educated users of these varieties to be able to use different dialects from the continuum in the same text. Nevertheless, the extent to which the local educated variety is accepted as the classroom model remains the topic of much debate. It would appear, therefore, that, in linguistic terms, varieties of English can reach Schneider’s final stage of “differentiation” linguistically, but sociolinguistically they remain somewhere between stage two and stage three, as the idealised classroom model remains provided by an Inner Circle variety.

4. Local languages and the development of Englishes I now turn to considering some of the motivations that account for the development of new linguistic features in new varieties of English. It is important to stress at the outset,

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however, that the motivations which will be considered below are not new. For example, contact with other languages has always been a major cause of linguistic change in English. English has never been “untouched” by other languages. It is far more a mongrel than a thoroughbred, as indeed are most languages. As Crystal has pointed out, “The notion of purity was as mythical then [i.e. the 5th century CE] as it is now” (2004: 19). Languages that have left their mark on English include Classical Greek, Latin, French, Scandinavian languages and many others. The French influence, evident in phonology, lexis and syntax, left an indelible mark on Anglo-Saxon by “drastically simplifying its ... syntax, modifying its spelling and vastly enlarging and enriching its vocabulary” (Murison 1979: 6). Thus the examples of influence from other languages which will be described below and in other chapters in this volume merely further exemplify long-standing and natural causes of language change. And while the languages influencing new varieties of English may be different, the language contact process remains the same. Simplification is one change that takes place over time, as illustrated in the simplification of the inflectional system of English. Speakers of standard BrE use far fewer inflections than their ancestors. This simplification was often due to language contact. As a consequence of contact with French and Scandinavian languages (Fisher 1992), the highly inflected English of Old English has become, over time, a modern English with only a few inflections (Blake 1996). Simplification is joined by a second motivation for change, namely, regularization. There is a tendency for past tense endings of English verbs to become regular over time. Thus for example, ‘worked’ is now accepted as the standard past tense form of ‘work’, while at one time the irregular form ‘wrought’ was used. ‘Raught’ was common for the past tense for ‘reach’ until about 1650 (Lass 1999: 174). In contrast, ‘teached’ and ‘catched’ were both possible alternatives for ‘taught’ and ‘caught’ until well into the eighteenth century (Lass 1999: 174). The successful survival of ‘taught’ and ‘caught’ provide exceptions to the rule, of which there are several, especially in verbs that are in common use. Lieberman and colleagues have actually worked out a mathematical formula which calculates how long and in what circumstances an irregular past tense form will become a regular past tense form. On the basis of this, they predict that ‘wed’ will be the next irregular form to be replaced by the regular form ‘wedded’ (Lieberman, Michel, Jackson, Tang & Nowak 2007). When considering the linguistic features of new varieties of English, it is important, therefore, to consider whether they may be the result of simplification or regularization, especially with the unmarking of tense and the non-use of other inflectional items. Scholars are also currently debating whether variety type or geography – and thus the influence of the contact languages – is the better predictor of distinctive syntactic features. While showing that many new varieties of English share distinctive linguistic features, Mesthrie and Bhatt argue that some varieties prefer to delete certain features while other varieties prefer to retain them. They give Singaporean English or SingE with its allowance of subject deletion as an example of a “deleter” and African languages



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues 

as good examples of “retainers” (2008: 108). Kortmann, on the other hand, while allowing that geography plays an important role, argues that it is variety type – whether the variety is a first language (henceforth L1) or an indigenised non-native second language (henceforth L2) or a creole, for example – which better predicts the morphosyntactic features of the variety (2010). As later chapters (Chapters 2 to 7) will be providing examples of the distinctive linguistic features of specific varieties of English, here I shall provide only a few. In line with Schneider’s developmental model, the earliest and most common features of a new variety of English will be the borrowings into English of lexical items that describe local phenomena. The following illustrations represent just a handful of the hundreds of terms that MalE has borrowed from Bahasa Melayu:

(1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

makan (food) durian (a type of fruit) adat (traditional law) kampong (village) bomoh (a traditional Malay medicine man)

It is also common for lexical items from an established variety of English to undergo some form of semantic shift when used in newer varieties of English. An example of this from Filipino English is colgate, (e.g. Bautista 1997: 49–72) which has expanded its semantic range from referring to a single brand of toothpaste to the general term for it (following the same path as ‘hoover’ or ‘Xerox’ in BrE). An example of semantic shift in MalE is the shift of meaning of the word ‘bring’ to mean something like the ‘take’ of BrE, as illustrated in this recent Shell advertisement in the Malaysian Star newspaper on Sunday, 8 February 2009.

(6) ‘Thank you Shell! I’ll use the money to bring my family for a holiday in Melaka’.

To give just one example of a syntactic feature, perhaps the most iconic feature of Bruneian, Malaysian and Singaporean Englishes is their distinctive use of particles. The opening sentence of an article by Patrick Teoh in the February 2009 edition of the Malaysian news magazine Off the Edge uses two such particles, along with a colloquial MalE representation of ‘fellows’.

(7) ‘As a Malaysian citizen, I’ve been having a recurring debate of late la. Am I really a stupid fler ah?’

The frequent use of particles in Bruneian, Malaysian and Singaporean English is well documented (See Low, Azirah, Ao & Phillip, Chapter 20 of this volume for a list of references focusing on particles under ‘Language in Use’). It is clear that these particles have been borrowed into these varieties of English from local languages spoken in Malaysian and Singapore. What is less clear is which languages have provided which particles. There is, for example, some debate over whether the particle la comes from

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one of the Chinese languages, Hokkien or Cantonese, or whether it comes from Malay, as all these languages use a similar particle. Research into new varieties of English also needs to take into account the role of the transfer of pragmatic and cultural norms in shaping varieties of English. For example, the Australian partiality to informality is linguistically realised in what is called ‘clipping’, the shortening of certain words and making them end with vowel sounds. Examples in colloquial Australian English include ‘pollie’ (a politician), ‘journo’ (a journalist), ‘reffo’ (refugee) and ‘garbo’ (a garbage man). In the context of some Asian languages, Scollon and Scollon (1991) pointed out that speakers prefer to preface the main information or main point of the argument with subsidiary information or the justification/reasons for the argument. Thus a common unmarked schema for Chinese discourse is justifications – argument and reasons – request (Kirkpatrick 1995). We might then predict that this might become a common schema in the English of Chinese speakers. And, as this schema is also common in other Asian languages, including, for example Japanese, Malay and Indonesian, we might predict that this will become a common schema and discourse pattern in these East Asian varieties of English. More research on how local cultural values and pragmatic norms are realized in the local variety of English is therefore needed. This is important for a number of reasons. First it will provide evidence of how new varieties of English adapt to reflect the cultural norms and values of their speakers. Second, as speakers are less aware of their use of pragmatic norms than their use of localised lexical items, they may be more inclined to use these subconsciously when speaking English in lingua franca settings. Their use of these pragmatic norms may then cause cross-cultural misunderstanding.

5. English as a lingua franca English is used as the major working lingua franca for speakers from these six countries. Indeed, as mentioned above, English is the sole working language of ASEAN, a fact now enshrined in the recently signed ASEAN charter, where Article 34 states “The working language of ASEAN shall be English”. The very term ‘English as a lingua franca’ (henceforth ELF) has become a contested topic with some scholars arguing that it is misleading to describe this as a variety as, by definition, it will be used by speakers from quite different linguistic backgrounds (Prodromou 2007). Canagarajah argues that ELF does not exist as a system, but is “constantly brought into being in each context of communication” (2007: 91). Nevertheless, while it is clear that ELF is a functional term in that it describes how English is used, recent research into ELF has demonstrated a surprising number of linguistic features that are shared by speakers of different language backgrounds (Seidlhofer 2004; Jenkins 2000). In the context of Southeast Asia (henceforth SEA), Deterding and Kirkpatrick (2006) identified a number of shared linguistic features, a small sample of which are illustrated below.



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues 

Perhaps the most noteworthy common phonological feature is that all these varieties have a tendency towards syllable timing, probably caused by the syllable-timed nature of the various L1s. This is realized by the speakers not reducing vowel sounds in contexts where a schwa would be found in many stress-timed varieties of English. Scholars have argued that this tendency towards syllable-timing may be helpful for the international intelligibility of these varieties, precisely because their speakers do not reduce vowels. This has potentially important implications for English language teaching. A phonological feature which is unique to Hong Kong speakers is their representation of the TH sound. Rather than using some form of [t] or [d] sound as is common among speakers from the other five countries (and elsewhere), Hong Kong speakers typically use an [f] sound, as described by Hung (see Chapter 7 of this volume). This is nicely illustrated by a slogan used in a chain of local tea houses, which asks “RU34T” (Are you free for tea?), where ‘three’ and ‘free’ are considered homophones. It should be added that while Hong Kong speakers may be unique in the Southeast Asian context in this, they are not alone in the international context. This use of [f] in these contexts is also common among native speakers of the variety of BrE spoken in and around London known as “estuary” English. David Beckham, the well-known English soccer player, is a famous example. Among the most common grammatical features found in many new varieties of English and ELF are the different marking of countable and uncountable nouns, the non-marking of past tense forms in specific contexts and the use of an invariable tag question form. As the non-marking of tense forms also occurs in varieties of English that have developed in contact with L1s which do mark for tense, this is some evidence that the processes of regularization and simplification are at work. As Cane (1994: 358) has suggested, a “pan-linguistic grammatical simplification process” could account for this. This itself is reason enough to study the use of ELF. Research into the communicative strategies adopted by ELF speakers is also important. Research to date (Meierkord 2004; Seidlhofer 2004) does indicate that speakers tend not to use certain lexical items and idioms which describe culturally specific phenomena and which therefore may not be understood by people from outside their own speech communities. For example, in data of ASEAN speakers in conversation (Kirkpatrick 2007b: 132), occurrences of the use of localised lexical items and codeswitching is extremely rare. The following example represents a rare instance of this. A Singaporean (S), Indonesian (I) and Cambodian (C) are in conversation. The Singaporean is a Singaporean Malay and a fluent speaker of Malay. Rojak is a Malay word and refers to a type of mixed salad.

(8) S: in school in the class I will try to speak good English in fact we are supposed to speak good English {I: ehm} so I will switch you know ehm {ehm} in the class I’m I am a teacher I see myself as a teacher we have to {C: yes} show good example {I: eh hm} so ehm there’s no way that I will speak Singlish to my kids {I: eh hm} not in class yeah er not in class not in school {I: eh hm eh hm} but

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ehm like what you said just now when we go back to our friends {I: (laugh) ok} and all that (I: laugh) all the English (I: laugh) and Singlish are all (I: laugh) mixed together {I: all right} like rojak I: oh like rojak right like that S: yes you know rojak right I: yes it’s fruits mi[xed S: all] mixed up together I: all right all right {S: yeah} ok oh all right

As examples presented later in this volume will show, when speakers from a shared speech community use the local variety of English, this is characterised by code mixing and code-switching. Thus, had the Singaporean and Indonesian been in conversation alone, their conversation would have been marked by a great deal of code-mixing. The presence of the non-Malay speaking Cambodian, however, along with the desire of the group to ensure communication, obviates against the use of code mixing here. This strongly suggests that, perhaps not surprisingly, speakers engaged in lingua franca communication are more focused on achieving cross-cultural communication than on presenting their own identities (Firth 1996). I now turn to the second part of the chapter which entails a discussion of issues connected with language policy.

6. English and local languages The increased use and need for English has led governments in the region to prioritize the teaching and learning of English in schools. How they have gone about this has differed, but the overall aim – for their citizens to be able to use English in international domains – is the same. The perceived need for the people to learn English, however, lies alongside their need to learn other languages. At the very least, a child will need to learn a local language (for identity), a national lingua franca (for national unity), and English, the international lingua franca. It is also possible that the child will need to learn a regional lingua franca, such as Putonghua (Mandarin). The Philippines illustrates the linguistic challenges facing school children. It is a multilingual society, with more than 100 local languages. After many years of debate and linguistic tinkering, a local language ‘Filipino’ has been adopted as the national language. Filipino is, in effect, a very close cousin of Tagalog, the language spoken around Manila, which, in order to justify calling it Filipino, has been doctored to include aspects of some of the other languages of the Philippines. While most people realize that Filipino is really “Tagalog with extras”, they have also come to accept its place as the national language. However, the Bilingual Education Policy (henceforth BEP), which was introduced in 1974, has been controversial (Galang 2000; Gonzalez 1996) as it requires that all Filipino children learn maths and science through English



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues 

from primary one, and other subjects through Filipino. As Benton has pointed out, the BEP is actually two quite different systems: in Manila, children learn through the standardized form of their mother tongue and English; elsewhere, in the non-Tagalog speaking areas, they learn through two official languages, Filipino and English, but their mother tongue plays no role (1996: 309). Despite suggestions that children be allowed to learn through their mother tongues, especially during the early years of primary school, this policy has not been universally adopted (Gonzalez 1996, 2007). The situation is even more linguistically complex, as the recent rise of China as an international economic power has increased the demand for the study of Putonghua. The linguistic demands which this can place on children are considerable. A child whose mother tongue was not Tagalog would need to learn Filipino (as the national language), a regional lingua franca such as Cebuano (if this was not the child’s mother tongue), English (as an international language) and some possibly even Putonghua (as an international language) while retaining the mother tongue. The difficult questions associated with this aim to develop multilingual citizens include when and how best to introduce the languages, and how to accommodate them in a complementary way within an already crowded curriculum (Maminto 2005). The language policy in the Philippines is given detailed coverage in Chapter 11 of this volume. A similar situation can be seen in Malaysia, but with two critical differences (see Asmah, Chapter 9 of this volume). The first is that the national language is Malay, Bahasa Melayu. This is the language of the original people except the Orang Asli (who are indigenous minority people living in Peninsula Malaysia) and its position as the national language is non-negotiable. The second, which is related to the first, is that for long standing political reasons, the other major ethnic groups, the Chinese and the Indians, have been allowed to establish schools that teach in Putonghua and Tamil. These are distinguished from the Malay medium National Schools, by being called “National-type” schools (see Asmah, Chapter 9 of this volume).3 This means, of course, that schooling is, by and large, racially segregated, a potentially divisive fact in a country that strives so desperately to present a united and harmonious multilingual and multicultural face. The place of English in the school curriculum has also been the subject of constant debate over many decades (Rappa & Wee 2006). The serious racial riots of 1969 resulted in the new Economic Policy or NEP, which was aimed at bolstering the economic status and role of the Malays. Other measures were also adopted, including, in 1970, the ruling that all primary one classes where English had been the medium of instruction had to switch to Malay medium (Lee 2007). This was followed by an amendment in 1971 to the Sedition Act which made it an offence to question the status of Malay as the sole official language (Lee 2007: 131). By 1983, all schools (except 3. National-type schools are those which provide education with vernacular languages, Chinese or Tamil, as the medium of instruction, while the national language i.e. Bahasa Malaysia is a compulsory subject and English is taught as a second language. This system is only observed in pre-tertiary education in Malaysia.

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Andy Kirkpatrick

for “National-type schools”) were entirely Malay medium, as were the universities. Worried, however, by the feeling that Malaysia was being left behind in the globalizing and modernizing world, the government has allowed government universities to teach science and technology subjects through English since the mid 1990s. In 2002, it was decided to re-introduce English into primary schools as the medium of instruction for maths and science from primary one, although the government has now decided to revert to teaching maths and science through Bahasa Melayu in primary schools. There was also further relaxation with the creation of a number of private universities, which had the freedom to choose the medium of instruction. Most chose English (see Asmah, Chapter 9 of this volume). In Brunei (see Jones, Chapter 10 of this volume), maths and science subjects are also taught through English from the early stages of primary school while other subjects are taught through Malay. In contrast, Singapore adopted EMI for all subjects, the implications of which will be further discussed below (see Alsagoff, Chapter 8 of this volume). These decisions to use English as a medium of instruction in primary school have been extremely controversial. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (henceforth UNESCO) has long argued that the child should be taught though the mother tongue. Most research argues that a person needs to have at least five years learning ESL before they can successfully learn content subjects through English (Cummins 2008). With specific reference to the teaching and learning of mathematics, the Filipino scholar, Bernardo has argued that, “there are clear and consistent advantages in using the students’ first language (whatever it may be) at the stage of learning where the student is acquiring the basic understanding of the various mathematical concepts and procedures” (2000: 313) and that, “there seems to be no theoretical or empirical basis so far to obligate the use of English in teaching mathematics” (2000: 311). There are also important practical issues such as the availability of maths and science teachers who are competent to teach the subjects through English. So why do education ministries continue to implement these EMI policies? Because they see English as the language of science, technology and modernization, while, at the same time believing that the earlier a L2 is learned, the better, and that learning a subject through a L2 aids L2 learning. Below I shall argue that these beliefs need to be seriously questioned. The Hong Kong government’s aim is to create citizens (see Bolton, Chapter 13 of this volume) who are trilingual in Cantonese, Putonghua, and English and biliterate in Chinese and English. The three languages here perform the different functions of identity, national unity and internationalisation respectively. The government sensibly insists on Cantonese as the medium of instruction in primary schools. However, stakeholder pressure – not least from parents – has recently forced the government to relax its medium of instruction policy in secondary schools. Before the handover to China in 1997, the colonial government had adopted a laissez-faire policy in this regard and allowed secondary school principals to decide on their school’s medium of instruction. As all but one of the seven universities of Hong Kong use EMI (the Chinese University



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues 

of Hong Kong is the exception, but even there an increasing number of courses are taught through English, as it tries to increase its international profile by attracting international students), and as people feel Hong Kong’s position as a financial and services sector hinges on the ability of its people to use English proficiently, it is not surprising that the great majority of school principals chose English. Simply speaking, choosing Chinese as the medium of instruction (henceforth CMI) would have led parents to remove their children from the school. Most of these were, however, EMI schools in name only. As has been well-documented, the teaching took place in a form of mixed code, with Cantonese dominating (Luke & Richards 1982). In the late 1970s, I personally observed history classes in an EMI school which consisted of the teacher translating selected excerpts from the English textbook into Cantonese which the students laboriously copied down. The policy changed in 1998. Secondary schools which wanted to teach through EMI had to fulfil strict criteria based on students’ academic ability, teachers’ proficiency in English and resources. As a result only about one quarter of secondary schools were successful in becoming EMI schools. This has led, however, to two major complaints: first that the division into EMI and CMI schools has had a negative labelling effect, with the CMI schools being perceived as academically weaker; and second that the division into CMI and EMI schools has reduced the overall proficiency in English of Hong Kong’s students. These complaints eventually forced the government to propose a “fine-tuning” of the medium of instruction policy to allow secondary schools the flexibility to choose which classes to teach through English. Schools will still need to satisfy the students-teachers-resources criteria. These new proposals are currently being debated, but it is likely that the government will need to undertake further fine-tuning if the proposals are to be successful, as critics have pointed out likely unwanted outcomes. For example, one inevitable result of the new policy will be for secondary schools to try and increase the number of EMI classes they offer (parents will demand this). This in turn may lead to the unfortunate situation whereby maths, which has been so successfully taught through Chinese that Hong Kong students are routinely classified as being among the top students internationally, will now be taught in English in order to satisfy the demand for EMI classes. Singapore has taken the prioritization of English to the extreme and made it the medium of instruction in government schools (see Alsagoff, Chapter 8 of this volume for a detailed coverage of language policy in Singapore). The “indigenous” languages, Mandarin (referred to in Singapore as Hua Yu or the Chinese Language), Malay and Tamil, are taught only as subjects. The aim is for Singaporeans to emerge bilingual in English plus their ethnic language. I have placed “indigenous” in scare quotes for two reasons: first, Singaporeans are all migrants rather than indigenous; second, especially in the case with Chinese, but also to a lesser extent with the languages of the sub-continent, Putonghua and Tamil have been promoted at the expense of other Chinese and Indian languages. Thus for example, the number of Hokkien speakers – traditionally the largest Chinese ethnic group in Singapore – is dropping as Mandarin increases its

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spread. This policy of creating English knowing bilinguals (Pakir 2004) has been successful in that it has created citizens with high proficiency in English, constant government complaints about the use of Singlish notwithstanding. It has been a failure in that the level of bilingualism in the “ethnic” language has been disappointing. Chinese educationalists, for example, point to ethnically Chinese Singaporean secondary students graduating with poor levels of Chinese literacy (Tan 2007). This is a particular problem given China’s recent emergence as an economic powerhouse. It also raises an interesting question of how the success of language policies is judged. Internationally, Singapore is considered to have a successful policy, as its citizens have excellent English skills. Hong Kong, on the other hand, constantly despairs about the declining level of English among its citizens (a decline that is more perceived than real). Yet Hong Kong produces citizens who are highly literate in Chinese, while Singapore does not.

7. Beliefs or myths The importance of English for national development and modernization has made governments place a high priority on the teaching and learning of English. In their desire for their peoples to master English, officials from the various Ministries of Education have accepted three tenets deemed crucial for mastering English. These three tenets are: 1. the best way to learn a L2 is to use it as a medium of instruction; 2. to learn a L2 you must start as early as possible; 3. the home language gets in the way of learning a L2. Benson (2008: 2) calls these three tenets “myths”, acceptance of which routinely bedevils language learning and the maintenance of the mother tongue. The acceptance of (1) and (2) explains why governments are keen for children to start learning English as early as possible and explains why several governments have implemented policies to teach subjects – most commonly maths and science subjects – through English from the early stages of primary school, despite research findings indicating that people need at least five years of instruction in a L2 before they can successfully use it to learn concepts in other subjects. The belief that the earlier one starts to learn a language the better also needs to be questioned. All things being equal, this may well be true. But the fact is that things very seldom are all equal in the majority of contexts. For example, there is a world of difference between a private resourcerich primary school in one of the more privileged parts of metro Manila and a primary school in a remote rural region of the Philippines, where there may not even be any desks, let alone electricity (Martin 2005). It is not only resources that are unequal, of course. It is a sombre fact that the English language proficiency of rural primary school teachers is likely to be poor and significantly worse than that of their counterparts in the major cities. While it may therefore be sensible and advisable to introduce English



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues 

as a subject in well-equipped urban primary schools with trained and highly proficient teachers, it is counter-productive to do so in poorly equipped rural primary schools where the teachers’ own proficiency levels in English are low. English language learning will result in failure and disillusioned students and teachers. Yet, politicians naturally find it hard to deny parents the opportunity to send their children to schools where they can learn English, such is the universal demand for it. Nevertheless, the policy of introducing English – even as a subject – under such conditions also needs to be queried, as it often takes curriculum time away from the learning of the children’s first language, in particular mastering literacy in the language. Far from interfering with L2 learning, the mother tongue acts as a bridge to other languages (Benson 2008; Haddad 2008) and children should be encouraged and allowed to develop literacy in their mother tongue before embarking on the learning of other languages. This means that the child’s mother tongue should be the medium of instruction where possible for at least the early years of primary school. This is UNESCO’s official position. In this, the Hong Kong government has got its policy right in insisting that Cantonese be the medium of instruction in Hong Kong’s primary schools. This is all the more important where the mother tongue is a language like Chinese with an ideographic script and in which literacy takes some two years longer to learn than in alphabetic languages such as English (Chen 1999). Finally, in a region where many different varieties of English have developed and where English is commonly used as a lingua franca, the privileged position of the native speaker and the native speaker model of English needs to be challenged. Acquiring native-like proficiency assumes less importance where other varieties of English exist and where lingua franca communication is the norm. The great majority of English users in the region are multilinguals who have learned ESL or English as a foreign language (EFL). None need to sound like a British or American native speaker of English. Their multilingual variety of English allows them to communicate perfectly successfully in international contexts on the one hand, while preserving their identities as, for example, multilingual Malaysians or Filipinos.

8. Summary The chapters in this volume focus specifically on features, policy and language in use. I suggest a number of further areas of research, based upon my earlier two sections of this chapter and having taken cognizance of the research reported in this volume:

8.1

Linguistic research

1. Further linguistic descriptions of local varieties of English and the use of ELF to identify any shared and distinctive features and to investigate the likely motivations

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of these including: language contact; the influence of ‘universals’ and/or variety type; regularization; simplification. 2. Studies into the communicative strategies of users of ELF. 3. Studies into the influence of pragmatic norms and cultural values upon the local varieties of English, and the extent to which their realisation in local varieties of English may cause cross-cultural misunderstanding.

8.2

Language policy research

Detailed accounts of how the language policies of the region are influencing the learning of languages in schools to include: a. Detailed accounts of how much curriculum time is being provided for local and regional languages and English in the school curriculum and whether the teaching of English is displacing the teaching of local languages. b. Detailed accounts on how language policies are actualised in school settings. c. Detailed accounts on the relative language proficiencies of students (mother tongue, regional lingua francas, national language, international languages). Granted, research on English in SEA is already abundant, but these new areas are likely to break new frontiers in the research of the Englishes in this region and can help chart future directions for the information of educators and policy makers.

References Azirah Hashim. 2002. Culture and identity in the English discourses of Malaysians. In Englishes in Asia, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 75–94. Melbourne: Language Australia. Bautista, M.L.S. 1997. The lexicon of Philippine English. In English is an Asian Language: The Philippine context, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 49–72. Sydney: Macquarie Library. Benson, C. 2008. Summary overview: Mother tongue-based education in multi-lingual contexts. In Improving the Quality of Mother Tongue-based Literacy and Learning: Case studies from Asia, Africa and South America, C. Haddad (ed), 2–11. Bangkok: UNESCO. Benton, R.A. 1996. The Philippine bilingual education program – Education for the masses or the preparation of a new elite? In Readings in Philippine Sociolinguistics, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 308–326. Manila: De la Salle University Press. Bernardo, A.B.I. 2000. The multifarious effects of language on mathematical learning and performance among bilinguals: A cognitive science perspective. In Parangalcang Brother Andrew: A Festschrift for Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, M.L.S. Bautista, T.A. Llamzon & B.P. Sibayan (eds), 303–316. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Blake, N.F. 1996. A History of the English Language. London: Macmillan. Bolton, K. 2003. Chinese Englishes: A Sociolinguistic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bolton, K. & Lim, S. 2000. Futures for Hong Kong English. World Englishes 19(3): 429–443.



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues  Boyle, J. 1997. Imperialism and the English language. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 18(3): 169–181. Canagarajah, S. 2007. The ecology of global English. International Multilingual Research Journal 1(2): 89–100. Cane, G. 1994. The English language in Brunei Darussalam. World Englishes 13(3): 351–360. Chen, P. 1999. Modern Chinese: History and Sociolinguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Crystal, D. 2004. The Stories of English. London: Allen Lane. Cummins, J. 2008. Teaching for transfer: Challenging the two solitudes assumption in bilingual education. In Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Vol 5: Bilingual Education, J. Cummins & D. Corson (eds), 67–75. Berlin: Springer. Deterding, D. & Kirkpatrick, A. 2006. Intelligibility and an emerging ASEAN English lingua franca. World Englishes 25(3): 391–409. Dixon, R. 1993. Australian aboriginal languages. In The Languages of Australia, G. Schulz (ed), 71–82. Canberra: Australian Academy of the Humanities. Eades, D. 1991. Communicative strategies in aboriginal Australia. In Language in Australia, S. Romaine (ed), 84–93. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Firth, A. 1996. The discursive accomplishment of normality: On “lingua franca” English and conversation analysis. Journal of Pragmatics 26(2): 237–259. Fisher, O. 1992. Syntax. In Cambridge History of the English Language, Vol. 2: 1066–1476, N.F. Blake (ed), 207–408. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Galang, R.G. 2000. Language planning in Philippine education in the 21st century: Toward language-as-resource orientation. In Parangalcang Brother Andrew: A Festschrift for Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, M.L.S. Bautista, T.A. Llamzon & B.P. Sibayan (eds), 267–276. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Gonzalez, A. 1996. Evaluating bilingual education in the Philippines: Towards a multidimensional model of education in language planning. In Readings in Philippine Sociolinguistics, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 327–340. Manila: De la Salle University Press. Gonzalez, A. 2007. Language, nation and development in the Philippines. In Language Nation and Development, H.G. Lee & L. Suryadinata (eds), 7–16. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Gupta, A.F. 1997. Colonisation, migration and functions of English. In Englishes around the World, Vol.2 [Varieties of English around the World G19], E.W. Schneider (ed), 147–158. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Haddad, C. (ed). 2008. Improving the Quality of Mother Tongue-based Literacy and Learning. Case studies from Asia, Africa and South America. Bangkok: UNESCO. Harkins, J. 2000. Structure and meaning in Australian Aboriginal discourse. Asian Englishes 3(2): 60–81. Hung, T.T.N. 2000. Towards a phonology of Hong Kong English. World Englishes 19(3): 337–356. Jenkins, J. 2000. The Phonology of English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kachru, B.B. 1992. Models for non-native Englishes. In The Other Tongue, B.B. Kachru (ed), 48–74. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Kirkpatrick, A. 1995. Chinese rhetoric: Methods of argument. Multilingua 14(3): 271–295. Kirkpatrick, A. 2007a. The communicative strategies of ASEAN speakers of English as a lingua franca. In English in Southeast Asia: Literacies, Literatures and Varieties, D. Prescott (ed), 121–139. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press.

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Andy Kirkpatrick Kirkpatrick, A. 2007b. World Englishes: Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kortmann, B. 2010. Variation across Englishes: Syntax. In A Handbook of World Englishes, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 400–424. Didcot: Routledge. Kratoska, P.H. (ed). 1983. Honourable Intentions: Talks on the British Empire in South-East Asia Delivered at the Royal Colonial Institute 1874–1928. Singapore: Oxford University Press. Lass, R. 1999. Phonology and Morphology. In The Cambridge History of the English Language, Vol. III, 1476–1776, R. Lass (ed), 56–186. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lee H.G. 2007. Ethnic politics, national development and language policy in Malaysia. In Language Nation and Development, H.G. Lee & L. Suryadinata (eds), 118–149. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Li, D.C.S. 2000. Hong Kong English: New variety of English or interlanguage? English Australia Journal 18(1): 50–59. Lieberman, E., Michel, J.B., Jackson, J., Tang, T. & Nowak, M.A. 2007. Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language. Nature 449(11): 713–716. Luangthongkum, T. 2007. The positions of non-Thai Languages in Thailand. In Language Nation and Development, H.G. Lee & Suryadinata L. (eds), 181–194. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Luke, K.K. & Richards, J.C. 1982. English in Hong Kong: status and functions. English WorldWide 3(1): 47–64. Maminto, R.E. 2005. Program design and implementation of Philippine language education: Research and theoretical perspectives. In Linguistics and Language Education in the Philippines and Beyond: a Festschrift for Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista, D.T. Dayag & J.S. Quakenbush (eds), 335–348. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Martin, I.P. 2005. Conflicts and complications in Philippine education: implications for ELT. In Linguistics and Language Education in the Philippines and Beyond: a Festschrift for Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista, D.T. Dayag & J. S. Quakenbush (eds), 267–279. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Meierkord, C. 2004. Syntactic variation in interactions across international Englishes. English World-Wide 25(1): 109–132. Mesthrie, R. & Bhatt, R.M. 2008. World Englishes: The Study of New Linguistic Varieties. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Moag, R.F. 1992. The life cycle of non-native Englishes: A case study. In The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, B.B. Kachru (ed), 233–252. Urbana-Champaign IL: Illinois University Press. Mufwene, S. 2001. The Ecology of Language Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Murison, D. 1979. The historical background. In Languages of Scotland, A. Aitken & T. McArthur (eds), 2–13. Edinburgh: Chambers. Pakir, A. 2004. English-Knowing Bilingualism in Singapore. In Imagining Singapore, K.C. Ban, A. Pakir & C.K. Tong (eds), 254–278. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press by Marshall Cavendish. Prodromou, L. 2007. Is ELF a variety of English? English Today 23(2): 47–53. Rappa, A.L. & Wee, L. 2006. Language Policy and Modernity in Southeast Asia: Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand. Berlin: Springer. Schneider, E.W. 2003a. The dynamics of new Englishes: From identity construction to dialect rebirth. Language 79(2): 233–281.



Chapter 1.  Theoretical issues Schneider, E.W. 2003b. Evolution(s) in global English(es). In From Local to Global English [Proceedings of the Style Council 2001/2], P. Peters (ed), 3–24. Sydney: The Dictionary Research Centre, Macquarie University. Schneider, E.W. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Scollon, R. & Scollon, S. 1991. Topic confusion in Asian English discourse. World Englishes 10(2): 113–125. Seidlhofer, B. 2004. Research perspectives in teaching English as a lingua franca. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 24: 209–239. Tan, E.B. 2007. Language policy and discourse in Singapore. In Language Nation and Development, H.G. Lee & L. Suryadinata (eds), 74–117. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Thompson, R.T. 2003. Filipino English and Taglish: Language Switching from Multiple Perspectives [Varieties of English around the World G31]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.



part i

Features

chapter 2

Singapore English Ee-Ling Low

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore This chapter first provides a broad historical overview about how English came to be used in Singapore and landmark language policies are also mentioned to provide an understanding about the status and roles that English has attained in the country. Next, a discussion of the main models for language variation in Singapore (Standard and Colloquial Singapore English) is included. The phonetic/phonological description of English in Singapore takes into account the acoustic research work done to substantiate earlier impressionistic descriptions. Wells’ (1982) lexical word sets are used to provide a standard means of comparing the realisation of vowels across the different varieties covered in this volume. The grammatical and lexical description draws on work done by Lim (2004) and Deterding (2007). Keywords: Singapore English, language variation, phonological features, lexical features, syntaxtic features

1. Introduction Singapore is a tiny island city state with a total land area of about 650 square kilometres. It is located at the southern tip of West Malaysia which is strategically situated at the centre of a major sea route connecting the Far East to the rest of Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. In 2010, Singapore’s Gross Domestic Product or GDP stood at about Singapore $303 billion (Singapore Department of Statistics 2011). The significant population growth over the last five years has been mainly due to the huge influx of migrant workers. For 2010, Singapore’s population stood at 5,076, 700, out of which 3.77 million were residents and 1.31 million were non-resident foreigners. The ethnic composition was as follows: 74.1% Chinese, 13.4% Malays, 9.2% Indians and 3.3% others (Singapore Department of Statistics 2010). There are four co-official languages in Singapore: English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. English is the language of administration, education, law and the media while Malay is Singapore’s national language due to its historical roots. A detailed coverage of the main language policies in Singapore in the colonial era, the newly independent

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era and the present is provided by Alsagoff (see Chapter 8 of this volume) but the landmark language policies are briefly recounted here to provide the background information needed to understand the evolution of features of Singapore English (henceforth SingE). Post-independent language policies as pointed out by Low (2010a) were dominated by two major issues. Firstly, the decision on language policy for a multiethnic and multilingual people necessitated fairness and equitability. Secondly, there was a need to address the falling standards of the English language. In 1960, the landmark bilingual education policy in Singapore was passed under which it became mandatory to learn a second language in school. Under this adopted policy of “pragmatic multilingualism” (Kuo & Jernudd 1991, cited in Lim 2009), English served as the language for international trade and business while Malay, Mandarin and Tamil targeted at anchoring the people to their ethnic roots and cultural traditions. While it was compulsory for pupils to learn an ascribed mother tongue (Mandarin for the Chinese, Malay for the Malays and Tamil, Hindi, Gujarati for example, for the Indians), it was also possible to select a second language from another ethnic group. For instance, a Malay pupil could study Mandarin as a second language. This bilingual education policy sowed the seeds of the formation of “English-knowing bilinguals in Singapore”, defined by Pakir (1991: 174) as someone who speaks English and minimally, their ethnically ascribed mother tongue. By the late 1970s, concern over the perceived falling standards of the English language took centre stage. Clearly, by the 1980s, two varieties of English were acknowledged to be present: a standard formal variety and a colloquial informal variety affectionately christened by the laymen as ‘Singlish’. In 1987, the endorsement of English as the main medium of instruction for all schools played a critical role in increasing the dominance and prominence of the English language. In the late 1990s, moving into the early 2000s, the Ministry of Education announced a nation-wide initiative to re-train 8,000 primary school teachers in English grammar through professional development courses. The launch of the Speak Good English Movement or SGEM in 2000 was another step towards improving the quality of written and spoken English. Each year, the movement focuses on different sectors of Singaporean society (for example, retailers, teachers, youth and parents), and organizes activities along themes that might appeal to the target group. The movement’s work has met with much criticism, especially among linguists who have lamented that it has failed to recognize that different varieties can co-exist and may be appropriately used for different situations (Chng 2003; Lim 2009; Rubdy 2001). In 2009, the Minister for Education, Dr Ng Eng Hen announced plans to establish the English Language Institute of Singapore or ELIS with the aim to “build deeper capabilities in EL proficiency training for teachers” and help students to become articulate speakers of English. The present concern, therefore, is to ensure that as an English-speaking nation, the variety of English used is internationally viable such that Singapore will not lose its edge over its neighbours.



Chapter 2.  Singapore English 

2. Language variation in Singapore There have been many models posited to account for the variation that exists in the English language used in Singapore (Alsagoff 2007; Deterding & Poedjosoedarmo 2000; Gupta 1986; Pakir 1991; Platt 1977; Platt & Weber 1980). The earliest classifications by Platt (1977) and Platt and Weber (1980) described variation along the lines of the educational qualifications of the speakers which was a very real factor in that era. The range was termed a “lectal continuum”, and an acrolectal speaker was described as someone who had completed tertiary education. The mesolectal speaker had typically ‘A’ level qualifications or, if not, at least ‘O’ levels with additional training while the speaker at the lowest end of the continuum, the basilectal speaker, would have only completed primary school with perhaps an unfinished secondary school education. Gupta (1986) adopted the concept of diglossia to describe the language situation in Singapore. She further elaborated on this concept in Gupta (1994) where she talked about the distinct functions for the H (high) and L (low) varieties. The H variety is used for formal occasions and in writing while the L variety is used both for informal situations and when speaking to young children. However, even highly proficient speakers may choose the L variety for affective reasons such as to establish rapport with their interlocutors. Deterding and Poedjosoedarmo (2000) came up with a model of inverted triangles of ethnic variation. Their perceptual experiment showed that subjects could correctly identify the ethnic groups of the speakers during informal conversations but encountered difficulty during a formal speech situation. Based on their findings, they suggested that ethnic variation in SingE emerges during informal speech situations. Pakir’s (1991) seminal and influential “expanding triangles of English expression” model depicts English in Singapore as varying along two clines: proficiency and formality, and posits that these clines influence the type of English used, i.e. Colloquial SingE or Standard SingE. Speakers in the largest triangle of expression have a very high proficiency of English and are able to switch competently between the colloquial and the standard varieties depending on the formality of the speech situation. Conversely, speakers with the lowest proficiency in English will have the smallest triangle of expression since they are constrained from moving up the formality cline by their limitations in the language. More recent work by Alsagoff (2007) postulated a new model known as the Cultural Orientation Model or COM which is based on the premise that English in Singapore has to fulfil two basic functions: as a global language and as a means of intra-ethnic communication and social networking. She states (2007: 44) that “Speakers of Singapore English vary their style of speaking by negotiating fluidly within a multidimensional space framed by bipolar cultural perspectives”, one that is global and the other local. She further elaborates that the use of International SingE is associated with formality, distance, authority and symbolizes educational attainment and economic

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value.1 On the other hand, the use of Local SingE is associated with informality, camaraderie, equality, membership within a community and has value as sociocultural capital.2 The use of either International SingE or Local SingE is determined by the speaker’s competence in the language but, more importantly, by their cultural orientation, i.e. whether they choose to use English for global or local purposes. The different models discussed in this section to describe the variation in the English used in Singapore show the two existing distinct varieties of English. In this chapter, the terms Standard SingE and Colloquial SingE will be used to describe the formal and the informal varieties respectively and the descriptions will be restricted only to Standard SingE due to the many realisations of the informal colloquial variety.

3. Phonology The phonological features of SingE have been covered extensively in Low (2010b) and the present section will only summarise some of the salient points.

3.1

Vowels

A phonemic inventory of vowels in SingE will be provided by using Wells’ (1982) standard lexical sets. This was also used by Schneider et al. (2004) in the description of vowels found in different varieties of English around the world. Since Standard SingE is the variety being described, a comparison with the lexical sets provided by Lim (2004) for Standard SingE and British English or BrE and that provided by Low and Brown (2005) will be made. The dashes that appear under Low and Brown’s (2005) column indicate that the realisations of these vowels were not commented on by them. Deterding (2005) closely investigated Standard SingE vowels by recording subjects reading carefully prepared sentences. Based on acoustic measurements, he found two different realisations of the vowel in DRESS, one which rhymes with the diphthong in FACE and the other which is similar to the vowel found in TRAP. Based on his findings, Deterding (2005) classified the following words in Standard SingE as having the same realisation as the diphthong found in FACE in BrE: vague, made, grade, egg, bed, dead; while another group is realised with the vowel found in TRAP in BrE: peg, beg, fed, bread, bag, bad. Adopting Low and Brown’s (2005) proposed vowel inventory for SingE as a reference point, acoustic studies that validate earlier impressionistic claims about the conflation of vowels will be highlighted. Deterding (2003) found evidence for the conflation of long and short vowels for the lexical sets FLEECE and KIT and for the vowels 1.

See Alsagoff (2007) for ‘International Singapore English’ or ISE.

2. See Alsagoff (2007) for ‘Local Singapore English’ or LSE.



Chapter 2.  Singapore English 

Table 1.  Phonemic vowel inventory of SingE BrE (Lim 2004)

Standard SingE (Lim 2004)

i ε æ # ^ ~ "˜ # 8˜ i˜ ei "˜ f˜ o~ u˜ ai fi a~ iә 7ә "˜ f˜ f˜ ~ә Similar to ‘poor’ i ә 6

i ε æ # ^ ~ "˜ # 8˜ i˜ ei "˜ f˜ o~ u˜ ai fi a~ iә 7 "˜ f˜ f˜ ~ә Similar to ‘poor’ i ә ә

SingE (Low & Brown 2005) Keywords i ε ε f ^ u – – ә i e ^ f o~ u ai fi au iә 7 – – – uә – – ә ә

KIT DRESS TRAP LOT STRUT FOOT BATH CLOTH NURSE FLEECE FACE PALM THOUGHT GOAT GOOSE PRICE CHOICE MOUTH NEAR SQUARE START NORTH FORCE POOR CURE HAPPY LETTER COMMA

found in DRESS and TRAP, as there were clear cases of overlap in the F1–F2 scatter plots for these vowel pairs.3 However he did not find acoustic evidence for the conflation of the vowel pairs found in CLOTH and THOUGHT. An earlier study by Suzanna and Brown (2000) also showed conflation of the vowels found in DRESS and TRAP although their study showed that while all subjects distinguished between the two

3. F1 stands for ‘the first formant’ and F2 ‘the second formant’. In acoustic phonetics, F1 and F2 correspond to vowel height and vowel backness respectively.

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Ee-Ling Low

vowels in citation form, this distinction was lost when subjects were recorded during formal and informal conversations. In a study comparing Malay SingE speakers with Malay Malaysian English (henceforth MalE) speakers, Tan & Low (2010) found that in citation form, for Standard SingE, while the scatter plots for the vowel pairs found in FLEECE and KIT and DRESS and TRAP showed some degree of overlap, the vowel pairs found in PALM and STRUT and GOOSE and FOOT showed some evidence of being differentiated by virtue of there being minimal overlap in their F1–F2 scatter plots. In read text, there appeared to be a very clear distinction for the vowels found in CLOTH and THOUGHT and this concurs with Deterding’s (2003) study. Acoustic evidence supports the conflation between the vowel pairs found in FLEECE and KIT, and DRESS and TRAP. However, the conflation of the vowel pairs found in PALM and STRUT, GOOSE and FOOT and CLOTH and THOUGHT was not found from the acoustic measurements. Acoustic evidence as provided in studies by Deterding (2000) and Lee and Lim (2000) showed that closing diphthongs found in the words FACE and GOAT tended to be monophthongised in Standard SingE compared to BrE. As far as triphthongs are concerned, in Standard SingE, these tend to be realised with a glide inserted between the diphthong and the schwa. Table 2 shows the revised table of vowels which includes a new column that takes into consideration the experimental findings made about Standard SingE.

3.2

Consonants

In terms of the consonantal inventory of SingE, Low and Brown (2005: 143) presented a table which was also adopted by Low (2010b) for the purposes of describing the consonants found in SingE. See Tables 3(a) and 3(b). The lines linking the different consonants are meant to indicate that these phonemes may be conflated in Standard SingE. What I would like to propose is that the conflation of these phonemes is only found in the spoken variety of Standard SingE and in conversational speech rather than in carefully scripted speech, such as in the reading of news, passages or sentences. Lim (2004), Wee (2004a) and Deterding (2007) also noted other features such as the nasalisation of vowels before a deleted nasal or certain consonant cluster simplifications which seem to be more indicative of Colloquial SingE rather than Standard SingE and will therefore not be included in this chapter. Deterding (2007) and Lim and Deterding (2005) noted that in careful speech, there is a tendency for speakers to produce an extra final [t] in words ending with [n]. He hypothesised that this extra final [t] is meant as an -ed suffix marker even when the -ed suffix is not meant to be present! Another interesting feature noted by Deterding (2007) is the occurrence of a nonprevocalic [r] in words like for. Acoustic evidence for the replacement of dental fricatives with alveolar plosives has been difficult to obtain from previous experimental work. Moorthy and Deterding



Chapter 2.  Singapore English 

Table 2.  Phonemic vowel inventory of SingE with recent experimental findings considered4 BrE (Lim 2004)

Standard SingE (Lim 2004)

SingE (Low & Brown 2005)

Standard SingE Keywords (Experimental findings)

i

i

i

i

KIT

ε æ # ^ ~ "˜ # 8˜

ε æ # ^ ~ "˜ # 8˜

ε ε f ^ u – – ә

ε ε # ^ ~ "˜ #

DRESS TRAP LOT STRUT FOOT BATH CLOTH NURSE





i

ei "˜ f˜ o~

ei "˜ f˜ o~

e ^ f o~





u

ai

ai

ai

fi

fi

fi

a~

a~

au



iә 7

iә 7

"˜ f˜ f˜ ~ә

– – – uә

Similar to ‘poor’



i

i



ә

ә

ә

ә

ә

ә

7ә "˜ f˜ f˜ ~ә Similar to ‘poor’

– i e˜ "˜ f˜

o˜ u˜ – – – ijә – "˜ f˜ f˜ ~ wә

– – – –

FLEECE FACE PALM THOUGHT GOAT GOOSE PRICE CHOICE MOUTH NEAR SQUARE START NORTH FORCE POOR CURE HAPPY LETTER COMMA

(2000) found it difficult to find the acoustic correlates for the realisation of [θ] as [t] primarily because Singaporeans tend not to aspirate initial voiceless plosives and this makes it hard to tease apart the voicing characteristics from that of the place of articulation of the two sounds i.e. dental versus alveolar. Gut (2005) investigated the 4. Dashes indicate that there is no recent experimental study that either validates or falsifies the earlier claims made.

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Ee-Ling Low

Table 3(a).  Inventory for consonants in initial position for conversational Standard SingE (adapted from Low and Brown 2005: 143) Bilabial Plosives

Labio dental

Alveolar

p-----b

Dental

Velar

Glottal

k-----g tw dŠ

m

n

Fricatives Approximants

Palatal

t-----d

Affricates Nasals

Palato alveolar

fv

sz

w

Ѳ  ð

l

h

wŠ j

r

Table 3 (b).  Inventory for consonants in final position for conversational Standard SingE (adapted from Low and Brown 2005: 143) Bilabial Plosives Affricates Nasals Fricatives Approximants

Labio Alveolar Dental Palato Palatal dental alveolar

p-----b

t-----d

Velar

Glottal

k-----g tw dŠ

m f  v w

n s ---- z l

Ѳ  ð

h

wŠ r

j

realisation of final plosives in Standard SingE and her findings showed that word-final plosives were either unreleased or replaced by glottal stops thus confirming previous impressionistic observations. Tan (2005) found that certain speakers of Standard SingE tend to vocalise dark [l] and this was a speaker-dependent feature with a marginal effect of a faster speaking rate leading to more frequent occurrence of this feature. Table 3(c) is a revision of Table 3(b) based on recent experimental findings.

3.3

Lexical stress placement

The following lexical stress placement rules were noted by Bao (1998) for SingE: – Heavy syllables (those containing a long vowel/diphthong or a coda) tend to be stressed. – Stress occurs on alternate syllables. – If a word has more than one stressed syllable, it is the last syllable that carries primary stress.



Chapter 2.  Singapore English 

Table 3 (c).  Revised Inventory for consonants in final position for conversational Standard SingE (based on recent experimental findings) Bilabial Plosives* Affricates Nasals Fricatives Approximants

Labio Alveolar Dental Palato Palatal dental alveolar

p-----b

t-----d

Velar

Glottal

k-----g tw dŠ

m f  v w

n s ---- z l**

Ѳ  ð

h

wŠ r

j

*final plosives are either replaced by a glottal stop [‘] or not released **dark /l/ is replaced by a vowel for some speakers of Standard SingE

Tay (1982) and Low & Brown (2005) observed stress to occur a syllable later than where one would find it in BrE for most words, for example CALendar in BrE but caLENdar in Standard SingE. Low (2000a) tested the claim by previous researchers about stress appearing to be on the final syllables of polysyllabic words like manfully and carelessly (Deterding 1994; Platt & Weber 1980; Tay 1982; Tongue 1974). Two sentence sets, where the words were placed in medial position and another where the words were found in final position, were designed. Measurements were made of the fundamental frequency (henceforth F0) and durations for the test items in both positions. It was found that there was prominence in both F0 and duration signalling stress for the final syllables of the words when they were in final but not in medial position. It was concluded that what was described to be a difference in stress placement was, in fact, a difference in phrase boundary marking. For words in BrE where grammatical category differences are signalled by a shift in stress placement, Standard SingE appears not to have such a distinction. For example, whether import is used as a noun or a verb, Standard SingE speakers stress the second syllable of the word. Low (2000a) tested whether Singaporeans distinguished stress placement for compounds and noun phrases like BrE speakers. From the durational and F0 results, acoustic evidence showed that British speakers clearly distinguished between how they stressed compound nouns and noun phrases while Singaporean speakers clearly did not. In terms of stress placement determined by derivational suffixes, Deterding and Poedjosoedarmo (1998) observed differences between Singaporean and British speakers of English. For example, -ism is stress-shifting in Standard SingE but stress-preserving in BrE. Therefore, in words like commune and communism, BrE speakers stress com in both instances but, for Standard SingE speakers, the stress is on com for commune and on mu for communism.

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Ee-Ling Low

3.4

Rhythm

Traditionally, rhythmic patterning in the languages spoken in the world has been classified as being either stress-timed (where stresses occur at nearly equal intervals), syllable-timed (where syllables occur at nearly equal intervals) or mora-timed (where morae occur at nearly equal intervals). Early observations about rhythmic patterning in Standard SingE described Standard SingE rhythm as having a staccato-effect or likened it to a ‘machine-gun’. Brown (1988) listed some features that might be responsible for triggering this perception, such as the absence of: – reduced vowels in unstressed words – linking between adjacent words in connected speech – a distinction between long and short vowels Acoustic studies in the past decade such as those by Low, Grabe and Nolan (2000) and Grabe and Low (2002) provided acoustic evidence to support earlier claims that Standard SingE is syllable-timed. Based on suggestions about the apparent lack of reduced vowels in Standard SingE as noted by Taylor (1981) and Brown (1988), Low et al. (2000) designed two sentence sets: one containing full vowels only and the other an alternation of full and reduced vowels as they would be realised in BrE. Using a measure of rhythm known as the Pairwise Variability Index (henceforth PVI) which measures the degree of variability in duration between successive vowels in a sentence, their study showed that Standard SingE has a significantly lower PVI for the sentences containing full and reduced vowels compared to BrE but that no significant difference was found for the full vowel set between the two varieties of English. Thus, Standard SingE appeared not to distinguish between full and reduced vowels durationally unlike BrE. To further validate their finding, Low et al. (2000) measured the first and second formants of all potentially reduced vowels found in the sentence sets and a distance from centroid measure was used to determine whether the potentially reduced vowels in Standard SingE or BrE were further from the central point of a speaker’s vowel quadrilateral. Their results showed that potentially reduced vowels in Standard SingE were significantly more peripheral than in BrE. This substantiated the earlier finding that Standard SingE appears not to distinguish between full and reduced vowels. Heng and Deterding (2005) investigated the occurrence of reduced vowels found in the first syllable of polysyllabic words in Standard SingE. Perceptually, it was found that Standard SingE speakers used fewer reduced vowels than BrE speakers. Singaporeans had a tendency to use full vowels for words with o in their spelling such as words beginning with com or con. Acoustic evidence from Deterding (2001) further supported the classification of Standard SingE as syllable-timed. He measured syllable durations in Standard SingE and compared these to BrE measurements. Using the variability index (henceforth VI) which measured successive syllable durations, his study showed that Standard SingE exhibited a lower VI than BrE, thus indicating that Standard SingE did not exhibit as much variability in successive syllables as BrE.



Chapter 2.  Singapore English 

3.5

Some intonational features

Lim (2004) described, based on a corpus of SingE, the main forms and functions of intonational tones in Standard SingE, including phrase-final prominence, the intonational patterning of discourse particles, and how informational focus is assigned prominence. Wee (2004a) also briefly mentioned the lack of pitch variation in Standard SingE and the observation of syllable-final lengthening. Low and Brown (2005) discussed the challenge of using the British model of intonation to describe SingE due to the difficulty in distinguishing between stressed, unstressed and accented (pitch-prominent) syllables as many syllables appeared equally prominent in Standard SingE. This view has the support of Levis (2005) who calculated that there were 46% more prominent syllables in SingE compared to American English (henceforth AmE). Goh (2005) observed that the level tone which carries little communicative function in BrE is used for important communicative functions in Standard SingE, and is commonly found in tonic syllables that occur in final position. Deterding (2007) described the tendency in Standard SingE to stress pronouns, the lack of deaccenting for old information such as repeated lexical items, the presence of an early booster in Standard SingE and the different functions of some intonational tones found in Standard SingE compared to BrE. He also observed the characteristic rise-fall tone which seemed to indicate extra emphasis in Standard SingE. Acoustic studies have looked more closely at the phenomena of an early booster and the lack of deaccenting for old information in Standard SingE. Low (2000b) compared the pitch range of the early booster found in Standard SingE and the early marker found in BrE and found the pitch range of the early booster in Standard SingE to be significantly greater than the early marker found in BrE. Low and Brown (2005) and Low (2006) attempted to find acoustic evidence to support earlier observations about the lack of deaccenting for old or given information in Standard SingE. Their results indicated that no acoustic evidence could be found for prosodically attenuating (weakening) old information in Standard SingE durationally or in terms of pitch (fundamental frequency). Instead, old information appeared to be reaccented (re-assigned prominence) in Standard SingE.

4. Lexis Previous studies focusing on lexical items have tended to be about Colloquial SingE (Lim & Wee 2001; Wee 2004b, 2004c). In this section, examples of lexical innovations in Standard SingE (Deterding 2007; Lim 2001; Low 2010a; Ooi 2001; Tan & Azirah 2007) found in formal written domains such as the newspapers or formal speeches will be highlighted. These examples, while commonly used in Standard SingE, may not be exclusive and are possibly used in other varieties of Englishes, for instance MalE (see Azirah & Tan, Chapter 3 of this volume).

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Ee-Ling Low

Lim (2001: 130–131) studied lexical words which are commonly found in the local Singapore newspaper The Straits Times and classified them according to a few main categories, two of which are related to:

4.1

Urban landscape or lifestyle

Examples are executive condominium ‘high-end government owned apartments’, killer litter ‘litter that residents haul out of the window of a high-rise flat and which has proven fatal to passers-by’ and void deck ‘the common public space found at the ground floor of a block of apartments’.

4.2

Urban transport

Examples include In-Vehicle Unit or IU device ‘a device that is installed into all cars in Singapore for the purpose of entering gantry points fitted with the Electronic Road Pricing system or car parks for automatically paid entry’, EZ-link card ‘a cashcard which can be used for travelling on all modes of transportation such as the bus and the Mass Rapid Transit system’ and Certificate of Entitlement ‘a certificate which must be purchased before one is allowed by law to buy a car’. A more conventional form of classifying lexical items follows categories of wordformation processes (refer to Plag 2003 or to any other grammar book for the definitions of these processes) of which the more common processes found in Standard SingE will be highlighted.

4.3

Lexical borrowings

Leong, Deterding & Low (2006: 51) listed some examples of loan words from other languages, now used commonly in English: amok (from Malay), bungalow (Hindi), data (Latin), Minister (French), pajamas (Persian), to name a few. Low (2010a) used the categories of borrowings proposed by Tan & Azirah (2007) to describe the categories of loanwords used in Standard SingE: 1. For food items: mee rebus (Malay) ‘thick yellow noodles’, bandung (Malay), ‘a drink made of rose syrup and carnation milk’. 2. For cultural references and religious practices: tudung (Malay) ‘head scarf worn by Muslim women for religious reasons’, 3. For description of character traits: kiasu (Hokkien) ‘fear of losing out which drives behaviour such as the desire to be the first in line for good bargains, selfishly hoarding seats in a crowded food court’ and cheem (Hokkien) to describe something or someone as ‘being profound’.



Chapter 2.  Singapore English 

4.4

Compounding

Examples of compound nouns found in Standard SingE, some of which have been reported in Low’s (2010a) study, are: shophouse ‘typically two storeys, where the ground level functions as the shop proper while the upper level functions as the family home of the shop owner’ and independent schools (to refer to schools which have autonomy in apportioning resources and in designing the curriculum as long as national education outcomes are adhered to). Examples of compounding that include borrowed words are kancheong (Hokkien) spider and blur sotong (Malay) to describe someone as being overly anxious and being clueless respectively.

4.5

Blending

The word tunch (Lunch + Tea) means ‘a meal taken in place of lunch and tea during the same period of time’ and distripark (Distribution + Park) ‘a warehouse complex that serves as a holding and distribution centre for goods’.

4.6

Back formation

The word zomb comes from the word Zombie (which has been clipped) and is used as a verb as in the example, ‘I am so tired that I am going to zomb out the minute I get home.’

4.7

Conversion

The noun arrow is commonly used as a verb to mean ‘direct someone’ as in ‘The boss likes to arrow me to do things’. Another example is marketing which is a noun used as a verb to mean ‘to buy groceries at the market’. Similarly, the younger generation will usually be ‘supermarketing’ at the supermarkets.

4.8

Acronyms

These are commonplace in Standard SingE much to the annoyance of foreigners who first arrive in Singapore. Major expressways are known only by their acronyms such as Kranji Expressway or KJE and the Pan Island Expressway or PIE as are the main universities in Singapore, namely Nanyang Technological University or NTU and National University of Singapore or NUS for example. New educational initiatives introduced by the Singapore Ministry of Education are often referred to using acronyms such as Social and Emotional Learning or SEL, Teach Less, Learn More initiative or TLLM and more recently, Primary Education Review and Implementation Committee or PERI,

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Ee-Ling Low

Information Technology Masterplan 3 or MP3 to name just a few. Acronyms are also used for governmental policies linked to transport such as the ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) and the COE (Certificate of Entitlement), as mentioned earlier. This section has highlighted some of the main lexical innovations occurring in Standard SingE and explained what such lexical innovations are used for. It should be noted that these lexical items carry a form of connotation that cannot be found in Standard BrE or AmE equivalent and thus need to be given in context to convey fully the intended meanings.

5. Syntax Most previous research on the syntactic features of SingE focused on the colloquial variety of SingE (see Alsagoff 2001; Alsagoff & Ho 1998; Ho 1995; Ho & Platt 1993; Lim & Wee 2001; Low & Brown 2005; Wee 2004b, 2004c). This section will focus on the syntactic features found in Standard SingE in keeping with the focus in the rest of this chapter. It has to be pointed out that the syntax of Standard SingE generally tends to resemble other standard varieties of English, such as BrE or AmE. In what follows, only examples that are uncommon in standard BrE or AmE will be highlighted.

5.1

Noun phrase structure

The deletion of the definite article the especially when referring to the designation of a senior colleague is common, even in cases of formal conversation. For example, Director/Boss would like to see you about his speech for the upcoming convocation.

5.2

Verb phrase structure

Even in formal written communication, there is the tendency for subject-verb agreement to take place with the noun nearest to the verb instead of with the head of the noun phrase. For example, The criteria for selecting the student needs to be more transparent (where standard BrE or AmE would use need instead, since criteria is in the plural form). Although this usage may be found even amongst users of Standard SingE, its use is not accepted as grammatically correct. Another example is the use of the modal would, which is used in SingE to indicate politeness, tentativeness and as a marker of the irrealis aspect as observed by Alsagoff and Ho (1998: 141). In Standard SingE, would is often used when will is used in standard BrE or AmE. For example, in standard BrE or AmE, will indicates the possibility of occurrence in the future. For example, in the sentence, It is likely that the implementation of the recommendations of the programme review will take place by July 2012, standard BrE or AmE uses the modal will while Standard SingE favours the use of the modal would to indicate the possibility of future occurrence.



Chapter 2.  Singapore English 

The habitual aspect is expressed using the adverb always instead of using the simple present tense for this purpose. For example, I always take the 7 am shuttle to campus every day is common in Standard SingE while, in standard BrE or AmE, the same meaning is conveyed by using the simple present tense as in I take the 7 am shuttle to campus every day. The perfective aspect is also expressed in Standard SingE using the adverb already as in I have already left the meeting. In standard BrE or AmE, the use of already is not needed to express the perfective aspect and the same sentence can be expressed simply as I have left the meeting.

5.3

Adverb phrase structure

Standard SingE favours the use of certain adverbs, especially as hedgers. Examples are, She basically left the room because she was unhappy and My name is actually Sarah. In both these sentences, the use of basically and actually do not add to their meaning. The meaning might even be distorted! For example, in the sentence, My name is actually Sarah, the speakers of BrE or AmE might (understandably) misunderstand her intended meaning and presume that Sarah has all along been using another pseudonym and is clarifying this point to her interlocutors. Although discourse/pragmatic particles have been the focus of much previous research, these will not be described in this chapter as they are more commonly found in Colloquial SingE (see Lim 2007; Low & Brown 2005: 175–180; Wee 1998, 2002, 2003).

6. Discussion and conclusion It is important to end this chapter with a consideration of the place of SingE within the wider discipline of World Englishes (henceforth WE). Many models have been put forward in an attempt to describe the spread of Englishes around the world (see, for example work by Gorlach 1990; Kachru 1982, 1992; McArthur 1987; Modiano 1999a, 1999b; Quirk 1988; Strevens 1980; Schneider 2003, 2007). These models may be grouped into two broad paradigms as suggested by Tan (2011), whether WE are viewed from an acquisitional or developmental perspective. The acquisitional framework considers the issue of whether English is spoken as a native, second or foreign language while the developmental paradigm considers varieties of English as part of a developmental cycle. One developmental model that has gained popularity in recent years is Schneider’s (2003, 2007) Dynamic Model of Postcolonial Englishes where he places SingE in Phase 4, a phase defined by greater linguistic homogeneity. Further research gathering huge amounts of data to be analysed for phonetic, phonological, grammatical and lexical features is needed to determine clearly which stage of development SingE may be accurately placed in.



Ee-Ling Low

Another point to note concerns the question of which pedagogical model to uphold for teaching English in Singapore. Considering the 400 million speakers of English in China (albeit at the moment as a foreign language), and China’s growing dominance both politically and economically, the epicentre of WE may well move to Asian Englishes. Thus, it is reasonable to surmise that Asian Englishes may become the target model for international trade and business. This points to the direction for future research in the field. More features-based, empirical studies of Asian Englishes need to be undertaken in order to offer a clearer understanding of the linguistic features and, more importantly, the pragmatic norms used in this part of the world.

References Alsagoff, L. 2001. Tense and aspect in Singapore English. In Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia, V.B.Y. Ooi (ed), 79–88. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Alsagoff, L. 2007. Singlish: Negotiating culture, capital and identity. In Language, Capital, Culture: Critical Studies of Language and Education in Singapore, Viniti Vaish, S. Gopinathan & Y.B. Liu (eds), 25–46. Rotterdam: Sense Publications. Alsagoff, L. & Ho, C.L. 1998. The grammar of Singapore English. In English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore, J. Foley, T. Kandiah, Z. Bao, A.F. Gupta, L. Alsagoff, C.L. Ho, L. Wee, I.S. Talib & W. Bokhorst-Heng (eds), 127–151. Singapore: Oxford University Press. Bao, Z. 1998. The sounds of Singapore English. In English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore, J. Foley, T. Kandiah, Z. Bao, A.F. Gupta, L. Alsagoff, C.L. Ho, L. Wee, I.S. Talib & W. Bokhorst-Heng (eds), 152–174. Singapore: Oxford University Press. Brown, A. 1988. The Staccato effect in the pronunciation of English in Malaysia and Singapore. In New Englishes: The Case of Singapore, J. Foley (ed), 115–128. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Chng, H.H. 2003. You see me no up: Is Singlish a problem? Language Problems and Language Planning 27(1): 45–62. Deterding, D. 1994. The intonation of Singapore English. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 24(2): 61–72. Deterding, D. 2000. Measurements of /ei/ and /ә~/ vowels of young English speakers in Singapore. In The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, A. Brown, D. Deterding & E.L. Low (eds), 93–99. Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Deterding, D. 2001. The measurement of rhythm: A comparison of Singapore and British English. Journal of Phonetics 29(2): 217–230. Deterding, D. 2003. An instrumental study of the monophthong vowels of Singapore English. English World-Wide 24(1): 1–16. Deterding, D. 2005. Emergent patterns in the vowels of Singapore English. English World-Wide 26(2): 179–197. Deterding, D. 2007. Dialects of English: Singapore English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Deterding, D. & Poedjosoedarmo, G. 1998. The Sounds of English: Phonetics and Phonology for English Teachers in Southeast Asia. Singapore: Simon & Schuster.



Chapter 2.  Singapore English Deterding, D. & Poedjosoedarmo, G. 2000. To what extent can the ethnic groups of young Singaporeans be identified from their speech? In The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, A. Brown, D. Deterding & E.L. Low (eds), 1–9. Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Goh, C.C.M. 2005. Discourse intonation variants in the speech of educated Singaporeans. In English in Singapore: Phonetic Research on a Corpus, D. Deterding, A. Brown & E.L. Low (eds), 104–114. Singapore: McGraw-Hill (Education) Asia. Gorlach, M. 1990. Studies in the History of the English Language. Heidelberg: Carl Winter. Grabe, E. & Low, E.L. 2002. Durational variability in speech and the rhythm class hypothesis. In Laboratory Phonology 7, C. Gussenhoven & N. Warner (eds), 515–546. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Gupta, A.F. 1986. A standard for written Singapore English? English World-Wide 7(1): 75–99. Gupta, A.F. 1994. The Step-Tongue: Children’s English in Singapore. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Gut, U. 2005. The realisation of final plosives in Singapore English: Phonological rules and ethnic differences. In English in Singapore: Phonetic Research on a Corpus, D. Deterding, A. Brown & E.L. Low (eds), 14–25. Singapore: McGraw-Hill (Education) Asia. Heng, M.G. & Deterding, D. 2005. Reduced vowels in conversational Singapore English. In English in Singapore: Phonetic Research on a Corpus, D. Deterding, A. Brown & E.L. Low (eds), 54–63. Singapore: McGraw-Hill (Education) Asia. Ho, M.L. 1995. The acquisition of a linguistic variable. In The English Language in Singapore: Implications for Teaching, S.C. Teng & M.L. Ho (eds), 88–106. Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Ho, M.L. & Platt, J. 1993. Dynamics of a Contact Continuum: Singaporean English. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Kachru, B.B. 1982. The Other Tongue: English across Cultures. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Kachru, B.B. 1992. The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, 2nd edn. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Lee, E.M. & Lim, L. 2000. Diphthongs in Singaporean English: Their realisations across different formality levels and attitudes of some learners towards them. In The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, A. Brown, D. Deterding & E.L. Low (eds), 100–111. Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Leong, A., Deterding, D. & Low, E.L. 2006. An Introduction to Linguistics. Singapore: McGrawHill (Education) Asia. Levis, J.M. 2005. Prominence in Singapore and American English: Evidence from reading aloud. In English in Singapore: Phonetic Research on a Corpus, D. Deterding, A. Brown & E.L. Low (eds), 86–94. Singapore: McGraw-Hill (Education) Asia. Lim, C.Y. & Wee, L. 2001. Reduplication in colloquial Singapore English. In Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia, V.B.Y. Ooi (ed), 89–102. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Lim, G. 2001. Till divorce do us part: The case of Singaporean and Malaysian English. In Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia, V.B.Y. Ooi (ed), 125–139. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Lim, L. (ed) 2004. Singapore English: A Grammatical Description [Varieties of English around the World G33]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Lim, L. 2007. Mergers and acquisitions: On the ages and origins of Singapore English particles. World Englishes 27(4): 446–473.

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Ee-Ling Low Lim, L. 2009. Beyond fear and loathing in Singapore: The real mother tongues and language policies in multilingual Singapore. AILA Review 22: 52–71. Lim, S.H. & Deterding, D. 2005. Added final plosives in Singapore English. In English in Singapore: Phonetic Research on a Corpus, D. Deterding, A. Brown & E.L. Low (eds), 37–42. Singapore: McGraw-Hill (Education) Asia. Low, E.L. 2000a. Is lexical stress placement different in Singapore English and British English? In The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, A. Brown, D. Deterding & E.L. Low (eds), 22–34. Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Low, E.L. 2000b. A comparison of the pitch range of Singapore English and British English speakers. In The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, A. Brown, D. Deterding & E.L. Low (eds), 46–52. Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Low, E.L. 2006. A review of recent research on speech rhythm: Some insights for language acquisition, language disorders and language teaching. In Spoken English, TESOL and Applied Linguistics: Challenges for Theory and Practice, R. Hughes (ed), 99–125. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan. Low, E.L. 2010a. English in Singapore and Malaysia: Differences and similarities. In The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, Kirkpatrick, A. (ed), 229–246. London: Routledge. Low, E.L. 2010b. Sounding local and going global: Current research and implications for pronunciation teaching. In English in Singapore: Modernity & Management, L. Lim., A. Pakir & L. Wee (eds), 235–260. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Low, E.L. & Brown, A. 2005. English in Singapore: An Introduction. Singapore: McGraw-Hill (Education) Asia. Low, E.L., Grabe, E. & Nolan, F. 2000. Quantitative characterisations of speech rhythm: Syllabletiming in Singapore English. Language and Speech 43(4): 377–401. McArthur, T. 1987. The English languages? English Today 3(3): 9–13. Modiano, M. 1999a. International English in the global village. English Today 15(2): 22–27. Modiano, M. 1999b. Standard English(es) and educational practices for the world’s lingua franca. English Today 15(4): 3–13. Moorthy, S. & Deterding, D. 2000. Three or tree? Dental fricatives in the speech of educated Singaporeans. In The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, A. Brown, D. Deterding & E.L. Low (eds), 76–83. Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Ooi, V.B.Y. (ed). 2001. Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Pakir, A. 1991. The range and depth of English-knowing bilinguals in Singapore. World Englishes 10(2): 167–179. Plag, I. 2003. Word-formation in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Platt, J. 1977. The sub-varieties of Singapore English: Their sociolectal and functional status. In The English Language in Singapore, W. Crewe (ed), 83–95. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. Platt, J. & Weber, H. 1980. English in Singapore and Malaysia: Status, Features and Functions. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Quirk, R. 1988. The question of standards in the international use of English. In Language Spread and Language Policy: Issues, Implications, and Case Studies, P.H. Lowenberg (ed), 229–241. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press. Rubdy, R. 2001. Creative destruction: Singapore’s Speak Good English Movement. World Englishes 20(3): 341–355. Schneider, E.W. 2003. The dynamics of new Englishes: From identity construction to dialect birth. Language 79(2): 233–281.



Chapter 2.  Singapore English  Schneider, E.W. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schneider, E.W., Burridge, K., Kortmann, B. & Mesthrie, R. (eds). 2004. A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Singapore Department of Statistics. 2010. Census of Population 2010 Advance Census Release. (15 March 2011). Singapore Department of Statistics. 2011. Statistics: Time Series on Annual GDP at Current Market Prices. (15 March 2011). Strevens, P. 1980. Teaching English as an International Language: From Practice to Principle. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Suzanna binte Hashim & Brown, A. 2000. The [e] and [æ] vowels in Singapore English. In The English Language in Singapore: Research on Pronunciation, Brown, A., Deterding, D. & Low, E.L. (eds), 84–92. Singapore: Singapore Association for Applied Linguistics. Tan, R.S.K. 2011. An Acoustic Investigation of Segmental and Suprasegmentals in Malaysian English. PhD dissertation, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Tan, R.S.K. & Azirah Hashim. 2007. Malaysian English. In World Englishes and Miscommunications, M. Nakano (ed). Japan: Waseda University International. Tan, R.S.K. & Low, E.L. 2010. How different are the monophthongs of Malay speakers of Malaysian and Singapore English? English World-Wide 31(2): 162–189. Tan, Y.Y. 2005. Observations on British and Singaporean perceptions of prominence. In English in Singapore: Phonetic Research on a Corpus, D. Deterding, A. Brown & E.L. Low (eds), 95–103. Singapore: McGraw-Hill (Education) Asia. Tay, M.W.J. 1982. The phonology of educated Singapore English. English World-Wide 3(2): 135–145. Taylor, D.S. 1981. Non-native speakers and the rhythm of English. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 19(3): 219–226. Tongue, R.K. 1974. The English of Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. Wee, L. 1998. The lexicon of Singapore English. In English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore, J. Foley, T. Kandiah, Z. Bao, A.F. Gupta, L. Alsagoff, C.L. Ho, L. Wee, I.S. Talib & W. Bokhorst-Heng (eds), 175–200. Singapore: Oxford University Press. Wee, L. 2002. Lor in colloquial Singapore English. Journal of Pragmatics 34(6): 711–725. Wee, L. 2003. The birth of the particle know in colloquial Singapore English. World Englishes 22(1): 5–13. Wee, L. 2004a. Singapore English: Phonology. In A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol. 1: Phonology, E. W. Schneider, K. Burridge, B. Kortmann, R. Mesthrie & C. Upton (eds), 1017–1033. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Wee, L. 2004b. Singapore English: Morphology and syntax. In A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol. 2: Morphology and Syntax, E. W. Schneider, K. Burridge, B. Kortmann, R. Mesthrie & C. Upton (eds), 1058–1072. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Wee, L. 2004c. Reduplication and discourse particles. In Singapore English: A Grammatical Description [Varieties of English around the World G33], L. Lim (ed), 105–126. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Wells, J. 1982. Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

chapter 3

Malaysian English* Azirah Hashim and Rachel Tan University of Malaya, Malaysia

This chapter provides an overview of the status of Malaysian English (MalE) and discusses the phonological, grammatical and lexical features of this variety. It begins by giving the socio-historical and socio-political context in which this variety is found, illustrating the cultural diversity of and regional differences in the country. Features of pronunciation, grammar and lexis are described and exemplified. This is done firstly by providing a description of the vowels, consonants and suprasegmental features found. Secondly, structural nativization at the grammatical level is discussed focussing on noun phrase structure and verb phrase structure. Thirdly, lexis in MalE is highlighted and categorised according to whether they are globally known or locally known, used formally of informally, their ethnic origin as well as their currency. Keywords: Malaysian English, linguistic diversity, multilingual, multicultural, pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary

1. Introduction The English language that is spoken in Malaysia has been shaped by historical, political and cultural forces and, today, consists of features from other local languages and dialects. The country itself is a multi-racial and multi-cultural one with a rich cultural diversity. This has resulted in a situation where the verbal repertoire of an individual in Malaysia consists of two or more languages as well as varieties of the same language. Each language brings with it its own set of rules and conventions related to phonology, syntax, lexis, pragmatics and sociolinguistics and this has influenced the rich tapestry that is Malaysian English (henceforth MalE). MalE is associated with certain linguistic features which include distinct phonological and intonation patterns, use of localized lexical items, as well as different syntactic and pragmatic features which have been described in Azirah (2002, 2007), Baskaran (1987, 1994, 2005, 2008a, 2008b), * Acknowledgement by the first author: The research conducted here was supported in part by a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany 2009.

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Azirah Hashim and Rachel Tan

Nair-Venugopal (2001), Platt and Weber (1980), Platt, Weber and Ho (1983), Wong (1981, 1983), Preshous (2001) and Rajadurai (2006). Any attempt to describe MalE should take into consideration Malaysia’s cultural diversity as well as regional differences. The two parts of Malaysia are separated from each other by the South China Sea: Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo. The population is about 28.31 million with the main ethnic groups being Malay (65.9%), Chinese (25.3%) and Tamil (7.3%) (Department of Statistics Malaysia 2010). The Malays in Malaysia consist of Austronesian speakers and the Austroasiatic speakers with the latter belonging to the aboriginal tribes. The other groups, the Chinese and Indians, also have a number of dialects and languages. Together with the other minority groups, like the Eurasians, Arabs, Thais and Europeans, they have contributed to the rich tapestry of MalE. Due to educational policies and history, most Malaysians can speak two or more languages. Table 1 is a summary of the main languages spoken by Malaysians. MalE can be said to encompass all the sub-varieties of Englishes spoken by Malaysians (Baskaran 1987; Morais 2000). MalE consists of the acrolect, mesolect and basilect varieties. Table 2 provides a summary of the features of the acrolect, mesolect and basilect. The three categories of MalE listed in Table 2 actually form a continuum rather than discrete categories. In fact as MalE is spoken by Malaysians of different social and ethnic backgrounds in a variety of contexts, there are probably more sub-varieties of sociolects and ethnolects, as proposed by Nair-Venugopal (2000). Generally speaking, the acrolectal variety of MalE can be understood by most English speaking people as it generally follows Standard English. The mesolectal variety tends to have more Table 1.  Languages spoken by the different ethnic groups (Adapted from Baskaran 2004) Ethnic group

Languages spoken

Austronesians: Malays in West Malaysia, Kadazans/Dusun, Bajau, Murut, Melanau & Dayaks of Sabah and Sarawak

Bahasa Melayu Kadazan, Dusun, Iban, Tagol Murut, Melanau

Austroasiatics: Malays in West Malaysia

Bahasa Melayu Temiar

Settler population: Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Eurasians, Thais, Europeans

Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew, Hainanese, Mandarin Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujerati, Singhalese Arab Thai Bahasa Melayu English



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English 

Table 2.  Features of sociolects of MalE (Adapted from Baskaran 1987: 53) Acrolect: Standard MalE, Mesolect: dialectal MalE, formal use, international informal use, national intelligibility intelligibility

Basilect: patois MalE, colloquial use, patois intelligibility and currency

Phonology

Slight variation tolerated More variation is so long as it is internatolerated, including tionally intelligible prosodic features especially stress and intonation

Syntax

Rules of international standard fully observed

Extreme variation – both segmental and prosodic with intonation so stigmatized – almost unintelligible internationally Substantial variation/ deviation (national intelligibility)

Lexis

Variation acceptable especially for words not substitutable in an international context (to give a more localized context)

Some deviation is acceptable although it is not as stigmatized as broken English Lexicalization quite prevalent even for words having international English substitutes

Major lexicalization heavily infused with local language items

colloquial elements. It is also usually spoken rather than written while the basilect is the uneducated style of speech communication. An educated speaker of MalE will use the acrolectal variety of MalE in formal situations or when communicating with speakers from other countries and switch to the mesolectal or basilectal variety for communication in less formal situations. The notion of sub-lects suggests that there is no neat division between the three sociolects of MalE as proposed by Baskaran. A speaker of MalE will thus shift up or down the MalE continuum depending on the range of his repertoire of sub-lects (Morais 2000).

2. Pronunciation Detailed research on the pronunciation of MalE is still in its infancy and thus the account given here is preliminary, with the hope that it will be further refined. The pronunciation of MalE is by no means standard across the country (Gaudart 2000). It should first be noted that usually there are some variations which are influenced by the regional differences as well as the other languages spoken by the speakers. Generally speaking, the varieties of MalE used in East Malaysia as well as in some of the Northern states of Peninsular Malaysia differ slightly from the variety used in the central and southern parts of Peninsular Malaysia especially at the mesolectal and basilectal levels.

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Azirah Hashim and Rachel Tan

This could be because of the influence of the two standard varieties of Standard Malay (henceforth SM) in Malaysia. One main difference is in the realisation of the orthographical ‘a’ in word-final position as a schwa [ә] in the central and southern regions of Peninsular Malaysia and as a low central vowel [a] in East Malaysia as well as the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia (Asmah 1977: 2).

2.1

Vowels in MalE

The British English (henceforth BrE) inventory differs significantly from the SM vowel inventory. While BrE contains twenty distinctive vowels (twelve relatively pure vowels and eight diphthongal glides), SM has only nine distinctive vowels (six pure vowels and three diphthongs). It is likely that this difference influences the pronunciation of MalE. Rajadurai (2006) in her work found that Malaysians in her study had six instead of the seven short monophthongs that speakers of BrE have. The six vowels found in the speakers of her study are a high front vowel /I/, a mid-front vowel /ε/ that represents both /e/ and /æ/, an open mid-back unrounded vowel /¤/, a mid-central vowel /ә/, an open mid-back rounded vowel /f˜/ and a high back vowel /u/. While the BrE vowel inventory can be systematically put in pairs based on the difference in vowel length and quality, this difference is not as obvious in MalE (Baskaran 2004; Zuraidah 2000). It is likely that this is influenced by Malay which does not possess long vowels. The neutralization occurs both in terms of long vowels being shortened in medial position and short vowels being lengthened especially before the sounds /n, l, r, s, ∫/. Zuraidah (2000), who studied the pronunciation of Malay undergraduate students from a university in Malaysia, claims that the pairwise length oppositions are virtually conflated into one phoneme. This has resulted in some homophones in minimal pairs like beat-bit, caught-cot and cut-cart. In terms of vowel quality, Zuraidah (2000) also found that back vowels such as /f˜/, /7/ and /󰀧˜/ tend to be more closed than their BrE counterparts while Baskaran proposes that there are some differences in the back vowels in that the THOUGHT and BATH vowels are more raised and centralized compared to BrE. As far as the realisation of /u˜/ and /~/ is concerned, the difficulty in producing /~/ has resulted in it usually being realized as [u], which is similar to the BrE /u˜/ but with reduced length and more lip rounding. A similar tendency is also seen in the other pairs of vowels like /f˜/ and /7/ and /󰀧˜/ and /¤/. This lack of differentiation between long and short vowels results in similarity in words like pool and pull, fool and full (for /u˜/ and /~/). See Table 3 for examples of words that very often sound like homophones in MalE. As far as the MalE vowels /ε˜/ and /ә/ are concerned, the difference between the two vowels tends to be neutralized. It is quite usual to find that speakers of MalE do not reduce their vowels in their pronunciation. As such, the schwa /ә/ can be realized as [a], [e], [o], [eI] or [I].



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English 

Table 3.  Examples of BrE minimal pairs that are commonly realized as homophones in MalE Vowel contrasts in BrE

Realized in MalE as

/i˜/ and /I/

[i]

/u˜/ and /~/

[u]

/æ/ and /e/

[e]

/f˜/ and /7/

[o]

/󰀧˜/ and /¤/

[a]

beat heed seat cooed wooed fool pat bat bad caught sought sports heart lark cart

bit hid sit could wood full pet bet bed cot sort spots hut luck cut

Acoustic verification of the claims made regarding the vowels of MalE can be derived partly from Tan and Low’s work. Tan and Low (2010) in their exploratory acoustic work on ethnically Malay female speakers in Malaysia and Singapore reading citation forms found that Singaporean speakers appeared to have more differentiation between /i˜/ and /I/ and less differentiation between /e/ and /æ/ when compared to Malaysian speakers. In terms of vowel space, measurements done for vowels in citation forms showed that the vowel space for MalE is less peripheral than that of Singapore English (henceforth SingE). In Tan and Low’s (2010) study, it was found that while generally the vowel pairs produced by Singaporean and Malaysian Malay speakers were conflated in an extended reading text, the Malaysian speakers, unlike the Singapore speakers, did not differentiate between /f˜/ and /7/ either in terms of vowel length or vowel quality. It was also found that the vowel space of the male Malaysian speakers is smaller compared to the Singaporean male speakers although no significant difference was found between the vowel space of the female Malaysian and Singaporean speakers. Baskaran (2004) and Zuraidah (2000) have suggested that there is a tendency for diphthongs to be reduced in MalE to the extent that the glide weakens to become monophthongal in nature. (1) /eI/ realized as [e] (2) /ә~/ realized as [o]

a. [tek] take b. [stek] steak a. [bot] boat b. [slo˜] slow

 Azirah Hashim and Rachel Tan

(3) /eә/ realized as [e]

2.2

a. [he] hair b. [pe] pair

Consonants in MalE

2.2.1 Consonant cluster reduction Consonant cluster reduction in word final position is very common in fast speech in many dialects of English. This appears to be very common in MalE as well (Baskaran 2005: 24). Many clusters of three consonants are reduced to two and clusters of two reduced to one as in the following examples. Common consonants to be omitted are the alveolar stops /t, d/, /s, z/ (Brown 1986).

(4) (5) (6) (7) (8)

/prInts/ prints realized as [prIns] /tends/ tends realized as [tens] /pl¤mp/ plump realized as [pl¤m] /self/ self realized as [sef] or [sel] /Iksept/ except realized as [Iksep]

2.2.2 Stops The voiceless stops /p, t, k/ in initial position tend to be realized without aspiration especially at the mesolectal level. In such cases, the voiceless stops are realized in a similar manner to the voiced stops /b, d, g/ resulting in homophonous pronunciation for words like pin, bin; town, down; could, good. In final position, there is also often a lack of contrast between voiceless and voiced stops in terms of voicing and the difference in the length of the preceding vowel (Brown 1986). Such stops in final position tend to be realized as fortis voiceless stops. Thus, tap, tab; kit, kid; and back, bag are homophonous for many mesolectal speakers. 2.2.3 Devoicing of voiced fricatives There is tendency to devoice /v, z, ð, dŠ/ in final position in MalE (Baskaran 2008a: 286). Some examples are gave [geIf], move [mu˜f], stove [stә~f]. Devoicing of /z, Š/ in medial position also occurs (Baskaran 2005: 24). Some examples are easy [i˜si], husband [h¤sbәnd], pleasure [ple∫ә] and revision [rIvI∫әn]. 2.2.4 Voicing of voiceless fricatives The alveolar voiceless fricative /s/ tends to be voiced in final position and the palatoalveolar voiceless fricative /∫/ in medial and final positions (Baskaran 2008a: 286). Some examples are nice [naIz], price [praIz], attention [әtenzen], push [p~Š], flush [fl¤Š]. 2.2.5 Avoidance of dental fricatives The dental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ are often realized as [t] and [d] respectively. This substitution of /θ/ and /ð/ occurs in initial, medial and final positions although in the final



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English 

position, /ð/ tends to be realized as /θ/ (Baskaran 2005: 26). Some examples are [tIn] thin, [tri˜] three, [dæt] that and [deә] there in initial position. In medial and final positions, the following examples are seen: panther [pæntә], brother [br¤dә], both [bә~t], bathe [beIθ]. 2.2.6 Glottalisation Word-final plosives are often unreleased or glotallised when preceded by a vowel. These final stops are often realized as glottal stops. This characteristic is more obvious in the basilect form of MalE. Some examples are rope [rә~‘], rub [r¤‘], put [p~‘], mud [m¤‘], spark [sp󰀧˜‘], plug [pl¤‘].

2.3

Suprasegmental features

2.3.1 Rhythm A number of researchers have alluded to the staccato effect of MalE (Baskaran 2005: 33). This is because the syllables in MalE tend to be almost equal in length. Tan and Low (forthcoming) measured the rhythm of some Malay speakers of SingE and MalE using a modified Pairwise Variability Index or PVI and found that although both SingE and MalE have traditionally been categorized as having qualities of syllable timing, MalE is more syllable timed in comparison with SingE. 2.3.2 Stress Generally, the stress-patterns of educated MalE speakers differ slightly from those in BrE, especially in informal speech (Baskaran 2005: 30). It has also been pointed out that MalE speakers do not seem to make a distinction between words which have different morphemic functions that represent different parts of speech (Baskaran 2005: 31). Thus a word like import which is realized as [Áimpf˜t] when used as a noun or [imÁpf˜t] when realized as a verb in BrE would be realized as [imÁpf˜t] in MalE regardless of the morphemic function of the word. In MalE, there is often a full phonetic realisation of the orthographic representation of vowels that are realized in BrE by an unstressed schwa (Baskaran 2005: 27). Thus, words like drama and oblige are realized as [dr󰀧˜m󰀧] and [7blaIdŠ]. 2.3.3 Shift in the placement of stress There are times in the pronunciation of MalE when the reduction of the unaccented vowel in the antepenultimate syllable results in the shift of accent to the following unreduced vowel. This could be an influence from Malay where stress tends to fall on the penultimate syllable (see Table 4). There are also words (see Table 5) where the accent on the penultimate syllable shifts to the antepenultimate with the reduction of the vowel in the penultimate to a weak vowel.

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Table 4.  Examples of shift from antepenultimate to penultimate BrE

MalE

/Ákæmәrә/ /ÁIndәstri/ /ÁrelәtIv/

/kәÁmerә/ /InÁd¤strI/ /ri˜ÁleItIf/

Table 5.  Examples of shift from penultimate to antepenultimate BrE

MalE

/InÁ∫~әrәns/ /spәÁgeti/ /kәÁrek∫әn/

/Áin∫urens/ /Áspegeti/ /Ák7rek∫әn/

3. Grammar MalE has also undergone structural nativization at the grammatical level and grammar simplification devices such as over-generalization, omission, reduction, substitution and restructuring occur. It should be noted that simplification occurs more often in informal situations where the mesolectal or basilectal variety of MalE is more likely to be used than the acrolectal variety. It also tends to occur more often in spoken MalE as compared to the written form. Just as in the case of the lexis of MalE, some of the syntactic differences found in MalE can be attributed to the influence of the languages spoken in Malaysia.

3.1

Noun phrase structure

3.1.1 Articles Articles tend to be ellipted or left out especially before modified abstract nouns (Did you get ticket for the show?) or concrete nouns that are used as generic nouns in predicate position (He was top student of the state.). Article ellipsis before modified abstract nouns could be an influence from Malay which has no article system (Baskaran 2008b: 612). (9) Drastic increase in petrol price has affected the lives of most Malaysians. (10) Main reason for their success so far is ... (11) She is head-girl of that school. (12) He was most popular singer last year. 3.1.2 Pronouns Omission of the object pronoun occurs often in the basilectal variety or colloquial MalE. The following are some examples:



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English 

(13) She knows your writing and won’t open (it). (14) He knows the actual story but won’t say (it). (15) I would appreciate (it) if... Omission of the subject pronoun is also very common. (16) Everyday spend money like water. (17) Always talk like a tawkey (owner of a business). (18) Still working? In pronominal concord, there is a singular/plural distinction for animate nouns but, for inanimate nouns, there is no distinction (Baskaran 2008b: 612). Below are some examples of such sentences. (19) Many new books have been added to the college library. It can be borrowed from next week. (20) Salina bought two bags yesterday but absent-mindedly left it on the bus on her way home. A possible reason for the lack of number distinction could be because of the influence from Malay where the same invariant pronoun is used for both inanimate and animate non-human nouns (Baskaran 2008b: 612). (21) (22)

(Malay): Buku-buku teks yang baru itu sangat tebal – mungkin ia sangat mahal. Books text are new those very thick – probably it is very costly. ‘Those new text books are very thick – probably they are very costly.’ (Malay): Aminah mempunyai tiga ekur kucing. Ia semua berwarna putih. Aminah has three (CLASS) cats. It all coloured white. ‘Aminah has three cats. They are all white.’

3.1.3 Question form The operator “do” is often omitted in wh-questions in colloquial MalE (Baskaran 2005: 147). In wh-questions that require subject-verb inversion, the subject-verb order is often retained (Baskaran 2008b: 615). This appears to be an overgeneralization of the word order rule that the subject must always be followed by a verb. Some examples of question forms are (23) What book you want to read? (omission of do) (24) How they are going? (lack of subject-verb inversion) Another common feature in colloquial MalE question forms is the presence of the tagged yes-no interrogatives (Baskaran 2008b: 616). (25) She can come or not?

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(26) She can come, yes or not? (27) So you like the dress or not? The use of “is it” or “isn’t it” is also very common in question tags (Baskaran 2008b: 617). (28) He is always late, isn’t it? (29) She likes cooking, isn’t it? 3.1.4 Modal auxiliaries The modal auxiliary system is often reduced in colloquial MalE. Usually only can and must are used. These modals are used with a number of different functions which in Standard English are served by some of the other modals (De Silva 1981). In colloquial MalE, subject pronouns are often dropped and sentences begin with the modal can just like the first two sentences in the following examples.

(30) (31) (32) (33) (34) (35)

Can buy the tickets at the counter. (possibility) Can take the bag now. (permission) Your maid can cook ah? (ability) Can lend me your book or not? (willingness) Sure can. (agreement) How can this happen? (incredulity)

In colloquial MalE, got is very commonly used in place of many auxiliaries (Baskaran 2008b: 618). The following are some examples of the use of got. (36) Where got meaning (37) You got bring the book? 3.1.5 Particles Particles are commonly used in colloquial MalE. They replace the various functions represented by grammatical functions as well as intonational variation in standard English (Jamaliah 2000: 28). These fillers, while often used in informal conversations, are hardly seen in writing. Some common fillers in MalE are listed in Table 6.

3.2

Verb phrase structure

Tense in formal acrolectal MalE is similar to standard English in that events in the past, present and future are marked by the past, present and future tenses. However in colloquial MalE tense and aspect markers are often not found. Instead, it is common to use time markers like yesterday, now and tomorrow. This is probably due to the influence of Malay which has no deictic tense marking (Baskaran 2008b: 614). Malay also does not have tense marking in its lexical verbs as can be seen in the following examples.



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English 

Table 6.  Common particles used in MalE Word

Meaning

Example

lah

Used to affirm a statement (similar to ‘of course’). Often used at the end of sentences and usually ends with an exclamation mark (!). Can also be used to soften a remark. Used to affirm a sentence but not as strongly as lah. Used at the end of sentences. Means ‘already’ Usually used to stress what is being said. When used at the end of sentences, the question is rhetorical. Can be used when asking a genuine question. Used as an emphasis at the end of a sentence.

Don’t be an idiot lah!

mah liao ah

one what

(38) (39) (40) (41)

Very smelly lah! She’s like that mah.

No more sugar liao. This coffee ah is the best. Why is it like that ah? Can do ah? Is that true ah? Why is he so late one? He is the best student one. The word ‘what’ is often used as an exclamation mark, What! How could he do that? not just to ask a question. I didn’t do it, what.

Malay: Saya baca sebuah buku pagi tadi. I read a book this morning. Malay: Saya sudah baca sebuah buku semalam. I have read a book yesterday. Malay: Saya sudah baca sebuah buku bulan lalu. I had read a book last month. Malay: Saya baca sebuah buku sekarang. I read a book now.

The simple and uninflected form is frequently used for the present perfect as in the following examples. (42) Since you start work here.... (43) Since she marry you.... In very informal conversations, there are instances of verbless complements in colloquial MalE such as “Where pain?” The use of -ing forms without an auxiliary like “Teacher coming.” is also quite common.

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4. Vocabulary Until recently, very little attention was paid to the contemporary English vocabulary of MalE as found in talk, print media and creative literature. The first attempt to carry out a systematic description of the new variety of English found in Malaysia and Singapore was by Tongue (1974). His description was based on a collection of observations of English spoken in the two countries. It was also restricted to the English spoken by those educated in the English medium. Tongue identified what he perceived to be the sub-standard variety used in informal situations. His categorisation, therefore, was between standard ESM (English in Singapore and Malaysia) used by the educated and in formal contexts and which is internationally intelligible, and sub-standard ESM used by the uneducated and in informal contexts and which is intelligible intranationally. Some years later, Platt and Weber (1980) described this variety using a systematically collected corpus and pointed to the emergence of a Malaysian and Singaporean variety of English. Platt and Weber’s categorisation was based on loan words and English words used differently from BrE. Although Tongue (1974) and Platt and Weber (1980) described Singaporean and MalE as a single variety due to their shared linguistic and sociolinguistic background, both Tongue and Platt and Weber referred to the divergence in language planning and educational policies in the two countries and predicted differences in the functions and status of English and the gradual separation of the two varieties. This has also been discussed in Lim’s (2001) study of lexical items in the two varieties where he noted the differences in the words that have gradually emerged in the two varieties. A number of studies of distinctive Malaysian vocabulary have been published in which examples of lexical borrowing in various genres have been categorised and discussed. Wong (1981), for example, highlighted the use of loan words (e.g. dhobi (launderette), jaga (security guard); words which are English in origin but used differently and in different contexts from native varieties such as heaty, cooling, auntie, and different word usage (eg. alphabets instead of letters, come instead of go, and follow instead of accompany). Lowenberg (1986) pointed out that certain lexical items like bumiputera (local indigenous/native people) are transferred from local languages to English to fill the lexical gaps for which there are no pre-existing English words. Lowenberg also investigated the lexical shift, that is, the replacement of a known English word by a word from a local language, for example, rakyat instead of the people, and pluralization of loan words in English as in neneks instead of nenek-nenek (grandmothers). According to him, the lexical transfer reflects the socio-cultural context of Malaysia to which English is being acculturated. Language used in the electronic Straits Times of Singapore (henceforth ST) and the New Straits Times of Malaysia (henceforth NST) from 1993 to 1995 has been examined by Lim (2001). Two basic differences were observed by him: firstly, compared to ST, NST showed a surprisingly high incidence of certain grammatical and stylistic



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English 

infelicities. Secondly, there were a number of lexical items found in one corpus but not the other arising from different lifestyles, customs, policies and other factors. According to him, uniquely Singaporean words appeared to be in the following domains: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Things or phenomena relating to the urban landscape or lifestyle Things or phenomena relating to urban transport Things or phenomena relating to government policies Things or phenomena relating to schools or education policies People Miscellaneous

Uniquely Malaysian words, on the other hand, appeared to be from these domains: 1. Things or phenomena relating to traditional Malay or Muslim customs and practices 2. Concepts from the political domain 3. Things or phenomena relating to perceived problems of modernisation and urbanisation 4. Titles 5. Miscellaneous In another study, Baskaran (2005) categorised MalE words into Substrate Language Referent (the use of local lexicon in MalE) and Standard English Lexicalisation (English lexemes with MalE usage). Under Substrate Language Referent, she provides six categories: Institutional concept – e.g. bumiputera (local indigenous/native people) Emotional and Cultural Loading – e.g. kampung (village), penghulu (headman) Semantic restriction – e.g. cangkul (hoe), lalang (wild grass) Cultural and culinary items – e.g. Hari Raya (Malay festival), angpow (Chinese red packets), Thaipusam (Hindu festival), thosai (Indian cuisine) 5. Hyponymous collocation – e.g. angsana (deciduous species) tree, bersanding (Malay wedding custom) ceremony, batik (Malay traditional costume) cloth 6. Coinage – e.g. teruk (terrible/worst), leceh (tedious), dungu (stupid)

1. 2. 3. 4.

Under Standard English lexicalisation, there are six sub-categories: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Polysemic variation – e.g. cut (slice) to also mean overtake or reduce Semantic restriction – e.g. coffee shop, outstation Informalisation – e.g. hubby instead of husband, line instead of profession Formalisation – e.g. letter asking a friend to furnish him with the details Directional reversal – e.g. go/come, bring/send, borrow/lend College colloquialism – e.g. econs for Economics

Tan (2009) explores the contact between English and Chinese and the incorporation of Chinese borrowings into MalE. Her study is different from the others in that she uses

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Azirah Hashim and Rachel Tan

a corpus-based approach to analyse her corpus of MalE newspapers and puts forward reasons for the patterns of change in MalE. In a study on the English used by workers in a car assembly plant, Morais (2000) gives examples of nativization in MalE brought about by the influence of the other languages on MalE. Examples of what she calls “new meanings” are: (44) ...he wants to hammer people... (45) They call us to save cost. And examples of what she terms “new forms” are: (46) We can okay the car. (47) No, it’s not practised because why that day. Ooi (2001) in his study of Singapore/Malaysian English (henceforth SingMalE) suggests five main groups for this variety: – Group A: Core English includes standard English words as well as non-English words which are known globally, e.g. kungfu (martial arts), sari (a strip of cloth dressed over the body), lychee – Group B: SingMalE/English words acceptable in formal situations, e.g. tuition teacher, love letters, steamboat – Group C: SingMalE/non-English words or hybrids of non-English origin accepted and understood by SingMalE speakers in both formal and informal situations, e.g. songkok (traditional Muslim cap), bumiputera (local indigenous/native people) – Group D: SingMalE/English words acceptable in informal situations, e.g. cut (overtake), keep (put away) – Group E: SingMalE/non-English words acceptable in informal situations, e.g. kiasu (Hokkien word that means fear of losing), Mat Salleh (Caucasian), shiok (excitement) Words taken from various sources (newspaper articles, extracts from short stories, advertisements, magazines, student’s essays, radio, chatroom talk and blogs) are given below. Ooi’s (2001) concentric model was adopted for the categorization of the groups of words. Group A: Core English includes standard English words as well as non-English words which are known globally. (48) Kampung – They were regular kampung kids in ragged clothes... (The Star 27 July 2006) (49) Feng Shui – ... calendars that offer daily feng shui tips.... (The Star 19 December 2010) (50) Sarong – ... the sarong wrapped around her head... (The Star 22 November 2010)



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English 

Other examples are Tun (a Malay honorific title), Datuk (a Malay honorific title), batik (Malay traditional material), durian (a fruit), rambutan (a fruit), gasing (Malay traditional game), orang utan (a tropical forest primate) and Light Rail Transit or LRT. Group B are “words or expressions of English origin that are accepted and understood by SingMalE speakers in both formal and informal situations”. (51) Coffeeshop – ... make their way to a coffeeshop in the village to mingle... (The Star, 25 December 2010) (52) Otherwise, people would just have their drinks at the coffeeshop. (The Star, 7 December 2010) (53) Tuition teacher, tuition classes – He was the cleaner, cook, driver and tuition teacher all rolled into one (The Star, 14 June 2006) (54) The project, said Ong, would also involve tuition classes for the weak pupils to improve their standard of English (The Star, 28 July 2006) (55) Shophouse – ... had been renting a space at a shophouse for the past 20 years... (The Star, 27 December 2010). (56) Outstation – Local and outstation cars pulling up beside the road is a usual sight. (The Star, 19 December 2010). Group C: SingMalE/non-English words or hybrids of non-English origin accepted and understood by SingMalE speakers in both formal and informal situations. (57) Ceramah (Speech) – I am not out to malign anybody or do a political ceramah (The Star, 12 December 2010) (58) Bomoh (Shaman) – ... they consulted a bomoh (traditional medicine man) after doctors failed to diagnose the cause ... (The Star, 21 December 2010) (59) Mamak (Indian stall) – ... go from table to table at mamak outlets and other eateries late at night ... (The Star, 24 December 2010) (60) Bumiputera – ... to be given out as loans to bumiputera entrepreneurs nationwide... (The Star, 27 December 2010) (61) Towkay (Boss) – “Believe me, the art of boiling and roasting the chicken is tricky,” says the jovial towkay. (The Star, 19 December 2010) (62) Tapau (Take-away) – Why waste time peeling, chopping and dicing when you can just eat at the mamak stall or tapau? (The Star, 19 December 2010) (63) Sifu (Master) – Yap is Teo’s sifu and partner in crime. (The Star, 18 December 2010) Other examples include words such as ganja (drug type), syabu (drug type), khalwat (close proximity) and surau (mosque). Group D: Words of English origin acceptable in local informal situations (usually speech) only. Many of the words here are regarded as ‘Singlish’ or ‘Manglish’ or errors by highly educated speakers.

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(64) (65) (66) (67)

Step up – come forward More sponsors step up (The Star, 29 May 2006) Aliens – foreign immigrant Aliens employed as security guard (The Star, 29 May 2006) Liaise – contact Please liaise with Encik Roslan. Pay jump – rise in salary Pay jump is enough incentive for the docs (The Star, 24 May 2006)

Group E: SingMalE/words or hybrids of non-English origin/informal. These are borrowings from the substrate languages and dialects such as Hokkien and Bazaar Malay found mainly in informal speech. (68) Kiasu (afraid to lose) – While kiasu may be the secret of Singapore’s success, the spirit of kiasu has unsavoury connotations and is frowned upon by Singaporeans themselves (The Star, 2 June 2010). (69) Lah (particle) – But still, try lah! (De Silva 1981 as cited in Wong 1983) (70) Mat Salleh (Caucasian) – she is married to a Mat Salleh (Rosnah, Elyna & Yasmin, 2004) (71) Roti John (food name) – Depending on the customers’ preference, Muhamad said the prices of their items range from RM3.50 for a basic roti john to RM7.50 for the roti extravangza that has extra meat fillings (The Star, 13 August 2010).  (Azirah & Norizah, forthcoming) In urban areas, a new generation of Malaysians for whom English has become the first language has emerged. David (2000) in her study on urban youth provides examples of slang and code mixing which are used to give meanings to new words such as blur, havoc-lah, aksi (proud), cheapluc (copy/fake) and lepaking (hang around). Another study on the use of discourse markers in the English spoken by Chinese and Malays in Malaysia shows that they are used to indicate specific intentions and that various tags are used for different purposes (Kuang 2002). Recently, researchers have felt the need to include culturally bound issues in the discussion of the surface features of varieties of English. The relationship between language and culture has been discussed with illustrations as to how local varieties of English reflect local cultural norms. Azirah (2002) includes the reference to “money in green packets” that can only be understood in the cultural context of Malaysia. It relates to the practice of giving money in green packets during the Malay/Muslim festival after Ramadhan (the fasting month). This practice can be said to have been adopted from the Chinese tradition in which red packets containing money are given to children and unmarried people during Chinese New Year. While red is the favourite colour of many Chinese, green is considered the Islamic colour favoured by the Malays. Similarly, David and Yong (2002) carried out an analysis of obituaries and showed how outsiders to Malaysian cultural norms and value systems may not understand the



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English 

importance of the discourse of obituaries unless links are made between the textual discourse and local value systems. Their analysis of obituaries reveals the importance given to men and social status in Malaysian society. A study by Benson (2000) on Malaysian words in British dictionaries found that the meanings of the word durian, kampung and compound are not correctly depicted in the dictionaries studied and recommended an Asian regional dictionary of English. The study shows how definitions in English dictionaries contribute to the establishment of an Anglo-American perspective and are inadequate in capturing the vibrant creativity of MalE. For example, the durian has been described as having an “offensive smell but a pleasant taste; supposedly an aphrodisiac”, or “foul smell but fine flavour” or “pleasant tasting but foul-smelling flesh” which are definitions that describe the durian in a way that is comprehensible to British readers. The British perspective is at the centre of the dictionary while Asia is at the periphery. The need for dictionaries of regional Englishes has been discussed by Butler (2000) who provides a list of words from MalE taken from the Macquarie dictionary on World English in an Asian Context. The use of such dictionaries could contribute to a shift in attitude towards English in the region. Regional vocabulary has been collected systematically and dictionaries like Higgleton et al. (1997), which is the first ever inclusive dictionary that places newly-codified Singaporean-MalE lexical entries alongside those from the Chambers-Harpers language database with standard British and American English or AmE, and Ogilvie (1999) do cover words from Malaysian and SingE. The apparent lack of motivation among publishers in Malaysia to come up with a dictionary on MalE (although there have been books for the general public listing common Malaysian lexical items – see for example, Lee 2005) is probably due to the existence of prescriptive concerns that a dictionary may seem to licence English that deviates from standard English and discourage efforts to achieve international intelligibility. Others like Butler, however, have argued for the need for new dictionaries of Asian Englishes. Rather than being seen as an alien language, and a conduit of Western culture, it will be evident that English can also express an Asian culture. The flexibility of English, its ability to serve as a vehicle for the expression of local culture, has been one of its greatest characteristics since it left English shores (Butler 2000: 183).

A language is never static and changes can be seen in the vocabulary of the language. Words reflect the changes in society that have taken place over time. For example, the word kutu (literally, it refers to ticks) was often used to refer to aimless people who loitered about in shopping malls but is less frequently used nowadays. Another social problem, that of those who waste time and indulge in dangerous and illegal biking activities, has emerged. The term mat rempit is commonly used to refer to illegal motorcyclists, a problem that did not exist in the past. These mat rempits who are considered a menace to society tend to race illegally and cause a disturbance because of the loud noise from their motorbikes.

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(72) This will also deter Mat Rempit and other criminals on the road; (The Star, 23 December 2010). The word jambu (literally, it refers to rose apple) used to commonly refer to good looking girls but nowadays it is more common to hear the word cun (pronounced chun) as it is considered more urban and chic. (73) Some youths described wearing the helmet as tak chun (not handsome)  (The Star, 28 May 2006) Another example of the creation of a new word is the word Angkasawan (Astronaut). (74) If the United States has the astronaut, China has the taikonaut, Malaysia now has the “angkasawan,” as the country prepares to blast its first citizen into space in September 2007 (Kuala Lumpur (AFP), 4 Sept 2006). Although the word astronaut could have been easily used, angkasawan was used in the media especially during the time when the first Malaysian went to space to boost the people’s self-confidence and pride in the nation. The growing influence of mobile technology and the Internet has also brought about the invention of new vocabulary. Words like e-plates, e-licence, e-payment, sms, mms are rampantly used. The World Cup event in 2006 has also contributed to words associated with football such as footy, footie fan, footie fest, footie stars and footie fever. The word football has been altered to refer to the greatest football event The World Cup which is held every four years, meaning that football now refers to The World Cup. As soon as the game was over, the words also disappeared from the major media (Azirah & Norizah forthcoming).

5. Conclusion Salient phonological, grammatical and lexical features of MalE have been described and discussed in this chapter. These features indicate that variations exist depending on variables such as the socioeconomic and educational background of the speakers, ethnicity, degree of formality and the register or genre involved. However, speakers can also switch from one level to another depending on a number of factors including whether the context is a formal setting or an informal one and the ethnicity of the participant. To understand this distinctive variety and how it has emerged, it is necessary to study the socio-historical processes that are involved in shaping this variety.

References Asmah Haji Omar. 1977. The phonological diversity of the Malay dialects. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka.



Chapter 3.  Malaysian English  Azirah Hashim. 2002. Culture and identity in the English discourses of Malaysians. In Englishes in Asia: Communication, Identity, Power and Education, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 75–94. Melbourne: Language Australia. Azirah Hashim. 2007. The use of Malaysian English in creative writing. Journal of Asian Englishes 10(2): 30–44. Azirah Hashim & Norizah Hassan. Forthcoming. Malaysian English vocabulary. In Malaysian English Language and Literature, K. Bolton & Azirah Hashim (eds). Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Baskaran, L. 1987. Aspects of Malaysian English Syntax. PhD dissertation, University of London. Baskaran, L. 1994. The Malaysian English mosaic: An outline of the three social dialects and hybrid style of a vigorous “New English”. English Today 10(1): 27–32. Baskaran, L. 2004. Malaysian English – phonology. In A Handboook of Varieties of English, B. Kortmann & E.W. Schneider (eds), 1034–1046. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Baskaran, L. 2005. A Malaysian English Primer. Kuala Lumpur: University Malaya Press. Baskaran, L. 2008a. Malaysian English – phonology. In Varieties of English, Vol. 4: Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Rajend Mesthrie (ed), 278–291. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Baskaran, L. 2008b. Malaysian English: morphology and syntax. In Varieties of English, Vol. 4: Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Rajend Mesthrie (ed), 610–623. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Benson, P. 2000. Word order and the English dictionary. In English is an Asian Language, Halimah Mohd. Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 139–151. Macquarie: Macquarie Library and Persatuan Bahasa Moden. Brown, A. 1986. Pedagogical importance of consonantal features of the English of Malaysia and Singapore. RELC Journal 17(2): 1–25. Butler, S. 2000. A regional dictionary for Southeast Asia. In English is an Asian Language, Halimah Mohd. Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 175–184. Macquarie: Macquarie Library and Persatuan Bahasa Moden. David, M.K. 2000. The language of Malaysian youth: An exploratory study. In English is an Asian Language, Halimah Mohd. Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 64–72. Macquarie: Macquarie Library and Persatuan Bahasa Moden. David, M.K. & Yong, J. 2002. Even obituaries reflect cultural norms and values. In Englishes in Asia, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 169–178. Melbourne: Language Australia. De Silva, E. 1981. Form and function in Malaysian English – The case of modals. MA thesis, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Department of Statistics Malaysia. 2010. Population, updated on 02/07/2010. (11 November 2010). Gaudart, H. 2000. Malaysian English, can or not? In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd. Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 47–56. Kuala Lumpur: Macquarie Library Pty Ltd and Persatuan Bahasa Moden Malaysia. Higgleton, E., Seaton, A., Hands, P., Cullen, K., Sargeant, H., Ooi, V.B.Y., Alsagoff, L., Bao, Z., Tan, P.K.W. & Wee, L. 1997. Times-Chambers Essential English Dictionary, 2nd edn. Singapore: Chambers Harrap Publishers & Federal Publications (S) Pte. Jamaliah Mohd Ali. 2000. Verbal Communication: A Study of Malaysian Speakers. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Kuang, C.H. 2002. The Implications of lah, ah and hah as used by some Malaysian speakers. Jurnal Bahasa Moden: Keluaran 9: 133–154.

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Azirah Hashim and Rachel Tan Lee, S.K. 2005. What price English? Identity constructions and identity conflicts in the acquisition of English. In Language and Nationhood: New Contexts, New Realities, S.K. Lee, S.M. Thang & Kesumawati Abu Bakar (eds), 49–62. Bangi: SoLL’s UKM. Lim, G. 2001. Till divorce do us part: the case of Singaporean and Malaysian English. In Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia, Vincent Ooi B.Y. (ed), 125–139. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Lowenberg, P.H. 1986. Non-native varieties of English: Nativization, norms, and implications. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 8(1): 1–18. Morais, E. 2000. Talking in English but thinking like a Malaysian: Insights from a car assembly plant. In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd. Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 90–106. Kuala Lumpur: Macquarie Library Pty and Persatuan Bahasa Moden Malaysia. Nair-Venugopal, S. 2000. English as sociolect and ethnolect in Malaysian business discourse. In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd. Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 78–89. Kuala Lumpur: Macquarie Library Pty and Persatuan Bahasa Moden Malaysia. Nair-Venugopal, S. 2001. The sociolinguistics of choice in Malaysian business settings. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 152: 21–52. Ogilvie, S. (ed). 1999. Macquarie Junior Dictionary, 3rd edn. North Ryde NSW: Macquarie Library. Ooi, V.B.Y. (ed). 2001. Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Platt, J. & Weber, H. 1980. English in Singapore and Malaysia: Status, Features, Functions. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. Platt, J., Weber, H. & Ho, M.L. 1983. Singapore and Malaysia [Varieties of English around the World T4]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Preshous, A. 2001. Where you going ah? English Today 17(1): 46–53. Rajadurai, J. 2006. Pronunciation issues in non-native contexts: A Malaysian case study. Malaysian Journal of ELT Research 2: 42–59. Rosnah Kassim, Elyna Shukri (Producer) & Yasmin Ahmad (Director). 2004. Sepet [Motion picture]. Malaysia: MHZ Film Sdn. Bhd. Production. Tan, R.S.K. & Low, E.L. 2010. How different are the monophthongs of Malay speakers of Malaysian and Singapore English? English World-Wide 31(2): 162–189. Tan, R.S.K. & Low, E.L. Forthcoming. Phonology and phonetics of Malaysian English: An overview and current research. In Malaysian English, K. Bolton & Azirah Hashim (eds). Hongkong: Hongkong University Press. Tan, S.I. 2009. Lexical borrowing from Chinese languages in Malaysian English. World Englishes 28(4): 451–484. Tongue, R.K. 1974. The English of Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. Wong, I.F.H. 1981. English in Malaysia. In English for Cross-Cultural Communication, L.E. Smith (ed), 94–107. London: Macmillan. Wong, I.F.H. 1983. Simplification features in the structure of colloquial Malaysian English. In Varieties of English in Southeast Asia: Selected Papers from the RELC Seminar on ‘Varieties of English and Their Implications for English Language Teaching in Southeast Asia’ in Singapore, April 1981, R.B. Noss (ed), 125–149. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Zuraidah Mohd Don. 2000. Malay + English → a Malay variety of English vowels and accent. In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, M.S. Halimah & K.S. Ng (eds), 35–45. Kuala Lumpur: Macquarie Library Pte and Persatuan Bahasa Moden Malaysia.

chapter 4

Brunei English* James McLellana and Noor Azam Haji-Othmanb aThe

University of Waikato, New Zealand and bUniversiti Brunei Drussalam, Brunei This chapter offers a partial synchronic description of some features of Brunei English. This variety can be distinguished from closely-related Englishes in neighbouring Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines through the study of the linguistic ecosystem that prevails in Negara Brunei Darussalam. The distinctiveness of the major in-group code choice of Bruneians, Brunei Malay, from other Malay varieties, is especially salient. Discussion of phonological features draws on recent work by Salbrina Haji Sharbawi (2006, 2009), and on earlier studies by Mossop (1996a, 1996b). The description of the syntax and morphology of Brunei English refers to the work of Cane (1994, 1996), whilst lexical and discoursal features are discussed with reference to work done separately and collaboratively by the authors. Keywords: Brunei English, phonological features, syntactic features, lexical features, discoursal features, pragmatic features

1. Introduction: Horizontal and vertical approaches In describing the features of any Southeast Asian variety of English, researchers have a choice of axes of comparison. They can either make comparisons horizontally, comparing one variety with its geographical neighbours, for example Brunei English (henceforth BrunE) with the Englishes of Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines (see Chapters 2, 3 and 5 of this volume); or else they can focus more narrowly on a single polity and analyse English in relation to other languages in the multilingual ecosystem. Since the features of other Southeast Asian Englishes are more fully described in other chapters in this collection, this chapter will follow the latter, vertical * The co-authors would like to place on record their most sincere gratitude to Adrian Clynes, David Deterding and Salbrina Haji Sharbawi for their advice and suggestions about the content of this chapter. Suggestions made by the anonymous reviewer are also greatly appreciated. Remaining infelicities are the co-authors’ sole responsibility.

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approach. We thus assume BrunE to be an autonomous variety, even though it clearly shares many features with other varieties in Southeast Asia (henceforth SEA), as a result of common histories, notably colonisation, and similar intranational roles for English in the postcolonial era, especially in the education system.

2. Background: Negara Brunei Darussalam Negara Brunei Darussalam or Brunei is a Malay Islamic monarchy on the north-west coast of the island of Borneo, ruled by a Sultan. The nation’s total population is 428,519 (World Gazetteer 2010). Malays and other indigenous groups form about 73% of this total, with 15% Chinese and 12% ‘others’, mostly expatriate workers. Malay (Bahasa Melayu) is the national and official language and the Brunei variety of Malay is the main lingua franca. English also fulfils this function in some commercial domains, especially in the national capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, and in the oil and gas industry in the Belait District, located in the west of the country. In some rural upriver areas the Iban language has a lingua franca function (Martin & Sercombe 1996: 307). Since 1985, one year after the resumption of full independence, a bilingual system of education has been in place, with some subjects studied through the medium of Malay and others through the medium of English. The proportion of English-medium subjects increases as students progress through the system from primary to tertiary level. Thanks to its advanced level of economic development, fuelled largely by exports of oil and natural gas, Brunei has a high level of Internet connectivity, and a high proportion of Bruneians have access to international satellite television channels. These factors afford opportunities for BrunE to influence and be influenced by other varieties of English in SEA and beyond.

3. Previous studies of BrunE The pioneering study of BrunE is that of Ożóg (1993), originally presented in 1990. Ożóg’s main aim is to situate BrunE among the other, better-described Southeast Asian English varieties. He discusses features that are either unique or more frequent in BrunE: front vowel conflation, final stop consonant deletion and the occurrence of geminate consonants word-medially. He also mentions the influence of Filipino English on Bruneian children’s acquisition of English, caused by the employment of Filipina maids who perform care-giving roles in many Bruneian families. To this day the major source for descriptions of the features of BrunE is the section of Martin, Ożóg and Poedjosoedarmo (1996) on the role of English in Brunei Darussalam. As well as chapters on the sociolinguistic roles of English in Brunei, there are chapters on the phonological, syntactic and discoursal features of BrunE (by Mossop, Cane and McLellan respectively), and a description of the syntactic and functional



Chapter 4.  Brunei English 

roles of the bah particle of Brunei Malay, which Ożóg and Martin (1996) found occurring frequently in BrunE also. The influence of other languages in the linguistic ecosystem on the local variety of English has been theorised, notably by Kachru (1994: 135) as “nativization”, which is a key concept framing our discussion in this chapter. Following a discussion of the notion of variation within BrunE, our overview of the features of BrunE covers phonological, syntactic, then lexical and discoursal features.

4. Variation within BrunE As in other Southeast Asian Englishes described in this volume, BrunE demonstrates patterns of variation and variability along a number of axes, as a consequence of the intranational roles of English, especially its use as one medium of education in both government and private institutions at all levels from pre-schools to tertiary institutions. This variation can be described in sociolinguistic terms as a lectal continuum: – an acrolectal variety showing few if any unique nativised Bruneian features, found in print and online media texts (such as text (19) below); – mesolectal varieties which can be characterized according to their contexts of use, such as service encounters in public and private sector administrative and commercial domains; – basilectal varieties, found in informal face-to-face and online interaction, including text messages, chat rooms and discussion forums. Whilst there is a general tendency for more Brunei Malay influences to occur in basilectal than acrolectal texts, such an analysis may be over-simplistic. McLellan (2000) offers evidence that code-switching in Brunei can occur at all points along the formalinformal continuum. However, the phonological features described below are characteristic of mesolectal and basilectal BrunE speech.

5. Phonological features Here, we will only consider vowels and consonants. Prosodic features, such as the question of whether BrunE is a more syllable-timed than a stress-timed variety, have so far received less attention. In terms of the sources used for data collection, there are inevitably conflicting demands imposed by the need for clarity on the one hand, and the desire for authenticity on the other. Clarity requires the use of decontextualised speech such as the reading of minimal pairs, a wordlist or a reading passage in a laboratory setting. Authenticity demands field recording of “real” interaction. Mossop (1996a) draws on three data sets: secondary school students reading word lists, news broadcasts on Brunei’s national

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television station and university education students doing peer teaching exercises. Mossop (1996b) uses data from the last of these sources for analysis in terms of markedness and fossilization. Salbrina (2006, 2009) relies on the recordings of a fixed passage by university undergraduates.

5.1

Vowels

Martin and Poedjosoedarmo (1996: 8) cite previous research into BrunE phonology, which suggests that one major contrastive factor is the minimal three-vowel (/a/, /i/, /u/) system found in Brunei Malay. This leads to vowel shifts and conflations in the informal spoken English output of Bruneians, especially with the high front vowels /i:/ and /I/. There is also evidence of conflation of the non-close front vowels /æ/ and /e/, and monophthongisation of the /eI/ diphthong. In the following examples, A > B indicates that A is realized as B, whereas A B indicates that B may also be realized as A. Except where otherwise indicated, the examples provided are from university or secondary-school student writing, showing instances where the written form displays the influence of the spoken pronunciation. (1) (2) (3) (4) (5)

/i:/ and /I/ steel still feel fill sleeve(d) > slip ‘He wears a long slip shirt’ /æ/ > /e/ handsome > [hensәm] ‘Happy bufday to hensem boy’ (data source: Rhyme (Abdul Rahim Haji Jait) 1999, cartoon strip) /e/ > /I/ (or /i:/) wedding > weeding ‘A weeding ceremony’ ‘It is amazing photo about the Malay weeding’ (data source: Nonnie King 2006) /¤/ > /7/ wonder > wander ‘Overawed: filled with wander’ /eI/ > /e/ main > men dateline deadline taste test praise > press (< phrase) paper pepper later letter ‘In your later dated 11 October....’

The most detailed studies of BrunE vowels thus far are those of Salbrina (2006, 2009), who uses acoustic measurements to supplement earlier impressionistic studies. Her findings confirm that /eI/ is less diphthongal than the same vowel in British English (henceforth BrE), being pronounced as a long monophthong [e], and this is similar to how it is pronounced in Singapore English (henceforth SingE) (Deterding 2007a: 25)



Chapter 4.  Brunei English 

and indeed in many other varieties of English in The Association of Southeast Asian Nations or ASEAN (Deterding & Kirkpatrick 2006: 397). Findings from Salbrina’s instrumental analysis of university students reading a passage of text show that these BrunE speakers discriminate qualitatively along the open-close axis between the mid-front vowels, with the /æ/ vowel being more open than /e/. Salbrina (2006) also shows that Bruneians, especially those with higher levels of English proficiency, do make a distinction between /i:/ and /I/, thus offering counterevidence to example set (1) above. Salbrina (2009) also finds that there is a tendency for Bruneians to monophthongise the /ә~/ diphthong in pronouncing words such as ‘cloak’, which occurs several times in the reading passage. Deterding (2007b) compares acoustic measurements of the English monophthongs of Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Hong Kong, and he suggests that in BrunE, /u:/ and /~/ are more fronted than the comparable vowels in Singapore, and /¤/ is more close and further from /󰀧:/. Salbrina (2006) notes than in BrunE, in contrast to SingE, there is a tendency for the close back vowels /u:/ and /~/ to overlap, resulting in conflation of e.g. ‘pull’ and ‘pool’. Salbrina (personal communication, 7 April 2010) also refers to Bruneians’ nonrealisation of vowels which are normally reduced in other varieties such as BrE: the first vowel in ‘concern’ and ‘consider’ may be realised with [¤] rather than with [ә], whereas in ‘successful’, the first vowel may be pronounced with [¤]. Salbrina (2006) also reports instances in which ‘company’ was realized as [k7mpәnI] as opposed to [k¤mpәnI] but this is not a case of non-realisation of reduced vowels but of spelling affecting the pronunciation in BrunE. We suggest, along with Salbrina, that these could be the result of Bruneians initially learning these words from textbooks in educational contexts. These examples also show the need for further research into the wider question of whether BrunE tends to be more syllable-timed than stress-timed. The conflicting findings concerning the conflation or separation of the high front vowels /i:/ and /I/ may arise from the use of differing research methods, impressionistic versus instrumental. This may also reflect variation within BrunE: university students may make this distinction when reading wordlists or passages. Other BrunE users, including those less highly educated, may tend to conflate these vowels in more informal contexts.

5.2

Consonants

As in many other varieties of English, the voiced and voiceless dental fricatives /ð/ and /θ/ tend to be realized as the stops [d] and [t]. Deterding and Kirkpatrick (2006: 395) report this pattern to be widespread throughout SEA. (6) Word-initial /θ/ > /t/ thought > taught thrash > trash

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(7) Word-medial /ð/ > /d/ bother > border ‘Those people didn’t border to learn English’ Mossop (1996a, 1996b) notes the tendency for word-final stops to be unreleased or glottalised, as they are in Malay, and also for word-final voiced fricatives to be devoiced: (8) /buk/ > /bu‘/ (book) /sIk/ > /sI‘/ (sick) /streIt/ > /stre‘/ (straight) (9) /pli:z/ > /pli:s/ (please) /klә~z/ > /klә~s/ (close – verb) (Mossop 1996a: 199–200) The non-occurrence of word-final consonant clusters in Brunei Malay causes these to be deleted or reduced in BrunE, especially in more informal speech. Mossop (1996b: 176) reports 100% deletion of the final sound in stop + stop final clusters (‘correct’, ‘except’), 89% deletion for fricative + stop (‘last’, ‘desk’) and 72% deletion for clusters comprising a nasal and a stop (‘absent’, ‘camp’). Other clusters in word-final position have deletion rates below 50%. In her acoustic investigation of the speech of Brunei undergraduates, Salbrina (2009; also Salbrina & Deterding, 2010) shows that there is widespread evidence of rhoticity, with about 50% of participants having a post-vocalic [r] in contexts such as ‘heard’ and ‘before’; and she suggests that this arises because of influence both from Brunei Malay and from the ubiquitous American songs, TV shows and movies.

6. Syntactic features Some syntactic features of BrunE are described by Cane (1993, 1994, 1996) using Standard BrE as a point of comparison. Cane (1996) frames his analysis in terms of “syntactic simplification and creativity”, noting a tendency for verbs with past-time reference to occur with non-past forms, and for the use of simple present forms in both parts of conditional statements: “If I speak my Brunei English, they probably have problems in understanding” (Cane 1996: 213). Cane’s examples of BrunE creativity include the addition of prepositions or particles not normally found in BrE: (10) a. This will shorten up the time of getting confirmations b. And not forgetting for Salina of Miri c. It’s a good way to grasp at what means (Cane 1994: 355) These examples demonstrate that BrunE features are not all simplifications when compared to more standard Inner Circle varieties.



Chapter 4.  Brunei English 

Other syntactic features of BrunE include the use of the universal question tag ‘..., isn’t it?’, variation in count/non-count nouns, ‘one of....’ followed by a singular noun, and the nonstandard use of the passive, as in examples (11) – (14): (11) A: You know Z? B: Yeah, the tall Chinese guy? C: Au, he dance with us, isn’t it? A: Yes (Cane 1994: 356) (12) He gave me an advice (Cane 1994: 356) (13) One of the director in the department... During one of the inspection in Kampung Sungai Kedayan, ...  (The Borneo Bulletin, 4 December 2001) (14) The four day fair was participated by six local computer companies  (Universiti Brunei Darussalam Student Affairs Newsletter, November 1998) Wood, Henry, Malai Ayla and Clynes (2007, 2009) further investigate the variability in past-tense verb forms. Using a corpus consisting of written narrative texts by Brunei secondary school students, they classify patterns in contexts where use of the simple past is obligatory in standard English, finding high levels of variability. This is partly attributable to the context of formal English language education, but may also reflect developing features of BrunE with regard to tense choice. Regular and irregular simple past tense formation in English is a problem for learners whose first language is Malay, since verbs in Malay do not inflect for tense, as the time frame of the event is instead marked adverbially outside the verb. Another abiding area of interest for BrunE research is variation in terms of modal auxiliary verbs signalling tense, mood and aspect. These are not purely syntactic features: as noted by Ho (2009), the modal auxiliaries can, could, will and would also function as politeness markers in BrunE.

7. Lexical features The major lexical feature of BrunE is the use of Malay lexical items, including those belonging specifically to Brunei Malay or originating in Arabic, inserted into English text. Avoiding any debate over whether these should be classified as borrowings, nonce borrowings or as instances of code-switching, we maintain that BrunE is a variety used intranationally by those who also have access to Malay. Hence it is inevitable that Malay lexical items will occur frequently in BrunE, without gloss and without apology. This is evident in more formal domains such as public speeches by prominent Bruneians, as well as in the print media. David and McLellan (2007) cite examples from these sources of lexical insertions at both word and phrase level, classifying these according to their semantic field. Two of the most common fields are food terms, and lexemes

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James McLellan and Noor Azam Haji-Othman

denoting Islamic religious concepts and practices. Examples (15) to (17c) are taken from Brunei print media texts. (15) Beverages include Bandung, coffee and tea. A variety of Malay kuih and sliced fruits will also be served with the buffet.  (Rosli Abidin Yahya, 16 October 2006; italics added) (16) ...members of Syariah Advisory Committee, staff of Takaful IBB Berhad and other guests also attended the ceremony.... To end the ceremony, Doa Al-Fatihah was read, followed by the breaking of fast and Maghrib Prayers.  (Yusrin Junaidi, 16 October 2006; italics added) In example (15) Bandung refers to the rosehip syrup and milk drink which is popular in Malay coffee shops and homes, whilst kuih is the standard Malay term for cake. In (16), Syariah is the Arabic term for Islamic law; Takaful IBB Berhad is the name of an Islamic insurance company; Doa Al-Fatihah refers to the first seven verses of the Qu’ran recited at the beginning and at the end of formal gatherings, and Maghrib (‘setting sun’ in Arabic) denotes the fourth of the five obligatory daily prayer times for Muslims. In the newspaper texts these items are not flagged by the use of italics or inverted commas, nor are they glossed or explained in English. It is expected that the readers of the Borneo Bulletin newspaper, the source of these examples, will be familiar with the Malay and Arabic terms. The same applies to Malay lexical items in other fields, such as parang (machete), padang (field), syabu (methamphetamine) and pasar malam (‘market night’ = night market), a borrowing also noted in SingE both by Brown (1999: 158), and Deterding (2007a: 75) in examples (17 a–d): (17) a. After the family’s car was blocked, seven people wearing masks and armed with parangs got out of a vehicle.  (Rosli Abidin Yahya, 19 October 2006; italics added) b. The construction of the exhibition located at the vicinity of the padang has been in progress since last week. (Lisa Mohd, 9 July 2006; italics added) c. A house in Kg Batong Panchur Murai was the second target on October 14, 2006, where a local married couple was apprehended for trafficking in syabu. (Lyna Mohamad, 19 October 2006; italics added) d. What about a seafood restaurant along the riverside and a big pasar malam that sells everything, ... (Borneo Bulletin 2004; italics added) The use of the English plural -s morpheme in ‘parangs’ in (17a) is evidence that the term is now considered part of the English lexicon. Indeed, it is listed in most dictionaries of English (New Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language 1992: 729), so perhaps it should be regarded as an historical borrowing rather than a current one. In (17d) the Malay noun phrase occurs with the Malay head-modifier word order, as ‘malam’ (night) occurs after ‘pasar’ (market).



Chapter 4.  Brunei English 

As well as these examples of direct insertions of Malay lexis, there is evidence of substratum influence from Malay in semantic shifts, both in expansions and contractions of English lexemes. For example, when used by Bruneians, the adjectives “confident” and “proud” may have more negative rather than positive connotations, both having the meaning of “overly confident” or “arrogant” (McLellan 2005: 39–40). Rosnah, Noor Azam and McLellan (2002: 97–99; 109–111) list a number of English words and expressions used in informal contexts by Bruneians with meanings that differ from standard dictionary definitions. As with the syntactic examples above, these can be seen as an aspect of the creativity that exists within BrunE: (18) a. She’s his spare part. b. This fellow, action only. c. I cannot pay now: dry season, bah! Spare part in (18a) is defined by the informant as ‘the other girlfriend besides the special one’. Action in (18b) is used to describe insincere people whose deeds do not match their noble words. In (18c) dry season refers metaphorically to the time before the monthly payday when people are often short of funds.

8. Discoursal and pragmatic features This section draws mainly on Noor Azam and McLellan (2000), whilst also acknowledging some more recent studies. Consistent with the approach outlined in the introduction to this chapter, we discuss BrunE examples which show evidence of the influence of other languages in the Brunei linguistic ecosystem, notably Brunei Malay. Topics covered are – noun phrase repetition versus pronominal substitution in collocational chains in written texts – style shifts and idiomatic language usage – move structure and strategy sequence in academic essay introductions and in comparable formal genres.

8.1

Collocational chains in BrunE texts

Brunei Malay, like many Southeast Asian languages, has a rich inventory of pronominal forms for first-, second- and third-person pronouns. These reflect Brunei cultural norms, especially the hierarchic social structure in which the Sultan and the royal family are at the apex. This pronoun inventory contrasts with the relatively impoverished systems in Inner Circle English varieties, which do not even make a distinction between polite and familiar second person pronouns. The Brunei Malay pronominal system is considerably more complicated than merely a polite and familiar second-person

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pronoun contrast, and the tendency to avoid using second-person pronouns is transferred into BrunE. Forms of address are dictated by the social status of the speaker, of the addressee, and of the third person(s) being referred to, i.e. whether they are members of the aristocracy or nobility, or commoners. This complicated pronominal system is taught to children throughout their schooling right up to university, and its observance emphasised as an important signifier of Brunei Malay culture and identity. BrunE users find ways of expressing their own worldview and norms, and seek ways of expressing the social meanings that underlie this complex pronominal system. They are reluctant, for example in print media reports, to refer to the Sultan and other royal personages as ‘he’, since this is considered as too informal, even irreverent. Text (19), a recent media report of an official function, illustrates this tendency. There is only one pronominal anaphoric reference to His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, as against twelve fuller nominal phrases. (19) HM Hosts Banquet in Honour of Tajikistan President Bandar Seri Begawan – His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam yesterday said the visit by Tajikistan President Emomali Rahmon was a testimony that the Sultanate was no longer cut off from countries in Central Asia. President Rahmon and his delegation arrived here yesterday morning for his first state visit to the Sultanate at the invitation of the monarch. In a titah during a State banquet held in the visiting president’s honour last evening at Istana Nurul Iman, His Majesty added that the testimony of the visit was significant and had its long-term meaning.1 The monarch also lauded President Rahmon for leading his people into meeting the trials and needs of modern times. “For almost two decades, you have led your people in their national efforts to meet domestic and regional challenges bravely and steadfastly in peace, stability and tolerance,” His Majesty said. In a supporting statement, His Majesty added: “And you have constantly supported these principles in the international arena.” President Rahmon was first elected in 1994. As Tajikistan is set to host the upcoming Organisation for Islamic Conference (OIC) Foreign Ministers Meeting, His Majesty said he would be joining the international community at Dushanbe in May to congratulate the people of Tajikistan, as it indicated their commitment to the “brotherhood of our faith and to the principle of international peace and goodwill among all people”. The benevolent ruler acknowledged the achievements of the people of Tajikistan, from achieving their independence in 1991, meeting the challenges of the modern world, and now being the host of an OIC event. The Sultan told the president that his visit allowed Bruneians to express their appreciation to him in person. 1. The word titah (Malay) refers to speech made by Malay rulers. Istana Nurul Iman refers to official residence of His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei



Chapter 4.  Brunei English 

Meanwhile, His Majesty quoted the president in an international address he made last year, where Rahmon said countries have witnessed sweeping changes in science, engineering, technology, communications, production and consumption. In that regard, His Majesty said the last twenty years have been among the most dynamic of modern history. The monarch noted that one of the important aspects of their work as leaders, was to help their people understand and absorb those changes well with confidence and in security. “So, I am pleased that we have agreed on a number of areas in which we can work together,” His Majesty said.....  (Thien, R., extract from The Brunei Times, 5 April 2010; emphasis added) Of the thirteen references to the Sultan (indicated in italics) following the initial mention in the first sentence, only one is pronominal, and this is an ‘immediate’ cohesive tie at the start of a passage of reported speech following a reference to ‘His Majesty’. An analysis of another article reporting on the recent visit of the Thai Prime Minister to Brunei (The Brunei Times, 30 March 2010) is consistent with this finding. In this article, ‘he’ is never used (0%) to refer to the Sultan, whilst there are seven (43.77%) occurrences of ‘he’ in reference to the Thai Prime Minister; the possessive ‘his’ is used once in both cases. This suggests a higher level of reverence for the Sultan than for the visiting Prime Minister, and an observance of the Malay practice in which he (ia/dia/ beliau) seems acceptable for dignitaries other than the Brunei ruler. As well as reflecting sociocultural norms, texts such as (19) may reflect a more general preference, also found in other varieties of Malay, for repetition of full noun phrases, rather than pronominal substitution, to achieve anaphoric reference. This results in texts with high levels of redundancy and lexical density, but also high levels of referential clarity and a reduced risk of ambiguity.

8.2

Style shifts and idiomatic language usage

Users of BrunE make their own judgements about levels of formality and informality of English words and phrases. For example hubby and cabbies often occur in print media reports, especially headlines, in place of husband and taxi driver. Brown (1999: 139) notes similar usage in Singapore, for example with the use of missus to refer to one’s wife. (1) a. Devoted wife cares for sick hubby. b. Tough action against unruly cabbies. (McLellan & Noor Azam 2000: 10) Other examples show the use of more formal lexis, as with lauded, ensnared and errant in (21). Deterding (2007a: 82) notes similar old-fashioned English lexical items in Singapore, including alight and thrice.

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James McLellan and Noor Azam Haji-Othman

(21) a. Some officials and cement makers lauded the move. b. ..., they have ensnared some girls into working for them. c. There were about fifty illegal food stalls run by errant food vendors at Tungku Beach. (McLellan & Noor Azam 2000: 11) In terms of idiomatic expressions, BrunE users have choices: they may adopt clichéd ‘inner-circle’ expressions such as ‘every Tom, Dick and Harry’. They may localise this and refer to ‘every Ali, Ah Kong and Muthu’. A third option is to draw on idioms from Brunei Malay or other local languages and render these in English, as in ‘crab stone’, a direct translation of ‘ketam batu’ which denotes a miserly person. Rosnah, Noor Azam and McLellan (2002) discuss further examples of such calques from Malay idioms in BrunE.

8.3

Indirectness in essay introductions and other genres

Through a series of studies, mostly drawing on essays written at the transition stage between secondary and tertiary education, a predilection for indirectness and for stating obvious known facts has been identified in Bruneians’ academic writing. This has also been described as ‘beating about the bush’, as opposed to getting straight to the point and addressing the question or topic in the essay title directly. Among the formulaic expressions found to occur with above average frequency are (22) a. Everyone in the world would like to do something during their leisure time... b. Everyone must have an ambition to go to university or to further their study in a university in they [sic] own country or oversea. I also have an ambition to further my study to in [sic] a university...  (McLellan 1996: 233) The ‘Everyone in the world...’ formula is used to introduce a general statement about the essay topic. It seems that comparable forms are taught in Malay language classes at primary level, right from the time pupils first learn to produce karangan (compositions). Once internalised, they are later transferred to their English language compositions (McLellan 1996). Within other genres, both written and spoken, comparable introduction strategies are also found. In formal letters the main purpose of the missive may not be specified until the final paragraph or sentence, a pattern that has also been reported for letters of request written in Chinese, nearly all of which include substantial face-work before the actual request occurs (Kirkpatrick 1991). In live radio and television sports reports, reporters tend to supply a large amount of background information on such matters as the weather and the size of the crowd before revealing the main information about the state of the match or the current score. One specific genre which has received more research attention than most is letters of complaint, mostly those that occur in ‘letters to the editor’ columns in the Brunei



Chapter 4.  Brunei English 

print media. As in other cultures, publishing a letter of complaint is potentially facethreatening to the writer as well as to the addressee. Hence Bruneians may prefer to use a ‘buffering’ strategy, saying something polite and general before stating their complaint. This prototypical example demonstrates one buffering strategy: (23) Brunei is one of the countries that still uphold its green trees through conservation and ecotourism. It is a pride for us to be able to maintain such environment despite our rapid development. However, it is sad and frightening to see old trees standing “loose” as can be seen along the Muara-Tutong highway.   (The Borneo Bulletin, 15 May 1999) Noor Azam and McLellan (2000: 12–15) found that 45 out of 55 letters of complaint (82%) published in May and June 1999 had some form of buffering as their introductory strategy. Ho (2009: 46) and Henry and Ho (2010: 840–855) have challenged these earlier findings, through the use of a larger corpus of complaint letters from 1988, 1995 and 2005 and a more refined move structure analysis that goes beyond mere presence or absence of buffering. They suggest a more nuanced definition of the buffering move, and present evidence of Bruneians becoming more diplomatic and polite in their complaint strategies over this period of time.

8.4

Other discoursal and pragmatic features

Ożóg and Martin (1996) discuss the use of the multifunctional bah particle, which is a distinguishing feature of Brunei Malay also occuring in BrunE, both as a standalone and as an utterance-final politeness or solidarity marker. (24) a. A: Let’s go B: Bah b. You should come to my wedding bah

(Ożóg & Martin 1996: 243–6)

The insertion of Brunei Malay noun phrases and the use of mixed noun phrases are among the features discussed in McLellan’s (2005) study of patterns of language alternation and code switching in two Brunei online discussion forums. There are instances where writers consciously switch from English to Brunei Malay to better express affective feelings: (25) (26)

...and there is no more bangsa melayu and there is no more race Malay ‘...and there is no more Malay race’ helping those who have used duit ketani helping those who have used money 1pl-incl-poss ‘helping those who have used our money’

(McLellan 2005: 107) (McLellan 2005: 72)

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James McLellan and Noor Azam Haji-Othman

In examples (25) and (26), the Malay noun phrases, in which the Malay head-modifier constituent order is maintained, are chosen in preference to the easily available English equivalents, ‘Malay race’ and ‘our money’, which would carry less emotive force.

9. Discussion The investigation of the features that characterise BrunE has been pursued with less vigour than one might expect, perhaps because of ambivalent attitudes on the part of influential Bruneians towards the very existence of such a variety. This stems from fear that recognition of BrunE would entail the local variety becoming a de facto target model for teachers and students in the education system. The Brunei Darussalam Ministry of Education prefers to retain BrE as the desired model, fully cognizant that this is an unrealistic target for most Bruneian learners, at least in terms of their spoken English output. However, alongside this ‘official’ view there is an increasing awareness among Malay-English bilingual Bruneians that their variety of English has some distinct features which derive from the other languages in the multilingual ecosystem, and which distinguish BrunE from neighbouring Southeast Asian varieties. Bruneians’ ability to travel overseas, the availability of international broadcast media through satellite television, and the still considerable anglophone expatriate workforce are among the factors that contribute to the awareness that BrunE is distinct from neighbouring Southeast Asian Englishes. There is some evidence from opinion surveys (e.g. McLellan 2005; McLellan & Noor Azam 2007) of a developing sense of pride in BrunE, suggesting that it may eventually come to serve as an identity marker, as is the case with the colloquial varieties of Singapore, Malaysian and Filipino Englishes.

10. Concluding remarks We acknowledge that this chapter is only an outline description of some of the features that characterise BrunE, a field in which research is ongoing. In this chapter we have offered a partial synchronic description of a dynamic, evolving and nativizing Southeast Asian variety of English, whose very existence is questioned by some Bruneian users. Whilst we have outlined the intranational variety of BrunE in this chapter, we feel it necessary to conclude by emphasising that many Bruneians are both multilingual and multilectal, and have command of a range of varieties of both Malay and English which vary along continua from ‘local’ to ‘standard’ and ‘international’.

References Borneo Bulletin. 2004. Letter to the editor, 3. 7 February 2010. (10 May 2011).



Chapter 4.  Brunei English 

Brown, A. 1999. Singapore English in a Nutshell: An Alphabetical Description of Its Features. Singapore: Federal Publications. Cane, G. 1993. A Linguistic Description of Spoken Brunei English in the 1990s. PhD dissertation, University of Strathclyde. Cane, G. 1994. The English language in Brunei Darussalam. World Englishes 13(3): 351–360. Cane, G. 1996. Syntactic simplification and creativity in spoken Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożóg & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 209–222. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. David, M.K. & McLellan, J. 2007. Nativised varieties of English in news reports in Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam. In English in Southeast Asia: Literacies and Literatures, D. Prescott, A. Kirkpatrick, I.P. Martin & Azirah Hashim (eds), 94–119. Newcastle upon Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Press. Deterding, D. 2007a. Singapore English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Deterding, D. 2007b. The vowels of the different ethnic groups in Singapore. In English in Southeast Asia: Literacies and Literatures, D. Prescott, A. Kirkpatrick, I.P. Martin & Azirah Hashim (eds), 2–29. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press. Deterding, D. & Kirkpatrick, A. 2006. Emerging South-East Asian Englishes and intelligibility. World Englishes 25(3/4): 391–401. Henry, A. & Ho, D.G.E. 2010. The act of complaining in Brunei: Then and now. Journal of Pragmatics 42(3): 840–855. Ho, D.G.E. 2009. Exponents of politeness in Brunei English. World Englishes 28(1): 35–51. Kachru, B.B. 1994. Englishization and contact linguistics. World Englishes 13(2): 135–54. Kirkpatrick, A. 1991. Information sequencing in Mandarin letters of request. Anthropological Linguistics 33(2): 183–203. Martin, P.W. & Poedjosoedarmo, G. 1996. An overview of the language situation in Brunei Darussalam. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożóg & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 1–23. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Martin, P.W., Ożóg, A.C. & Poedjosoedarmo, G. (eds). 1996. Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Martin, P.W. & Sercombe, P.G. 1996. The Penan of Brunei: A linguistic introduction. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożóg & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 302–311. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. McLellan, J. 1996. Some features of written discourse in Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożóg & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 223–235. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. McLellan, J. 2000. English-Malay codeswitching in Brunei: A domain-based analysis. In English is an Asian language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 164–174. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden & The Macquarie Dictionary Pty. Ltd. McLellan, J. 2005. Malay-English Language Alternation in Two Brunei Darussalam Online Discussion Forums. PhD dissertation, Curtin University of Technology. McLellan, J. & Noor Azam Haji-Othman. 2000. The myth of widespread English in Brunei Darussalam: A sociolinguistic investigation. South East Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal 2(1–2): 37–46. McLellan, J. & Noor Azam Haji-Othman. 2007. The changing ecology of language in Negara Brunei Darussalam. Paper presented at International Convention of Asian Scholars (ICAS5), August 2–5, 2007, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

 James McLellan and Noor Azam Haji-Othman Mossop, J. 1996a. Some phonological features of Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożóg & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 189–209. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Mossop, J. 1996b. Markedness and fossilization in the interlanguage phonology of Brunei Darussalam. World Englishes 15(2): 171–182. ­New Webster’s Dictionary and Thesaurus of the English Language. 1992. Danbury CT: Lexicon Publications. Nonnie King. 2006. Yanie + Sham Nikah. Spiritual Garden: Yanie + Sham Nikah, 25 June 2006. (04 May 2011). Noor Azam Haji-Othman & McLellan, J. 2000. Brunei culture, English language: Textual reflections of an Asian culture located in the English-language output of Bruneians. Asian Englishes 3(1): 5–19. Ożóg, A.C. 1993. Brunei English: A new variety? In Language and Oral Traditions in Borneo: Selected Papers from the First Extraordinary Conference of the Borneo Research Council, Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, J.T. Collins (ed), 54–68. Williamsburg VA: Borneo Research Council. Ożóg, A.C. & Martin, P.W. 1996. The bah particle in Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożóg & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 236–249. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Rhyme (Abdul Rahim Haji Jait). 1999. Koleksi Cuboi. Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei Darussalam: Brunei Press Sdn. Bhd. Rosnah Haji Ramly, Noor Azam Haji-Othman & McLellan, J. 2002. Englishization and nativization processes in the context of Brunei Darussalam: Evidence for and against. In Englishes in Asia: Communication, Identity, Power & Education, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 95–112. Melbourne: Language Australia Salbrina Haji Sharbawi. 2006. The vowels of Brunei English. English World-Wide 27(3): 246–264. Salbrina Haji Sharbawi. 2009. An acoustic investigation of the segmental features of educated Brunei English speech. PhD dissertation, National Institute of Education, Singapore. Salbrina Haji Sharbawi. 2010. Personal email communication with authors, 7 April, 2010. Salbrina Haji Sharbawi & Deterding, D. 2010. Rhoticity in Brunei English. English World-Wide 31(2): 121–137. Wood, A., Henry, A., Malai Ayla Surya Malai Haji Abdullah & Clynes, A. 2007. Brunei English: Towards a variety? In English in Southeast Asia – Challenges and Changes: Proceedings of the 11th English in Southeast Asia Conference, K. Dunworth (ed), 71–80. Perth: Curtin University of Technology. Wood, A., Henry, A., Malai Ayla Surya Malai Haji Abdullah & Clynes, A. 2009. English in Brunei: “She speaks excellent English” – “No, he doesn’t”. In Englishes and Literatures-inEnglish in a Globalised World: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on English in Southeast Asia, L.J. Zhang, R. Rubdy & L. Alsagoff (eds), 11–22. Singapore: National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. World Gazetteer. 2010. Brunei: largest cities and towns and statistics of their population. (11 April 2010).

chapter 5

Philippine English Danilo T. Dayag

De La Salle University, The Philippines Philippine English is a legitimate nativized variety of English. It is the language used by Filipinos in controlling domains such as science and technology, the judiciary, the legislature, bureaucracy, higher education, scholarly discourse, and the like. While it shares some of the linguistic properties ascribed to other varieties of English, especially those used in Asia, it has features that are unique to it. Based on findings of previous empirical studies, this chapter aims to describe the core linguistic features of Philippine English at the phonological (segmental and suprasegmental), lexical, grammatical and discourse levels. It also touches on the international intelligibility of the spoken register of this variety. Keywords: Philippine English, phonological features, lexical features, grammatical features, discourse features

1. Introduction The Philippines, a country of more than 7,000 islands, is one of the colonies located in Southeast Asia or SEA. Its population was estimated at approximately 90 million in 2006, with a population growth rate of 1.8%. It is the twelfth most densely populated country in the world (AsiaRooms.com n.d.). As a nation, the Philippines is, to some extent, a product of centuries of colonization. Spain occupied the country for 333 years, from 1565 to 1898, and was followed by the United States of America, which ruled it for less than fifty years until independence was granted in 1946. The long history of Spanish occupation of the Philippines notwithstanding, Filipinos did not acquire proficiency in the Spanish language, with only 2% of the population speaking it at the end of the Spanish period (Gonzalez 1997: 28). In contrast, the USA succeeded in teaching English to the Filipinos, with 26.60% of the population using it in 1939 and 36.05% less than a decade later (Gonzalez 1997). Since then, the use of English has expanded, and it is now the dominant language in much of Philippine society. The Filipinos have embraced the English language and have made it their own, which is manifested in the local features incorporated into

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Danilo T. Dayag

the language. It is these features that have made the English in the Philippines a truly nativized variety. In this chapter, I talk about some linguistic features of Philippine English (henceforth PhilE) at four levels – phonological, lexical, grammatical and discoursal. The chapter begins with a brief description of the language situation in the Philippines, and then proceeds with a summary of the different linguistic features of the Philippine variety of English.

2. The language situation in the Philippines The Philippines is a multilingual nation. According to the Summer Institute of Linguistics or SIL International, the total number of living languages in the Philippines is 171 (Gordon 2005). Of this number, eleven may be considered the dominant regional languages (that is, those spoken by at least a million Filipinos): Cebuano, Tagalog, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Bikol, Pampangan (or Kapampangan), Pangasinan, Maguindanao, Tausug, and Maranao (Gordon 2005). In addition, the Filipino language, which is based on Tagalog, is the national language. English and Filipino are the two official languages of the country (Chan Robles Virtual Law Library n.d.). Given the many languages spoken in the country, the typical Filipino is therefore, minimally, trilingual, rather than bilingual. At home, he/she uses his/her mother tongue which may be a minority language or the regional lingua franca (e.g. Ilokano), and speaks Filipino and English in school and the office. In communicating with other interlocutors in different contexts, the Filipino thus addresses each of three competing demands with one of the specific languages at his/her disposal: ethnicity (through the mother tongue), nationalism (Filipino), and international relations (English) (Bautista 1996). Despite efforts towards intellectualizing the Filipino language, English is still the dominant language in controlling domains in the Philippines (Sibayan 1999). As in other countries belonging to the Outer Circle (Kachru 1992) described in the introductory chapter and Chapter 1 of this volume, the country uses English as an additional language. The domains where English dominates include higher education, science and technology, the judiciary, legislation, mass media (especially print media), and government bureaucracy.

3. Phonological features of PhilE 3.1

Segmentals

3.1.1 Vowels Based on the speech of the typical speaker of PhilE, the vowel system of this variety of English consists of five vowels, namely, [a], [ε], [I], [f], and [u]. Furthermore, there is no



Chapter 5.  Philippine English 

contrast between tense and lax vowel sounds in that [æ], [e], [i], [o], [u] are realized as [a], [ε], [I], [f], and [u], respectively. In addition, vowels in unstressed syllables are not reduced – for instance, [ә] in initial position of above, alone, and around is articulated as full [a] (Kachru 1997: 41–48; Y. Kachru & Nelson 2006: 188–189; Llamzon 1997). 3.1.2 Consonants Consonants in PhilE include the following: [p], [t], [t∫], [k], [b], [d], [dŠ], [g], [s], [∫], [h], [l], [m], [n], [ŋ], [r], [w], [j]. In addition, stops [p], [t], [k] are not aspirated initially and not released finally. [s] is used for both [s] and [z] (e.g. sink and zinc). The voiceless interdental fricative [θ] (as in thin and thick) is substituted by the alveolar stop [t], whereas the voiced interdental fricative [ð] (as in this and those) is replaced by the voiced alveolar stop [d] (Kachru 1997: 41–48; Y. Kachru & Nelson 2006: 188–189; Llamzon 1997). There is also the tendency to simplify consonant clusters in final position (Gonzalez 1985: 57 as cited in Bautista 2001).

3.2

Suprasegmentals

In terms of suprasegmental features, PhilE is syllable-timed, in contrast to Inner Circle Englishes which have a stress-timed rhythm (Kachru 1997: 41–48; Y. Kachru & Nelson 2006: 188–189). Shifts are also seen in the position of primary stress in words (Tayao 2004). For example, whereas speakers of Inner Circle Englishes place the primary stress on the first syllable of words such as category and affluent, the typical PhilE user puts it on the second syllable. In addition, a rising intonation is used for statements, clauses, phrases, and wh- questions, whereas a falling intonation is preferred for yes-no questions (Gonzalez 1985: 57 as cited in Bautista 2001).

3.3

The intelligibility of spoken PhilE

Spoken PhilE is internationally intelligible, based on studies conducted in the last thirty years or so. Two of these studies – Smith and Rafiqzad (1979) and Smith (1992) – compared the intelligibility of the Philippine variety of English with that of the other varieties. In both studies, PhilE was found to be internationally intelligible, as were other Asian Englishes such as the varieties used in Sri Lanka, India, Japan, Malaysia, Nepal, and Korea. In a more recent study, Dayag (2007) aimed to explore the intelligibility of PhilE. Five informants, i.e., exemplars of PhilE, were chosen, based on the following criteria: (1) They had to be at least 18 years of age, (2) They had to be university students or graduates, and (3) They had to have been born and raised in the Philippines. A five to ten minute stretch of spontaneous speech (monologue) was elicited from each of the five exemplars, after which their speech samples were transcribed. Two listeners each from the three Kachruvian circles served as judges of intelligibility. The intelligibility test adopted by the study was “write-down-what-you-hear” method

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Danilo T. Dayag

(Atechi 2004), which is an effective method of testing speech intelligibility (Kenworthy 1987). This required the six listeners to listen to the speech sample of each speaker three times. Depending on what they were comfortable with, they either wrote in long hand or transcribed the speech samples using a laptop computer. Based on the transcripts produced by the listeners, intelligibility scores were obtained by checking the listeners’ transcripts against the researcher’s copy, the latter presumably a reliable copy as it was a product of a slow and careful transcription of the speech samples. To count as a correct utterance and therefore an intelligibility success, key words had to be present in the listener’s version. Substitution of key words by synonyms was considered correct. A case in point is the use of extension instead of expansion in the transcript of the first speaker’s speech prepared by the first listener from the Inner Circle. Other examples include situation instead of condition (used by the second listener from the Inner Circle) and presently rather than for this term (transcribed by the second listener from the Outer Circle). Results showed that the highest mean score was obtained by the Inner Circle listeners (approximately 80%), followed closely by those from the Outer Circle (roughly 75%). Expanding Circle listeners came in third, with a score of 55%. The overall mean was roughly 70%. Though based on limited data, the study underscores the claim that PhilE is not only intelligible to people who speak the same variety but to speakers of other varieties, as well.

4. Lexical properties of PhilE In this section the lexical properties of PhilE are described, with focus on the processes of forming words.

4.1

Normal expansion

Two types fall under the process of normal expansion: extensions or adaptations of meaning and shifts in part of speech (Bautista 1997). Examples of the former are pampers (‘disposable diapers’), pentel pen (‘colour marker’), osterize (‘process of using a food blender’), colgate (‘toothpaste’). The latter includes fizcalize (from fiscal), conscienticize (from conscience), actualize (from the adjective actual), concretize (from concrete).

4.2

Preservation of items which have been lost or become infrequent in other varieties

Folk, solon and viand are examples of lexical items no longer used in other varieties but still used in PhilE. Folk is associated with ‘provincial’, ‘barrio’ and ‘tribal’. Other examples include solon which means ‘lawmaker’ and viand (‘dish’) (Bautista 1997: 56–57).



Chapter 5.  Philippine English 

4.3

Coinage

Coinage involves inventing a word or phrase, a neologism (Bautista 1997: 58). Coinage occurs in PhilE in the following ways: analogical constructions (e.g. awardee, jubilarian), clippings (e.g. ballpen for ‘ball point pen’), abbreviations (e.g. OFW for ‘overseas Filipino worker’, cha-cha or ‘charter change’ referring to proposals to change the Constitution), total innovations (e.g. Imeldific or ‘extravagant, derived from the name of former First Lady Imelda Marcos who is known for her extravagance and ostentatious display of wealth’; comfort room (abbreviated as CR) for ‘restroom’), English compounds (e.g., American time (‘being punctual’) and batchmate (‘a member of the same batch’), and combinations of one English element with one borrowed element (e.g. balikbayan box meaning ‘box in which Filipinos returning from abroad put all the things they bought’ and buko juice meaning ‘juice from young coconut’) (Bautista 1997).

4.4

Borrowings

Borrowings from different languages (e.g., Tagalog, Spanish) that are part of PhilE may be classified according to the semantic fields to which they belong, namely, flora and fauna (e.g. abaca, acacia), food (e.g. bibingka or ‘rice cake,’ inihaw or ‘broiled pork or chicken’), national identity/culture (e.g. amor propio or ‘self-esteem’, delicadeza or ‘sense of propriety’), politics (e.g. barangay or ‘village,’ hacienda or ‘tracts of land’), life (e.g. arbulario or ‘quack doctor’, asalto or ‘party on the eve of one’s birthday’) and expressions (e.g. kwan or ‘referring to something at the tip of the tongue’, sayang! or ‘what a pity, what a waste, how unfortunate’). A survey conducted by Bautista (2001) among faculty members of English departments in three major universities in Metro Manila suggested that, although they had overall positive attitudes towards PhilE, only 18 out of 30 specific lexical items were acceptable. These were comfort room (‘restroom’), green joke (‘off-colour joke’), aircon, CR (abbreviation for ‘restroom’), face towel, toilet humor, lechon (‘roasted pig’), bedsheet, I’ll go ahead, bedspacer, dormmate, presidentiable, salvage (‘summarily execute a person’), studentry, rallyist, burgis, hold your line, and for a while.

5. Grammatical features of PhilE The grammatical features described below are of two types: features connected with the verb and those connected with the noun. These are based on Bautista and Gonzalez (2006: 136), which, in turn, is primarily based on the work of Bautista (2000a, 2000b).

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Danilo T. Dayag

5.1

Grammatical features connected with the verb

– Lack of subject-verb agreement, especially in the presence of an intervening prepositional phrase or expression The teacher, along with her students, were in the library yesterday. The parents, together with the association president, has met with student leaders. – Faulty tense-aspect usage including unusual use of verb forms and tenses, especially the use of the past perfect tense for the simple past or present perfect I had not gone to class yesterday. The secretary had not reported for work last week. – Lack of tense harmony She would give you the correct answer if you ask her for it. He says he had lived in the UK before. – Modals would and could used for will and can The students could not understand why they will have to come to school on Sunday. – Adverbial placed at the end of the clause, not between auxiliary and main verb The walk-in participants will join the post-conference tour also. – Non-idiomatic two- or three-word verbs The government decision will result to dire consequences. The professor’s discussion is based from empirical research. The boy closed the aircon when it was getting colder inside the room.

5.2

Grammatical features connected with the noun

– Variable article usage – missing article where an article is required; an article where no article is required Ø majority of teachers want a pay increase. In that task, the medium of the television offers advertisers a powerful tool. A research was conducted to determine the effect of the implementation of intervention programs on students’ writing performance. – Faulty noun subcategorization, including non-pluralization of count nouns and pluralization of mass nouns Equipments were purchased using the previous year’s budget. Feedbacks were given on the proposal. – Lack of agreement between pronoun and antecedent The work is so heavy that they are taking their toll on the health of people. – One of the followed by singular noun. The principal reprimanded one of the student. One of the candidate withdrew from the race.



Chapter 5.  Philippine English 

In the same study conducted by Bautista in 2001 (see Section 4), twelve expressions were not acceptable to fewer than 50% of respondents (from 46% down to 13%). These include fill up a form, watch your steps, I can’t afford (without an object), in the family way (pregnant), a research, open/close the light, it was so traffic (converting ‘traffic’ into an adjective), result to, cope up with, taken cared of, based from, and equipments. A more liberal view of these deviations from the exonormative standard American English or AmE is suggested in Bautista (2000b). In the latter, she argues that expressions such as result to, cope up with, and based from may conform to what she calls “variable rules” and may therefore be tolerated. By contrast, deviations involving agreement of third person singular noun and singular verb and agreement of pronoun and antecedent belong to “categorical rules” and should not be compromised.

6. Discourse features of PhilE In terms of discourse features, studies (e.g. Gonzalez 1985 as cited in Bautista 2001) have shown that differences in style in formal and informal writing were minimal. This suggests that informal texts (e.g. society and entertainment columns) which are supposed to use the informal register of English are “written in a relatively formal style reminiscent of classroom themes” (Gonzalez 1985 as cited in Bautista 2001). Three distinct styles in the English of the Philippine mass media were also identified (Gonzalez 1985). The formal style used long complex sentences showing relativization, complementation, and nominalization. The informal style, on the other hand, used ellipsis and short, simple sentences, and the familiar style utilized code-switching (basically between Tagalog and English). Gonzalez (1985) thus contends that PhilE is monostylistic, arguing that Filipinos have mastery of only the formal style (“classroom English”) because the classroom is where they learn English.

7. Concluding remarks In this chapter I have described some linguistic features of PhilE. First of all, it should be noted that the studies that yielded the linguistic features elicited the data from educated speakers of this variety of English, education being an important factor in learning English in the Philippines. The educated speaker should not, however, be equated with the acrolectal speaker of PhilE since generally the latter has near-native-speaker competence in the language. Rather, the competence of the typical educated speaker of PhilE may approximate that of the mesolectal speaker. This may have implications for research in that a careful definition of who count as exemplars of PhilE needs to inform methodological approaches. For instance, in studies on intelligibility, a critical component of the research methodology is the selection of participants from whom



Danilo T. Dayag

speech samples are elicited. In my view, it is the mesolectal speakers who should serve as sources of data, rather than the acrolectal speakers. In terms of the implications of the linguistic features for English language teaching in the Philippines, not all deviations should be accepted into grammar books or even taught in classes. After all, as Bautista (2001) points out, it is not “anything goes” in PhilE. For example, phonemic distinctions between [ε] vs. [i] and [f] vs. [~] should be highlighted as substituting one for the other will change the meaning of the word under consideration. As for grammatical features, deviations such as verb-preposition combinations (e.g. based from, result to) may be tolerated because they fall under “variable rules” (Bautista 2000b), but rules of subject-verb agreement, especially that involving third person singular nouns, as well as pronoun-antecedent agreement, are “categorical” (Bautista 2000b), and must therefore be explicitly taught in classes. There can be no compromise on “categorical rules” because of a change of meaning arising from their violation, which may potentially lead to miscommunication between two interlocutors.

References AsiaRooms.com. n.d. Philippines Population. Population of Philippines, (20 May 2009). Atechi, S.N. 2004. The Intelligibility of Native and Non-native English Speech: A Comparative Analysis of Cameroon English and American and British English. PhD dissertation, Technischen Universitat Chemnitz. (10 July 2006). Bautista, M.L.S. 1996. An outline: The national language and the language of instruction. In Readings in Philippine Sociolinguistics, 2nd edn., M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 223–227. Manila: De La Salle University Press. Bautista, M.L.S. (ed). 1997. English is an Asian Language: The Philippine Context (Proceedings of the Conference held in Manila on August 2–3, 1996). North Ryde NSW: Macquarie Library. Bautista, M.L.S. 2000a. The grammatical features of educated Philippine English. In Parangal Cang Bro. Andrew: Festschrift in Honor of Bro. Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, M.L.S. Bautista, T.A. Llamzon & B.P. Sibayan (eds), 146–158. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Bautista, M.L.S. 2000b. Defining Standard Philippine English: Its Status and Grammatical Features. Manila: De La Salle University Press. Bautista, M.L.S. 2001. Studies of Philippine English: Implications for English language teaching in the Philippines. Lecture presented as the holder of the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Professorial Chair in Linguistics and Language Education, De La Salle University-Manila, August 4, 2001. Bautista, M.L.S. & Gonzalez, A. 2006. Southeast Asian Englishes. In Handbook of World Englishes, B. Kachru, Y. Kachru & C. Nelson (eds), 130–144. Oxford: Blackwell. Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. n.d. 1987 Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines. Article IV, (30 December 2006).



Chapter 5.  Philippine English 

Dayag, D.T. 2007. Exploring the intelligibility of Philippine English. Asian Englishes 10(1): 4–23. Gonzalez, A. 1985. Studies on Philippine English [Occasional Papers No. 39]. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Gonzalez, A. 1997. The history of English in the Philippines. In English is an Asian Language: The Philippine Context (Proceedings of the Conference held in Manila on August 2–3, 1996), M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 25–40. North Ryde NSW: Macquarie Library. Gordon, R.G. Jr. (ed). 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World, 15th edn. Dallas TX: SIL International. (29 December 2006). Kachru, B.B. 1992. Models for non-native Englishes. In The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, 2nd edn., B.B. Kachru (ed), 48–74. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Kachru, B.B. 1997. English is an Asian language. In English is an Asian Language: The Philippine Context (Proceedings of the Conference held in Manila on August 2–3, 1996), M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 1–23. North Ryde NSW: Macquarie Library. Kachru, Y. & Nelson, C.L. 2006. World Englishes in Asian Contexts [Asian Englishes Today]. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kenworthy, J. 1987. Teaching English Pronunciation. London: Longman. Llamzon, T.A. 1997. The phonology of Philippine English. In English is an Asian language: The Philippine Context (Proceedings of the Conference held in Manila on August 2–3, 1996), M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 41–48. North Ryde NSW: Macquarie Library. Sibayan, B.P. 1999. The Intellectualization of Filipino and Other Essays on Education and Sociolinguistics. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Smith, L.E. 1992. Spread of English and issues of intelligibility. In The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, 2nd edn., B.B. Kachru (ed), 75–90. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Smith, L.E. & Rafiqzad, K. 1979. English for cross-cultural communication: The question of intelligibility. TESOL Quarterly 13(3): 371–380. (Reprinted in L.E. Smith (ed), Readings in English as an International Language. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1983, 49–58). Tayao, M.L.G. 2004. The evolving study of Philippine English phonology (Special issue on Philippine English: Tensions and Transistions). World Englishes 23(1): 77–90.

chapter 6

Thai English Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk

King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand This chapter aims to provide information about Thai English, an English in the Expanding Circle, as a possible emerging variety of world Englishes. Firstly, an overview of English which is a foreign language in Thailand is provided in terms of its use, users, and its influential status. Secondly, distinctive features of Thai English are presented. Finally, a conclusion on how Thai English can be viewed as a new variety of world Englishes is drawn. Keywords: Thai English, literature, language features, language contact, transfer

1. Introduction The notions of English as an international language or EIL, English as a global language, World Englishes (henceforth WE) and English as a Lingua Franca or ELF are regularly mentioned. Since English is used worldwide, the majority of its users now are not native speakers, but non-native speakers from different cultures and language backgrounds (e.g. Kachru 1982; Crystal 1997; Jenkins 2003; Seidlhofer 2004). Under the concept of nativisation (Kachru 1986), different varieties of English exist in that it is used in certain areas by different groups of people to serve their needs and communication purposes. The nativisation process and new varieties of English are mostly discussed within the contexts of those countries in the Outer Circle. The number of discussions on varieties of English in the Expanding Circle is relatively few. To redress this gap in our knowledge, this chapter aims to provide some information about Thai English (henceforth ThaiE) as a possibly emerging variety of WE. In the subsequent sections of this chapter, an overview of English in Thailand is first provided, followed by a summary of distinctive features of ThaiE based on a number of previous studies. The final section concludes that ThaiE can be viewed as a new variety of WE.

 Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk

2. English in Thailand Since Thailand has its own national and official language, ‘standard Thai’, the status of English in the country is that of a foreign language. However, in comparison with other common foreign languages, which are used by some minority groups (i.e. Chinese, Malay, Lao) or taught optionally in some schools (e.g. French, Japanese, Korean, etc.), it is obvious that English is much more influential. The current national curriculum for fundamental education (Grades 1–12) requires English to be taught in schools as a compulsory subject, while other foreign languages are left as optional. At the university level, English is a required subject for students in all fields. In addition, a number of international, English-bilingual, and English-medium schools and universities are currently operating in Thailand. Outside formal education, there are also numerous private English training institutes offering various English courses to both children and adults. Furthermore, studying in English-speaking countries is desired by many Thais as it implies mastery of the English language. This phenomenon is not surprising because English has long been advancing into Thai society and most Thai people believe that having a good command of English is a privilege. With its influence, despite its so-called status as a foreign language, English is described as “the language of Thailand abroad” or “the international language of Thailand” (Smalley 1994). In other words, English is the language that Thai people use to communicate with foreigners, and it is the language that foreigners in Thailand from different language backgrounds use for communication. Even though Thai people maintain their national language, English is happily accepted as their international language. As a result, it is common to observe a fairly wide use of English throughout the country, both in the private and public sectors. Although Thai people realize the importance of the English language, not all of them use English. According to an informed estimate, only about 10 per cent of all Thai people, or approximately 6.5 million, are English speakers (Bolton 2008).1 Moreover, the English proficiency of ThaiE users varies. The post-creole continuum proposed by Bickerton (1975) can be applied to describe English in Thailand. Hence, varieties of English in Thailand would be broadly classified as basilect, mesolect, and acrolect − ranging from non-standard to the most standard forms of English respectively. In describing the distinctive features of ThaiE as an emerging variety of WE, only the acrolect or standard form of English should be considered since non-standard forms are not uniform and are more likely to represent learner errors caused by a limited exposure to English. Using the acrolect variety, competent Thai users of English communicate successfully and use the language with grammar based on a native 1. The author noted that more accurate estimates from censuses or surveys needed to be provided. Moreover, there is no description of Thai users. As a Thai observer, I believe that the number of Thai users of English might be larger than that 6.5 million if all users of both standard and non-standard English are included.



Chapter 6.  Thai English 

speaker standard. However, their English shows some distinctive characteristics which have been transferred from their first language background, culture, rhetorical styles, and norms of communication. That is to say, Thai users of English have their ways of presenting their identity through the use of international English. Different features of ThaiE are presented in several forms and they are worth discussing.

3. ThaiE Most studies of ThaiE have been done on the written language. Hence, the reported distinctive features of ThaiE are usually obtained from literature, newspapers, and magazines. Apart from these characteristics of ThaiE gathered from written data, the distinct phonological features produced by Thai speakers are also discussed here. The studies of ThaiE literature (Chutisilp 1984; Watkhaolarm 2005) list several common language contact processes affecting ThaiE, namely transfer, translation, shift, lexical borrowing, hybridization and reduplication.

3.1

Transfer

The transfer of Thainess into ThaiE is seen as the way that Thais bring their cultural and social notions into the use of English. The first common example of transfer is found in greetings. Instead of “How are you?” as most English native speakers say, in ThaiE, expressions such as “Where are you going?” or “Have you eaten yet?” are usually heard. Although the two expressions might sound intrusive to English native speakers, they are general greetings used by Thais in their own language. The salient agreement between the studies of Chutisilp and Watkhaolarm relates to the frequent use of kinship terms and norms for addressing people in ThaiE. The use of these features signifies the importance of the collectivity of Thai society, seniority, politeness, and humility (Watkhaolarm 2005). In ThaiE, the construction ‘kinship term + name’ (e.g. Aunt Nipa, Grandfather Sam) is usual. It is used not only in first introductions, but also every time the person is addressed. This is the customary way to show respect and good manners, since according to Thai custom, it is impolite to address someone, especially a senior, only by their name. Moreover, the use of kinship terms denotes how Thais emphasise family relations. For siblings, it is rather common for Thais to indicate seniority. Thus, the terms ‘younger brother/sister’ or ‘older brother/sister’ are usually seen in ThaiE. Furthermore, kinship terms can be used with people who are not blood relatives. Since Thai culture is usually described as collectivistic (Hofstede & Hofstede 2005), using kinship terms to address unrelated people offers a sense of in-group bonding. This is another point that boosts the high frequency use of kinship terms in ThaiE. Even though the use of kinship terms with names is not applicable in all cases, it is still impolite for Thais to address others solely by name. Thus, they prefix the neutral

 Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk

word ‘khun’ before the names of acquaintances (e.g. Khun Thomas).2 Apart from the above, the use of titles, social status terms, and birth rank terms to address people can also be frequently observed in ThaiE (e.g. Acharn Steve, Momchao Pin).3 The reason is that Thai people are very much concerned with social status and this custom is thus transferred into their English.

3.2

Translation

Translation is a common feature of ThaiE literature as found by the studies of Chutisilp (1984) and Watkhaolarm (2005). Loan translations from Thai into ThaiE occur when Thai users present some items, concepts or idioms that have no equivalents in English. Hence, sometimes non-Thai users, who have had little exposure to the Thai speech community, may have difficulty in interpreting these items. An example is given below. So ends my biographical sketch from the early part of my life to the completion of the sixth cycle of age. (Chutisilp 1984: 131)

The phrase ‘the sixth cycle of age’ is a direct translation of the Thai concept. A cycle of age means a period of twelve years. It is a Thai belief that each year is governed by a different star. Every twelve years, the cycle of the stars repeats. Thus, when mentioning someone’s life or any important occasion, Thai people usually use the term ‘cycle’, instead of ‘jubilee’ as in the English language. “The sixth cycle of age” above means the person is 72 years old.

3.3

Shift

According to Chutisilp (1984) and Watkhaolarm (2005), shift refers to the way Thai writers shift a Thai writing style into English writing. This style includes the regular use of proverbs and old sayings in the message. Examples are given below. I didn’t say that you were all wrong but you shouldn’t decide this matter yourself. You know when you build a house you have to do it as the person who is going to live in likes. (Chutisilp 1984: 138) Father was inclined to favor his third wife. The old saying, “New rice tastes better than the old one,” still held good. (Watkhaolarm 2005: 150)

2. It should be noted that ‘khun’ is also mentioned as a Thai loan word in English (Bolton 2003) (see also below under lexical borrowing). My informal observations show that all foreigners in Thailand use the word and know its meaning. 3. ‘Acharn’ is another Thai word that has entered in English (Bolton 2003). It means a teacher. It should also be noted that teachers have a high status in Thai society. Thus, students can never call their teachers by name without the title. ‘Momchao’ is a title indicating the birth rank of people in the royal family.



Chapter 6.  Thai English 

From general observation, this ThaiE writing style is generally seen also in other kinds of informal ThaiE publications such as magazine articles, advertisements, and so on. Therefore, the study of this feature of ThaiE in other genres is interesting.

3.4

Lexical borrowing

When English is used in the Thai context, there are certainly several elements that cannot be explained in the English language. Thus, lexical borrowing has to take place. In ThaiE, loan words from Thai are frequently observed. Loan words in ThaiE are found to transfer their semantic features from Thai; however, they can adopt English grammatical features (Chultisilp 1984). For example, to change singular nouns into plural, the suffix -s is added, for example kuti (the monks’ building) becomes kutis. Watkhoalarm (2005) also mentioned a pattern of ThaiE in which lexical borrowing usually occurs with translation. Mandy, who was familiar with the food, pointed to each dish and described it to Bellinger. The meal was composed of white rice, a beef curry, roasted strips of pork, soy-bean cakes fired with bean sprouts and chillies, and Thai style omelette called Kai Cheo ... (Watkhoalarm 2005: 154)

Not only are these loan words used and understood by Thai people, but also many of them are widely recognized by non-Thai speakers. Bolton (2003) suggests that many Thai words have entered into English. In his chapter, a list of Thai words to be included in the Grolier International Dictionary is illustrated. The following are some examples.



(1) acharn (n.) – a teacher, normally at tertiary level. Other Forms: Other spellings are ajarn, ajaan and archarn. Teachers other than at university are usually called khru. (2) farang (n.) – a foreigner of European racial origin; a white person. (3) forest monk (n.) – a monk who lives a hermit-like existence in the forest (4) khun (n.) – a polite title used before the first name of a man or woman: Khun Mary; Khun Ananda. (5) krengjai (n. & v.) – (n.) 1. deep respect for people in a superior position to you which involves behaving in a considerate way towards them and avoiding causing them trouble. (v.) 2. to behave toward someone in a way that shows krengjai. This word has been brought into English from Thai and literally means “fearful heart”. (6) muang (n.) – 1. a city or town. 2. a district with its own local government; municipality. (7) phi (n.) – 1. an older brother or sister. 2. a polite form of address from a younger to an older person, used to show respect. (8) phra (n.) – 1. a title used before or joined as a prefix to the name of a Buddhist monk. 2. a title used before or joined as a prefix to a name to indicate holiness

 Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk

in any religion: Phra Narai is the Hindu god Vishnu. 3. a title used in front of the name of a royal person: Phra Ram. Other Forms: Another spelling is Pra.

3.5

Hybridization

Hybridization is another common feature found mainly in informal ThaiE. It occurs when Thai users combine a Thai word with an English one, for example, a farang man, a big klong (canal), etc. The process allows ThaiE users to create many compound words (Chutisilp 1984). Therefore, this might denote the creativity of Thai users and the way they maintain some Thai sense when they use English.

3.6

Reduplication

Reduplication refers to the process of lexical repetition. It is reported to be an influence of the Thai language and is used to indicate an emphasis on the repeated constituent. Reduplication can occur at the word level as in the following example. I started to dream about walking in the street with many, many buildings on both sides, seeing myself in a big, big school. (Chutisilp 1984: 144)

3.7

Cohesive devices

The use of cohesive devices is identified as another distinctive feature of ThaiE in a study by Pingkarawat (2002). The study was done on the English in newspaper documentary articles. Based on the framework of Halliday and Hasan (1976), the study shows that among all types of cohesive ties, demonstratives and repetitions (of the same word or element) are used significantly more often in ThaiE to create cohesion in a text. The high use of demonstratives and repetitions in ThaiE is explained as a transfer from the Thai discourse style of using many cohesive ties. It is noted that although the high number of repetitions in ThaiE may be considered redundant to native speakers, repetitions are preferable for Thais, since, from the Thais’ point of view, they present explicit cohesion in a text.

3.8

Noun modifiers

The frequent use of noun modifiers has been pointed out as a distinctive characteristic of ThaiE. The study by Trakulkasemsuk (2007) on ThaiE in magazines demonstrates that it contains a significantly higher number of noun modifiers. This is because, from the point of view of Thai users, using modifiers helps make clear explanations and embellishes the language. The most significant feature of noun modifiers in ThaiE is the high number of postmodifiers. This can be explained as a transfer from the Thai language. In Thai, long units of modifiers are preferable since they can contain a lot of information (it should be noted that to provide a lot of information at once is regarded



Chapter 6.  Thai English 

as a good style of writing in Thai rhetoric). When using English, Thai users make use of a high number of noun postmodifiers since long noun modifiers (i.e. phrasal and clausal modifiers) are allowed only in postposition in English syntax. Not only the frequency but also the construction of noun modifiers in ThaiE are significant. Noun modifiers in ThaiE are usually very long because they are usually made up of many embedded layers of information. As mentioned earlier, this shows an attempt by Thai users to compress as much information as possible into one unit. An example of this type of construction is given below. It is a big market [where tourists [heading to Phu Soi Dao] usually stop [to stock up on some fresh food [to cook at the campsite [on the mountain]], [as there is no restaurant available up there]]]. (Trakulkasemsuk 2007: 136)

In addition, adding many long modifiers to modify one head noun is distinctively observable in ThaiE. It was a single-story concrete building [painted in yellow], [elevated from the ground], [with a terra cotta roof [in the style [that was popular [during the reign [of King Rama VI]]]]]. (Trakulkasemsuk 2007: 145)

It is also worth mentioning that, when comparing ThaiE to other Asian Englishes, it is interesting to find that they share some common features, such as reduplication (Kachru 1986; Mesthrie & Bhatt 2008) and language embellishment (Kachru 2005) as in Indian English. Furthermore, even those features classified as mistakes in the non-standard ThaiE variety seem to be similar to some features of some other Asian Englishes, for example, copula dropping as in Singapore English (henceforth SingE), Indian English, Malaysian English (henceforth MalE) (Mesthrie & Bhatt 2008; Platt 1982); the lack of subject-verb agreement (especially, third person present tense marking) as in Philippine English or PhilE (Bautista & Gonzalez 2006), SingE, and MalE (Platt 1982) (and also described in Chapters 5, 2 and 3 respectively); positive answers to negative yes/no questions as in many varieties of South Asian English (Mesthrie & Bhatt 2008); and so on. These shared features may not be just coincidences. On the contrary, they can be explained by the fact that people in Asian countries share more similar linguistic, social, and cultural features with each other than they do with people in western countries. In fact, the shared features could develop into a new variety of Asian English. Apart from the distinctive features illustrated in written ThaiE, the English pronunciation produced by Thai speakers differs from that of English native speakers since the Thai sound system is rather different from English. Below is a discussion of phonological features of ThaiE vowels and consonants.

3.9

Vowels

In standard Thai, there are nine monophthongs and three diphthongs. Vowel length is phonemic in Thai. Therefore, the nine monophthongs can be expanded into eighteen

 Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk

vowel sounds (nine short and nine long vowels).4 Altogether there are twenty-one vowel phonemes in Thai. The quality of vowels (with respect to tongue height, frontness, and roundness) in Thai and English is comparable. Moreover, Thai has more vowels than English. Thus, there should not be many serious problems for Thais to hear and produce English vowels. However, there is a major difference between the two vowel systems. In Thai, the two sets of vowels differ in terms of shortness and length, while laxness and tenseness are relevant for English. Thais tend to distinguish English lax and tense vowels by perceiving them as short and long respectively. In production, they therefore substitute English lax vowels with Thai short vowels and English tense vowels with Thai long vowels. The replacement may not cause ThaiE pronunciation to become seriously unintelligible to speakers of other varieties, but it may make ThaiE pronunciation distinct and foreign sounding to the ears of English native speakers (Kruatrachue 1960). Tsukada (2008) provides information about phonetic characteristics of English vowels produced by Thai speakers. The study compares four monophthongs, /i æ ~ ¤/, and two diphthongs, /ei/ and /o~/, as produced by Australian English speakers and ThaiE speakers living in Australia. The findings suggest that the English monophthongs produced by Thai speakers are not significantly different from those produced by Australian speakers in terms of quality, shown by formant measurements. However, in terms of duration, Thai speakers make the monophthongs distinctively shorter than Australian speakers do. The study of English monophthongs (/i/ and /i/), in terms of duration, produced by Thai speakers has been further expanded on in Tsukada (2009). The results confirm that the lax vowel /i/ used in ThaiE is significantly shorter than that in Australian English. Contrastively, the tense vowel /i/ is made significantly longer. Since shortness and length are important characteristics of the Thai vowel system and they seem to be compatible with laxness and tenseness in the English vowel system in Thais’ mindsets, this may be a significant influence that makes vowel sounds in ThaiE different. For the diphthongs /ei/ and /o~/ (Tsukada 2008), the findings reveal a difference in terms of quality, but not in duration. The diphthongs produced by Thai speakers are composed of less formant movement making them monophthongal. Since these two diphthongs are not included in the Thai inventory, Thai speakers equate them with the Thai long vowels /e:/ and /o:/. As a result, the two vowels produced by Thai speakers are slightly longer than those produced by Australian speakers. In sum, vowel sounds in ThaiE tend to show transfer from the Thai language. The most obvious characteristic of English vowel production by Thai speakers is vowel

4. The three diphthongs naturally produce long sounds. Reduced (short) versions are possible. However, they rarely occur (Kruatrachue 1960).



Chapter 6.  Thai English 

duration. English short vowels can be made noticeably shorter and long vowels longer in ThaiE.

3.10 Consonants It can be said that there is a big difference between Thai and English consonants. There are many English consonants that do not exist in Thai. In the pronunciation of ThaiE speakers, those consonants might sound totally different since Thai speakers tend to replace them with the most similar ones available in Thai. Kruatrachue (1960) discusses the fact that the major distinctive properties in the pronunciation of English consonants in ThaiE are caused by linguistic differences between Thai and English. For English consonants which do not exist in Thai, such as /tw/, /dŠ/, /θ/, /ð/, /w/, /Š/, Thai speakers tend to substitute the closest consonants available in the Thai inventory. Therefore, /tw/, /w/ and /Š/ are normally found substituted by Thai /t.h/ (aspirated voiceless fortis palatal stop with slight affrication). As a result, words like ‘cheer’ and ‘shear’ may be pronounced similarly in ThaiE. Furthermore, /dŠ/ can be replaced by Thai /t./ (weakly glottalized unaspirated voiceless fortis palatal stop). Also, Thai speakers usually substitute the Thai consonants /t/, /th/, or /s/ for /θ/. According to my informal observations, /t/ is the most common substitute for /θ/ in the initial position. Then, in ThaiE, /ð/ is normally substituted by /d/. In addition, differences can occur because some of the English sounds are not available in the Thai sound system. Therefore, Thai speakers may not notice the contrast and hence not produce it. Consequently, /v/ is usually substituted by /w/, and /z/ by /s/, making words like ‘vest’ and ‘west’, ‘rice’ and ‘rise’ sound the same in ThaiE. The pronunciation of consonants in ThaiE is a huge area for study. Unfortunately, there are very few studies investigating it. The findings of Kruatrachue (1960) listed a number of prominent English consonant sounds as produced by Thai speakers. However, the study was conducted quite long ago. It should be interesting to investigate whether the listed features still exist in ThaiE nowadays. Since Thai users of English now have more exposure to English and start learning English at a very young age, it would be worth exploring whether transfer from the Thai language in pronunciation still exists or whether ThaiE users, perhaps, have managed to develop their own new system. This section has highlighted some important features of ThaiE obtained from several studies. It can be seen that distinctive properties can be found in many areas. However, very little research has been carried out so far. With the constant increase in the use of English in Thai contexts, there should be plenty of research areas to be explored. As a result, more distinctive features of ThaiE will be recognized. These will serve as more concrete proof suggesting that ThaiE is another emerging variety of WE.

 Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk

4. Conclusion With the influence of English as the world international language, its use and users are increasing. Even in a country like Thailand whose national language is strongly maintained, the importance of English cannot be denied. As a result, English is used widely in the country and competent Thai users are numerous. Although English in Thailand is learned and used based on some native speaker standard (often British or American English), there is evidence showing that, to a certain degree, ThaiE has developed its own character. The above discussion shows that the distinctive features of ThaiE can occur at many linguistic levels, i.e. lexicon, syntax, discourse, and phonology. In addition, the features very much confirm the transfer of Thainess to the use of ThaiE. Even though there is still a need for more empirical studies on other features of ThaiE, the present information suggests the possibility of ThaiE, an English in the Expanding Circle, being able to claim itself to be an emerging variety of WE.

References Bautista, M.L.S. & Gonzalez, A. 2006. Southeast Asian Englishes. In The Handbook of World Englishes, B.B. Kachru, Y. Kachru & C.L. Nelson (eds), 130–144. Malden MA: Blackwell. Bickerton, D. 1975. Dynamics of a Creole System. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bolton, K. 2003. English: The Asian way. (4 February 2009). Bolton, K. 2008. English in Asia, Asian Englishes, and the issue of proficiency. English Today 24(2): 3–12. Chutisilp, P. 1984. A Sociolinguistic Study of an Additional Language: English in Thailand. PhD dissertation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Crystal, D. 1997. English as a Global Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Halliday, M.A.K. & Hasan, R. 1976. Cohesion in English. London: Longman. Hofstede, G. & Hofstede, G.J. 2005. Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind. New York NY: McGraw-Hill. Jenkins, J. 2003. World Englishes: A Resource Book for Students. London: Routledge. Kachru, B.B. 1982. The Other Tongue: English across Cultures. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Kachru, B.B. 1986. The Alchemy of English: The Spread, Functions and Models of Non-native Englishes. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Kachru, B.B. 2005. Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kruatrachue, F. 1960. Thai and English: A Comparative Study of Phonology for Pedagogical Applications. PhD dissertation, Indiana University. Mesthrie, R. & Bhatt, R.M. 2008. World Englishes: The Study of New Linguistic Varieties. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Chapter 6.  Thai English  Pingkarawat, N. 2002. Cohesive Features in Documentary Articles from English Newspapers in Thailand and in America. Asian Englishes 55(2): 24–43. Platt, J. 1982. English in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. In English as a World Language, R.W. Bailey & M. Gorlach (eds), 384–414. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press. Seidlhofer, B. 2004. Research perspective on teaching English as a lingua franca. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 24: 209–239. Smalley, W.A. 1994. Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language Ecology in Thailand. Chicago IL: The University of Chicago Press. Trakulkasemsuk, W. 2007. A Comparative Analysis of English Features Articles in Magazines Published in Thailand and Britain: Linguistic Aspects. PhD dissertation, Chulalongkorn University. Tsukada, K. 2008. An acoustic comparison of English monophthongs and diphthongs produced by Australian and Thai speakers. English World-Wide 29(2): 194–211. Tsukada, K. 2009. Durational characteristics of English vowels produced by Japanese and Thai second language learners. Australian Journal of Linguistics 29(2): 287–299. Watkhaolarm, P. 2005. Think in Thai, write in English. World Englishes 24(2): 145–157.

chapter 7

Hong Kong English* Tony T.N. Hung

Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, China The status of Hong Kong English (henceforth HKE) as a ‘variety’ is still open to question, between a ‘nascent’ variety of English and a fully-fledged one. The phonology of HKE exhibits a smaller set of vowel and consonant contrasts than native varieties and other notable features include: initial [l]~[n] alternation (as in no~low), reduction of diphthongs before a [+stop] (take, joke, town), etc. Suprasegmental features of HKE include syllable-timed rhythm, distinctive stress patterns and absence of vowel reduction. Lexically, HKE includes novel expressions and grammatical structures often influenced by Cantonese. Keywords: Hong Kong English, phonology, lexical features, grammatical features

1. Introduction Hong Kong has an unusual history which has shaped its unique character among the cities of the world (not to mention China). Annexed by Britain in 1842 from China during the Ching Dynasty in the aftermath of the infamous Opium War, Hong Kong remained a colony of Britain for 155 years until its “handover” to the People’s Republic of China on 1 July 1997. Under the “one country two systems” principle, it is to remain a largely autonomous “Special Administrative Region” or SAR under its own “Basic Law” for a period of fifty years (i.e. until 2047), before being fully integrated with the rest of China. With a current population of around seven million and a land area of only 1,100 sq. km., Hong Kong is among the most densely populated places on earth. In spite of its cosmopolitan reputation as “Asia’s World City”, the population of Hong Kong is quite homogeneous, being 95% Chinese, most of whom speak Cantonese as their first language. One of the chief legacies of the former British colonial administration is the continued role of English as one of Hong Kong’s two official languages and a key language of education, commerce, technology, popular culture, etc. Though the * I am most grateful to all reviewers and the editors for their very helpful comments and suggestions.

 Tony T.N. Hung

number of people who speak English as their “usual language” is small – only 3% according to the 1996 census (as cited in Bolton 2002: 42) – 35% reported speaking English as “another language” (i.e. a second language). In terms of its official language policy, Hong Kong aspires to be a ‘tri-lingual’ (in Cantonese, Mandarin and English) and ‘bi-literate’ (in Chinese and English) society. English is taught as a subject from the first year of primary schools, which universally adopt Chinese as the medium of instruction. English is the principal medium of instruction in some secondary schools, and in all universities.1 As to be expected from its colonial past, HKE was originally modelled on standard British English or BrE, but is heavily influenced by Cantonese (the first language of the great majority of Hong Kong’s residents), most noticeably in its phonology, but also (to some extent) in its syntax and semantics. A good portion of the present chapter will be about HKE phonology, because this is the only area where there is indisputable evidence of a distinctive variety of English with stable and systematic linguistic features of its own.

2. Phonology of HKE The question of whether there exists a “variety” of English called HKE is a controversial one for which there is no simple answer (cf. Bolton 2002, Bolton & Kwok 1990, Kirkpatrick 2007, Li 1999, Luke & Richards 1982, Pang 2003, Schneider 2007, Setter et al. 2010, etc.). In terms of a stable, fully-developed and distinctive grammar, vocabulary and discourse, and of its “range” and “depth” of penetration and acculturation (in the sense of Kachru 1997 and Y. Kachru & Nelson 2006), HKE is undoubtedly less firmly established as a variety of English in its own right than Singapore, Malaysian, Philippine (described earlier in Chapters 2, 3 and 5 of this volume) or Indian English (to name a few). However, I do not think there can be any dispute over the existence of a distinctive HKE accent, which is just as easily identifiable as a Singaporean, Philippine, Indian or Australian English accent. The fact that native Hong Kongers speak with an identifiable accent implies that they share a common underlying phonological system – regardless of whether HKE is characterised as a ‘new variety’ of English or an ‘interlanguage’. Describing the phonology or sound system of a language (or variety of language) involves a number of components, namely: 1. An inventory of phonemes, or sound segments which contrast with each other; 2. Systematic variations in the phonetic realisations of these phonemes, i.e. alternation; 1. The medium of instruction policy in secondary schools has been repeatedly modified since the 1997 Handover, a sign of how divided public opinion is on this issue. At the time of writing, secondary schools can choose either Chinese or English as the medium of instruction for some or all of their classes. One university (the Chinese University of Hong Kong) is officially bilingual.



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 

3. The distribution of individual segments in relation to other segments, i.e. phonotactics; 4. Suprasegmental features, such as stress, rhythm and intonation. In the present chapter, I shall focus mainly on the segmental phonology of HKE, and only touch briefly on the other aspects. While my basic approach is to analyse and describe HKE phonology on its own terms (in the spirit of Mohanan 1992), this does not preclude making comparisons with “native” varieties of English (henceforth NE’s) which are better known internationally, for reasons of expediency. No prescriptive bias is ever intended or implied, of the kind typical of some existing publications on HKE pronunciation (e.g. Lai 2003).

2.1

HKE vowels

2.1.1 Monophthongs The most comprehensive analysis of the segmental phonology of HKE to date is probably Hung (2000), which made use of acoustic measurements as well as auditory perceptions to capture the qualitative and quantitative differences between HKE vowels.2 Spectrographic analyses of the vowels produced by the subjects showed that certain vowels which are distinctive in most NE’s, such as the vowels in heat and hit (which are a minimal pair in these varieties), are virtually indistinguishable in HKE, both perceptually and acoustically. The spectrogram in Figure 1 shows these two vowels to be virtually identical both in terms of formant frequencies and duration. The aggregated formant frequencies for all the HKE monophthongs in the data are plotted in Figure 2, which reveals massive overlaps between the vowels in pairs of word like heat/hit, bet/bat, cot/caught, etc.: From these findings, we can conclude that HKE speakers in general operate with only seven simple vowel contrasts, in comparison with twelve for British Received Pronunciation (henceforth RP) speakers. In particular, the vowels in each pair of words given below are identical for most HKE speakers, and should therefore be counted as tokens of the same vowel phoneme (for which a phonemic symbol is suggested below), rather than two separate phonemes as in RP (and most other NE’s): WORDS heat – hit bet – bat hoot – hood caught – cot

HKE VOWEL /i/ /ε/ /u/ /f/

RP VOWELS /i:/ – /I/ /e/ – /æ/ /u:/ – /~/ /f˜/ – /7/

2. The study in Hung (2000) utilized fifteen subjects who were undergraduates at the Hong Kong Baptist University, recording lists of words aimed at capturing all the vowel and consonant contrasts which potentially exist in English.

 Tony T.N. Hung 0.00000


0

Freq. (Hz)

8125

C>SPG heat–hit 2

Time (sec)

0.000

0.935

F1 Heat

400

200

Figure 1.  Spectrographic measurements of HKE heat and hit

Hoot Hood

Hit

600

Hurt Cot Bat 800

Hut

Caught

1000

Bet

1200

Heart

3000

2500

2000

1500

1000

F2

Figure 2.  Aggregated formant frequencies of HKE monophthongs

One generalization arising from the above finding is that the HKE vowel system is lacking in the tense/lax or long/short distinction, which more than anything else accounts for the smaller number of vowel contrasts in HKE when compared with NE’s. On the basis of the production data supported by acoustic evidence, the following inventory of monophthongs is postulated for HKE: Vowel [i] [ε]

Examples heat, hit bet, bat



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 

[u] [f] [󰀧] [¤] [з]

hoot, hood cot, caught heart hut hurt

These vowels are plotted on Figure 3. The HKE vowel system is obviously much simpler than that of RP (which has served as a model for HK learners in the past). It is interesting to note in passing that all the Asian varieties of English compared by Hung (1997), i.e. Singapore, Hong Kong, China and Japanese English, exhibit a great deal in common in having only six to seven simple vowel contrasts (though the distribution of these contrasts may vary somewhat).3 The chart in Figure 4 captures their similarities and differences: Front High

i

Mid

ε

Central

Back u

з

P

¤ Low

󱸨

Figure 3.  HKE vowel chart

SingE/CE

HKE

JE

/i/

bit, beat

bit, beat

bit, beat

/ε/

bet, bat

bet, bat

bet

/u/

full, fool

full, fool

full, fool

/P/

cot, caught

cot, caught

cot, caught

/3/

bird

bird

bird, cart

/a/

cut, cart

cart

cut, bat

/¤/



cut



Figure 4.  Comparison of vowel inventories of Singapore English (SingE), China English (CE), HKE, and Japanese English (JE)

3. One vowel feature that sets HKE apart from the other Asian varieties mentioned above is the distinctiveness of [¤] vs. [󰀧]. The most probable explanation is the influence of Cantonese, which (unlike the other L1’s in this instance) does have this particular contrast – as in [s¤m] 心 “heart” vs. [s󰀧m] 三 “three”.

 Tony T.N. Hung

2.1.2 Diphthongs According to the data in Hung (2000), HKE speakers (on the whole) produce eight diphthong contrasts (the same as in RP), as instantiated by the words in Figure 5 below. In this respect, HKE differs from other Asian Englishes such as Singapore and Indian English, which have a simpler inventory of diphthongs (cf. Schneider et al. 2004).4 That, however, is only half the story. The more interesting part is what happens to these diphthongs in different phonological environments in HKE. As a rule, the sounds of a language are not fixed entities but undergo allophonic changes in different phonological environments. In HKE, diphthongs are regularly reduced to monophthongs (e.g. [eI] → [I]) when followed by a [+stop] consonant (i.e. a nasal or oral stop such as [n] or [k]), but not in an open syllable or when followed by a [–stop] (e.g. fricatives), as exemplified by the following data: (1) /eI/ →

[eI] play save

(2) /o~/ →

[o~] [o] low joke [dŠok] clothe loan [loå]

(3) /󰀧~/ →

[󰀧~] now house

[󰀧] town [t󰀧å] down [d󰀧å]

(4) /fI/ →

[fI] boy noise

[f] point [pfnt] coin [kfå]

[I] lake [lIk] pain [pIå]

take [tIk] rain [rIå] soak [sok] bone [boå] noun [n󰀧å]

The above phonological process may be captured by the following rule: [e;] [󱸨;] [󱸨c] [oc] [P;] [;ә] [eә] [cә]

hate height house coat toy here hair poor

Figure 5.  HKE diphthongs

4. While this is technically correct, it should be noted that the reduction in the number of diphthongs in these varieties does not necessarily lead to a reduction in the number of contrasts, as the ‘missing’ diphthongs have monophthongal counterparts (e.g. [ei] – [e:], [ou] – [o:], etc.) which are contrastive.



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 

Diphthong-Reduction Rule in HKE: VV → V/ __ [+stop] (“A diphthong is reduced to a monophthong when followed by a stop consonant”)5

2.2

HKE consonants

2.2.1 Stops Analysis of the data shows that, in addition to the three nasal stops, there are six distinctive oral stops and two distinctive affricates in HKE, namely: /p/ (as in) pea, /b/ bee, /t/ tie, /d/ die, /k/ cot, /g/ got, /t∫/ cheap, /dŠ/ jeep

Phonetically speaking, the so-called “voiced” oral stops and affricates in HKE (/b/, /d/ etc.) are not truly voiced, and are distinguished in the syllable onset from the “voiceless” stops and affricates by the aspiration and longer delay in voice onset time of the latter. (Much the same is true of native varieties of English.) Since the two sets of stops and affricates are just as phonetically distinct in HKE as in NE’s, I shall (for convenience) continue to adopt the conventional “voiced” vs. “voiceless” labels for them in the present chapter. 2.2.2 Fricatives The most significant feature of the fricatives in HKE is that (for the great majority of speakers) there is no evidence of a voiced vs. voiceless contrast. For these speakers, all the fricatives are voiceless, which means that instead of eight distinctive fricatives (/f/, /v/, /θ/, /ð/, /s/, /z/, /∫/, /Š/), there are only four in their consonant system, in addition to [h] (which is also voiceless). In this respect, HKE differs from Singapore and Malaysian English, where the voicing contrast exists for fricatives (though not for all four places of articulation), and from Mainland Chinese and Japanese English, where the contrast may be realised differently – e.g. in the form of an affricate [dz] for [z], and [dŠ] for [Š] (cf. Hung 1997). Looking at individual fricatives, there is evidence in the data for only one alveolar fricative, [s], in HKE. There are no tokens of the voiced alveolar fricative [z] in any position – initial, medial or final – as shown in the examples below.

(5) seal [sil] (6) race [reIs] (7) racing [reIsIå]

zeal raze razing

[sil] [reIs] [reIsIå]

Since [z] does not show up in any phonological environment – not even in intervocalic positions (where it would most likely surface as a voiced fricative) – there are no grounds for postulating an underlying voiced alveolar fricative /z/ in the phonemic 5. The change of final [n] to [å] in some of the above examples is a separate process which will not be dealt with here.

 Tony T.N. Hung

system of HKE. It would be more logical to assume (by the null hypothesis) that the underlying representations for words like zeal, raze and razing (etc.) in HKE are /sil/, /reIs/ and /reIsIå/ respectively. Likewise, there is no evidence for an underlying voiced palato-alveolar fricative /Š/, as all tokens of palato-alveolar fricatives are voiceless (i.e. [∫]), as in:

(8) pleasure [plε∫ә]

pressure [prε∫ә]

television [tεliwi∫әn]

Contrary to popular perception, about half of my HKE subjects did produce an interdental fricative [θ], as in:

(9) thin [θin]

clothing [klo~θIå]

For these speakers, we can postulate a voiceless interdental fricative /θ/ in their consonant system. The rest of the subjects produced [f] instead of [θ] in all environments. For those speakers, /θ/ is apparently not part of their phonemic system, and words like thin and clothing have the underlying representations /fin/ and /klo~fIå/ respectively. For virtually all HKE speakers, however, there is no evidence of a voiced interdental fricative /ð/. Words such as the following are pronounced in HKE with a [d] in word-initial or intervocalic positions: (10) this [dis]

brother [br¤dә]

The phonetic realisation of this consonant as a stop [d] in intervocalic position, as in brother, is particularly conclusive. If the consonant were fundamentally a fricative (/ð/), it would surely emerge as such in this of all positions (i.e. between two vowels), which has a tendency to “weaken” consonants, and not the reverse.6 It is thus reasonable to claim that the voiced interdental fricative /ð/ is not part of the consonant system of most speakers of HKE, and that the underlying representations of this and brother for these speakers are /dis/ and /br¤dә/ respectively. The most interesting fricative in HKE from the phonological point of view is the one represented as /v/ in NE’s. If we assume that there is some such fricative in HKE in the first place, we will need to account for data such as the following, which show alternations between [w] and [f] as realisations of the supposed fricative /v/:7

(11) (12) (13) (14)

vine advice event revoke

[waIn] [εd'waIs] [i'wεnt] [ri'wok]

leave even leaving rover

[lif] ['ifәn] ['lifIå] ['ro~fә]

The medial consonant in revoke ([w]) can be contrasted with the medial consonant in rover, which is a voiceless fricative [f]. At first sight, there seems to be a regularity to the above data, which may give rise to the following hypothesis: 6. cf. the lenition of [d] to [ð] in Spanish, in words like nada. 7.

Stress is indicated with a vertical stroke preceding the stressed syllable.



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 

Hypothesis I: There is a phoneme /v/ in HKE, which is phonetically realised as [w] at the beginning of a stressed syllable, and as [f] at the beginning of an unstressed syllable. While the above data would seem to support Hypothesis I, there is something amiss about the notion of an underlying /v/ which never surfaces as [v] in any environment. Edge (1991), for example, postulates a voiced labio-dental fricative /v/ in her Cantonese subjects’ interlanguage which never actually shows up as [v] but only as a ‘devoiced’ [?] even in intervocalic positions. This is a questionable proposition, as one would surely expect an underlying voiced consonant to surface as a voiced consonant between two vowels, of all positions. This leads us to consider an alternative hypothesis: Hypothesis II: There is no phoneme /v/ in HKE. Under this hypothesis, the underlying representations of the above words are much closer to their phonetic realisations, as follows:

(15) (16) (17) (18)

vine advice event revoke

[waIn] [εd'waIs] [I'wεnt] [ri'wok]

leave even leaving rover

[lif] ['ifәn] ['lifIå] ['ro~fә]

The type of evidence that can help us decide between the two hypotheses would be words such as the following, where the ‘v’ consonant (or whatever one calls it) occurs alternately in a stressed and unstressed syllable within the same morpheme, as in Áadvertise vs. adÁvertisement, Áprovince vs. proÁvincial, and Átelevise vs. teleÁvision.8 The results from my subjects are as follows: (19) advertise ['εdwзtaIs] advertisement [εd'wзtIsmәnt] (20) province ['prowins] provincial [pro'win∫әl] (21) televise ['tεliwaIs] television [tεli'wi∫әn] If Hypothesis I were correct, the subjects would have pronounced advertise as ['εdfзtaIs], and so on, but they did not. Hypothesis II is much more consistent with the facts. Under this hypothesis, the underlying representations of advertise, province and televise would be /εdwзtaIs/, /prowins/ and /tεliwaIs/ respectively. My conclusion is that there is no evidence for a voiced labio-dental fricative /v/ in HKE, but only for /w/ and /f/. 2.2.3 Other consonants There are three nasal consonants, /m/, /n/ and /å/, in HKE. Except for /n/ (see /l/ below), they are much like their counterparts in NE’s. So are the approximants /w/ and /j/ in HKE. Of the remaining consonants, /r/ is often indistinguishable from /w/ in HKE, but /l/ has certain interesting and possibly unique phonological properties. In the syllable coda (i.e. last part of a syllable), /l/ is vocalized as a high back rounded vowel [~]. Thus, fill is pronounced as [fI~] and tell as [te~]. In this respect, 8. The stress pattern of these words, including tele’vision, is (appropriately) based on HKE rather than RP.

 Tony T.N. Hung

HKE is like most other new varieties of English (such as Singapore and China English), as well as such native varieties as Estuary English and Cockney. In the onset (i.e. first part) of the syllable, however, /l/ behaves in a distinctive manner in HKE, in being apparently interchangeable with [n]. As far as I can tell, the alternation is largely free and unpredictable, and the same speaker may alternate between [l] and [n] even when pronouncing the same word on two separate occasions (cf. Hung 2000 for the data and a fuller discussion). This [l]~[n] alternation can also be observed in HK speakers’ Mandarin (cf. Hung 2001b), which suggests that this is a case of first language (L1) (Cantonese) interference. Note, however, that in Cantonese, [n]-initial words can freely alternate with [l], but not vice versa.9 2.2.4 Consonant system of HKE Based on the evidence in this section, we may postulate a system of consonants for HKE as in Table 1.

2.3

Suprasegmental features

2.3.1 Word stress The question of whether the suprasegmental features of World Englishes or WE are important for international intelligibility is one which has not been adequately addressed, and for which no general consensus exists. Thus, according to Jenkins (2000), word stress does not significantly affect intelligibility. But in my view (cf. Hung 2002), this would depend very much on the length of the word itself: the longer the word, the less important stress is (for intelligibility), and vice versa. Take a long word like generalization: regardless of where the stress falls (or whether there is any stress at all), the word can still be easily understood, because it has so many syllables and there is no other word in English that can possibly be confused with it. But take a shorter word Table 1.  System of consonants for HKE Bilabial Labio- Inter- Alveolar Palato- Palatal Dental Dental Alveolar Stop Affricate Fricative Lateral Approximant Approximant Nasal

pb

td f

m

(θ)

s l r n

Velar

Labio- Glottal Velar

kg t∫ dŠ ∫

h

j

w å

9. E.g. nei~lei (“you” 你), nou~lou (“brain” 脑), etc., but not lou~*nou (“road” 路) or lai~*nai (“pull” 拉).



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 

like important or marshal. Depending on where you put the stress – on the second (im'portant) or first syllable ('important), or 'marshal vs. mar'shal, misunderstanding can easily arise. There has been relatively little research on the suprasegmental features of HKE, and therefore a comprehensive description comparable to its segmental features cannot yet be made (cf. Peng & Setter 2000). Though there are (as yet) few confirmed findings, the basic question of whether there are systematic word stress assignment rules operating in HKE can (at least) be partially addressed. Now, in NE’s (such as RP), speakers have internalized stress rules which can be systematically described (cf. Fudge 1984), as in the following example: (22) For words ending with the suffixes -ic, -ity etc.: Stress the syllable immediately before the suffix (e.g. 'angel~an'gelic, 'stupid~stu'pidity) In Hung (2005), it was found that HKE speakers have apparently internalized stress rules which are different from those in NE’s. These HKE ‘rules’ have yet to be analysed fully, but some preliminary findings have emerged. In suffixed words, a common pattern seems to be to place the stress on a particular syllable depending on how long the word is. In four-syllable words (or longer) such as the following, the stress in HKE regularly falls on the penultimate (second-to-last) syllable: (23) peri'odic (24) ener'getic (25) photo'graphic It so happens that the stress patterns of the above words coincide with NE’s, but that is not necessarily the case, as shown by the following examples, which all follow the HKE pattern postulated above (where stress falls on the penultimate syllable), rather than any NE pattern: (26) infor'mative (27) communi'cative (28) tele'vision In three-syllable words, however, the stress tends to fall on the first syllable:

(29) (30) (31) (32)

'angelic 'acidic 'terrific 'courageous

These examples suggest that stress assignment works on different principles in HKE, depending not so much on morphological factors such as the particular suffix involved, but on such metrical conditions as the number of syllables in the word.

 Tony T.N. Hung

Another feature of HKE stress – in common with most other new varieties – is that no distinction is made between verb-noun pairs which in NE’s have different stress patterns, as in trans'port and in'crease (V) vs. 'transport and 'increase (N) respectively. HKE speakers stress the verb and noun forms of such words identically, as in: (33) Verb: ‘The government will in'crease the number of flats’ (34) Noun: ‘There will not be an in'crease in the number of flats’ 2.3.2 Rhythm Like virtually all other new varieties of English (including Singapore, Malaysian, Philippine and Indian English – cf. Schneider et al. 2004 and Chapters 2, 3 and 5 of this volume), HKE is “syllable-timed” – i.e. each syllable occupies more or less equal space. This is in contrast with “stress-timed” varieties of English such as RP, where the intervals between stressed syllables are more or less equal, regardless of how many unstressed syllables there are between them.10 The reason is that syllable-timed rhythm is more “unmarked” and easy to acquire than stress-timed, and (like the majority of the world’s languages) the mother tongue of HKE speakers, Cantonese (or Mandarin or some other Chinese dialect), is also syllable-timed. Among other suprasegmental features of HKE, there is very little liaison between words – i.e. the linking of the last consonant of one word to the first vowel in the next, as in get out [geta~t]. Function words (such as prepositions, pronouns, etc.) are not reduced as they normally are in NE’s. Words in HKE have a more markedly ‘tonal’ quality than in NE’s, due to the fact that HKE speakers all speak Cantonese or some other Chinese dialect, which are tone languages. Thus, stressed syllables in HKE are regularly assigned a ‘High’ tone, and unstressed syllables a ‘Low’ tone, making their tonal contrasts more pronounced than in most other varieties of English.

3. Lexical & grammatical features of HKE 3.1

Lexical features

One of the manifestations of the acculturation and nativisation of a new variety of English is the development of a distinctive vocabulary – words and expressions (new or old) which reflect the local culture, identity and communicative needs. Unlike in Singapore, Malaysia, India or the Philippines, English is not commonly used in everyday communication among the local population in Hong Kong. Accordingly, the distinctive HKE vocabulary is much smaller than these other English vocabularies, as the

10. This is (of course) an idealization: no language is strictly and mechanically ‘stress-’ or ‘syllable-’timed as measured by a spectrograph.



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 

latter varieties have much deeper roots in the local context and are much more widely and frequently used for intra-national communication.11 There is as yet no published dictionary or glossary of HKE words, and it is hard to estimate how many such words there are. As expected, the largest group comprises loan words from local languages (particularly Cantonese), representing concepts or things for which there are no exact equivalents in existing English words or in NE’s cultures, such as:

(35) (36) (37) (38) (39) (40)

dimsum – Chinese tidbits, delicatessen chongsam – a long lady’s dress with slit sides mahjong – a game played with tiles fungshui – geomancy (literally ‘wind and water’) gweilo/kwailo – a foreigner (especially a Caucasian) laisee – a red envelope containing money (as a gift, for good luck)

Some of these loan words have found their way into standard international English dictionaries today, such as the Macquarie Dictionary, and not just the more specialized dictionaries like the Grolier International Dictionary of World English in an Asian Context. Though the stock of distinctively HKE words may be relatively small, and mainly limited to loan words, Benson (2002) has argued that “regional context” may be a more helpful notion than “regional variety” in identifying and describing such words, i.e. words which have acquired meanings which can only be interpreted by taking the Hong Kong context into account. He cites mainland and cross-border (among others) as examples. The way they are used most of the time in HKE, mainland (on its own) refers specifically to that part of China excluding Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan (which is very different from its usage anywhere else in the world), while cross-border refers specifically to what takes place across the Hong Kong-mainland China border. Another example is the use of local to mean ‘concerning or belonging to Hong Kong’, and its derivatives localize/localization to mean ‘replacing expatriates by local (Hong Kong) people’. From the above point of view, the stock of what may be called HKE words would be much larger than in conventional accounts of HKE as a ‘regional variety’. The subject has yet to be investigated in greater depth, based on much larger corpora of HKE than are currently available. Until then, the following examples, all well-known in Hong Kong, may suffice to indicate how potentially rich and varied this vocabulary already is: (41) Abode seeker – In HKE this term does not just refer to any person seeking the right of abode, but specifically to a Chinese citizen born in mainland China whose parents are permanent residents of Hong Kong, and who seeks the right to live in Hong Kong on those grounds. 11. As an example of how extensive a ‘New English’ (such as Singapore English) vocabulary can be, see the Coxford Dictionary of Singlish,n.d. available online at: http://www.talkingcock.com/ html/index.php.

 Tony T.N. Hung

(42) Astronaut – A facetious term used for a Hong Kong person (usually a man) who has emigrated overseas (usually to a Western country like Canada) with his/her family, but returns to work in Hong Kong and frequently flies between the two places. (43) To play computer – To use the computer for recreational purposes (e.g. surfing the Internet, chatting via e-mail or ICQ, downloading music and video, playing computer games, etc.). It means much more than playing computer games or just “playing with” the computer. (44) To sleep late – In HKE, this means to go to bed late, rather than to get up late. (45) To help (someone do something) – In HKE, the implication is usually to do something on behalf of someone, and not just to assist someone in doing it. For example, when someone asks you “Can you help me wash the dishes?”, the expectation is that you will do it for (rather than with) that person.12 (46) Body check – A complete medical check-up or health scan.13 In addition, there are a small number of English words widely used in Hong Kong which are rarely if ever encountered elsewhere (for reasons unknown to me):14 (47) Shroff – a payment counter (esp. in a car park) (48) Nullah – a monsoon drain

3.2

Grammatical features of HKE

In contrast with its phonology and lexis, it is far less straightforward to speak of a “Grammar of HKE”, for the simple reason that it is often difficult to distinguish between those aspects of HKE grammar which may reasonably be described as grammatical “errors”, and those which may fairly be treated as regular grammatical “features” of HKE. The question as to what extent HKE should be regarded as an “interlanguage” (in the sense of Selinker 1972), as opposed to a “new variety” of English in its own right, remains a controversial one. Unlike Singapore, Malaysian, Indian or Philippine English (see Chapters 2, 3 and 5 of this volume), there are relatively few speakers of HKE who use it as their usual language of communication (2.8% according to the 2006 census), and there are few “native speakers” of HKE in the same sense that there are native speakers of Singapore, Malaysian, Indian or Philippine English. From the point of view of grammar, a HKE speaker’s English typically incorporates linguistic features of the target language (English) and the speaker’s first language (Cantonese), as well as features arising from language acquisition factors, such as 12. The influence of Cantonese (帮 “help”) can be seen here, and in some of the other examples too (sleep late, play computer). 13. For more examples of this kind supported by survey findings, see Groves & Chan 2010. 14. There are virtually no tokens of the words shroff and nullah in the Collins Wordbanks Online. They are both of Hindi origin and probably came into use in Hong Kong via India.



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 

over-generalisation, simplification, etc. (cf. Hung 2001a). The speakers of HKE exhibit a wide range of proficiency, and while those at the lower end naturally make plenty of errors, many speakers even at the higher end also exhibit a number of non-standard features which are hard to classify either as “HKE features” or “fossilised errors”. For purposes of the present description, I have mainly resorted to data gathered from first-year undergraduates at my university (see Hung 2003), as I judge them to be representative of the “medium” (or “mesolectal”) level among educated users of English in Hong Kong. In the following section, I will outline some common grammatical features of HKE as exhibited by these users, illustrate each with data from the corpus, followed by a brief comment wherever necessary. Without actually subscribing to Contrastive Analysis in any of its strong forms, I will refer to Chinese grammar whenever this may prove illuminating in explaining the form of HKE, as there is little doubt that it exercises a significant influence on the latter (cf. Rutherford 1987).15 I will organize this section under three main headings: (1) Noun phrases, (2) Verb phrases, and (3) Clause and sentence structure. 3.2.1 Noun phrases (49) (50) (51)

Missing articles Most of plants were giant plants. This drug can inhibit development of cancer. It is used by human body. His father took bath twice a day. Redundant articles Half of them agree that the writing ability is also important. Super Carrot can inhibit the cancer. Finally, the coal was formed. So we should save the energy to save the coal. Relative clauses The early symptom of people lack of vitamin A is... One of the plant contains carotenes is called... The heat came from the earth would make the mud become rock.

Comment: In (51), the relative clause (‘[which] contains carotenes’ etc.) is missing a relative pronoun. Relative clauses of this kind – without relative pronouns – are common even among highly educated speakers of HKE. This is probably due to the influence of 15. One common misconception about Contrastive Analysis is that, just because it does not explain everything (as CA practitioners used to believe), it cannot be taken seriously in explaining anything.

 Tony T.N. Hung

Chinese, where the relative clause (a pronominal DE-clause premodifying the head noun) has no relative pronoun. 3.2.2 Verb phrases (52)

Tense marking About 16 percent of them being neutral with that. I went to the park and see her playing football. Would Kevin stopped seeing his friends? More than 50% did not agreed that...

Comment: In Chinese, the finite/non-finite or tensed/non-tensed distinction does not exist. In HKE, the distinction is often blurred, resulting in main verbs either not being marked for tense, or else redundantly marked. (53)

Auxiliaries We were asked 30 chief executives about what is the necessary... I am agree with you. I am strongly recommend this book to all of you. Why they go to the center of the earth? She thinks she not know.

Comment: There are no primary auxiliaries (like be and do) in Chinese, and their use in HKE is rather inconsistent. In the fourth and fifth examples, auxiliaries are not used in negative and interrogative sentences (exactly as in Chinese), while in the second and third sentences, auxiliaries can apparently take on an ‘emphatic’ function similar to the English do (‘I am agree with you’ = ‘I do agree with you’). (54)

“Pseudo-passive” And it can find in carrots. It cannot produce by the body. So freedom should grant to the citizens. The Housing and Development Board has set up in order to provide...

Comment: This HKE feature is similar to Chinese, which does not have a true passive construction – at least not in the same sense as the English passive.16 Instead, what is expressed 16. The bei-construction is the nearest thing to a passive construction, as in (to give a literal translation) ‘He BEI police arrest’ ‘(‘He was arrested by the police’). But this construction is only



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 

in English by the passive is usually expressed in Chinese by a topic-comment structure, where the underlying object is topicalised and the underlying subject omitted, as in ‘Rice cook already’. The above examples are what Yip (1995) calls “pseudo-passives”. (55)

Present vs. Past participles It was useful to cause the remained part of the plants to... A survey conducting among 30 chief executives reveal that... A million years ago, there were many giant plants grown on the Earth.

Comment: Related to the lack of the active/passive distinction mentioned above, the difference between present participles (which are essentially active, e.g. ‘the boring lecture’ = ‘the lecture bores people’) and past participles (which are essentially passive, e.g. ‘the bored students’ = ‘the students are bored’), is apparently also lacking in the above examples from HKE. (56) Transitive vs. Intransitive The figure raises. The financial crisis deteriorated the economy of Hong Kong.

Comment: Though there is a transitive vs. intransitive distinction in both Chinese and HKE, certain verbs are marked transitive or intransitive in a way different from standard English. This is more a lexical than a systematic grammatical feature. (57)

Phrasal verbs Questionnaires dealing the importance of the qualities for... It can provide us enough vitamin A ...children that suffer permanent blindness. They are concerned each other. They argue each other.

Comment: Unlike in the more regular uses of prepositions, the prepositions used in phrasal verbs are largely lexicalized and unpredictable, and have to be learnt on their own. This is basically a lexical rather than syntactic feature. used for sentences where something adverse happens to the patient/object (like being beaten or arrested), or where it is ‘disposed of ’ (like being discarded or sold). Most active sentences in Chinese cannot be passivised this way (e.g. *’The house was built by my father’, *‘Water was added to the tea leaves’, *‘The letter was written by him’, etc.).

 Tony T.N. Hung

3.2.3 Clause & sentence structure HKE (like Chinese) shows marked differences from standard English in its clause and sentence structure, in particular with respect to coordination and subordination. Coordination Vitamin A is also called retinol, occurs naturally in plants. The lower part was the vegetation, this vegetation was up to 5 kms. Coal is the most important fuel in our daily life, it has been used for a long time. His father was very clean, do not need to have a bath. However, giant plants died many years later, thus the plants decomposed gradually. (58)

Comment: As in Chinese, the concept of the ‘sentence’ in HKE is a rather loose one, and independent clauses can occur in a series without any overt conjunctions. Predicators They concerned about each other. Gavin afraid to say that. The respondents disagreed educating abroad and attractive appearance important. Most of them agreed that capable of working in a team is important. (59)

Comment: In Chinese, both verbs and adjectives can function as the predicator (i.e. head of the predicate), unlike standard English, where only verbs can. (60) Subordinators There are different opinions about leadership ability, writing ability and selling ability important or not. More than 50% of sample disagree attractive appearance is necessary for... Africa countries adapt super carrot and find the super carrot can inhibit...

Comment: As in the case of relative pronouns, Chinese also lacks subordinators (like whether, that, etc.) to mark subordinate clauses, and this seems to have influenced HKE. (61) Existential constructions a. There is/are There are over 80% of them agreed with that.



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English 



There are about 23 percent of them disagreed with the importance of leadership ability. There are students study in the library. There were more and more competitors entered the market.

Comment: In Chinese, the existential construction is formed simply by attaching the existential marker 有 (you, literally ‘have’, the counterpart of the English there is/are) to the beginning of a regular sentence without changing the latter – exactly as in the HKE sentences above, e.g. [There are] + [over 80% of them agreed with that]. b.

The existential verb have Normally, it had about 30 metres high. It includes some giant plants that have 30 meter high. There had some environmental changes.

Comment: In Chinese, the existential marker you literally means ‘have’, which helps to explain the above HKE examples.

4. Conclusion In terms of phonology, HKE speakers share a number of distinctive phonological features (as described in Section 2 of this chapter) which render the HKE accent readily identifiable, and which set its speakers apart from speakers of other varieties as much as a Singaporean, Indian or Australian accent does theirs. A distinctive HKE vocabulary also exists, serving the unique cultural and communicative needs of the Hong Kong context, and this vocabulary is constantly expanding. The thorny question of whether the common features of HKE grammar are interlanguage “errors” or “features” of an evolving variety can only be resolved with the passage of time. If some of the so-called “interlanguage” grammatical features prove in time to be not transient and developmental but stable and permanent features of HKE – exhibited throughout its range of high-proficiency to low-proficiency (or acrolectal-mesolectal-basilectal) speakers – then they may fairly be spoken of as regular grammatical features of the Hong Kong variety of English. Only then can a comprehensive “Grammar of Hong Kong English” be truly written.

 Tony T.N. Hung

References Benson, P. 2002. Hong Kong words: Variation and context. In Hong Kong English: Autonomy and Creativity, K. Bolton (ed), 161–170. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Bolton, K. (ed). 2002. Hong Kong English: Autonomy and Creativity. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Bolton, K. & Kwok, H. 1990. The dynamics of the Hong Kong accent: Social identity and sociolinguistic description. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 1(1): 147–72. Edge, B.A. 1991. The production of word-final voiced obstruents in English by L1 speakers of Japanese and Cantonese. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 13(3): 377–393. Fudge, E. 1984. English Word Stress. London: George Allen & Unwin. Grolier International Dictionary of World English in an Asian Context. 2000. Sydney: Macquarie Library. Groves, J. & Chan, H.T. 2010. Lexical traps in Hong Kong English. English Today 26(4): 44–50. Hung, T.T.N. 1997. The phonemic system of some Asian varieties of English. Paper presented at the 4th International Conference on World Englishes, December 19–21, 1997, Singapore. Hung, T.T.N. 2000. Towards a phonology of Hong Kong English. World Englishes 19(3): 337–356. Hung, T.T.N. 2001a. Interlanguage analysis as an input to grammar teaching. PASAA 31(1): 1–12. Hung, T.T.N. 2001b. Phonological features of Hong Kong Mandarin. Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Chinese Phonology, 396–403. Taipei: National Chengchi University. Hung, T.T.N. 2002. English as a global language and the issue of international intelligibility. Asian Englishes 5(1): 4–17. Hung, T.T.N. 2003. The Hong Kong Baptist University Corpus (Ms, CD-ROM). Hong Kong: Hong Kong Baptist University. Hung, T.T.N. 2005. Word stress in Hong Kong English: A preliminary study. Papers in Applied Language Studies 9: 29–40. Jenkins, J. 2000. The Phonology of English as an International Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kachru, B.B. 1997. World Englishes 2000: Resources for research and teaching. In World Englishes 2000, L.E. Smith & M.L. Forman (eds), 209–251. Honolulu HI: University of Hawai’i. Kachru, Y. & Nelson, C.L. 2006. World Englishes in Asian Contexts. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kirkpatrick, A. 2007. World Englishes: Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Lai, E. 2003. Removing a Cantonese-based Accent to Achieve Near-native Pronunciation in Foreign Languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Li, D.C.S. 1999. The functions and status of English in Hong Kong: A post-1997 update. English World-Wide 20(1): 61–110. Luke, K.K. & Richards, J.C. 1982. English in Hong Kong: Functions and status. English WorldWide 3(1): 47–63. Mohanan, K.P. 1992. Describing the phonology of non-native varieties of a language. World Englishes 11(2–3): 111–128. Pang, T.T.T. 2003. Hong Kong English: A stillborn variety? English Today 19(2): 12–18.



Chapter 7.  Hong Kong English  Peng, L. & Setter, J. 2000. The emergence of systematicity in the English pronunciations of two Cantonese-speaking adults in Hong Kong. English World-Wide 21(1): 81–108. Rutherford, W. 1987. Second Language Grammar: Learning and Teaching. Boston MA: Addison Wesley. Schneider, E.W. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Schneider, E.W., Burridge, K., Kortmann, B., Mesthrie, R. & Upton, C. (eds). 2004. A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol. I. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Selinker, L. 1972. Interlanguage. International Review of Applied Linguistics 10(3): 209–230. Setter, J., Wong, C.S.P. & Chan, B.H. 2010. Hong Kong English [Dialects of English]. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. The Coxford Dictionary of Singlish. n.d. (25 November 2010). Yip, V. 1995. Interlanguage and Learnability: From Chinese to English [Language Acquisition and Language Disorders 11]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

part ii

Policy (Historical context & language planning)

chapter 8

The development of English in Singapore Language policy and planning in nation building Lubna Alsagoff

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore Drawing on seminal works in the literature (e.g. Foley et al. 1998; Gupta 1994; Platt & Weber 1980), this chapter presents a historical account of the sociolinguistic landscape of Singapore from the time of post-British colonial rule to the present day. It examines how English use in Singapore has undergone rapid change because of the speed at which Singapore has developed as a nation (Lim & Foley 2004), and the way in which globalisation has accentuated the duality of roles of English, as a local bridge language and as a “cash language”. Such development is examined against the background of national language policies enforced through the education system to serve Singapore’s political agenda and economic interest, but which marginalizes the cultural role of English as a local language. Keywords: Singlish, multilingual, colonial English, language policy, education system, language planning

1. Introduction This chapter provides a descriptive account of the development of English in Singapore, and focuses, in particular, on how historical events and national policies implemented as part of Singapore’s growth as a nation have influenced the status, evolution and use of this language in Singapore. The Republic of Singapore is a relatively young nation, having only celebrated its 46th year of independence in 2011. Despite this, and the fact that it is a small island with no natural resources, it has grown to become a thriving metropolitan country with a Gross Domestic Product (Purchasing Power Parity) per capita that currently ranks it as the fifth richest nation in the world (International Monetary Fund 2009). Its successful language policies have, in no small measure, contributed to this remarkable development. Language is especially significant given Singapore’s multi-ethnic and plurilingual society (described in Chapter 2 of this volume) in which 74.1% are

 Lubna Alsagoff

ethnically Chinese, 13.4% are Malays, 9.2% Indians, with the other races including Eurasians making up the remaining 3.3% of the 5.08 million population (Singapore Department of Statistics 2010a: 3). Singapore’s recognition of English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil as its four official languages, and the neat division of the population into Chinese, Malays, Indians and “Others” belies the “extreme multilingualism, both individual and societal” (Gupta 1994: 1) that characterises its complex linguistic landscape: each of the three major ethnic groups in fact employs a variety of languages and/ or dialects, making Singapore home to well over thirty different languages and dialects (Bokhorst-Heng 1998: 287; Pakir 1997: 57). In this heterogeneous multilingual speech community, English has occupied an important position since the early 19th century when the arrival of the British heralded a time of rapid economic progress for the small island. Despite the subsequent dissolution of colonial rule, changes in the political landscape through the decades, and the ideological practice of cultural pluralism, English has held its position of dominance. In this account, we examine why this is by tracing the development of English in Singapore, in three parts. In the first section, we examine the development of English in pre-independence Singapore under British rule; the second examines post-independence Singapore and the way in which English has slowly taken a major role in Singapore’s social and economic landscape, and the third discusses the present and future role of English in a Singapore that has rebranded itself as a global nation of the 21st century.

2. English in colonial Singapore Although most historical accounts agree that English was not introduced to Singapore by the British (Lim & Foley 2004), the arrival of Stamford Raffles and the British East India Company in 1819 was clearly responsible for the prominence that English has in Singapore today (Gupta 1998: 106). The British presence almost immediately accelerated the development of trade and commerce, attracting a huge influx of traders, merchants, entrepreneurs and indentured labourers from the surrounding regions, and gave rise to an even more multiracial, multilingual and multicultural population on the small island. Platt and Weber’s (1980: 3) account describes a population that increased dramatically from below 200 inhabitants at the time the British arrived to nearly 30,000 in just twenty-five years. Notably, from a predominantly Malay colony, Singapore’s ethnic landscape transformed in its relatively short history as commercial opportunities available in booming Singapore saw a swelling of its Chinese population over the second half of the 19th century. By the turn of the century, the Chinese outnumbered the Malays two to one, and by the 1950s, the Malays formed only a small minority of the population, as they still do in present Singapore. In early colonial Singapore in the 19th century, education was largely in the hands of private enterprise, in which churches, community organisations and charitable



Chapter 8.  The development of English in Singapore 

bodies ran schools. Under the Capitan system (Bloom 1986), vernacular schools, maintained by each of the ethnic communities, offered education in the three Asian language groups: Chinese, Malay and Indian. There were also the free schools set up by the British colonial authorities. These were termed “free” not because they did not charge a fee, but because they allowed students from any race to enrol. Although English education was offered in such schools, it was accessible to only the wealthy and privileged. Shepherd’s (2005: 74) description of educational policy and practice in Singapore during the 19th century characterises the lack of access to English education as resulting from the indifferent or laissez faire attitude of the British colonisers, more interested in commerce than systematic language planning: under the British East India company, before official colonial rule, the outlook was decidedly commercial in orientation – with meagre resources available, “education, whether for the indigenous population or for the children of the Europeans, had a low priority with the company” (Shepherd 2005: 74). In contrast to Shepherd’s more benign characterisation of British educational policy, other researchers (Bokhorst-Heng 1998; Kwan-Terry 2000; Puru Shotam 1989) describe British colonial policy as one of deliberate exclusion. British policy dictated that children should first become literate in their own language. The Malays, however, were also discouraged from being educated in English; consequently, education in Malay was given financial support by the British rulers (Gupta 1998: 110), the reason ostensibly being to ensure that they developed their natural propensity towards “fishing” and “farming” (Puru Shotam 1989: 505). As Singapore came under direct British colonial rule as a Crown Colony in 1867, English-medium education became more central to education, and English-medium schools such as the mission schools and “free schools” began receiving small governmental grants-in-aid (Chelliah 1960: 90). The increased focus on supporting Englishmedium education was also fuelled by British economic ambitions to continue to develop Singapore as an international hub of trade and commerce. As the government administration grew, there was a need for a larger English-educated clerical workforce – hence, the enrolment of students in English medium schools rose dramatically in the last decade of the nineteenth century – from 2,883 in 1891 to 7,264 in 1899 (Gupta 1994: 35) – as the social mobility and prestige associated with English education provided motivation for more parents to enrol their children in English-medium schools. In addition, the introduction of the Cambridge Local Examinations for English medium education added to the prestige of English education because this international benchmark meant increased educational opportunities abroad. The introduction of the Queen’s scholarship to enable top students to study in England’s best universities further raised the status of English as a preferred language of education. However, the cost of English-medium education continued to be prohibitive, and it was still only the elite and the wealthy who could afford to be educated in English. The rest of the population continued to be educated in their own languages. World War II brought definitive changes to the political landscape of Singapore. After the war, as signs of the imminent dismantling of colonialism became more

 Lubna Alsagoff

apparent, the British hastened preparations for the end of colonial rule. They clearly saw education in English as a necessary foundation for developing Singapore into a nation that would continue to be supportive of British interests (Bokhorst-Heng 1998: 289; Gopinathan 1974: 8–9), and consequently initiated efforts to promote more widespread English medium education. The colonial authorities also held that English education was essential to nation-building, because they believed that English-medium schools would be multiracial and thus help to minimise communal segregation (Hill & Lian 1995: 72). There was also growing concern about the increased political activism and feelings of Chinese nationalism in the Chinese schools, which had been on the rise since the 1949 revolution in China. The British authorities, however, faced considerable obstacles in their attempts to increase access to English education; the lack of access to English medium education in the past decades of colonial rule meant that the majority of Chinese students were already enrolled in Chinese medium schools. Furthermore, the British authorities were short on resources needed to help prepare teachers. To address these and other problems brought on by the war as well as the political neglect of the past, the British authorities proposed the Ten-Year Programme, which, as Gopinathan (1974: 7) points out, was significant as a first attempt at defining the objectives of education in Singapore. The policy document articulated the goals of education as contributing towards civic loyalty, social responsibility and the development of Singapore’s capacity for self-government. Outlined in 1947, it offered a conciliatory position, negotiating a compromise in advocating support for schooling in all three vernaculars (Chinese, Tamil and Malay) while expanding and developing the English-medium schools as quickly as possible (Hill & Lian 1995). Although supportive of multilingual education, this 1947 policy clearly continued to favour English-medium education, as support for other mediums of education was seen only as an interim measure necessitated by logistical constraints; and education in the Asian languages was not relevant to the colonial authorities’ political agenda of cultivating a pro-British population. Across the causeway, in Malaya, the situation was similar, but with one critical difference. There, Malays formed the majority. In 1950, in preparation for Malaysian independence and nationhood, the British authorities commissioned the Barnes Report (Hill & Lian 1995: 74). The report had a distinctly pro-Malay perspective which, while acknowledging the necessity of English, saw the political and cultural unity of Malaya attainable only through the Malay language and culture (Yeo 1973: 139). It outlined an education system focused on nation-building where there would only be Malay or English primary schools, and English post-secondary schools. The Barnes Report caused widespread concern among the Chinese communities in Singapore and Malaya. Singapore, in particular, with a Chinese majority in its population, saw increasing political dissent among the populace. In response, the Fenn-Wu Report was commissioned in 1951 by the Singapore authorities (Lee 2008). The report was significantly different from the Barnes Report in that it advocated the equal treatment of English and vernacular schools and promoted cultural pluralism as an essential foundation for



Chapter 8.  The development of English in Singapore 

nation building (Gopinathan 1974: 16). The British government for the most part, however, accepted the recommendations of the Barnes Report, and the Fenn-Wu Report thus did little at this time to change policy and quell the growing dissent among the Chinese population (see also Chapter 9 of this volume). Not unexpectedly, political unrest in Singapore came to a head soon after, with the Hock Lee bus riots in 1954–55, in which students from the Chinese medium schools, unhappy over political issues such as the less than equal treatment of the languages as well as the limited access to English education, took to the streets in protest. British colonial rule had resulted in a societal hierarchy where the Englisheducated, consisting of the middle-class and wealthier Straits-born Chinese and Eurasians, formed the elite of the colonial workforce. For this group of Singaporeans, access to English medium education had opened doors to political and economic opportunities and advancement. In contrast, the Chinese-speaking majority had limited social and economic opportunities, and had thus become the “working class” of the early Singaporean population (Hill & Lian 1995: 68). In 1955, an All-Party Committee of the Singapore Legislative Assembly was appointed to look into the issues of Chinese Education. The resulting report, published a year later, made wide-ranging recommendations, commenting on a breadth of general issues relating to education. Significantly, it drew on, and took on board, many of the points raised by the earlier Fenn-Wu Report. The All-Party Report was a significant milestone in language planning in Singapore, because, as De Souza (1980: 205) points out, it marked the advent of “a genuinely national language education planning for Singaporeans”, and was the first set of policies formulated by an all Singaporean committee (Bokhorst-Heng 1998: 293). Several key recommendations were made. The report advocated that four official languages be recognised in Singapore – English, along with the three designated languages representing the largest ethnic groups, namely, Malay for the Malays, Mandarin for the Chinese, and Tamil for the Indians. It also echoed the Fenn-Wu Report in promoting cultural pluralism through the principle of equal treatment of all four streams of education. This meant that government funding would be extended to schools whatever their medium of instruction. Like the Fenn-Wu Report, the AllParty Report advocated a nationally-oriented curriculum that would use a common set of textbooks, written in the four official languages, to aid in the development of a curriculum that would help foster national identity. Most importantly, the All-Party Report recommended a bilingual education policy, which would remain as one of the pillars of Singapore’s educational policies in the years to come (Lee 2008: 295). The policy recommended that all school children be schooled in two languages – English and an ethnic mother tongue in primary school; and three languages – English, Malay and their ethnic mother tongue in secondary school. It also emphasised the need for children of different ethnic groups to “intermingle” – this would later lead to the setting up of the integrated schools, in which schools of different language mediums were combined (Lee 2008: 295).

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Most of the recommendations from this report were incorporated into the 1956 White Paper on Education Policy (All-Party Committee on Chinese Education 1956). As the People’s Action Party (henceforth PAP) was represented on the All-Party Committee, it naturally took on board these recommendations when it was voted in as the governing party at the start of self-rule in 1959. The PAP government was extremely efficient in its implementation of the policy recommendations of the All-Party Report – in particular, bilingual education was implemented shortly afterwards – in 1966 in all primary schools, followed by the secondary schools in 1969.

3. English in independent Singapore Even as the PAP adopted the recommendations of the All-Party Report, there was one critical point which Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s first Prime Minister, and leader of the PAP, quickly sought to address at the start of its government of Singapore. Lee wished to right what he saw as the primary shortcoming of the recommendations of the report, namely its lack of recognition of the political centrality of the Malay language. While endorsing and adopting all other recommendations of the All Party Report in support of cultural pluralism and the equal treatment of all languages, the PAP government changed its stance with regard to Malay, and gave it a special place over the other languages. Malay was declared the national language of Singapore, with Lee arguing it was the most apt lingua franca for moral, political and practical reasons. Lee’s move to adopt Malay as Singapore’s national language was clearly in preparation for Singapore’s intended merger with the Malayan Federation, which was the premise upon which Singapore sought to gain independence from British rule. During the period between self-rule and eventual independence, the linguistic landscape of Singapore changed dramatically. This short but intense period of Singapore’s history saw efforts focused on ensuring the success of the merger of Singapore and Malaya. Consequently, the status and role of English had in some sense to be down-played against that of Malay. During the time of merger when Singapore aspired to be part of a united Malaysia, Malay far exceeded English in political importance (Alsagoff 2008). However, even as the PAP government sought to gain favour with the Malayan government, it stood firm in its view of a nation built on a rubric of multiculturalism and multilingualism. Consequently, while it advocated a language policy that saw Malay as a common language, Lee’s government did not see the nationhood of Singapore (and Malaysia) built around Malay as the sole language of the nation, especially given that the Chinese formed the majority of the population in Singapore. As a result of these and other ideological differences, the merger with Malaya to form a Malaysian Malaysia was short-lived, lasting only two short years from 1963 to 1965. With the dissolution of the merger, Singapore became an independent republic. As Singapore was a small island with no natural resources, the PAP government saw the need to invest in human capital and to this end, Singapore’s pragmatically oriented



Chapter 8.  The development of English in Singapore 

government set its sight on modernising Singapore through rapid industrialisation. Not surprisingly, as Singapore struggled into independence on its own and grappled with issues of nation-building, the PAP’s strategies fell back on English. Although no longer necessitated by colonial imposition, English continued to be argued by the PAP government as central to Singapore’s economic survival as an independent nation. English was positioned as an essential means of gaining access to the wealth of the West – both in terms of enabling Singapore to develop a workforce that could avail itself of the advances in Western science and technology necessary for the industrialisation of its economy, as well as gain market access to the wealthier and more developed Western countries. Thus, much of the political discourse centred on an economic, instrumentalist model, where languages were seen as a means to desired ends (Gopinathan 1998: 20). Language management in an economically-driven model also meant that although the different languages were regarded as equal, and protected by law to be so, they were not equally valued. They were, instead, relegated to different roles in Singapore society, in relation to their instrumental value. In this respect, English was characterised contrastively in relation to the other three official languages. While English was portrayed as an instrumental necessity – as key to economic success, advances in science and technology and the wooing of foreign investment – the other three official languages were portrayed as the heritage languages of the three main ethnic groups – the Chinese, Malays and Indians. The other three official languages of Mandarin, Malay and Tamil were to become the representative “mother tongue” languages of the major ethnic groups, acting as cultural ballasts needed to ground Singaporeans in tradition and culture, to stave off “deculturalisation” (Goh et al. 1979: 1–5), and thus fend off the corrupting influences of the West (Hill & Lian 1995). As a counterpoint to the “mother tongue” languages, English was contrastively portrayed as “cultureless”, effected through a representation of English as a working language, purposely not associated with any ethnic group. English was also characterised as an “international” language of trade, science and commerce, rather than the language of Britain or the West (Ho & Alsagoff 1998). The representation of English as such enabled the government to embrace the use of English for pragmatic reasons without the attendant association of English with the “corrupting influences of the West”. This also led to English being characterised as the ideal language for nation building in yet another important aspect: a case was made not only for the economic value of English, but also for its “neutrality” and its already established role as an interethnic lingua franca (Kuo 1980). The neutrality of English was useful in language policy because its position as the language of government administration ensured equal employment and educational opportunities for all ethnic groups, since it was not the “mother tongue” of any of the ethnic groups. This neatly aligned with the government’s ideological stand of equality among races and among languages – English thus became the key to an economically oriented language-in-education policy that would also ensure cultural pluralism and ethnic equality.

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The central role of English in language-in-education policy was also evident during these formative years of Singapore’s nation-building. Even though bilingual education had been adopted by the PAP government as an educational policy, the way in which it was understood and implemented clearly privileged English over the other languages. In Singapore, then and now, bilingual education is understood not simply as education in any two official languages, but rather what Kachru has referred to as English-knowing bilingualism (Kachru 1983; Pakir 1997), i.e. the knowledge and use of English plus one other official language. In English medium schools, students took a second language that corresponded to their ethnic group membership, while in the Asian-language medium schools, English was the mandatory second language. In addition, as a clear signal of the importance of English, science and mathematics were also taught in English in all schools, whatever the language medium of the school. The integrated schools, in which schools of different language mediums were combined, but which promoted English as a lingua franca, also showed the dominance of English in language policy (Lee 2008: 295). In the 1970s, much of the attention of the Singapore government was on developing the economy and physical infrastructure necessary for export-oriented industrialisation. In 1978, however, Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew appointed the then Deputy Prime Minister Goh Keng Swee to examine the education policies and practices of Singapore’s Ministry of Education. Released in 1979, the Report on the Ministry of Education, more commonly known as the ‘Goh Report’, was a landmark policy document that would have a profound effect on the educational system for decades to come. The report found serious flaws with the bilingual policy. The first paragraph of the report highlights “how unnatural the present school system” was at that time, in which 85% of students who were taught in English and Mandarin spoke neither of these languages at home (Goh et al. 1979: 1–1).1 The Goh Report also highlighted an extremely high attrition rate as an indicator of the failure of the way in which the bilingual policy had been implemented. The report presented the high failure rate in one or more languages among students taking the two high-stakes school-leaving examinations – from 1975 to 1977, 62% of those who sat for the Primary School Leaving Examination (henceforth PSLE), held at the end of six years of primary education, and 66% of those who sat for the General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level or GCE O-Level Examinations failed either in their first or second language examinations (Goh et al. 1979: 3–4). The report concluded that the implementation of the bilingual policy had resulted in the imposition of too harsh a requirement on children with varying abilities in language learning. 1. Note that there is no continuous page numbering in the original document of the Goh Report. The original document is divided into chapters, with each chapter bearing a hyphenated page numbering system. In this system, for example, 1–1 refers to Chapter 1, page 1. Each chapter begins with page 1. Henceforth, when this document is referred to, page numbering follows the format of the original document.



Chapter 8.  The development of English in Singapore 

One of the primary concerns raised by the Goh Report related directly to the language spoken in the home. With the majority of Singaporean Chinese speaking a variety of Chinese regional languages such as Cantonese, Hokkien, Teochew and Hakka, known as “dialects” in Singapore’s political discourse, at home, it was no wonder that students faced difficulty in the bilingual education system. Mandarin was in fact not a mother tongue for any of the Chinese, but rather, as with Tamil, and to a lesser extent, Malay, a politically created emblem of ethnic identity. Again for the PAP government, the multilingual diversity of the Chinese population pointed to a problem. Lee argued that because of the persistent use of Chinese dialects, Mandarin could not take its rightful place as the common language that would serve to unify the Chinese community (Gopinathan 1998). The Speak Mandarin Campaign was launched in 1979, and signalled a turning point in the linguistic landscape of Singapore. In its many incarnations and forms throughout the 1980s and 1990s, its success at the national level in changing the linguistic habits of Singaporeans is testament to the drive and political will which drives Singaporean language policies and practices. The Goh Report also led to the introduction of the New Education System in February 1979, which saw major reforms to the structure of the education system, the curriculum, the organisation and procedures within the Ministry of Education, as well as the management of schools. Perhaps the most dramatic and noticeable change was the restructuring of the education system from a standard six-year primary, four-year secondary, and two-year pre-university education for all students into a system of ability-based streaming. Such a change was designed to provide an “opportunity for less capable pupils to develop at a pace slower than for more capable students”, and to allow children who were not academically inclined to attain basic literacy and numeracy skills (Yip, Eng & Yap 1997: 17). Notably, language was key to streaming – academic ability was very much correlated with language ability, and the streams were consequently characterised by the way in which the second language was taught. Students who failed to do well in their examinations at Primary Two and Primary Three were channelled into a monolingual stream to enable them to better cope with their studies. The two streams for the academically more able students were, in contrast, bilingual – the Normal bilingual three-year course for those who had passed their Primary Three examinations; and the Extended five-year bilingual course for those who had failed Primary Three, but passed the Primary Two examinations (Yip, Eng & Yap 1997: 17). At the secondary level of education, there were three streams – the Special stream, under the Special Assistance Plan or SAP, offered both English and Chinese as a first language; the Express course, offered to academically-able students, taught one language at the first language level, and the other at the second language level; and the Normal course, provided to those students who were not as academically able, offered the second language only as an oral language. The prominence given to English over the other languages is evident in the Goh Report, which explicitly states the importance of English to Singapore’s economic needs: “As Singapore industrialises, the English language becomes more important

 Lubna Alsagoff

relative to the other languages” (Goh et al. 1979: 4–4). The value of English was also apparent to Singaporean parents who, as the “invisible language planners” chose overwhelmingly to enroll their children in English medium schools (Pakir 1997: 61). Clearly, English afforded an advantage in relation to social mobility and success as it had in the past (MacDougall & Chew 1976). In addition, education in the respective mother tongues in the English-medium schools was also ensured by a generous 40% of school curriculum time. Not surprisingly, despite a concerted effort by the Chinese educated elites to re-invigorate the enrollment of students in the Chinese medium schools through a “Promote Mother Tongue Education” month, the number of enrollments in such schools continued to fall (Suarez 2005; Tay 1983). Whereas around 50% of children were registered for English stream schools in 1959, the figure rose to 99% in 1983. The attrition in the number of students in the Chinese, Malay and Tamil streams subsequently led the Ministry of Education to announce, in December 1983, that the education system would be a single national stream where English was taught as a first language. By 1987, English became the sole medium of instruction in all schools, and acquired the status of a “first language”.2 In the years following the Goh Report, further minor reforms were made to the New Education System. In particular, the economic crisis of 1985 brought about a review of not just economic strategies, but also education recommendations to improve Singapore’s competitive edge, which included upgrading the median educational level of Singapore’s workforce, expanding and increasing the intakes at post-secondary and tertiary levels, and providing broad-based education to develop the “whole person”. The report on improving Primary School Education, released in 1991, noted that improvements were needed to cater to the bottom 20% of students. The major changes following this review moved primary school streaming a year later to Primary Four. Students were streamed into two-year courses of three language streams (English as first language and Mother Tongue at first/second or oral proficiency language – known as EM1, EM2 and EM3). Initially, EM3 students took the same English and Mathematics PSLE papers as the other two streams, but in 1996, they were offered Foundation English and Foundation Mathematics when the common PSLE papers were found to be too difficult for many of the EM3 students.3 At the tertiary level, English also began to gain ground. Nanyang University, founded in 1956, and a stronghold of Chinese-medium education, began offering subjects in English in addition to Mandarin in 1975, amid fears that it would close because 2. The term “first language” in Singapore education policy does not refer to the status of the individual’s native tongue, but rather reflects the primacy of the English language as the medium of education in which all subjects, except for the Mother Tongue and Civics and Moral education are taught. 3. The PSLE or Primary School Leaving Examinations is a high-stakes national examination which students sit for at the end of their final year of primary school education at age 11–12. PSLE results are used for entry into secondary school, and seen as a strong predictor of academic success.



Chapter 8.  The development of English in Singapore 

of falling student enrolments. Three years later, in 1978, courses common to Nanyang University and the University of Singapore were combined and offered at the Bukit Timah campus of the University of Singapore. Shortly after that, in 1980, the two universities merged to form the English-medium National University of Singapore. The primary thread in the language policies of post-independence Singapore was clearly one characterised by a pragmatic and economically-driven approach to the management of languages. The fine balance between advocating English as the working language of the nation, and the valuing of the other three languages as heritage languages was struck through a careful delineation of the functions of these languages (Wee 2003). Cultural pluralism, including equality for all races and languages, was achieved through an ideology of instrumentalism in language management in which both the economic as well as symbolic value of the official languages were recognised.

4. English: Present and future Singapore’s meteoric economic success in the 1970s and 1980s was very much the result of careful planning on many fronts, including the development of a robust manufacturing base in its economy. Through careful orchestration and implementation of national policies, the Singapore government achieved astounding success in transforming Singapore from a third world economy to one of the fastest growing economies of the world – one of the “Asian Tigers”. However, as Singapore moved into the 1990s, past paradigms which had served the nation well in preparing a workforce whose competencies were needed for the manufacturing industry now had to make way for a different future in which Singapore needed to compete in a knowledge-driven information economy – a radically different type of worker was needed: the knowledge worker. Furthermore, Singapore’s overwhelming dependence on external trade and foreign investment made it all the more urgent that Singapore ensured that its workforce kept itself relevant to global economic trends. Realising that the new economic global landscape necessitated a change in the concept of what it meant to be “educated”, Singapore’s government quickly changed tact, and called for a re-thinking of education. Goh Chok Tong, who had succeeded Lee Kuan Yew as Singapore’s Prime Minister in November 1990, argued that reform to the education system was urgently needed in order to meet the challenges of “a future of intense competition and shifting competitive advantages, a future where technologies and concepts are replaced at an increasing pace, and a future of changing values” (Goh 1997). Rather than continuing to focus on developing a technically competent and compliant workforce for the purposes of supporting the manufacturing industries, the education system now set its goals on developing articulate, creative, well-rounded individuals who would be able to show “innovation, flexibility, entrepreneurship, creativity and a commitment to lifelong learning”, i.e. the educational system had to

 Lubna Alsagoff

ensure that school leavers possessed “the appropriate mix of skills and knowledge for doing well in the new economy” (Gopinathan 2007: 59–60). Consequently, the two major policy themes – “Thinking Schools, Learning Nation” (henceforth TSLN) and “Innovation & Enterprise” (henceforth I&E) – which would shape education in the first half of the 2000s focused less on academic rigour and more on the development of life skills (Ministry of Education n.d.). TSLN, for example, was characterised by the Ministry of Education as developing learning organisations that would be “constantly challenging assumptions, and seeking better ways of doing things through participation, creativity and innovation”. I&E, in the same vein, sought to develop in students core skills such as a spirit of inquiry, originality in thinking, resilience and risk-taking, and team spirit. Included in the set of skills was also that of good communication. Concurrent with such efforts of transforming the paradigms of education to ensure the continued success of Singapore as a nation was also the anxiety about the standards of English in Singapore, brought about by concerns about the increasing prominence of a colloquial variety of English native to Singapore. Interestingly, as new generations of Singaporeans benefited from the successes of the bilingual education policy, there grew to be a distinct change in the way English was spoken and used among the population. Increasingly, with the “democratisation of English”, a vernacular known as Singlish became the lingua franca of the nation, with even Lee Kuan Yew, Minister Mentor, and chief architect of Singapore’s language policies, conceding this: Up to the 1970s in our markets and hawker centres, Bazaar Malay was the lingua franca. Everybody could understand and speak some Malay. Because of our bilingual policy, today the lingua franca is English, or Singlish. (Lee 2005)

Concerns that this form of English would threaten Singapore’s position in the global economy arose as early as the late 1990s. In his National Day Rally speech in 1999, Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong pointed to the detriment that the unchecked use of Singlish could cause to the economic successes of Singapore. In the following year, he launched the Speak Good English Movement – termed a movement, rather than a campaign, it sought to encourage Singaporeans to speak Standard English, so as to ensure that Singapore’s aim of becoming a first world economy would not be affected by poor English standards among Singaporeans – which was what the government saw Singlish to be. Goh’s message to Singaporeans at the launch of the Speak Good English Movement was clearly economically driven, consistent with the government’s characterization of English in instrumental terms: The ability to speak good English is a distinct advantage in terms of doing business and communicating with the world. This is especially important for a hub city and an open economy like ours. If we speak a corrupted form of English that is not understood by others, we will lose a key competitive advantage. My concern is that if we continue to speak Singlish, it will over time become Singapore’s common language.



Chapter 8.  The development of English in Singapore 

Poor English reflects badly on us and makes us seem less intelligent or competent... all this will affect our aim to be a first-world economy. (Goh 2000)

Notably, Goh correlates the quality of the language spoken with intelligence, and warns that using the local English vernacular, Singlish, would put Singaporeans in danger of being construed as “less intelligent or competent”. Goh’s concern is clearly that Singapore’s citizens needed to speak an “internationally intelligible English” useful for the purposes of economic survival and growth, and not a variety only intelligible within the island (and Malaysia). In keeping with the status and economic value of English as a working language and consequently sans culture, the government was not sympathetic to calls by citizens that the local variety was part of the cultural identity of Singaporeans, and saw the need to speak an English intelligible to the international world as loyalty and service to the nation: They [younger Singaporeans] should not take the attitude that Singlish is cool or that speaking Singlish makes them more “Singaporean.”... If they speak Singlish when they can speak good English, they are doing a disservice to Singapore. (Goh 2000)

However, even as the government continued efforts to eradicate the use of Singlish, there was, and still continues to be, a degree to which it appreciates that, apart from being a working language and an economic tool, English has become, through its use as an inter-ethnic lingua franca, a symbol of Singapore’s cultural identity, and the home language for a growing number of Singaporeans (cf. Lim 2009). Recognition of the social capital that Singlish commands was demonstrated during the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (henceforth SARS) crisis in 2003 when the government expediently employed it as a tool to reach out to the masses. Phua Chu Kang, the television character of the 1990s, criticised by the Prime Minister for popularising Singlish and made to attend English classes, was allowed to revive his use of Singlish to perform a rap in which he appealed to Singaporeans to be civic-minded, and not to kak-pui or spit (Associated Press 2003) in order to help prevent the spread of SARS. The move for Singapore from a nation where English is seen as purely exoglossic to one in which more and more of the population will claim English as their native or at least dominant language will continue to be a difficult one. Unlike countries like Australia and the Philippines which have embraced the development of a national variety of English, the Singapore government has continued to maintain a position where the standard of English advocated continues to be an exonormative one. In the most recent incarnation of the English Language Syllabus, released in 2010, the Ministry of Education has continued to stress the need for students to develop an “internationally acceptable” English, and has put added emphasis on the standards of English, clearly embracing a more structural approach to language, along with a renewed concern for accuracy in grammar and pronunciation. Although an internationally acceptable English could ostensibly have referred to an endonormative one, viz. Standard Singapore English, it is significant that the term “Singapore English” continues to be absent from

 Lubna Alsagoff

official policy documents, indicating that this standard is seen as exonormative.4 The quality of Singaporean teachers’ English continues to be debated, and the import of expatriate teachers, a practice since the 1970s, is an ongoing exercise to ensure that there are good role models of British English in the schools. The reason for the government’s unfaltering stand in insisting on an exonormative standard for English can be understood if we take into account Singapore’s instrumental approach to language management. First, the role of English as a language of banking and commerce must mean that it has to meet the needs of that purpose – Singapore’s small economic footprint and dependence on external sources of finance entails that it safeguard the language that makes all this possible. Second, the functional division between English and the three “mother tongues” that has been the successful basis of its management of cultural and linguistic pluralism must be maintained. Recognition of the functional complementarity between English as a working language whose role is to serve as an economic conduit to the international community, and the three other official languages which in contrast represent Singapore’s cultural heritage is important if the government is to be able to continue with educational policies that accord equal treatment to all the four official languages. English cannot be seen as privileged – and cannot thus ever be acknowledged officially as the national lingua franca (de jure) because this would mean that English would rise above the other three languages as the most important to Singapore. The delicate balance in Singapore’s language policy would then no longer be viable, and would ostensibly threaten the linguistic and cultural pluralism that has been the basis of Singapore’s economic successes.

5. Concluding remarks English in Singapore has come a long way – from a “foreign” language of the British colonisers, it has evolved into a variety with a growing population of native speakers (Schneider 2007). English has become the de facto lingua franca. Literacy in English has risen significantly, from a low 21.0% in pre-independent Singapore of 1957 to 33.7% in 1970 (Kuo 1980: 55), and to 70.9% in 2000 (Singapore Department of Statistics 2000: 2). In 2010, this figure has risen yet again, and stands at 79.9% (Singapore Department of Statistics 2010b: 9). Even more interestingly, the census data also show more children using English as their most frequently spoken language at home than youths and adults. In 2000, for example, 36% of Chinese children aged 5–14 years spoke English most frequently at home compared with 22% of youths aged 15–24 years and 25% of those aged 25–54 years. In just ten years, this figure has again risen, with now 52% of Chinese children aged 5–14 years speaking English as a home language (Singapore Department of Statistics 2010b: 11). 4. Other indicators that the standard is exonormative include the role of teachers hired from UK, US, Australia and New Zealand as ‘role models’.



Chapter 8.  The development of English in Singapore 

English is also a language inextricably linked with Singapore’s development as a nation, and has been part of the island’s history since the earliest times. The critical role that English has played in helping Singapore develop and maintain its competitive economic advantage was recently again underscored by Ng Eng Hen, who chose to highlight it in one of his first public speeches as Minister for Education, amid renewed debates in the media about the value of Singlish and vigorous concerns about the standards of English spoken in schools: The first fundamental shift was the decision to use English as the medium of instruction in our schools. Parents given the choice of English saw the practical benefits and opted for it in droves. The concept of globalisation was nascent and we would reap rich harvests as English became the lingua franca of an exploding information age to come. We did not envisage the magnitude of that change, but when it came, it enabled us to leap-frog many nations, and also allowed us to improve the teaching of Maths and Science and technologically based subjects. Ex-post, that the choice of English conferred enormous advantages seems almost a no-brainer of a choice in today’s context. But recall that in the 1950s and 60s, Singapore was a very diverse collection of people. Our citizens had different languages and cultures. We could have done what other countries did, which was to adopt the language of the majority race – Chinese. Or adopt Malay as our official language so that we could assimilate well with our neighbouring countries. We would be a very different Singapore today if we had made other choices. (Ng 2008)

The stakes are high, and the path uncertain, as the global economic and geo-political landscape evolves. As China and India continue their unrelenting march towards economic prosperity, and the aftermath of 9/11 continues to be felt, the small island of Singapore, surrounded by Muslim neighbours and the economic giants, India and China, will need to tread carefully not just economically, but politically as well, to ensure that the successes it has built over the last forty years of its independence continues through to the 21st century. How it manages the role of English in relation to the languages of the other ethnic groups is critical. Without a doubt, English will continue to flourish in Singapore. Its international currency sits congruently with Singapore’s position as one of the world’s most globalised nations.5 However, potential problems lie ahead if Singapore refuses to embrace and manage the development of its own brand of English. As more and more speakers of English as their native “step-tongue” (Gupta 1994) enter adulthood and claim English as part of their cultural identity, it seems unclear how the formulaic functional division of English as a working language versus the “mother tongues” as languages of cultural identity and heritage can be sustained. Furthermore, Singapore faces a considerable challenge in culturally integrating the large numbers and diverse range of migrant and migrant workers who now make 5. Singapore has been ranked as one of the top 10 most globalised cities in the world in the Global Cities Index 2010 compiled by the Foreign Policy, A.T Kearney and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs; and in 2005 to 2007, even topping the list as the world’s most globalised nation.

 Lubna Alsagoff

up an overwhelming 36% of Singapore’s population (Singapore Department of Statistics 2010c: 1).6 For many, English clearly serves as a lingua franca, but the interesting question for Singapore’s future will be “Which English?”.

References All-Party Committee on Chinese Education. 1956. Report of the All-Party Committee of the Singapore Legislative Assembly on Chinese Education. Singapore: Government Printing Office. Alsagoff, L. 2008. The commodification of Malay: Trading in futures. In Language as Commodity: Global Structures, Local Marketplaces, P. Tan & R. Rubdy (eds), 44–56. London: Continuum. Associated Press. 2003. Singapore’s hip-hop SARS hope. Singapore: Speak Good English Movement, 3 July 2003, (1 January 2010). Bloom, D. 1986. The English language and Singapore: A critical survey. In Singapore Studies: Critical Surveys of the Humanities and Social Sciences, B.K. Kapur (ed), 337–458. Singapore: Singapore University Press for Centre of Advanced Studies. Bokhorst-Heng, W. 1998. Language planning and management in Singapore. In English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore, J. Foley, T. Kandiah, Z. Bao, A.F. Gupta, L. Alsagoff, C.L. Ho, I.S. Talib & W. Bokhorst-Heng (eds), 287–319. Singapore: Oxford University Press. Chelliah, D.D. 1960. A History of the Educational Policy of the Straits Settlements with Recommendations for a New System Based on Vernaculars. Kuala Lumpur: Government Press. De Souza, D. 1980. The politics of language: Language planning in Singapore. In Language and Society in Singapore, E. Afendras & E.C.Y. Kuo (eds), 203–232. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Foley, J., Kandiah, T., Bao, Z., Gupta, A.F., Alsagoff, L., Ho, C.L., Wee, L., Talib, I.S. & BokhorstHeng, W. (eds). 1998. English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press. Goh, C.T. 1997. Shaping our future: Thinking schools, learning nation. Speech by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong at the Opening of the 7th International Conference on Thinking on 2 June 1997, at 9.00 a.m. at the Suntec City Convention Centre Ballroom, Singapore, (12 July 2009). Goh, C.T. 2000. Speech by Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong at the launch of the Speak Good English Movement on Saturday, 29 April 2000, at 10.30 a.m. at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) Headquarters Auditorium, Dover Drive, Singapore, (12 December 2009). Goh, K.S. and the Education Study Team. 1979. Report on the Ministry of Education 1978. Singapore: Singapore National Printers. Gopinathan, S. 1974. Towards a National System of Education in Singapore, 1945–1973. Singapore: Oxford University Press.

6. This statistic is derived from the 0.54 million permanent residents and the 1.31 million foreign workers who make up the immigrant population residing in Singapore (see Singapore Department of Statistics 2010c: 1).



Chapter 8.  The development of English in Singapore 

Gopinathan, S. 1998. Language policy changes 1979–1997: Politics and pedagogy. In Language, Society and Education in Singapore: Issues and Trends, S. Gopinathan, A. Pakir, W.K. Ho & V. Saravanan (eds), 19–44. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Gopinathan, S. 2007. Globalisation, the Singapore developmental state and education policy: A thesis revisited. Globalisation, Societies and Education 5(1): 53–77. Gupta, A.F. 1994. The Step Tongue: Children’s English in Singapore. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Gupta, A.F. 1998. The situation of English in Singapore. In English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore, J. Foley, T. Kandiah, Z. Bao, A.F. Gupta, L. Alsagoff, C.L. Ho, I.S. Talib & W. Bokhorst-Heng (eds), 106–126. Singapore: Oxford University Press. Hill, M. & Lian, K.F. 1995. The Politics of Nation Building and Citizenship in Singapore. London: Routledge. Ho, C.L. & Alsagoff, L. 1998. English as the common language in multicultural Singapore. In English in New Cultural Contexts: Reflections from Singapore, J.A. Foley, T. Kandiah, Z. Bao, A.F. Gupta, L. Alsagoff, C.L. Ho, I.S. Talib & W.D. Bokhorst-Heng (eds), 201–217. Singapore: Oxford University Press. International Monetary Fund. 2009. World Economic Outlook Database, October 2009, < http:// imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2009/02/pdf/text.pdf> (2 December 2009). Kachru, B.B. 1983. Models for non-native Englishes. In The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, B.B. Kachru (ed), 31–57. Oxford: Pergamon Press. Kuo, E.C.Y. 1980. The sociolinguistic situation in Singapore. In Language and Society in Singapore, E. Afendras & E.C.Y. Kuo (eds), 39–62. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Kwan-Terry, A. 2000. Language shift, mother tongue and identity in Singapore. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 143(1): 85–106. Lee, E. 2008. Singapore: The Unexpected Nation. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Lee, K.Y. 2005. Speech by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew at the Tanjong Pagar Chinese New Year Dinner at Radin Mas Community Club, 17 February 2005, Singapore, (12 July 2009). Lim, L. 2009. Beyond fear and loathing in SG: The real mother tongues and language policies in multilingual Singapore. AILA Review 22: 52–71. Lim, L. & Foley, J. 2004. English in Singapore and Singapore English: Background and methodology. In Singapore English: A Grammatical Description [Varieties of English around the World G33], L. Lim (ed), 1–18. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. MacDougall, J.A. & Chew, S.F. 1976. English language competence and occupational mobility in Singapore. Pacific Affairs 49(2): 294–312. Ministry of Education. n.d. Bluesky Website, (19 December 2009). Ng, E.H. 2008. Educating the Next Generation. Speech by Dr Ng Eng Hen, Minister for Education and Second Minister for Defence, at the 4th Anniversary Public Lecture at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, on Thursday, 14 August 2008, at 11.30 a.m., Singapore, (15 October 2008). Pakir, A. 1997. Education and invisible language planning: The case of the English language in Singapore. In Education in Singapore: A Book of Readings, J.T. Tan, S. Gopinathan & W.K. Ho (eds), 57–74. Singapore: Prentice Hall. Platt, J., & Weber, H. 1980. English in Singapore and Malaysia: Status, Features, Functions. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press.

 Lubna Alsagoff Puru Shotam, N. 1989. Language and linguistic policies. In Management of Success: the Moulding of Modern Singapore, K.S. Sandhu & P. Wheatley (eds), 503–522. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Schneider, E.W. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Shepherd, J. 2005. Striking a Balance: The Management of Language in Singapore. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Singapore Department of Statistics. 2000. Singapore Census of Population 2000: Advance Data Release No 3: Language and Literacy, (5 April 2010). Singapore Department of Statistics. 2010a. Singapore Census of Population 2010: Advance Census Release, Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, (30 May 2011). Singapore Department of Statistics. 2010b. Singapore Census of Population 2010: Statistical Release 1: Demographic Characteristics, Education, Language and Religion, Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, (30 May 2011). Singapore Department of Statistics. 2010c. Population Trends 2010, Department of Statistics, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore, (30 May 2011). Suarez, S.L. 2005. Does English rule? Language instruction and economic strategies in Singapore, Ireland, and Puerto Rico. Comparative Politics 37(4): 459–478. Tay, M.W.J. 1983. Trends in Language, Literacy and Education in Singapore. Singapore: Department of Statistics. Wee, L. 2003. Linguistic instrumentalism in Singapore. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 24(3): 211–224. Yeo, K.W. 1973. Political Development in Singapore 1945–55. Singapore: Singapore University Press. Yip, J.S.K., Eng, S.P. & Yap, J.Y.C. 1997. 25 years of educational reform. In Education in Singapore: A Book of Readings, J.T. Tan, S. Gopinathan & W.K. Ho (eds), 3–32. Singapore: Prentice Hall.

chapter 9

Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system Asmah Haji Omar

University of Malaya, Malaysia The Malaysian government’s ruling that Malaysian schools use English as the medium for teaching Science and Mathematics (henceforth TSME) starting January 2003 had engendered various reactions (the switch back to Malay took place in 2010). These reactions, supportive or otherwise, cut across the boundaries of the racial groups: Malays, Chinese and Indians. After independence, English schools became national schools, using Malay as the medium of instruction, with English as a compulsory language, even for the Chinese and Tamil schools. Malay opposition to TSME in English has a nationalistic and historical basis. Chinese opposition finds a basis in cognitive concerns while the Indians seem to be neutral for various reasons. This chapter discusses the perception of TSME in English among Malaysians in the light of national language policy and planning and the government’s intent in achieving Vision 2020.1 Keywords: language policy, teaching of Science and Mathematics in English, education system, medium of instruction

1. Introduction Although the British first set foot on the Peninsula of Malaya in 1786, with the arrival of the East India Company in Penang under the stewardship of Captain Francis Light, it is not quite accurate to say that 1786 was also the date for the introduction of English into the Malay States. The English people of Francis Light’s time would have only used their language among their own kind with smatterings of it with Asians who worked as their labourers and servants. Even then, according to the accounts of English and 1. Vision 2020 (or Wawasan 2020) is an ideal or aspiration introduced and tabled in the Sixth Malaysia Plan in 1996, for all Malaysians to achieve a fully developed country in all aspects of life ranging from economic prosperity to social well-being, political stability, national unity, psychological balance, spiritual enrichment, quality of life, etc. by the year 2020 (Wawasan 2020 n.d.).

 Asmah Haji Omar

European administrators and planters, the European masters were likely to choose the local language, well represented by pidgin Malay, in their interaction with the locals. When speaking with the Sultans, they usually had an interpreter so that rules of Malay etiquette were not violated.

2. The English schools: Where the seeds of English were sown A more likely time-frame for the sowing of the English language seeds among Malaysians was the second decade of the 19th century. This began with the establishment of the Penang Free School in 1816, the first school built according to the system of education existing in England, using English as the medium of instruction (henceforth EMI). Soon after, other English schools followed, built by the colonial government as well as by Christian missionaries. However, these schools spread their wings only within the radius of the big towns. As a result, their recruitment mainly consisted of the Chinese who were mostly domiciled in the urban areas. There were a few from the Malay and Indian ethnic groups but in terms of numbers these were few and far between compared to the Chinese. To most of the Malays, who were in the majority, the English schools seemed to belong to another planet altogether. Children of the Malay ruling class and the nobilities had the advantage of their financial standing as well as living in or near the urban areas and were able to send their children to English schools. But the majority of the Malays were forced to be content with their vernacular school education which was only offered up to Year 6 of the primary school, or attend the religious schools run by village personalities where education was confined to the learning of the tenets of Islam and reading the Quran. In 1921, more than a century after the establishment of the Penang Free School, a school for Malay boys was set up in Kuala Kangsar, and was known as the Malay College Kuala Kangsar. This was a boarding school with the objective of educating Malay boys of the ruling class and the nobilities so that they would be better partners to the colonial rulers in the administration of the Malay states. By and by, admission was extended to boys of the commoners’ class. This school was modelled on Eton in England. The objective was achieved, as the graduates were able to speak English fluently, and were very well adapted to the rules of English etiquette, including table manners. A counterpart for girls was built in 1948 in Kuala Lumpur, the Malay Girls’ College. At this juncture it should be mentioned that at the end of their secondary school education, all students of the English schools had to sit for the School Certificate examinations which were controlled by a board in the University of Cambridge. This meant that papers for all subjects taken for the examinations were set and examined by this board. The certificate issued to successful students (according to their grades: I, II, III) was known as the Senior Cambridge School Certificate. The label ‘Senior’ was important, because there had been a Junior Cambridge School Certificate before World



Chapter 9.  Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system 

War II, meant for students who had completed and had been successful in the examinations at the end of the third year of their secondary school education. However, the latter programme was no longer implemented after the war. Successful students of the “Senior Cambridge”, as was the term of the time, were recruited into the government service. Top achievers were given scholarships to further their study in England or other Commonwealth countries, in academic fields determined by the government. Those who could afford the expenses, and most of them were Chinese, sent their children to these countries on their own to study in academic fields of their own choice. In 1948, a destination for further education was established nearer home, with the setting up of the Raffles College for the Arts, and the King Edward College for Medicine and Dentistry in Singapore. This brief description of the use of English in education in Malaysia shows that it was the English schools that became the nursery for the growth of English in Malaya. And it was also these schools that nurtured an English-speaking elite in the country.

3. Determinants of language policy At the time of independence in 1957, Malaya was in need of symbols by which she could identify herself as a sovereign nation. This is an ethos which is not peculiar only to Malaya but to all newly independent nations, motivated by the feeling that they should no longer be placed under the umbrage of their former colonial masters. The three universal symbols of nationhood are a national anthem, a national flag and a national language. For the first two, choice is based on the nation’s traditional features in terms of design, colour and musical form, and they are readily accepted as national icons. The third symbol, a national language, appears to be more problematic, as a language exercises functions which the other two do not have. So it is not a matter of having a language as a lifeless symbol which means the same to everyone regardless of ethnic and cultural background. Language develops with the growth of the human being, and it can be said to be a “living” entity as it grows and expands in systems and functions in tandem with the growth and development of its speech community. For an individual, language affinity begins at birth. And, with the growth of the human being, language is always there: in the mind, in interaction between one individual and another, in the formulation of thoughts and ideas. It connects the present to the past and to the future. There is an enormous psycho-cultural set-up in the life of a single language. What this means is that the choice of a language to be the national language is much more complicated than the choice of the other two symbols, the flag and the national anthem. Although Malay was undoubtedly the language of the Malay Peninsula, being indigenous to the region, as well as functioning as a language of general communication and of governance of the Malay states, yet there was a great deal of polemics surrounding its choice as the national language of an independent Malaya at the dawn of Malayan

 Asmah Haji Omar

independence from British rule on 31 August 1957. This arose from demands by the non-indigenous sector of the population, namely the Chinese and the Indians, not to have a monolingual national language policy. The alternatives they submitted were (1) a bilingual Malay-English policy, and (2) a four-language policy with Chinese and Tamil added on to (1). (For a detailed account of this, see Asmah 1979: Chapter 1). Malaysians, especially Malays, view the national language as an identity symbol. To the Malays, who are the indigenous population of the country and to whom Malay is the mother tongue, having any other language in that august position, especially one that is exoglossic, even as a co-ordinate to Malay, is unthinkable. It would be another thing if the other language is given another role, even one including use in official situations. Hence, the role as an official language was given to English for a period of ten years after independence. This meant that between 1957 and 1967 there were two official languages in independent Malaya, Malay and English. The idea was to give ample time for Malay to develop the capacity to function at all official levels in the country, most of all in governance. The same approach of assigning Malay to be the nationalcum-official language and English as the other official language until ten years after independence also applied to Sabah and Sarawak when the two joined Malaya in September 1963 to form Malaysia. In 1973, the two states were supposed to “let go” of English as an official language. Sabah was able to comply with the ruling, but Sarawak through the decision of its Legislative Council retained English until 1985. In September 1967, English was ostensibly no longer an official language in Malaya. However, it continued to play the role of an official language in certain situations: in the drafting of the country’s laws, in the law courts, in the drafting of rules and regulations in government institutions, in certain professions such as medicine, dentistry, engineering, accountancy, banking and other financial sectors, and in business. In education, although Malay had become the main medium of education, English was set up as the second language of Malaysia, i.e. a language that had to be taught to every Malaysian from the primary level up to the tertiary level of education. In other words, its position as an official language still lived on, even if the official status was not overtly referred to. What can be more official than those domains mentioned above? It is because of the importance of English in such domains that English has been termed a second language in Malaysia, meaning that it is the most important language after Malay, the national language.

4. Use of Malay and English in the everyday life of Malaysians In examining this topic, I propose to give a general picture of the two languages under consideration, as seen in the following table. The column ‘National Level – in general’ refers to language use at large in the whole country. Any first-time visitor to Malaysia can see that both Malay and English are freely used in all situations, except in official ceremonies, such as the installation of



Chapter 9.  Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system 

Table 1.  Use of Malay and English according to domains Language

Malay English

National level – in general + +

Open Restricted Education Professions Social governance governance interaction + –

+ +

+ +

+ +

+ +

the King or the Sultan of a Malay state, the opening of Parliament and debates in Parliament and legislative councils, where only Malay is allowed. Outside these official situations, the Prime Minister and his ministerial colleagues are seen to code-switch in interviews with the media or with an audience after a speech. Malay-English codeswitching seems to be the norm in communication which is not categorised as official. This also includes the media, both print and electronic. Entertainment, information and education programmes on TV are given in both Malay and English. So are the advertisements. “Open governance” refers to management and administration in government departments and institutions as well as in statutory bodies, i.e. those institutions which are seen to be independent of the government, but are in fact indirectly controlled by the government through the acquisition and management of their annual budgets. Together, all these bodies form the bulk of government institutions in the country. The use of Malay is strictly adhered to in official reports, correspondence, documents, speeches and the conduct of meetings. Informal communication among staff members may take the Malay-English code-switching mode. The term “restricted governance” refers to the drafting of laws, regulations etc. This also includes reports in big financial firms and business houses. If they are Malaysian institutions, there is a Malay version to the English report. This situation has existed from the days soon after independence. The expectation was that the situation would change with time, but the change has been negligible. Education takes into consideration all levels, from kindergarten to the tertiary. All government institutions use Malay as the main medium of education. The universities funded by the government use the two languages, with varying degrees of application. The science-based and the law faculties use more English than the Humanities and the Social Sciences. At the same time there are private schools, universities and colleges using English as their only medium of instruction. A pattern of language choice similar to that in education is seen in the professions, where Malay is most used and in fact is the only language used in dealings in government departments, whereas it is English when it comes to professions in private firms or institutions not run by the government. The latter includes the banks, financial houses, commercial and insurance firms, hospitals, clinics, etc. As for social interaction one has to see it as two different matrices: one is the region-matrix and the other is the education-matrix. Both region and education have to

 Asmah Haji Omar

be seen as the two most significant factors which influence the choice of language in social interaction. The region-matrix means that people in the big cities and towns tend to use both Malay and English in their social interaction quite comfortably. In the smaller towns and the rural areas, much more Malay is used compared to English. The latter is heard in offices in firms and private institutions in these areas. In referring to the use of Malay and English in the region-matrix, I do not refer to the quality of language usage in either English or Malay. The fact to be considered here is that in informal communication Malaysians use some form of Malay, and likewise some form of English. The Malays naturally use their native language perfectly well, but this comes in many different dialectal forms. Attention should be drawn to the fact that Malays do not use the standard variety of their language in social interactions. When speakers of different dialectal backgrounds meet, they seem to adjust themselves to one another to ensure a smooth flow of communication. When non-Malays speak Malay, they are also heard to use the type of Malay that is the dialect of their home-background. Malay and non-Malay politicians vying for seats as members of Parliament or the Legislative Council of any of the fourteen states always drive the point home – that they speak the dialect of the constituency they choose to represent. For example, in the by-election of April 2009 for the Bukit Selambau (Kedah) State seat, a candidate who was interviewed by a national newspaper stressed the fact that he spoke the Kedah dialect, even though he was a Tamil-speaking Indian. Interviewer: Are you a local boy? Some people claim you were parachuted into Bukit Selambau. Comment? Candidate: I’m a local boy. I speak the dialect. As for the education-matrix, education in the medium of English, wholly or partially, means that the person with this background is most likely to be very comfortable in using English in social interactions. A whole education in English means that the person has undergone an education from primary to secondary levels in the medium of English, and thence to tertiary education. Such speakers were students in the English schools prior to 1970. Among speakers of English are those who first had an education at the primary level in the Malay language medium but moved on to the English schools for their secondary education after a year of transition in what is known as “the Remove Class”, i.e. a whole year of familiarisation with English in learning their school subjects. Partial education in English means that proficiency in the language came to the speakers at a much later stage in life than those who went through the Remove Class. This group comprises Malays and non-Malays who went through their whole primary and secondary education in their respective mother tongues but were already inducted into English language classes in their respective streams of education. Proficiency in English was then enhanced in training colleges and universities. For those who first attended the Malay schools, one can say that in general they have a satisfactory level of Malay language proficiency. Their English language



Chapter 9.  Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system 

Table 2.  Intensity of use of Malay and English Language Malay English

National Level 3 1

Open Restricted Education Professions Social Governance Governance Interaction 3 –

1 3

3 2

2 3

3 3

proficiency varies, according to the type of school they went to and the education level that was the starting point of their induction into the English language classroom. The use or non-use of Malay and English as shown in Table 1 does not say much about the actual usage of each language according to the domains above. The table only indicates the presence or absence of use, and what we find is that both languages are used in all the domains (even at an unofficial level in the Open Governance node for English), and their respective roles seem to indicate near similarity between them. However, this is certainly not the whole true picture, as the intensity of usage varies from one domain to the other. A clearer picture can be achieved if a measure of intensity of use is applied, using the integers 1, 2, and 3 for the nodes with the plus (+) sign. Rather arbitrarily and based on background information of language use in Malaysia, I propose to assign the integer 3 to highly intensive uses of Malay or English. This is followed by 2, denoting ‘intensive use’, and 1 ‘non-intensive use’. Hence, Table 2. The quantification above may be seen as simplistic, but it does give some idea as to the degree of use of the two languages in the life of Malaysians. The difference in the quantity and intensity in the use of the two languages can be said to be minimal. But when it comes to the quality of language usage another approach, which is not the subject of this chapter, appears to be more relevant. In sum, of the six domains, four show a high intensive use for Malay, and these are National Level, Open Governance, Education and Social Interaction. High intensive use for English is seen in three domains, and these are Restricted Governance, Professions and Social Interaction. The only domain where Malay and English have the same level of intensity in use is Social Interaction.

5. English: From elitism to neutrality From a historical viewpoint, when English was first introduced to the Malay Peninsula, it appeared to be a language that was elitist in nature. Elitism, as it were, arose from two factors. The first was the fact that education in English was the most favoured by the British colonial government. English was the language of the upper stratum of society – the colonial rulers. And being educated in English meant that one’s position in life would improve.

 Asmah Haji Omar

The second factor was a consequence of the first, as elitism begets its kind. Since the English schools were on a level higher than the existing indigenous ones, the localities in which they were built were also away from the Malay schools, i.e. in towns as opposed to the rural areas. With locality came the type of materials and architecture which gave the school buildings a dignified and imposing stature compared to the Malay schools built from low-quality timber with a thatched rather than tiled roof. High building costs meant high maintenance. And this found its way into the school fees which were affordable only to the rich and the upper class of the Malaysian society. Only a very small percentage of the Malays, Chinese and Indians could attend the English schools. And within this small percentage, the Chinese were in the majority. This situation went on until long after independence. The English schools existed through a period when Chinese and Tamil schools sprang up in places with high densities of Chinese and Tamil-speaking populations. These two schools were racially based, and their presence added to the already existing racially based schools, the Malay schools. Looking at the total scenario of schools in Malaysia during and immediately after the colonial period, an impression an outsider would get was that the English schools were race-neutral. This might have been an objective of the colonial government, but this result was not to be, as the economic factor neutralised racial equality. In 1970, The National Education Policy was formulated to create the type of educational institutions where everybody could find a place for their children to be educated, regardless of their income level. And an important factor that was attached to this was that all children would be educated in the national language. Hence, the national language school was seen as a race-neutral ground and a socio-economic leveller, and, as this was to be the case, it was expected to evolve into a nursery for social integration. In the beginning there was optimism, but the succeeding years saw a nonpreference on the part of the non-Malays for these schools. Subsequently, the Chinese opted to send their children to Chinese schools or private schools using EMI if they could afford it. As for the Indians, their option was more limited because education in the Tamil schools was only in Tamil, and not in any other Indian language, and this stream of education has never continued beyond Primary Six. The haves of the Indians went the way of the well-to-do Chinese. Reasons for the lukewarm acceptance of the national schools are two-fold: one has an ethnic orientation, and the other a cognitive one. Both reasons touch on Malay sensitivities. The ‘ethnic orientation’ is a direct reference to the Malay majority in the national schools, both as teachers and pupils. In keeping with the ethics of news-making, and in appearing not to contravene the Sedition Act, the label ‘Malay’ has never been used in referring to the population of the national schools in the local media. Instead, the national schools are said to be over-populated by “one race” only, and there is no real mixing among the races. The cognitive perspective relates to language and the current belief that an education in English (rather than Malay, Chinese or Tamil) opens up a window to the whole of the modern world.



Chapter 9.  Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system 

6. Re-orientating the path of education In talking about the path of the Malaysian system of education, one cannot help but talk about the directions taken by education in English. Since the early 1970s, great concern has been increasingly voiced with regard to the “decline in the standard of English”. Malaysians who had undergone an education using the medium of English up to that time seemed to have a belief that they spoke high quality English and that their compatriots educated from the 1970s were using broken English. It was at this period that a great deal of research was undertaken on the form and use of Malaysian English (henceforth MalE), and PhD theses written by Malaysians submitted to local and foreign universities were never short of a discourse on MalE. It was also during the above-mentioned period, when I was Director of the Language Centre, University of Malaya, that I received a phone call from Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, the then Minister of Education who was later to become Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister, asking me why our graduates were not speaking English well. It was also during this period that I received calls from Malaysian “Very Important Persons” or VIPs commenting on the dire state of the English language as spoken by our graduates. All these comments and feedback spurred the then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Malaya, Royal Professor Ungku A. Aziz, to launch projects to enhance the English Language Teaching (henceforth ELT) programme in the University of Malaya. These were the University of Malaya English for Special Purposes Projects or UMESPP and the University of Malaya Spoken English Project or UMSEP. Both were projects for the preparation of teaching materials for various skills. The first was for the reading skill and the second for the oral skill. Three sets of reading materials were produced, Skills for Reading with an emphasis on the reading of scientific texts (two volumes), Oral Skills for Law and Oral Skills for the Executives. All were published by the University of Malaya Press, while the last two also have international versions published by Thomas Nelson. These two projects were financially supported by the University of Malaya and the Overseas Development Ministry of Great Britain and the British Council, Malaysia. The course developers were Malaysians and British. Specialists in ELT from British universities were brought in as consultants according to their subspecialisations, as the projects progressed. English has always been a compulsory subject in the curricula of all universities in Malaysia from the beginning. At the University of Malaya, ELT gives a balanced focus between the reading and the oral skills. And the responsibility for teaching all students of the university in all faculties has been that of the Faculty of Languages and Linguistics (previously the Language Centre). In the early days of the Language Centre, special attention and resources were given to this programme as the objective was to produce students who were proficient in English, and who at the same time were able to do their degree courses in the national language. Adherence to the national language policy was strictly monitored, such that any course that was going to be given in English had to be approved by the Senate of the university before the proposal could be taken

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to the Prime Minister (through the Ministry of Education) and finally to the King. The approval was always granted by His Majesty. In December 1993, the Malaysian Cabinet arrived at a decision that courses in science-based faculties in all universities in Malaysia could be taught in English without getting the permission of the King, with effect from January 1994. For university academic administrators, this came as a relief, as the paper work was no longer needed, and Deans and faculty members found that this freedom of choice was positive in the academic enhancement of their students. What this meant for the Language Centre was greater effort in the teaching of English complemented by a close monitoring of students’ achievement. The new ruling made no mention of courses given by faculties and institutions other than those mentioned above but this was no cause for concern, as those other faculties and institutions were already teaching their courses in the national language. Even if they decided to go back to teaching a course in the medium English rather than Malay, this was done according to the old guideline, but not with much cause for concern as approval could already be predicted. It should be added here that the procedures for using EMI as described above were only for undergraduate degree courses. At the post-graduate level, there had never been such a restriction. Faculties could choose between Malay and English as their medium of instruction, and it was the same for the writing of theses. About ten years later, in December 2002, another change came into effect, and this time it was more radical. The decree was that as from January 2003 schools in Malaysia could start teaching mathematics and the science subjects in English, from Primary One onwards. Subjects other than the above remained as before. To the universities that were already teaching mathematics and the sciences in English, the horse was now attached to the cart. This new ruling ensured a smooth transition from the school to the university for students coming into the science-based faculties. Encouraged by this ruling, the faculties teaching Humanities and the Social Sciences were given by their respective university authorities an option to teach at least one course in English in their undergraduate programmes. This was in the spirit of improving the standard of English of their students. The programme of TSME better known by its Malay abbreviation Program Pengajaran Sains dan Mathematik dalam Bahasa Inggeris (henceforth PPSMI) came into effect in the schools in January 2003. But the starting point was not restricted to Primary One students of that year. Implementation even started at the upper level of the primary school, for example at Primary Five. All this required the preparation of new teaching materials in English as well as the training of teachers to teach science and mathematics in English. Retired teachers who were conversant in English were recalled to help in the programme. The government is said to have spent four billion ringgit in the implementation of the TSME, and trained 4,000 teachers to implement the programme.



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7. A package of two- or three-in-one Until the end of 1993, mainstream education in Malaysia may be said to have belonged to a monolingual mode, with a second language appended to it. But with the TMSE, it has become bilingual. Outside the mainstream, i.e. in the national-type schools, education has remained trilingual.2 Teaching science and mathematics in actual fact takes almost 40% of the school curriculum, as science consists of three separate academic subjects taught in the school, i.e. Physics, Chemistry and Biology. Beside these four subjects, the fifth one that is taught in English is the English language itself. Together these total more than 50% of the curriculum. The other four subjects are those taught in Malay. These are Malay, Religious/Moral Studies, Civics, Art. Opening the door once more to English in the mainstream education system in Malaysia has been motivated by two objectives which are intertwined. The first is to increase the proficiency in English of Malaysian students by having them learn the language in the context of language use. However good the method of teaching English is, if it is confined to English language classes, it does not provide enough ground for the attainment of a satisfactory level in speaking and reading the language. Language learning has to be in the context of its use. Outside the school compound, Malaysian students resort to their own community languages or MalE. The fields of learning that have been chosen for the purpose are science and mathematics. The second objective follows from the first, and that is learning science and mathematics through English will assist the students to get familiar with the terminologies of these disciplines which will take them through to their university education. If all schools, inclusive of the trilingual national-type schools, accept the TSME, then all their students will get the two-in-one package of training in language and cognition through English. If this takes place, there will be a semblance of a uniformity in the teaching method as well as in the imparting of concepts used in these subjects. Previously, these subjects were taught in three languages at the primary school level, i.e. in Malay, Chinese and Tamil. There was, however, a common guideline for all the school types in the teaching of these subjects, but schools were free to make adjustments to suit their own styles. The Chinese schools, for instance, were known to have their own specific methods of imparting mathematical concepts to their students, and it has been a fact for all these years that students from the Chinese schools have tended to score higher examination results in mathematics compared to those in the other schools. The TSME programme is seen to be a continuous one from the primary to the tertiary level of education. As mentioned earlier, the universities have been preparing 2. National-type schools are those which provide education with vernacular languages, Chinese or Tamil, as the medium of instruction, while the national language i.e. Bahasa Malaysia is a compulsory subject and English is taught as a second language. This system is only observed in pre-tertiary education in Malaysia.

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themselves for this particular situation, a situation which gives the freedom to teach the sciences in English. For the professors, it makes the imparting of knowledge easier as they will not face any difficulty in recommending readings in the relevant subjects to their students, as such texts are readily available in English. In its implementation in the schools, a bilingual mode is permitted. For example, for TSME in the national schools, teachers are allowed to code-switch between Malay and English, and between Chinese or Tamil and English in the national type schools. And this mode is copied in the examination question papers as each question is given in two languages, and students can opt to answer in the language of their choice. Over the years there seems to be more and more switching to English in the national schools and the national type Tamil schools. In the examination at the completion of Primary School Education held at the end of 2008, the percentages of answers in English were 57% for national schools, 1.2% for Chinese schools, and 86% for Tamil schools.

8. English, English everywhere All ethnic communities of Malaysia are in agreement as to the importance of English. Everybody wants to speak English well, to be able to participate in the process known as globalisation, which means socio-economic progress. The way Malaysians speak with one another within or across ethnic boundaries is testimony to the absorption of English, albeit in varying degrees of intensity and quality. Code-switching X-English seems to be the norm, where X stands for Malay or any other tongue spoken in Malaysia. Just watch spontaneous conversations or interviews on the TV of any language channel, and the X-English switching appears to be the standard mode. It runs from the top stratum of society right down to the man-in-the-street. Even scheduled programmes, such as political discussions and cooking demonstrations which are supposed to be in a specified language, end up in code-switching. Islamic religious discourses are not free of code-switching. In such situations there are three languages involved: Malay, Arabic and English. Malay is used due to the tradition of spreading the religion in the Malay language in the Malay world (inclusive of Indonesia and Brunei). In the beginning it was just Malay with smatterings of Arabic, with the latter consisting of religious terms and quotations of the Quran and the Hadith. The tradition was further justified by the fact that religious teachers were all Malays who had no knowledge of English. With the implementation of the National Education Policy in 1970 when English was made a compulsory second language, educated Malaysians must have acquired some form of English, regardless of the type of school they attended. The importance of English is reinforced at the university level, and this means a continuous formal learning of the language for students, to which can be added their absorption of the language through the media and informal conversations when they are outside the school curriculum. So when Islamic religious discourse



Chapter 9.  Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system 

includes code-switching where one of the language codes involved is English, this is simply part of the pattern. Malaysia, and particularly Peninsular Malaysia (i.e. not including Sabah and Sarawak), is basically a country where the Malay language is dominant. That is to say, it has been a major area for the spread of the Malay language from time immemorial. The use of Malay as the High Language in the royal courts, in the governance of the Malay states and in the imparting of knowledge (prior to the age of modern technology) can be verified through historical records. When the Europeans (the Portuguese, Dutch and English) first landed on Malay soil they were face to face with peoples already equipped with their own systems of governance and high culture. The Malay language was the standard mode of communication between the kingdoms of the Southeast Asian islands. The language used at the official level and by the Malays themselves was not identical with the language of the ports used by various communities from different parts of the world, a variety that the Malays call bahasa pasar or Bazaar Malay (language of the market place), referred to by historians and others as the lingua franca of insular Southeast Asia, and which has erroneously been identified with the Malay language of the natives. In the old days, European scholars, particularly British, came and attached themselves to Malays and their families to learn the Malay of the native speakers, and then produced books on the Malay language, culture and history. They were able to do this by mingling with Malays in towns and villages, and, by and by, becoming proficient in the language. Today this type of informal language learning from the community does not guarantee that they will achieve the targeted objective, the reason being that the Malays prefer to speak to them in English. Hence, in order to learn to speak Malay in a short time for some purpose or other, foreigners prefer to go to Indonesia where, even in cosmopolitan cities such as Jakarta and Denpasar in Bali, one is forced to speak in Indonesian, which is a variety of Malay. Foreign diplomats from East and West usually acquire a certain level of proficiency in Indonesian Malay after a posting of two years in Jakarta or some other town in Indonesia. If, after the Indonesian posting, they are assigned to Malaysia, their hope of maintaining the language is dashed, because they never get to use it (personal information from foreign diplomats in Kuala Lumpur). In Malaysia, people can get by with broken English. That is to say, one can survive with this level of English, even if one does not know Malay. A British Council officer in Kuala Lumpur some years ago remarked to me that in Malaysia one could hear the most refined English at one end and the most horrible at the other. I am sure that between these two extremes, there must be a happy medium somewhere reflecting a satisfactory level of proficiency in English for use among Malaysians. At the end of the 1980s, the Malaysian government opened the door to the establishment of private universities. The programme started on a shared basis, such as between a Malaysian institution and a foreign one. This meant that the students would do part of a degree course in Malaysia, and the rest in the country of the partner university.

 Asmah Haji Omar

It was the latter institution that had the advantage of awarding the degree. With time, the shared programmes came to be replaced by full-blown universities built in Malaysia. These universities consist of newly established Malaysian universities as well as branches of established universities from abroad. Belonging to the latter group are the University of Nottingham (United Kingdom), Curtin University (Australia) and one or two others. At the same time there are also Malaysian universities which run degree programmes for foreign universities. All this means that courses have to be conducted in English. These tertiary institutions not only attract local students but also those from abroad. The use of EMI is instrumental in this new education industry’s fast growth in Malaysia.

9. Social interpretations of the use of English and X-English code-switching There are several interpretations for the use of English or X-English code-switching in Malaysian discourse. A popular one is that the speakers involved are trying to show off their ability in the language, an ability which identifies them as having been urbanised. Allowing that English is spoken more in the urban compared to the rural areas, this explanation may be acceptable. But it is weak in terms of answering the question: Does every Malaysian want to be urbanised, when the urban areas are now equated with pollution, slums, illegal hide-outs and stressful living? What about the fact that the rich and the famous are retreating into the rural areas, and that new universities are being built in the areas once categorised as rural? Hence the urban-rural dichotomy in relation to language choice in Malaysia is no longer a relevant theoretical construct. Another popular explanation for the use of English and X-English code-switching is the lack of pride in or love for one’s own language. This explanation is specifically targeted at the Malays, for the simple reason that the Malays should be speaking their language which is also the national language. The notion of pride and love when used in conjunction with language is not easy to define. When language is used, its function is to communicate thoughts and feelings, and the speaker resorts to the best possible means to achieve the purpose. Prior to independence and even in the years following independence, English was an identity factor for the elite of society. This notion came with British dominance over Malaya. Currently relating English to elitism no longer holds, as everybody seems to speak some form of English. Moreover, at the same time, those on the lower rungs of the social ladder may have a better command of English than those born as aristocrats (who happen to be among the first to get acquainted with the language when it was first introduced into the schools in Malaya). Another opinion is that those using English are not patriotic enough and they have a colonised mind (minda dijajah), even after the colonialists have left the country. As the facts of the matter go, Malaysia has benefited from a citizenry with proficiency in more than one language. Malaysia’s independence from the British was achieved



Chapter 9.  Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system 

through negotiations in the English language, not by force of arms. In fact the leaders who managed to rouse up the people to fight for independence were educated in the English language, and in England even. An earlier observation of mine (Asmah 1992: 94) about the use of English among Malaysians, and specifically English-educated Malays, is that they were and still are cognitively more comfortable in using the language in certain situations compared to using Malay. The cognitive factor comes from their education in the language which makes them more comfortable when using the language in the conduct of their professions. They feel more proficient in the use of English terms and phraseologies to enunciate their ideas. One can say that this group of Malaysians show a relatively high level of proficiency in the English language. Another comfort factor is one that has a sociolinguistic bias. English is “lighter” in terms of the rules of who speaks what to whom and in what context compared to Malay. The honorifics and the social levels embodied in the Malay personal pronouns appear most daunting to the uninitiated compared to the much simpler sociolinguistic rules in English. The sociolinguistic comfort factor may be a reason for the man-inthe-street to resort to some type of English or X-English code-switching. The use of English either as a whole language or in code-switching is motivated by effecting a natural flow of communication, especially in informal situations. There is insufficient evidence to posit a basis in the strategy other than this or to imply the existence of a particular ethos defying that embodied in the national language policy. Hence, the use of English as one of the codes in the switching of codes in Islamic religious teachings should not be interpreted as a strategy for the conversion of non-Muslims into the religion of Islam, but should be taken as a means to generating a spontaneous flow in communication.

10. ELT versus TSME The idea of the TSME received mixed reactions. From the beginning, the Malays were seen to be split down the middle, and the Chinese appeared to be solidly against TSME. The Indians, perhaps being more linguistically disparate within their varied ethnic groups and perhaps due to the fact that the national type Tamil schools do not have a continuity to the secondary level, initially seemed to support the government’s programme, but in the end they too joined in with those who were against the TSME. Letters in the press as well as from the public show that disagreement over the TSME came mainly from the Malays, i.e. the 50% of the Malay population who were vehemently against the idea of not using Malay for the purpose. In the beginning this group was propagating the use of the mother tongue, meaning Malay, in teaching science and mathematics because in their view it is through the mother tongue that students can better comprehend concepts that go with the subjects than if these subjects are to be taught in English. By promoting the mother tongue (whereas in fact they

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should have promoted the national language) this group did not realise that they were in cahoots with the Chinese group, consisting of the Chinese School Teachers Association and the Chinese Parent-Teachers Association, who wanted to retain Chinese for teaching science and mathematics. The Malay anti-TSME group is led by two non-governmental organizations: The National Writers Union (better known by its Malay acronym Gapena), and the Gerakan Mansuh PPSMI (henceforth GPM), a movement for the cancellation of the PPSMI. In February 2009, the Gapena made a police report against the government charging the latter with contravening the Language Act in the Constitution of Malaysia which says that the national language is the Malay language which should be used for all official purposes. In a television interview, the leaders argued that English was important and should be taught in the schools, but not for TSME. The movements no doubt had reasons for their stand especially when this was supported by Malay professors in science and mathematics. In March 2009, the GPM held a big anti-TSME rally in Kuala Lumpur, which was joined by Malay-based political parties opposed to the government. The demonstrators numbering up to 17,000 people (as reported by the press) marched from the National Mosque to the National Palace to hand a petition to the King to have the TSME rescinded. At the very time this was going on, the Chinese group just stood by as onlookers from the viaduct above the road connecting the mosque to the palace. Their explanation was that they did not want to be involved in the demonstration, but they supported the struggle against TSME. The stand of the two Malay groups appeared to be only targeting the national schools. They were not too concerned with the national-type schools that rejected English but wanted to retain their mother tongues. A regular columnist in the New Straits Times wrote on 25 February 2009 (Prime News, p. 11): I have also issues with Gapena for championing Bahasa Malaysia selectively in schools. Why is it shouting about reverting to Bahasa Malaysia in national schools, where currently 60 percent of the instruction is in the national language? Why is it silent on the vernacular schools, where less than 15 percent of the instruction is in Bahasa Malaysia? If, indeed, it is serious about championing and elevating the status of Bahasa Malaysia, then it should focus more on vernacular schools instead.

The columnist clearly criticised the TMSE initiative which had hitherto not been criticised by the Chinese and the Indians themselves. Science and mathematics are among the most important subjects in the school curriculum. To the Malay mind, the significance of these two subjects must be matched with the significance of the language that is used to teach them. In the Malaysian context, no language should be placed above Malay, the national language, and, as such, the only language that should be given the honour to be the medium for imparting such august knowledge should be the national language. A decision to the contrary is



Chapter 9.  Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system 

an insult to the national language. This reasoning comes with one other, and that is one that has a cognitive basis. Learning the concepts in science and mathematics through the mother tongue is seen to be more effective than learning them through another language. One can sum up the Malay attitude in this matter as more political than anything else. The cognitive idea arises from an analogy with the progress of the Japanese and the Koreans economically often quoted by the movements’ leaders who always marvel at the Japanese and the Koreans for being able to reach greater heights through their own mother tongue. Some of the leaders have even remarked that if some other subject, such as history or geography, was chosen to be taught in English, the furore would not be as great. This boils down to the greater importance attached to science and mathematics compared to history and geography, and the belief that what is deemed important has to be taught in the national language. The Chinese rejection of TSME comes from those connected with the national type Chinese schools. Those outside this circle are silent over the matter, but if they do make a comment, it is to oppose the anti-TSME of the Malays. The Malays who attended the roundtable discussions on TSME organised by the Ministry of Education had this to report: “We Malays are always divided. The Chinese come with one solid voice, no TSME”. The explanation given by the Chinese groups has a cognitive-cumculture basis. Mathematics is better taught and understood in the medium of Chinese, i.e. Mandarin, and the Chinese language encapsulates Chinese culture. The idea is not to have Chinese culture eroded through TSME. This notion must have been imprinted in the minds of those concerned as reflected in the low percentage for the choice of English in answering examinations among the Chinese, as mentioned above.

11. Resolving the TSME issue There has not been any real nationwide survey of the people’s choice either at the school or community level. However, in 2008, after five years of the implementation of TSME, the Ministry of Education invited people to give their opinions regarding the programme. The purpose was to help the government decide on whether to continue or discontinue it. Five roundtable meetings were organised, and at each meeting there were representations form various ethnic groups, the academics, the professionals, non-governmental organizations or NGOs, statutory bodies, parents and teachers. The results of these meetings are in the form of seven possible ways to resolve the TSME issue, as given below: 1. Continuation of the policy of TSME. 2. Policy to continue in secondary schools. In primary schools, TSME to revert to Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. 3. TSME to begin in Year 4 Primary.

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4. Reversion to Malay, Chinese, Tamil for Primary and Secondary Schools. 5. Schools to make their own choice. 6. Malay, Chinese, Tamil for Primary One; bilingual for Primary Two onwards, English in Secondary Schools. 7. Science not to be taught in Primary One, but its contents integrated into other subjects. Resolution (1) would not solve the problem which is more political than cognitive. Resolutions (2), and (4) to (6) offer a compromise, but problems would be created, primarily in their implementation. As for (7), one can see that the suggestion was made to lower the percentage of the use of English, and this may be seen as an alternative to (1), such that TSME would become English as the medium for teaching Mathematics or TME. But this would not go down well with the Chinese groups. A decision was made by the government in July 2009 to revert to the teaching of science and mathematics in Malay, Chinese and Tamil in the primary and secondary schools (Resolution 4). Peace on the social scene has been restored. However, this reversal will only start in the school year 2011, which means that students registering for Primary One in January 2010 will still be under the TSME programme. Doing away with TSME does not in any way mean a watering down of the objective to empower Malaysian students with English language skills. The programme that has been set up for the purpose of replacing TSME indicates that more resources will be utilised to achieve the objective. Efforts have been increased in the training of capable teachers of English as well as in the increase in teaching time. English will be taught at the pre-school level as part of the government’s efforts to integrate the subject into the national education system. Emphasis will be on grammar, language art and spoken English, and British English or BrE has been pronounced to be the model. In this connection, 365 professionals from English-speaking countries will be recruited to train local teachers to implement the curriculum. This new programme is expected to be more effective than TSME in realising the objective of nurturing Malaysian students that are proficient in English. More significantly, it has not triggered any protest from any sector of the Malaysian population, except for those who, after the scrapping of TSME, proffered the suggestion of reverting to having the once-revered English schools, a suggestion which would certainly bring about social unrest in the country.

12. The power of the symbol In the new curriculum, both Malay and English are given equal emphasis in classroom teaching; hence, the code Bahasa Melayu Bahasa Inggeris or BMBI, a programme alignment which was unheard of previously. All this goes to show that there has never been real opposition to having English in the life of the Malaysians. Even those who went to the streets to demonstrate against TSME speak English as a home language.



Chapter 9.  Pragmatics of maintaining English in Malaysia’s education system 

Dissent arises in its use when it is seen as a threat to the symbols: the national as well as the ethnic. As a symbol, the Malay language stands for the national as well as the ethnic. With such reverence given to this symbol, replacing it with another language in the teaching of important school subjects such as science and mathematics was seen as a betrayal of the struggle for nationalism by the freedom fighters prior to independence from the British. With the expectation of achieving the status of a fully industrialised country by the year 2020, science and mathematics are taken as symbols of power. Hence, to the Malay dissenters of TSME, not teaching these symbols of power in Malay meant desecrating the symbol of nationalism. To the Chinese and the Indians, it is the importance of ethnicity rather than mother tongue. Neither of these groups have a unified mother tongue, so to speak. Although the Chinese may be said to be of one linguistic group using the Mandarin “umbrella”, this is not a unified mother tongue as it is the mother tongue of only a small group of the Chinese community. Most of the Chinese speak their own separate dialects, of which there are ten that have been recorded in the national population census. They acquire Mandarin together and learn to read and write in the Chinese script if they attend the Chinese school. As for the Indians in Malaysia, they represent a great number of disparate ethnolinguistic groups from the Indian subcontinent, although the Tamil-speaking people form the majority. For the Chinese and the Indian communities, it is the desire to establish and maintain an identity that connects them to their linguistic and cultural roots and that caused them to oppose the TSME.

13. Conclusion As the tradition goes, any part of the Malaysian language policy is open for consideration by the various ethnic groups in the country. In debates on the topic, the Malays and the Chinese have the most to say. With Malaysia, the policy always reflects a compromise between the ethnic groups, mainly between the Malays and the Chinese. Malaysia’s language policy is clear on three points: upholding Malay as the national language, maintaining all languages in Malaysia, and implementing English as a second language. This policy has been carefully preserved from the time of independence. A change in policy evokes ethnic sentiments if it touches on the Malay language and those of the other communities. Ethnic sentiments run high with regard to English only if its use affects the use of the other languages in a situation which has a sociopolitical significance as seen in the TSME. Here English was allowed to usurp the space given to other languages, or one can say it was allowed to infiltrate into an already established system. Otherwise, acceptance of English is most positive. English is more widespread now in Malaysia and its use is more intensified than in the days of the British Empire, and this spread has an analogue in the spread and intensive use of Malay. To use Abram de Swaan’s theory of the global constellation of languages, English in

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Malaysia is a hypercentral language existing together with Malay, the supercentral language (Swaan 2002). As a hypercentral language, English connects Malaysians to other parts of the world, whereas Malay as a supercentral language only connects the different communities of Malaysia.

References Asmah Haji Omar. 1979. Language Planning for Unity and Efficiency. Kuala Lumpur: Penerbit Universiti Malaya. Asmah Haji Omar. 1992. The Language Scenery in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Swaan, A. 2002. Asia’s Affairs with English: Hindi Filipino and Malay. In The Genius of Malay Civilisation, Asmah Haji Omar (ed), 365–411. Tanjong Malim: Institut Peradaban Melayu, Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris. Wawasan 2020. n.d. The way forward – Vision 2020. (15 May 2011).

chapter 10

Language planning in its historical context in Brunei Darussalam Gary M. Jones

Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Brunei Although Brunei is one of the oldest established states in Southeast Asia, education planning and language planning in particular are recent phenomena. Basic formal education, limited to a small number of boys only, was introduced in 1912 while language planning was only vaguely described in the 1950s and then formally as a language-in-education plan in 1984. This chapter analyses present language planning in relation to its historical context. In particular, it examines why two non-Bruneian languages, Standard Malay and English, emerged as the current mediums of education in the country’s schools. Brunei’s geography, its recent history and current economic and political events all contribute to the present status of language planning in Brunei. Keywords: language planning, Bruneians, post-war development, educational policy, bilingual education

1. Introduction Negara Brunei Darussalam, to give the country its full title (henceforth Brunei), is a small sultanate on the north coast of Borneo. It has a coastline of 161 km along the South China Sea and a total land area of 5,765 sq km. The country is bounded by the much larger Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah. Part of Sarawak actually separates one Brunei district, Temburong, from the rest of the country. Brunei is the third largest oil producer in Southeast Asia (henceforth SEA), producing 163,000 barrels a day, and is the fourth largest producer of liquefied natural gas in the world. Thus the oil and gas industry is obviously of key importance to Brunei, playing by far the biggest role in the country’s economy. The country has a small garment manufacturing industry, as well as agricultural and fishing industries, but all other industries in the country are overshadowed by oil and gas. The government is the single biggest employer in the country, employing approximately one third of the labour force.

 Gary M. Jones

The 2004 census returned a population of 357,800 people. Of this number, 237,100 (66.2%) were recorded as coming from the majority Malay indigenous community; 12,300 (3.4%) from other indigenous groups; people of Chinese origin numbered 40,200 (11.2%) and people from other non-specified races 68,200 (19%). Virtually all Malays, as well as many people from other ethnic groups within the country, are Muslims. Thus Islam is the most widely practiced religion in the country and is the Official Religion of Brunei, as stated in the country’s Constitution, with His Majesty the Sultan of Brunei as head of faith. Other faiths that are practiced in the State include Christianity and Buddhism.

2. The people and their languages The brief demographics of Brunei was described in Chapter 4 of this volume. This section gives a more detailed coverage on the topic. For such a small country, Brunei has a diverse population and a number of speech communities. As a result of its geography, seven distinct Malay communities (Belait, Bisaya, Brunei Malay, Dusun, Kedayan, Murut and Tutong) as well as two other non-indigenous communities (Iban and Kelabit) call Brunei home. Historically, these communities lived apart from each other, separated by rivers, forest and mountains. As a result of this isolation, these communities developed different dialects, languages and cultures. It was only in the last century that road and bridge building brought these communities into regular contact with each other. While most Bruneians still identify with one of these communities, intermarriage and relocation for purposes of work, education or family mean that the former ethnic divisions are now breaking down. Until 1991 it was assumed that the seven Malay communities in Brunei all spoke dialects of the same language. However, research by Nothofer (1991) dispelled this notion. He showed that the principal dialects of Malay spoken in Brunei include only Brunei Malay, Kampong Ayer (meaning water village, a large stilted village next to the country’s capital) Kedayan and Standard Malay, but exclude the other five indigenous codes. Thus Belait, Bisaya, Dusun, Murut and Kedayan should not be considered dialects of Malay but as separate languages. Locally, the most widely used local dialect of Malay is Brunei Malay, which is assumed to have its origins in the Kampong Ayer dialect. However, the dialect that is used in official correspondence and which is taught in schools is Standard Malay, which originated in West Malaysia. Other significant language communities in the country are Iban and Kelabit. While indigenous to Borneo, these communities are not indigenous to Brunei, having crossed into the country from neighbouring Sarawak. Similarly, a small community of Penan people, perhaps numbering only 51 people (Martin & Sercombe 1992), also resides in the country. Apart from the Bornean people, the other significant ethnic group is the Chinese who, as stated earlier, make up 11.2% of the country’s population.



Chapter 10.  Language planning in its historical context in Brunei Darussalam 

Mandarin is the lingua franca of the Chinese community, with the two most dominant communities being Hokkien and Hakka (Niew 1989, 1991). However, it should be noted that many young Chinese now use English as their first language. In addition to these local people, the remaining 19% of the country’s population is comprised of “other races”, referring to the country’s large expatriate foreign workforce. This consists of large numbers of construction and manual labourers from the Indian sub-continent, Indonesia and the Philippines. In addition, together with Malaysia and Singapore, these countries also provide many of the country’s doctors, engineers, nurses and middle managers. Many of the country’s teachers and other professionals come from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand. As will be described, Brunei was formerly almost totally dependent on its foreign workforce, but increasingly most technical and professional positions are being localized. All the languages described above are used in Brunei today. However, only three, Malay, in its various forms, Chinese and English, are likely to be encountered on a regular basis, especially in urban areas. Today, Bruneians from whichever background are familiar with and use Brunei Malay, except when they know that they are talking to someone from their own language community. Similarly, most Bruneians, particularly the young and better educated, know English and often switch codes between this language and whichever form of Malay they are using. Official notices and road signs throughout the country are written in either Standard Malay or English. Notices on shop fronts are written in Jawi script (a form of written Malay derived from Arabic) and English (as well as Chinese, if it is a Chinese business). Sign boards, official notices and advertisements are only presented in these languages, never in any of the country’s other languages. Thus, both publicly and privately, aside from Brunei and Standard Malay, the country’s other languages are not being promoted or widely used. It is also very important to note here that while Standard Malay, Chinese and English have strong literary histories, the same is not true of the other languages. Brunei’s indigenous languages have an oral tradition but not a written one. Thus there are no texts, dictionaries, reference works or, therefore, teaching-learning materials that potential students could use.

3. Language planning: The early years Tracing the origins of Brunei’s present language-in-education policies is relatively easy because formal education is a recent phenomenon in the Sultanate and the history of the country’s educational development has been well documented. Although Brunei was once an important regional power, by 1906 its political survival was in jeopardy and the country turned to Britain for protection from its avaricious neighbours (see Cleary & Eaton 1992). Thus began a close relationship between Brunei and Britain that has continued to this day: a relationship that, among other things, has greatly shaped Brunei’s education system.

 Gary M. Jones

From 1906, Brunei became a British Protected State, with a British Resident who advised the Sultan, the ruler of the country, on all matters other than those pertaining to religion. For the most part, Brunei continued to manage its own affairs, safe in the knowledge that it was protected from outside aggression by Britain. For his part, the British Resident provided the same sort of advice to the Sultan and his government that was being given to rulers of the various Malay states that now constitute Malaysia. Initial advice concentrated on transport, communication and health care. By 1911, however, some attention was being given to education. Between 1914 and 1918, four vernacular schools for boys were established in the country, although no further schools were added till 1929. In 1923, oil was discovered in Brunei and this was to transform the country from an economic backwater into a comparably wealthy state. The development and exploitation of the country’s oil and natural gas reserves did not have an immediate social or economic impact on the country. Rather, the change was slow, with a gradual appreciation of the benefits and problems that the oil industry could bring. Initially, of course, there was the revenue. In 1909, Brunei had enjoyed revenues of GBP27, 640; in 1919, this figure was GBP132,300 and, by 1929, GBP145,800.1 Throughout the 1930s, however, as oil fields were developed, so income improved. By 1939, state revenues had risen to GBP1,274,644, or almost ten times what they had been ten years earlier. Brunei was on the path to becoming what it is probably most famous for being today – a small oil rich sultanate. It was those Bruneians who initially came into contact with the oil workers who had the most pressing need to learn English. These included local officers who represented the government in negotiations as well as customs officers, clerks dealing with equipment and anyone else party to the myriad operations involved in setting up an industry. One indication of the need to improve communications occurred in 1928 when “a start was made teaching elementary English at afternoon classes. These were attended by members of the Government Subordinate Staff and the Police” (McKerron 1929: 19). These were the first recorded English classes in Brunei. Such classes, and adult education in general, proved popular and have continued up to the present in one form or another. As the number of schools increased and as greater attention continued to be given to education, so, inevitably, did questions arise about the type of education and, in particular, the medium. In 1929 “an Enactment to provide for compulsory attendance at schools (Enactment No.3 of 1929) was passed giving the Resident power to declare from time to time the parts of the State in which compulsory attendance could be enforced” (McKerron 1930: 20). Given the transportation difficulties of the day, the Act only applied to boys speaking Malay as a first language. However, as a later Resident pointed out: 1.

GBP refers to British Pound currency.



Chapter 10.  Language planning in its historical context in Brunei Darussalam 

At least a quarter of the indigenous population of the state is composed of races whose mother tongue is not Malay, so that criterion is hardly satisfactory. The provision of education in several languages is obviously impracticable, and it is inevitable that, linguistically at any rate, the other races must be assimilated to Malay. It is proposed, therefore, to amend the Enactment to make attendance at Malay schools compulsory for all children of Malaysian race alike. (Graham Black 1939: 34)

This is a very important amendment and one that set at least one parameter for language education in Brunei. At no time has the question of teaching in a child’s first language (other than Malay) been raised since 1939. On the one hand this is not surprising given the subsequent greater integration of Brunei society and the more widespread use of Malay and, latterly, English, but it is at odds with language planning in many other communities. Although globally greater consideration is being given to minority languages than was done in the past, this is not the case in Brunei. Brunei experienced occupation by the Japanese from 1941 to 1945. During this period educational development came to a halt, although the Japanese did conduct some classes, in their own language, and the most promising pupils continued their studies in Japan itself.

4. Post-war development After the War, the British Resident returned to Brunei and the country embarked on reconstruction. With growing revenues from oil and gas, the need for English-knowing Bruneians was becoming ever more apparent. Late in 1949, a professional Education Officer was appointed to the post of State Education Officer. From this point, the infrastructure for Brunei’s present education system, including the resulting languagein-education policies, was laid. As previously stated, government revenue in 1939 was GBP1,274,644. By 1951, the figure was GBP17,302,869, and, by 1953, the figure had increased five-fold to GBP98,976,643, an enormous sum of money compared with twenty years earlier and an income that was to bring huge change to the country. In 1954, fuelled with the burgeoning revenues from the sale of oil, Brunei embarked on a five-year Development Plan for Education. As the Resident reported two years later: Relatively vast wealth has fallen to their hands, and instead of being able to use it directly, themselves, they must perforce employ others to provide for them the services they need and their money can buy. (Gilbert 1957: 42)

Recognising the need to have English educated Bruneians, a Government English School was established in Brunei Town in October 1951. This school had two trained teachers, one from the United Kingdom and the other from Malaya. The decisions that these two teachers made, no doubt in collaboration with the State Education Officer,

 Gary M. Jones

have had a profound and lasting impact on the present school system. Many of the practices that they introduced back then, due to the circumstances of the time, still remain today. The Government English School may have had two teachers, but it did not start with any pupils – there was no formal English being taught in Brunei so there were no English medium pupils to send to it. As a result, four selected primary schools introduced English lessons at Primary 4, when the pupils were eight years old. The more able pupils were then given tuition in English by the State Education Officer himself before proceeding to the English School. What is so important about this procedure is that it was to determine the age at which English medium education would be introduced to Bruneian pupils. For the next fifty-eight years, English medium education was introduced to pupils in Primary 4 (until the introduction of SPN21, a new National Education System that was introduced in January 2009 and which will be described briefly later in this chapter). However, unlike the early pupils who were selected for the English School and who had the benefit of individual attention from the State Education Officer, later pupils had no such support. Whether they were ready or had the aptitude, all pupils followed the same curriculum. Not surprisingly, given that the procedure was established to solve an immediate problem in 1951, and was designed anyway with gifted children in mind, this sudden transition created problems for many children. (For a fuller account of the education system and some of the problems, particularly those associated with curriculum issues, see Jones 1996a.) An important statement about language and culture, related to the introduction of English in Primary 4, is included in the Resident’s Annual Report of 1951: There are other matters, however, which must be considered with this type of school. One is the very important consideration as to the extent such schools should be made available; and again, what repercussions they would have in respect of the languages and cultures of the two main racial groups in Brunei, i.e. the indigenous races and Chinese. There is also the consideration of the impact upon the economy of the State if all children went direct to English schools. Again it is felt that the great majority of parents are in favour of their children acquiring their first and early education throughout the medium of the child’s mother tongue in vernacular schools, with the study of English as a second language. This study ... begins in their third and fourth year. There is no reason, it may be said, providing the subject is taught by a qualified teacher, and providing also that sufficient time is devoted to it, why results should not be as good as those in recognised English schools? (Barcroft 1952: 33–34)

This is the first recorded statement linking language and culture in Brunei, and raises an issue that has been current ever since. On the issue of the preferred medium of education, Barcroft would seem to be contradicting earlier (and subsequent) statements: this subject appears to have given rise to some confusion. The last question, about whether the results can be as good as those from English schools, is still open to debate.



Chapter 10.  Language planning in its historical context in Brunei Darussalam 

The assumed standard attained by graduates from such schools is also vague. While parity with English schools was the objective, this does not necessarily assume a particularly high level of attainment for all pupils. In 1953, the same author reports: Thus, pupils who enter a Malay School at 6 years of age and make formal progress through the six Primary Classes would at the age of 12 be able to take up an Artisan Course where Primary V English is required as the basic qualification.  (Barcroft 1953: 40)

On the assumption that a sufficient command of English to undertake an Artisan Course translates to only a minimum competency in the language, then clearly the language proficiency expectations of graduates from the Malay medium were very limited, more so than the previous year’s statement might suggest. It is also informative to note that the “great majority of parents” favoured the mother tongue. But which mother tongue? The writer is almost certainly assuming that this is Malay, which would have been far from the reality for many children at that time, and certainly not Standard Malay. This suggests a naïve appreciation of the country’s linguistic mosaic. By the completion of the Development Plan in 1959, 15,006 pupils were enrolled in the State’s schools, 30% of whom were girls. The State Constitution was also drawn up in 1959. It states: The official language of the State shall be the Malay language and shall be in such script as may by written law be provided. (Brunei Government Publication 1959)

The Article stipulates that English might be used with Malay for a further period of five years for all official purposes and thereafter until dictated by written law; the assumption being that Malay would eventually replace English, and quickly, for all official business. Sheik Adnan notes that: A survey carried out to find out the wishes of the people before the drawing up of the State Constitution indicated that there was unanimous support for choosing Malay as the official language. (Sheik Adnan 1983: 10)

The choice of Malay (Standard Malay, not Brunei Malay) as the national language was to have implications for the choice of language within any National System of Education. It draws attention to the perceived instrumental demand for English and the demand for Malay as an integrative language bound with the heritage and culture of the local population. In 1959, a Central Advisory Committee on Education appointed two Malaysians, Aminuddin Baki and Paul Chang, to advise the Brunei Government on general policy and principles to be followed in education. Having spent only two weeks in Brunei, and using the Malaysian Tun Razak Education Report of 1956 as the source of their recommendations, Baki and Chang presented their report.

 Gary M. Jones

The recommendations of the Report were accepted by the Government and subsequently became the National Education Policy of 1962. This Report places “an emphasis on the need to foster a common loyalty to all the children of every race under a national education system and policies” (Brunei Government Publication 1972: 3). National unity is a recurring theme throughout both the Malaysian and Bruneian reports. The Razak Report states: We believe further that the ultimate objective of the educational policy of this country must be to bring together the children of all races under a national education system in which the national language is the main medium of instruction though we recognise the progress towards this goal cannot be rushed and must be gradual. (Ministry of Education, Federation of Malaya Publication 1956)

It is clear that in both Malaysia and Brunei, having established a need for an education system and having provided an infrastructure, both countries then gave greatest consideration to the political ramifications of education. Both countries are multilingual and multiethnic (although this is more immediately obvious in Malaysia than in Brunei). For both countries national unity and a clear sense of national identity was of great importance. Other issues such as syllabus design, teacher supply and so forth were still being considered and worked on, but, at the macro level, focus was on the integrity of these newly independent states and assurances were needed that the various peoples could work together for the common good. Brunei, however, failed to implement the Baki-Chang Report or the National Education Policy that followed it. While preparations for its implementation were being made, an insurrection broke out in the country. Although the insurrection was quickly squashed, the normal routine of the country was severely affected, including plans that had yet to be implemented. Instead, after the trouble, the country and government tried to re-establish themselves, going back to practices and procedures that had existed before the insurrection. In the process, the proposed education changes seem to have been dropped. Throughout the 1960s, the Government continued to add to the number of schools, teachers and, of course, pupils attending school. Development was across the board at both primary and secondary level and included both Malay and English medium Government schools. The number of girls in schools had grown enormously so that, by this time, there were almost as many girls enrolled in schools as boys. The question of language medium, however, had not been resolved. The Chinese community had its own schools and language medium, with books supplied from Taiwan; the religious authorities had a small number of pupils being taught through the medium of Arabic while the Government schools were divided between English and Malay mediums, with books from Britain and Malaysia respectively. An Education Commission, begun in 1970, subsequently presented the Report of the Education Commission, 1972, which called for the implementation of the 1962 Education Policy.



Chapter 10.  Language planning in its historical context in Brunei Darussalam 

This Report provided the basic structure and procedures for the present Ministry of Education. What was not implemented, however, was the very first recommendation: 1. to make Malay as the main medium of instruction in National Primary and Secondary Schools as soon as possible in line with the requirements of the Constitution (Brunei Government Publication 1972: 9) The commissioners went on to quote the country’s constitution and national unity as well as to provide sound educational reasons for adopting Malay. It also recommended that, until such time as Brunei’s own system had been prepared, the country should adopt the Malaysian system of education. Once again, however, fate intervened to prevent the introduction of Malay medium education. In 1974, political and diplomatic relations between Brunei and Malaysia deteriorated, to the extent that Bruneians studying in Malaysia were recalled and the option of adopting the Malaysian system of education was cancelled. Further, Brunei had no diplomatic relations with Indonesia, the only other country with Malay medium universities, so it could not send its students there. There was no problem for English medium students, as they had always gone to universities in the United Kingdom and to other English-speaking Commonwealth universities. The solution to resolve the problem for the Malay medium Bruneian students was to send them to Englishspeaking universities, but having first provided them with crash courses in the English language (up to two years) at private language schools in Britain.

5. From 1984 to 2008 The question of language medium was to remain unresolved for another ten years, until the introduction of the Education System of Brunei in 1984. This System, apart from fairly cosmetic changes, is still the one that is used in Brunei today. It has been well documented (Jones, Martin & Ozog 1993 and Jones 1996b, for instance) and needs little elaboration here. Briefly, the System attempts to weave the recommendations of the 1972 Report into a bilingual education system rather than a Malay-only model. The concept of solidarity and nation building is given great emphasis throughout the 1984 document. The System and explanations are something of a balancing act, trying to satisfy the Malay medium lobby while also recognising the need for English. Within the document, the “Concept of Bilingualism” is defined as: 3.1  The concept of a bilingual system is a means of ensuring the sovereignty of the Malay Language, while at the same time recognising the importance of the English Language. By means of the Education System of Negara Brunei Darussalam a high degree of proficiency in both languages should be achieved. (Brunei Government Publication 1984: 4)

 Gary M. Jones

It is clear that once again planners were at the mercy of circumstances. Without a doubt it was the events of 1962 and 1974 that had a decisive influence on the adoption of a bilingual education system in Brunei. A decision that might appear to have been far-sighted, given the subsequent decisions of other countries, notably Malaysia, to adopt such systems themselves was made not for any pedagogic reasons but because of the circumstances of the day. How much the lack of Malay medium tertiary education was a factor is indicated by point 3.2 of the System: 3.2  This recognition of the importance of the English Language is partly based on an assumption of its importance for academic study, and thus its ability to facilitate the entry of students from Brunei Darussalam to institutions of higher education overseas where the medium of instruction is English. Such a perception may, of course, be subject to review should Brunei Darussalam itself be able, in the future, to provide its own facilities for higher education. (Brunei Government Publication 1984: 4)

As it is, Brunei has been able to provide its own facilities for higher education, but the majority of programmes in these institutions are English medium, reflecting the actual demand from students and employers. (In addition to Universiti Brunei Darussalam, the country’s Institute Technologi Brunei was upgraded recently to the status of a university. As its title suggests, it offers engineering and technology courses and these are all taught in English. However, two other institutes of higher learning, a religious teacher training college and a newly created Islamic University, offer the majority of their subjects in Malay and Arabic.) Since 1984, there has been an enormous upsurge in the amount of English being used worldwide, and thus the demand today from Bruneian students is mostly for English medium programmes. Once again, events have overtaken the planners.

6. From January 2009 In January 2009, Brunei introduced a new National Education System for the 21st century, locally referred to as SPN21. Among other objectives, SPN21 aims to create better holistic learning, create a pupil-centred rather than teacher-centred learning environment and better prepare pupils for life in the 21st century. Clearly, the Ministry of Education sees an increasingly important role for English in its planning and pupils now learn Mathematics and Science, in addition to the English Language itself, through the medium of English from Primary 1. The debate about whether this is beneficial for bilingual language acquisition or whether it will actually improve all round ability is another matter. The bottom line is that more English is being used in Brunei schools at an earlier age than ever before. (Of course, given that the majority of the country’s primary teachers are locals and thus share a common first language with their pupils, actual classroom language use may not be as officially prescribed.)



Chapter 10.  Language planning in its historical context in Brunei Darussalam 

It is too soon to argue whether this new system has been successful or not. However, it has certainly not been without its critics. At a recent language forum, three local Malay language experts expressed concern that the new education system lays less stress on Malay and more on English. They are concerned that Malay has been “sidelined” from daily life and that in “20 to 30 years from now we will face a language tsunami in the country” (The Brunei Times 2009). Otherwise, there has been no obvious public disapproval. It should be noted that parents with the financial means are in the habit of sending their young children to English medium pre-schools and kindergartens on the assumption that this will give their children an academic and language advantage when they start primary school. In addition, many of these parents want to see more English being used at an early age, presumably on the assumption that this will help their children when they eventually enter the job market. In effect, therefore, the government might appear to be giving parents exactly the sort of education that they want, hence the lack of objection.

7. The situation today In his 2005 PhD thesis, Noor Azam Haji-Othman provides a detailed account of Changes in the Linguistic Diversity of Negara Brunei Darussalam. Among other things, this provides an analysis of how and why Bruneians have moved from using one language medium to another. Perhaps most pertinent to this chapter are his observations on the use and spread of English in Brunei, particularly since he had not intended to mention this language at all but to concentrate solely on Bruneian languages. During his research, which he attempted to conduct solely in Brunei Malay, or the other local languages that he knows, Tutong and Dusun, the role of English in peoples’ lives was repeatedly brought up. Noor Azam remarks that “English was constantly being referred to by the informants throughout the discussions about indigenous languages as though it were an indigenous member of the language ecology” (Noor Azam 2005: 203). In fact, Noor Azam notes that some of Brunei’s new generation have shifted to English, especially among the elite and well educated. As Noor Azam explains, there are a number of possible explanations for this. Historically, Britain played a far more benign role in Brunei than it did in countries that were colonized. The country appears to have helped Brunei’s development rather than hindered it and thus its actions were favourably received. In addition, Brunei’s royalty has close personal relations with Britain’s royalty; the armed forces of both countries cooperate closely and many Bruneians study in British schools and universities. And most important, the English language has always been associated in Brunei with education while over the last thirty years it has also become the dominant world language and one of the two languages used in the country’s bilingual education system. Thus the language and Britain have been seen in a positive way. Nowadays, however, the historical ties are far less important to the spread and use of English than

 Gary M. Jones

its utilitarian value. Noor Azam goes so far as to suggest that a Bruneian “could now be defined as a Malay-English bilingual” (Noor Azam 2005: 239).

8. Conclusion As I hope this chapter has demonstrated, Brunei has a language-in-education policy that has evolved in response to economic, political and international influences. It is one that began monolingually 100 years ago to provide education to boys, but which, after fifty years, encompassed education for girls as well. As the nation forged its own identity, so the various races and languages used for education came under one controlling influence. Latterly, the demand for bilingual education became apparent and this has recently morphed into a new system that gives even more prominence to English. With the introduction of SPN21, Brunei’s Ministry of Education has clearly signalled its intention of promoting the use of English in schools to a greater extent than it did under the previous bilingual education system. Whether the new system will succeed is not yet apparent, but it has already created concern about the long-term use of Malay. In a sense, Brunei has its own Malay dilemma – how much teaching should be conducted through this language to ensure its continued use and vitality in the country and how much should be taught through English to ensure that pupils fully master that language? It is a question that perhaps other countries throughout SEA have to grapple with. Finding the right educational formula and balance is crucial for all.

References Barcroft, J.C.H. 1952. Report on the State of Brunei for 1951. Singapore: Government of Brunei. Barcroft, J.C.H. 1953. Report on the State of Brunei for 1952. Singapore: Government of Brunei. Brunei Government Publication. 1959. The Constitution of the State of Brunei. Brunei: Government of Brunei. Brunei Government Publication. 1972. Report of the Brunei Education Commission. Brunei: Ministry of Education, Government of Brunei. Brunei Government Publication. 1984. The Education System of Negara Brunei Darussalam. Negara Brunei Darussalam: Pusat Perkembangan Kurikulum, Jabatan Pelajaran, Kementarian Pelajaran Dan Kesihatan. Cleary, M. & Eaton, P. 1992. Borneo: Change and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Gilbert, J.O. 1957. Report on the State of Brunei for 1956. Kuching: Government of Brunei. Graham Black, J. 1939. Report on the State of Brunei for 1938. Singapore: Government of Brunei. Jones, G.M. 1996a. Bilingual education and syllabus design: Towards a workable blueprint. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 17(2/4): 280–293.



Chapter 10.  Language planning in its historical context in Brunei Darussalam  Jones, G.M. 1996b. The bilingual education policy in Brunei Darussalam. In Language Use & Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, Martin, P.W., Ozog, A.C. & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 123–132. Athens OH: Center for International Studies, Ohio University. Jones, G.M., Martin, P.W. & Ozog, A.C. 1993. Multilingualism and bilingual education in Brunei Darussalam. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 14(1–2): 39–58. Martin, P.W. & Sercombe, P.G. 1992. An update of the Penan of Brunei. Borneo Research Bulletin 24: 86–92. McKerron, P.A.B. 1929. Report on the State of Brunei for 1928. Singapore: Government of Brunei. McKerron, P.A.B. 1930. Report on the State of Brunei for 1929. Singapore: Government of Brunei. Ministry of Education, Federation of Malaya Publication. 1956. Report of the Education Committee, 1956 (Razak Report). Kuala Lumpur: Government Press. Niew, S.T. 1989. Demographic Trends in Negara Brunei Darussalam. Brunei: Universiti Brunei Darussalam. Niew, S.T. 1991. A History of the Chinese Clan Associations of Brunei. Singapore: Singapore Association of Asian Studies. Noor Azam Haji-Othman. 2005. Changes in the Linguistic Diversity of Negara Brunei Darussalam. PhD dissertation, University of Leicester. Nothofer, B. 1991. The Languages of Brunei Darussalam. In Papers in Austronesian Linguistics, No.1, Pacific Linguistics A-81, H. Steinhauer (ed), 151–176. Canberra: Australian National University Sheik Adnan Sheik Mohamad. 1983. Language Policy Implementation in Brunei: Status and Corpus. Dissertation for Diploma in Applied Linguistics, Regional Language Centre, Singapore. The Brunei Times. 2009. SPN21 lays less stress on Malay, say experts. (25 January 2011).

chapter 11

Diffusion and directions English language policy in the Philippines Isabel Pefianco Martin

Ateneo de Manila University, The Philippines This chapter presents the English language from the viewpoint of language policy. English was first introduced to the Filipinos through the American public school system and, for half a century, the language was systematically promoted as a civilizing tool. Today, beliefs and attitudes about English, as well as the various ways in which the language is used, may be traced to the Filipino experience of American colonial education. A brief survey of the English language policy situation in the Philippines from the American colonial period to contemporary times reveals diffusions in language policy formulation. Such diffusion has resulted in conflicting policies and practices that marginalize Philippine languages and contribute to the further deterioration of education among Filipino children. Keywords: language policy and planning, bilingual education, national language, English as the medium of instruction

1. The language policy of the American colonial period In 1928, an American schoolteacher in the Philippines reported that his students’ compositions had the “indelible impression” of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s romantic poem Evangeline. The teacher noted that in these compositions One nipa shack had acquired dormer windows with gables projecting and was surrounded by primeval mangoes and acacia.1 A mere tuba gatherer had a face which shone with celestial brightness as if he ambled home with his flagons of home-brewed tuba.2 Every fair maiden in the class was endowed with eyes as black as the berry that grows on the thorn by the wayside as she strode to church with her chaplet of beads and missal, this last word usually being spelled “missle”.  (Annex Teacher 1928: 7) 1.

A nipa shack is a house with leaves similar to coconut tree leaves as roof.

2. Tuba is coconut wine.

 Isabel Pefianco Martin

What this American teacher had observed is a prequel to the cultural cloning of the Filipinos. Decades after the 1946 Philippine independence from the United States, Filipinos continue to behave like so-called “brown Americans”. What specific strategies did the American colonizers use to create this “brown American”? The answer may be found in the language policy imposed by the colonial educators. On 13 August 1898, a few months before American forces officially occupied Manila, American soldiers had already begun to teach in Corregidor (Estioko 1994: 186). It is assumed that their first lesson was English. It was no accident that the first English teachers in the Philippines were American soldiers. Public education was introduced as an essential component of military strategy. General Arthur MacArthur himself declared the following about public education: The matter [public education] is so closely allied to the exercise of military force in these islands that in my annual report I treated the matter as a military subject and suggested a rapid extension of educational facilities as an exclusively military measure. (UNESCO-Philippine Educational Foundation 1953: 74)

Throughout the American colonial period, English was systematically promoted as the language that would “civilize” the Filipinos. The aim was to systematically confine the native languages to outside the territories of schooling. The policy was institutionalized through the heavy use of instructional materials of Anglo-American origin for language instruction. Throughout four decades of American public education, Filipino students were exposed to a canon of literature that included works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Washington Irving, Ralph Waldo Emerson, as well as those of Shakespeare, George Elliott, Matthew Arnold, and the romantic poets. Meanwhile, Filipinos were using their own language outside the schools. When the Americans arrived in the Philippines in 1898, the Filipinos already had a flourishing literature. In the first decade of American occupation, with memories of the revolution against Spain still fresh, secular values spread rapidly as a rejection of 300 years of religious domination. Spanish declined but English had not yet gained a foothold. Thus, the floodgates of literature in the native languages were flung wide open. With a newfound freedom of expression under the American colonizers, poetry, fiction, and journalism in the Philippine languages flourished. However, this wealth of writing by Filipinos did little to promote the recognition of Philippine literature in the colonial classroom. In 1925, a comprehensive study of the educational system of the Philippines (also known as ‘the 1925 Monroe Report’) reported that Filipino students had no opportunity to study in their native language. The report recommended that the native language be used as an auxiliary medium of instruction in courses such as character education, and good manners and right conduct (Board of Educational Survey 1925: 40). Still, American education officials insisted on the exclusive use of English in the public schools until 1940. The policy propelled the English language towards becoming, in the words of Renato Constantino, a “...wedge that separated the Filipinos from their past” (Constantino 1982: 12).



Chapter 11.  Diffusion and directions 

Language policy and planning during American colonial rule were “geared towards education and the civil service but [...] not guided by explicit language laws or agencies” (Gonzalez 2003: 2). It was only in 1937, when the National Language Institute was established under the Romualdez Law, that the colonial government began to formulate a language policy. This policy had to do with the establishment of a national language. In 1939, after some years of heated debates about the matter, Tagalog was officially proclaimed as the national language. Soon, the language was taught as a subject in schools. In 1943 to 1945, Tagalog was recognized by the Japanese-controlled Philippine government which insisted on the rapid dissemination of the language throughout the country’s educational institutions. During this period, specifically in 1942, the national language was recognized as one of the official languages of the country (together with Japanese) by virtue of a military ordinance of the Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Japanese Forces (Bautista 1996; Gonzalez 1998).

2. Post-colonial language policy Except for the brief period of Japanese occupation, English was maintained as the dominant language of government and education in the Philippines. The identification of a national language in the latter part of American colonial rule did not affect the elevated status of English in the Philippine society. Political independence from the United States, granted in 1946, saw the continued spread of the national language as a subject that was taught at the basic education levels, while English was maintained as the medium of instruction. In 1959, the national language was renamed Pilipino. In 1987, shortly after the People Power Revolution, the language was renamed again, this time, to Filipino. The renaming was an attempt to promote the national language as one that was not biased towards Tagalog, but instead, reflective of the multicultural and multilingual context of the Philippines. In the 1950s, visiting linguist Clifford Prator conducted studies in the Philippines resulting in the implementation of the Vernacular Teaching Policy of 1957. This policy prescribed the use of the major vernacular languages as languages of initial teaching and literacy until Grade 3, with Tagalog and English taught as separate subjects. Still, English was maintained as the medium of instruction from Grade 3 onwards (Gonzalez 1998). Despite the continued dominance of English in the domains of education, government, and business, there is no formal language-planning agency that sets directions for this language. Linguist and former Education Secretary Andrew Gonzalez believes that in the Philippines, “language planning is not under one unified agency but is diffused and located in different agencies according to the nature of the task to be accomplished” (Gonzalez 1998: 511). Until the 1990s, only one law and one department order ensured the maintenance of English as one of the two official languages of the country.

 Isabel Pefianco Martin

The 1987 Philippine Constitution states that “for purposes of communication and instruction, the official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and, until otherwise provided by law, English.” This law is carried out through DECS Order No. 52 series 1987, also known as the Bilingual Education Policy (henceforth BEP) of the Department of Education (henceforth DepEd), which was first introduced in 1974 and then re-issued with minor modifications in 1987. The BEP aims to develop bilingual Filipinos competent in both English and the national language. This BEP is the recognized language-in-education policy that is still in place today in the education sector. At present, there are many government agencies with stakes in language planning in the Philippines. The Commission on the Filipino Language (Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino or KWF), which was founded in 1991, is the language-planning agency for the national language and other Philippine languages. Since its founding, the KWF has not been genuinely successful in enriching the national language, let alone contributing to its wide acceptability as a language of instruction. Promoting the national language in the Philippines remains a highly controversial and emotionally charged task, especially when the issue of the language of learning comes into play. Gonzalez (1998: 515) notes, Until the mastery of Filipino becomes more necessary for livelihood than for symbolic purposes, based on previous Philippine experience, the widespread use of Filipino as a language of instruction especially for science and technology at the higher level of schooling will be limited. (Gonzalez 1998: 515)

Two government agencies direct education in the country, namely, the DepEd and the Commission on Higher Education (henceforth CHED). Both are bound by the 1987 BEP, with the DepEd focusing on basic education and the CHED on tertiary-level education. And then there is another agency that advises the Philippine President about education policy matters. The Presidential Task Force on Education was created in 2007 through Executive Order (henceforth EO) 635 to “assess, plan, and monitor the entire educational system” (Villafania 2007). This task force has been at the centre of recent language-in-education debates after Presidential Adviser for Education Mona Valisno reported that President Gloria Arroyo had agreed to “the use of the lingua franca or vernacular for grade one, but emphasized the need to intensify efforts of all concerned to make the pupils learn more English, math and science” (Nolasco 2008: 142). One set of government agencies with stakes in language planning in the Philippines are those agencies that have to do with trade and industry. The exporting of Filipino labour, also known as Overseas Filipino Workers (henceforth OFW), is believed to be the single most significant force in promoting a high demand for English in Philippine society. Gonzalez writes: Indirectly, since OFWs are hired largely because of their familiarity with English and their technical skills, their influence is considerable for the maintenance of the English language and its continuing use in the specialised domains of seamanship, the health sciences, technology, and management. (Gonzalez 1998: 515)



Chapter 11.  Diffusion and directions 

This reality is evident in the following Employer’s Guide posting about the advantage of hiring Filipino nurses: The facility in expressing himself/herself in English gives the Filipino nurse the extra advantage. With a good command of the language, he/she is able to communicate effectively with his/her employer, co-workers, and most importantly, with his/her patient or ward. (Philippine Overseas Employment Administration 2005)

The Information Communications Technology (henceforth ICT) industry is also one sector that has contributed to maintaining the elevated status of English in the country. In the last decade, the call centre industry in the Philippines has been receiving a lot of support from the government in an attempt to attract investors into the country. Soon after President Arroyo assumed the presidency, she called for structural reforms, which included the creation of a telecommunications infrastructure to attract more ICT investments. In her 2001 State of the Nation Address (henceforth SONA), Arroyo, an economist by profession, promised the following: We will promote fast-growing industries where high-value jobs are most plentiful. One of them is information and communications technology, or ICT. Our English literacy, our aptitude and skills give us a competitive edge in ICT. (Arroyo 2001)

On 17 May 2003, President Arroyo issued EO No. 210, which aimed to establish a policy to strengthen the use of English as a medium of instruction because of the ... need to develop the aptitude, competence and proficiency of our students in the English language to maintain and improve their competitive edge in emerging and fast-growing local and international industries, particularly in the area of Information and Communications Technology. (Arroyo 2003)

In her 2006 SONA, Arroyo claimed success in the structural reforms her government had implemented. She described having coffee with a call centre agent as a touching experience: I had coffee with some call center agents last Labor Day. Lyn, a new college graduate, told me, “Now I don’t have to leave the country in order for me to help my family. Salamat po. (Thank you.)” I was so touched, Lyn, by your comments. With structural reforms, we not only found jobs, but kept families intact. (Arroyo 2006)

Arroyo’s 2007 SONA had a more boastful tone when she declared that the Philippines “ranks among top off-shoring hubs in the world because of cost competitiveness and more importantly our highly trainable, English proficient, IT-enabled management and manpower” (Arroyo 2007). However, there is a widespread perception that English language proficiency among the Filipinos is deteriorating. Robert S. Keitel, Regional Employment Advisor of the United States Embassy in Manila, reports that only four percent of Filipino applicants are hired by call centres while the remaining ninety-six percent were not

 Isabel Pefianco Martin

because of their “sub-standard English skills” (Keitel 2008), this, despite 400,000 graduates being produced every year. Keitel (2008) notes the “mismatch between the call centres’ expectations of applicants and the preparedness of graduates from Philippine HEIs”, thus forcing call centres to collaborate closely with colleges and universities higher education institutions or HEIs. Keitel writes: It has been an evolution for academe to recognize that call center employment is an appropriate career opportunity for their graduates. Such recognition has necessitated changes in the curriculum. Initially, one reaction was, “we speak English already... are we not one of the largest English speaking countries in the world?” Yes, Filipinos speak English but it is a variety called Filipino English, and it is not the international (global) English required for call center employment. (Keitel 2008)

Like Keitel, American businessman Russ Sandlin, in a letter to a national daily, presents a less than rosy picture of the call centre industry in the Philippines. Sandlin writes: I closed my call center here. Filipinos have much worse English than their Indian counterparts. Not even three percent of the students who graduate college are employable in call centers. Trust me; all of us are leaving for China. ... The Philippines has a terrible talent shortage, and the government and the press are in denial... English is the only thing that can save the country, and no one here cares or even understands that the Filipinos have a crisis...God save the Philippines. I hate to see the country falling ever deeper into an English-deprived abyss. (Sandlin 2008)

This English-deprived abyss is indeed what the Philippine government is desperately attempting to prevent, sadly at the expense of the more basic needs of the Filipinos. The Philippine government’s formula for economic success has become painfully simplistic: English equals money. Whether Filipino graduates are capable of critical and creative thinking, or have acquired basic life skills other than language skills, does not seem to be a major concern. The Philippine government’s language policies seem to be fixated on English alone. To be sure, a good command of English is beneficial in employment situations where the language is used. However, language proficiency alone may not ensure economic success. As the language is not equally accessible to Filipinos, an over-emphasis on English proficiency because of the proliferation of call centres and medical transcription agencies in the Philippines, as well as increasing demands for Filipino workers abroad, may push schools to propagate the illusion that only proficiency in English guarantees economic success. The policy of the Philippine government on the use of English and Filipino is aptly described by Gonzalez (1998: 515) as “the product of a compromise solution to the demands of nationalism and internationalism.” On the one hand, advocates of nationalism push for the establishment, spread, and maintenance of Filipino, the national



Chapter 11.  Diffusion and directions 

language. Then there are those who support the continued dominance of English in important domains in Philippine society. These pro-English advocates promote the language as the country’s main defence against economic doom. In 2003, at the 75th founding anniversary of a Manila university, President Arroyo made the following statement that set off a series of reactions among language stakeholders: Our English literacy, our aptitude and skills give us a competitive edge in ICT (information and communications technology)...Therefore, until Congress enacts a law mandating Filipino as the language of instruction, I am directing the Department of Education to return English as the primary medium of instruction, provided some subjects will still be taught in Filipino. (Pazzibugan 2003)

Although the statement did not depart from the BEP, language stakeholders regarded it as an affront to the promotion of Filipino, the national language. A few months later, EO No. 210, entitled “Establishing the Policy to Strengthen the Use of the English Language as a Medium of Instruction in the Educational System”, was issued, followed by DepEd Order No. 36, which detailed the implementing rules and regulations for EO 210. A group of language stakeholders, Wika ng Kultura at Agham Incorporated (henceforth WIKA, meaning in English ‘Language of Culture and Science Incorporated’), challenged EO 210 and DepEd Order 36 by petitioning the Supreme Court to declare the orders unconstitutional. In its petition, WIKA claims that EO 210 “subverts the present status of Filipino in non-Tagalog areas, and violates the constitutional injunction that the regional languages shall serve as auxiliary media of instruction” (Torres 2007). The petition betrays a myth about languages in the Philippines – that the English language is in direct opposition to the national language. Often, when stakeholders of the national language are confronted with attempts to institutionalize English in the education domain, they cite nationalism, or the lack of it, as a reason for resisting English. This defensive stance towards the national language may be symptomatic of the inability of the Philippine government to effectively promote the use of Filipino in important domains in Philippine society. Gonzalez (1996: 236) notes that a “deterrent to the full flowering of a national code would be competing policies of government caused by special economic situations; hence, language ambivalence becomes the reason or manifestation of economic and social forces present outside the language.” Tupas (2007: 75) describes this situation as propagating a simplistic dichotomy between instrumentalist and identity positions in the language debate in the Philippines. He writes that the framework of the language debates in the Philippines continues to be: ... not only simplistic in the sense that it marginalizes important dimensions of the debate, it also fails to capture the underlying social tensions and fissures which are themselves constitutive of the complex dynamics of power relations in the Philippines. (Tupas 2007: 75)

 Isabel Pefianco Martin

An unfortunate casualty of diffusions in language policy and planning in the Philippines is the basic education sector.

3. Philippine basic education in the periphery In the 2008 Education for All Global Monitoring Report, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO describes the Philippines as having “performed dismally” in the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study or TIMSS, when Grade 4 students came out third to last in both Maths and Science tests. In addition, the Philippines ranked 41st in Maths and 42nd in Science (out of forty-six participating countries) at the second year high school level (Caoili-Rodriguez 2007: 13). It was noted in this report that the low scores in Maths and Science “prompted the government to re-evaluate science and math education in the country and implement remedial actions such as intensified teacher trainings.” (Caoili-Rodriguez 2007: 13) In addition to international measures of proficiency, there is also a national assessment of the competencies of students in the elementary and high school levels that the DepEd administers every year. The National Achievement Tests, also known as NAT, have been posting disappointing results over the last six years in Maths, Science, and English (Department of Education 2008b). The tables below illustrate this point. The NAT results for the elementary and high school levels reveal that the mean percentage scores in Maths, Science, and English since 2003 have not exceeded 65% at Table 1.  NAT elementary school results School Year

Maths

Science

English

SY 2003–04 SY 2004–05 SY 2005–06 SY 2006–07 SY 2007–08

59.45 59.10 53.66 60.29 63.89

52.59 54.12 46.77 51.58 57.90

49.92 59.15 54.05 60.78 61.62

Table 2.  NAT high school results School Year

Maths

Science

English

SY 2003–04 SY 2004–05 SY 2005–06 SY 2006–07 SY 2007–08

46.20 50.70 47.82 39.00 42.85

36.80 39.50 37.98 41.99 46.71

50.08 51.30 47.73 51.78 53.46



Chapter 11.  Diffusion and directions 

the elementary level and 53% at the high school level. The DepEd identifies the “mastery” level as being 75% and above. Following this rubric then, one may conclude that Filipino students have not achieved mastery of Maths, Science, and English (National Statistical Coordination Board 2007). In 2008, Education Secretary Jesli Lapus launched the DepEd’s flagship programme known as Project ‘Turning around Low Performance in English’ (henceforth TURN). Lapus explains that the project recognizes “the importance of English proficiency as an important building block in learning” (Department of Education 2008a). Lapus notes that “English proficiency is critical in learning as other key subjects such as Science and Mathematics use English in textbooks and other reference materials” (Department of Education 2008a). Project TURN was launched through DepEd Order 7, which required all teachers of English, Maths, and Science in low-performing elementary and high schools to take an English Proficiency test and be trained in oral and written communication in English. Php 500 million (roughly USD 11 million) was earmarked for the “in-service English retooling of public school teachers” (Martel 2008). These government interventions illustrate the prevalence of the illusion that English is the cure to the students’ low achievement scores – that English is the only language through which knowledge, especially of maths and science, can be accessed. This is further reinforced by persistent attempts by lawmakers to pass laws to institutionalize the sole use of English as the medium of instruction. Cebu Representative Eduardo Gullas was successful in getting 205 co-authors for House Bill 305 (the Gullas Bill), or An Act to Strengthen and Enhance the Use of English as the Medium of Instruction in Philippine Schools (Sunstar Cebu 2008). Gullas claims that the bill: ... aims to correct the defects of the current bilingual education program of the Department of Education. Its ultimate objective is the improvement of the learning process in schools to ensure quality outputs. (The Manila Times 2007)

The BEP has been widely criticized for many reasons, one being the perception that it does not contribute to upgrading the students’ mastery of language and content areas. The KWF believes that the BEP must be reviewed and revised. Ricardo Nolasco, former Chair of the KWF, in pushing for laws that support mother-tongue literacy, writes about “a basic weakness (that) is plaguing Philippine education” (Nolasco 2008: 133). He is referring to the mismatch between the students’ first languages and the languages of schooling, which are English and Filipino. Nolasco presents the following facts about the Philippine language situation (Nolasco 2008: 134): – The Philippines is a multilingual nation with more than 170 languages. – According to the 2000 Philippine census, the five biggest Philippine languages based on the number of first language speakers are Tagalog (21.5 million), Cebuano (18.5 million), Ilocano (7.7 million), Hiligaynon (6.9 million), and Bicol (4.5 million).

 Isabel Pefianco Martin

– The 2000 Philippine census also reveals that 65 million out of 76 million Filipinos are able to speak the national language as a first or second language. These facts, in addition to studies done on the effects of the BEP, demonstrate that Filipino school children may be marginalized by a policy that promotes languages that are not their own. There are lawmakers who are aware of this reality, as evident in the filing of House Bill 3719 by Valenzuela Congressman Magtanggol Gunigundo. Known as the Multilingual and Literacy Act of 2008, the Gunigundo Bill aims to “...upgrade the literacy program of the government by making the native tongue as the medium of instruction for the formative years of basic education” (14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines 2008). Some sectors of the government, particularly those in the executive branch, are also cognizant of the marginalization of the schoolchildren’s first languages. The chairman of the National Economic Development Authority or NEDA and Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ralph Recto, in a letter to Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, endorsed the Gunigundo Bill and explains that it is: ... consistent with the goals of the Philippine Education for All (EFA) 2015 Plan and the Updated Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP) 2004– 2010, which supports the utilization of the mother tongue as a fundamental tool to enhance the learning process itself and improve the relevance of basic education. (Personal communication, 12 August 2008)

The DepEd has also begun to accept the long-term benefits of mother-tongue literacy, which the department believes does not run counter to the spirit of the BEP. The DepEd has recently partnered with universities and associations in training primary school teachers on the use of the mother language as a medium of instruction. This training programme is presented as an extension of the 1999 Lingua Franca Education Project that linguist Andrew Gonzalez introduced at the DepEd when he was Education Secretary (Villafania 2009). It is unfortunate, however, that President Arroyo remains cold to the issue of mother-tongue literacy despite the endorsement of the Socioeconomic Planning Secretary and the Education Secretary, both members of her Cabinet. To this day, Arroyo has not certified House Bill 3719 as a priority bill of her administration. In the 1990s, linguist Andrew Gonzalez, who later became Secretary of Education, reflected on the BEP and wrote about his “obsession ...to make Filipinos linguistically competent to be able to think deeply and critically in any language” (Gonzalez 1999: 13). Gonzalez appealed for: ... a maximum of flexibility in the media of instruction...Not everything in Philippine education has to be uniform; in fact, even if we have policies towards uniformity, we never accomplish enough to be able to attain uniformity of results. So why not recognize this limitation and exploit it so that we can move faster towards development? (Gonzalez 1999: 13)



Chapter 11.  Diffusion and directions 

It is in this spirit of flexibility and resistance to uniformity that Filipino teachers reject the language purity imposition of the BEP and try to promote code-switching in the classrooms. Code-switching, despite the policy of English-only in Maths and Science, may be a form of resistance to prevailing illusions about languages in the Philippines. Studies on code-switching in the Philippines reveal that it is practiced in various domains, by different groups, for different reasons (Martin 2006). Still, that codeswitching is natural, inevitable, and perhaps necessary in Philippine education remains a touchy issue, especially where content learning is concerned. Two research studies that support resistance to English-only in education are Allan Bernardo’s cognitive science experiments about the effects of language on mathematical learning and performance and Isabel Pefianco Martin’s study of code-switching among teachers and students in Science courses. Bernardo (2000) investigated the effect of using the Filipino students’ first or second language on their mathematical problem solving ability. He concludes that there is no single effect of language on mathematical ability. Instead, the language effects are “multifarious and specific to the different components of mathematic problem solving” (Bernardo 2000: 310). Bernardo notes that those who insist that Maths be taught in English assume “some kind of structural-fit effect between English and mathematics learning and performance” (2000: 311) which doesn’t exist. Martin’s study of code-switching in college Science analyzed two cases which found that the practice does in fact support the goals of delivering content knowledge. Codeswitching was used by Science teachers as a pedagogical tool for motivating student response and action, ensuring rapport and solidarity, promoting shared meaning, checking student understanding, and maintaining the teaching narrative (Martin 2006). English teachers in the public schools also report that they code-switch when they teach. Dionisia B. Fernandez writes about how the English-only policy did not work in her school: One rule I have in my classroom is fairly simple: Speak only English! It was agreed that whoever broke this rule would pay a fine of one peso for each non-English word. For two days my students tried very hard to speak English only... A week after imposing the Speak English Only campaign, I felt frustrated not because the students’ carabao English worsened, or that the class treasurer did not collect a single peso, but because most of my pupils chose to keep their mouths shut. The campaign was a failure! (Fernandez 2009)

What this teacher learned from her experience of the English Only campaign is the need for some form of resistance to the impositions of language planning and policy in the Philippines. The diffusions in the language policy situation, from the American colonial period to contemporary times, only contribute to the promotion of the following myths about English in the Philippines: (1) English and Filipino are languages in opposition; (2) English is the only cure to all economic ailments; and (3) English is

 Isabel Pefianco Martin

the only access to knowledge. If these myths persist, basic education in the Philippines will be pushed farther to the periphery.

4. Directions for language planning and policy formulation In his analysis of the Philippine language situation, Schneider observes that “the Philippines could be an example of a country where the predictive implications of the dynamic model (of new Englishes) may fail” (Schneider 2003: 17). The Philippines does not seem to be moving into what Schneider identifies as the stage of endonormative stabilization – that stage in which the “...psychological independence and the acceptance of a new, indigenous identity, result in the acceptance of local forms of English as a means of expression of that new identity” (Schneider 2003: 11). What Schneider refers to as a local form of English is a variety now known as Philippine English or PhilE.3 However, the existence of a Philippine variety of English does not necessarily translate into acceptance of that variety. When asked why they identified American English as their target model for English Language Teaching or ELT, Filipino teachers gave the following reasons (Martin 2010: 253):   1. It is a global language.   2. American English is the universal language.   3. American English is the standard international language.   4. They [Filipino students] have to first learn the basics.   5. American English is universally accepted.   6. Knowing American English can avoid arguments and debates about the correct spelling and pronunciation.   7. The pronunciation of some words is conventional.   8. An approximately correct English – understandable and acceptable internationally   9. It is the most accepted English. 10. It’s the ideal, the standard in terms of language usage. 11. American English is applicable nationwide. 12. Because the expressions used are familiar to us having being under the American regime/way of education. 13. Because the Americans were the first to teach English to the Filipinos. 14. So that pupils will become more eloquent, smart in talking, and be able to communicate in the language not only in speaking but in writing as well. 15. You could use American movies as patterns for [teaching] speaking skills. 16. It’s widely used in communicative learning.

3. Bautista (2000) presents a comprehensive discussion of the grammatical features of Philippine English.



Chapter 11.  Diffusion and directions 

The list above betrays what Kachru (1995) refers to as the Model Dependency Myth, which hinges on the belief that the exocentric models of American and British English are standard and must therefore be taught. Such dependence on the American model is further reinforced by the fact that the language was brought to the Philippines as a colonial tool (evident in reasons 12 and 13 above). The “albatross of mythology,” as Kachru (2005: 16) puts it, weighs heavy around the necks of Filipino teachers of English so much so that even the strategies for teaching the language have become dependent on American texts (reason 15 above). The First Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey reported a slight improvement in the Filipinos’ self-assessment of English proficiency from the previous 2006 survey. The number of Filipinos who believe that they were not competent in English has decreased (Social Weather Stations 2008). One wonders if this is an indication of a growing acceptance of or confidence in the language. Whatever the case may be, diffusions in Philippine language planning and policy formulation persist and do not contribute to upgrading basic education in the country. In July 2009, the DepEd issued Order No. 74 which calls for the institutionalizing of mother-tongue based multilingual education (henceforth MTB MLE) in “the whole stretch of formal education including pre-school and in the Alternative Learning System (ALS)” (Department of Education 2009). This order was intended to be an extension of the Lingua Franca Education Project which the DepEd launched in 1999 in an earlier attempt to address the perceived weaknesses of using only English and Filipino in basic education. It was reported that more than a hundred schools throughout the nation will begin implementing MTB MLE in the sixty DepEd divisions of the country’s sixteen regions (Talete 2010). DepEd Order No. 74 was welcomed by language stakeholders as a positive contribution to the promotion of the mother tongue in basic education, as well as the upgrading of teaching and learning in the public schools. However, the full implementation of the MTB MLE Order will take some time to achieve since the order sets ten fundamental requirements for implementation, among them, the development of a working orthography for the local languages and the intellectualization of these languages (Department of Education 2009). It is also unfortunate that the order comes at a time of crucial leadership changes in the education department. A few months after the order was released, a new education secretary was appointed. This new secretary is expected to be replaced again soon after the May 2010 national elections. Such a situation, the rapid turnover of leadership in the education department, was identified as one obstacle to genuine educational reforms. Bautista, Bernardo and Ocampo (2008/2009: 30) observe that “the rapid succession of DepEd’s top leaders – six secretaries in eight years since 2000! – has left very little time for the theoretical and empirical arguments surrounding the language issue to sink in”. In addition, the fast-paced turnover of leadership in the education department creates an atmosphere that “tends to tilt the perspective towards the ‘half-empty’ outlook” (Bautista et al. 2008/2009: 37). One wonders what the future will be for mother-tongue based multilingual education in the Philippines.

 Isabel Pefianco Martin

In language planning, it is important to be mindful of the reality that language is not a fixed code. In fact, the term ‘language planning’ is in itself already problematic. Can language be planned? Gonzalez (2003: 1) asks the same question which is also the title of a 1971 book by Rubin and Jernudd. Gonzalez notes that after more than three decades of his involvement in language planning and policy formulation, he too has been asking the same question. He writes: ... language planning presumes rationality on the part of the language planners in drafting action plans, but these action plans likewise presume rationality on the part of the political decision-makers and would-be beneficiaries (parents and their children) of these rational policies. Unfortunately, in a world not quite fully rational, rational means to realize plans do not always obtain and results are often mixed, which they are in the Philippines! (Gonzalez 2003: 5)

The language policy situation in the Philippines may persist in its irrelevance if decisions continue to be made in conflicting and contradictory terms. However, in addressing the negative impact of diffusions in language planning, the answer does not lie in doing the opposite – in centralizing decision-making. On the contrary, any attempt at homogenizing the implementation of language policies may be doomed to fail, especially when the implementation does not address deeper social issues besieging the country, among them, the continued deterioration of basic education, which results from and contributes to poverty among Filipinos. Tupas (2009: 3) strongly argues for a language policy that is generated from the ground. He writes: ... the problem of language is ultimately a problem of development. Language policy becomes more useful and fair if it re-views languages in education from the point of view of the schools of the people. These schools have disengaged from language policy in order to transform education on the ground. (Tupas 2009: 3)

To be sure, language is not the only force impacting the present education crisis in the Philippines. There are many other forces to contend with. However, the absence of a genuine commitment to mother-tongue literacy may only hasten the deterioration of education and push Filipino schoolchildren deeper into the poverty pit. In the end, the question that needs to be asked is not whether the Philippine government should promote one or two or three languages. The question is not whether language policy should favour English or Filipino or both or neither. The questions that must be asked are – What must language policy be truly concerned about? What is language policy ultimately for? These are questions that have yet to be asked, let alone answered.

References 14th Congress of the Republic of the Philippines. 2008. An Act Establishing a Multi-lingual Education and Literacy Program (House Bill 3719).



Chapter 11.  Diffusion and directions  Annex Teacher. 1928. The influence of noted authors on the Philippines. Graphic March 31: 7. Arroyo, G. 2001. State of the Nation Address at the Opening of Congress, Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City on 23 July 2001. Arroyo, G. 2003. Establishing the Policy to Strengthen the Use of the English Language as a Medium of Instruction in the Educational System. Executive Order No. 210, 17 May 2003. (11 May 2011). Arroyo, G. 2006. State of the Nation Address at the Opening of Congress, Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City on 24 July 2006. Arroyo, G. 2007. State of the Nation Address at the Opening of Congress, Batasang Pambansa, Quezon City on 23 July 2007. Bautista, M.L.S. 1996. An outline: The national language and the language of instruction. In Readings in Philippine Sociolinguistics, 2nd edn., M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 223–227. Manila: De La Salle University Press. Bautista, M.L.S. 2000. The grammatical features of educated Philippine English. In Parangal cang Brother Andrew: Festschrift for Andrew Gonzalez on his sixtieth birthday, M.L.S. Bautista, T.A. Llamzon & B.P. Sibayan (eds), 146–158. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Bautista, M.C.R.B., Bernardo, A.B.I. & Ocampo, D. 2008/2009. When reforms don’t transform: Reflections on institutional reforms in the Department of Education. Human Development Network, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. (11 May 2011). Bernardo, A. 2000. The multifarious effects of language on mathematical learning and performance among bilinguals: A cognitive science perspective. In Parangal Cang Brother Andrew: Festschrift for Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, M.L.S. Bautista, T.A. Llamzon & B.P. Sibayan (eds), 303–316. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Board of Educational Survey. 1925. A Survey of the Educational System of the Philippine Islands. Manila: Bureau of Printing. Caoli-Rodriguez, R. 2007. The Philippines country case study. Country Profile Commissioned for the EFA Global Monitoring Report 2008, Education for All by 2015: Will We Make It? UNESCO. (4 July 2008). Constantino, R. 1982. The Miseducation of the Filipino. Quezon City: Foundation for Nationalist Studies. Department of Education. 2008a. English proficiency: DepEd’s flagship program in 2008. Office of the Secretary, 15 January 2008. (4 July 2008). Department of Education. 2008b. Basic education statistics (data file), 11 September 2008. (17 November 2008). Department of Education. 2009. Institutionalizing mother-tongue based multilingual education [DepEd Order No. 74, Series 2009], 14 July 2009. (11 October 2009). Estioko, L. 1994. History of Education: A Filipino Perspective. Manila: Society of Divine Word. Fernandez, D. 2009. The Red Carabao. In How, How the Carabao: Tales of Teaching English in the Philippines, I.P. Martin (ed), 21–24. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Loyola Schools. Gonzalez, A. 1996. Language and nationalism in the Philippines: An update. In Readings in Philippine Sociolinguistics, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 228–239. Manila: DLSU Press. Gonzalez, A. 1998. The language planning situation in the Philippines. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 19(5/6): 487–525.

 Isabel Pefianco Martin Gonzalez, A. 1999. Philippine bilingual education revisited. In The Filipino Bilingual: A Multidisciplinary Perspective [Festschrift in honor of Emy M. Pascasio], M.L.S. Bautista & G. Tan (eds), 11–15. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Gonzalez, A. 2003. Language Planning in Multilingual Countries: The Case of the Philippines. Manila: Andrew Gonzalez. Kachru, B.B. 1995. The intercultural nature of modern English. In 1995 Global Cultural Diversity Conference Proceedings, Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Sydney, Australia. (17 November 2008). Kachru, B.B. 2005. Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Keitel, R. 2008. Academe-call center partnerships. Manila Bulletin Online, 20 January 2008. (27 November 2008). Martel, R. 2008. Spreading English as opposed to “Taglish.” The Manila Times, 10 June 2008, (4 July 2008). Martin, I.P. 2006. Language in Philippine classrooms: Enabling or enfeebling? Asian Englishes 9(2): 48–67. Martin, I.P. 2010. Periphery ELT: The politics and practice of teaching English in the Philippines. In The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 247–264. London: Routledge. National Statistical Coordination Board. 2007. Factsheet: Students’ Scores in Achievement tests Deteriorating. (22 November 2008). Nolasco, R.M. 2008. The prospects of multilingual education and literacy in the Philippines. In The Paradox of Philippine Education and Education Reform: Social Science Perspectives, A. Bernardo (ed), 133–145. Quezon City: Philippine Social Science Council. Pazzibugan, D. 2003. President wants English back; Estrada objects. INQ7.net, 29 January 2003. < http://www.inq7.net/nat/2003/jan/30/text/nat_6-1-p.html> (22 October 2003). Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA). 2005. Filipino Workers: Moving the World Today [Employer’s Guide]. (25 November 2008). Rubin, J. & Jernudd, B. (eds). 1971. Can Language Be Planned? Sociolinguistic Theory and Practice for Developing Nations. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. Sandlin, R. 2008. English remains the only hope of the Philippines [Letter to the editor]. Philippine Daily Inquirer, 11 March 2008. (11 May 2011). Schneider, E.W. 2003. The dynamics of new Englishes: From identity construction to dialect birth. Language 79(2): 233–281. Social Weather Stations. 2008. First Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey: National proficiency in English recovers. SWS Media Release, 16 May 2008. < http://www.sws.org.ph/pr080516. htm > (24 November 2008). Sunstar Cebu. 2008. House to pass English bill: Gullas. Sun.Star Archive, 11 February 2008. (28 November 2008). Talete, H.C. 2010. Deped pushes for the use of mother tongue to develop better learners. Positive News Media, 21 April 2010. (28 April 2010). The Manila Times. 2007. Lawmaker sees need for English. Worldnews.com, 22 December 2007. (11 July 2008). Torres, T. 2007. SC asked to nullify directives on English as teaching medium. INQUIRER.net, 27 April 2007. (11 November 2008). Tupas, T.R. 2007. Back to class: The ideological structure of the medium of instruction debate in the Philippines. In (Re)making Society: The Politics of Language, Discourse, and Identity in the Philippines, T.R. Tupas (ed), 61–84. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press. Tupas, T.R. 2009. Language as a problem of development. AILA Review 22: 23–35. UNESCO-Philippine Educational Foundation. 1953. Fifty Years of Education for Freedom: 1901– 1951. Manila: National Printing Co., Inc. Villafania, A. 2007. Ateneo president tapped to head education task force. Inquirer.net, 4 September 2007. (5 May 2005). Villafania, A. 2009. Educators trained on native tongue teaching. Inquirer.net, 8 May 2009. (14 May 2009).

chapter 12

The effect of policy on English language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd

King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Thailand In Thailand, education is the main area in which language policy is enacted, and this chapter investigates foreign language policy and practice, especially concerning English, in an attempt to shed light on language policy. We identify seven sources of English language education policy, namely, the National Education Act, national education standards, Ministry of Education recommended textbooks, isolated Ministry of Education initiatives, demanddriven changes in the types of schools, test washback, and decentralised decision making. We show that these sources present conflicting versions of language policy. To examine how the policies are implemented in practice, we interviewed principals and teachers at four representative government secondary schools. The findings show awareness of the various policies but a great diversity in how they are implemented. Keywords: language policy, English language teaching, educational standards, school policy, classroom practice

1. Introduction Thailand is a country where over eighty languages are spoken, but where, for reasons of nation-building, one language, Thai, dominates especially in official and media uses (Smalley 1994). Indeed, the domination of Thai is such that some of the other commonly spoken languages are referred to as dialects of Thai; for example, the Kham Muang language of northern Thailand is often referred to as the northern dialect of Thai (Rappa & Wee 2006). The only language that has come close to challenging the official and media dominance of Thai is English (Masavisut, Sukwiwat & Wongmontha 1986). In mid-2010, the Minister of Education suggested that, to promote better learning of English, the language should be made the second official language of the country. He withdrew this proposal the next day on the grounds that having English as an official language “could lead to misunderstandings that Thailand had been colonised

 Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd

in the past” (Bunnag 2010: 5); instead, at most, English should be the first foreign language. The short-lived proposal of English as an official language highlights the two key influences on language policy in Thailand. First, language policy is heavily influenced by nationalistic concerns (Feigenblatt, Suttichujit, Shuib, Keling & Ajis 2010) to the extent that there is very little explicit official documentation concerning language policy available, perhaps on the basis that such documentation could raise questions about the centrality of the Thai language to the nation. Second, education is the major area in which language policy is enacted in Thailand. The dominance of Thai in a linguistically diverse country comes from attempts to create linguistic “unity which the government works hard to promote through the educational system” (Smalley 1994: 4), and much of the stimulus to promote English has educational roots. The few language policy documents that do exist concern language in education. In these documents, Thai dominates for reasons of national security and racial integration with English being the only foreign language specified as useful for information dissemination (according to the 1978 Basic Curriculum issued by the National Education Council; see Rappa & Wee 2006). In this chapter, we will investigate the role of English in Thailand. Given the dearth of explicit documentation on language policy outside of education, we will examine English in Thailand by focusing on educational policy and its implementation.

2. A brief history of English language teaching in Thailand The first record of English language teaching in Thailand comes from 1824 when the language was taught to diplomats, and the formal teaching of English was restricted to royalty and courtiers through subsequent decades. It was not until 1891 that the first English school was set up with the rationale that English was vital for learning other subjects since most textbooks were in English. Later, in 1921, the first Compulsory Education Act set English as a subject to be studied from Grade 5 (Durongphan, Aksornkool, Wannawech & Tiancharoen n.d.). Nevertheless, before World War II, the learning of English (and, indeed, education beyond a three-year minimum) was restricted to an urban elite. The 1940s and 1950s saw two major changes that promoted English as the foremost foreign language in education. First, nationalist governments wishing to promote the Thai language closed hundreds of Chinese- and Malay-medium schools during this time (Feigenblatt, Suttichujit, Shuib, Keling & Ajis 2010). Second, especially with the growing influence of America and with substantial foreign aid from English-speaking countries, English was seen as particularly useful for both trade and higher education leading to a greater emphasis on English as a foreign language or EFL in national curricula (Darasawang 2007). English language teaching, then, has a venerable history in Thai education, and has been the main foreign language taught for at least fifty years with the result that nearly all students in Thailand learn English for several years. Despite the emphasis



Chapter 12.  Policy on English language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand 

placed on English in the education system, the general level of English proficiency in the country is very low. In 2005, the Educational Testing Service released figures comparing proficiency testing in countries in Southeast Asia or SEA with Thailand coming eighth out of nine countries, scoring lower than Laos and Vietnam and only just outscoring Cambodia leading to an outbreak of national concern (Bunnag 2005). Reasons suggested for such low levels of English include the fact that English is a foreign language in Thailand (especially when compared with countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines) with little general social exposure to the language especially for the rural majority (Rappa & Wee 2006), and a possible lack of a culture of foreign language learning perhaps due to Thailand never having been colonised (Watson Todd 2006). It may also be possible that educational language policy and its implementation is a cause for the poor outcomes from English language learning in Thailand, and thus we will now turn to examining policy issues.

3. English language educational policies in Thailand Educational policies concerning English run the full gamut from formal legal acts passed by parliament to implicit policies based on how the Thai educational system is set up. In this section, we will examine seven sources of language education policies.

3.1

The National Education Act of 1999

Stemming from requirements in the 1997 Constitution, in 1999 the National Education Act (Office of the National Education Commission 1999) was promulgated to provide a coherent framework to govern Thai education over the succeeding decades. Driven by a desire to reform education, the Act requires changes in nearly all areas of education, including administration, standards and personnel. It has been described as “an ideal law that upholds the philosophy of education [and] makes the process of learning the priority” (Bangkok Post 2002) by including sections governing the objectives of education and the learning process. One of the five key objectives of education is “Knowledge and skills in mathematics and languages, with emphasis on proper use of the Thai language” (Section 23) while the guidelines on the learning process include accounting for individual differences, training in thinking skills and problem solving, learning from authentic experience, using technology, and promoting lifelong learning (Section 24). It should be noted that English is never specifically mentioned in the Act. However, the Act also states that “The Basic Education Commission shall prescribe core curricula for basic education” (Section 27) and it is in these curricula based on national standards that English comes to the fore.

 Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd

3.2

National education standards and curricula

Educational standards governing all levels of education at a national level were set for the first time in 2004 (Office of the National Education Council 2004) and are organised in a hierarchy from the most general standards covering all of education through to specific standards applying to a single subject at a single educational level. At the most general level, there are only three standards (The Thai people will be competent, virtuous and lead a happy life; Emphasis will be on a learner-centred approach and school-based administration for education provision; Ways of learning and strengthening learning sources will be enhanced) and eleven indicators, and, as with the National Education Act, English is not mentioned. At the more specific levels, however, English is one of the subjects for which standards have been set, and we will examine the standards for foreign language learning at the secondary level. Four broad goals for foreign language teaching are set: – Communication focuses on effective communication, fluency, understanding the culture of native speakers, and knowing how to apply the language and cultural awareness to communicate appropriately. – Culture covers knowledge and understanding of the culture of the target language and its influence on Thai culture. – Connection aims at linking the target language to the content of other subjects. – Community covers project work and application outside the classroom. These goals are used to guide the setting of specific standards for teaching at the various grades of secondary education. These standards include: – Search for an effective way of learning a foreign language and for one’s own effective learning style (Substance 1 Standard 1.2) – Be capable of communicating ... creatively, efficiently and aesthetically (Substance 1 Standard 1.3) – Understand the similarities and differences between Thai culture and the culture of the target language (Substance 2 Standard 2.2) – Use English language in searching for knowledge relevant to other subjects to widen world knowledge (Substance 3 Standard 3.7) – Use English specifically for communication, management in learning, further education and careers (Substance 4 Standard 4.2) – Use English to work with other people harmoniously by being able to control oneself, respect other people’s thoughts and ideas, express one’s own feelings appropriately, and negotiate with and convince other people rationally (Substance 4 Standard 4.2) (Ministry of Education 2001a) While several of these goals and standards are uncontroversial, one interesting point worth highlighting is the understanding of culture embodied within them. Culture, as it relates to foreign language learning, is seen as concerning the culture of native



Chapter 12.  Policy on English language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand 

speakers. In an era where English as an international language is coming to the fore, such a view of culture seems outdated. It may also be inappropriate as a basis for teaching English, since much use of English in Thailand is likely to involve two non-native speakers where the native speaker culture is irrelevant. For instance, in the tourism industry, one of the main professional uses of English, only 17% of tourist arrivals come from countries associated with native speaker culture, whereas around half of tourists come from other Asian countries (Chinmaneevong 2010).

3.3

Ministry of education recommended textbooks

The standards for English teaching and learning in Thailand are very general and could be implemented in a wide variety of ways. To concretise the standards and to help teachers, the Ministry of Education (e.g. 2001b, 2010) provides a list of recommended course books for teachers to use. In the 2001 list, some of the books recommended were very dated such as Kernel One? of the audiolingual era (O’Neill 1971/1978). An analysis of the recommended course books (Watson Todd & Keyuravong 2004) has shown that the language points covered in the books mostly concern grammar, that the culture of the books is either British or American, that the content is largely trivial, and that closed-ended exercises predominate (a pattern that still seems to hold with the newer books on the more recent list, e.g. Broukal 2004). The objectives and methodology of the course books, then, do not match the objectives and methodologies promoted by either the National Education Act or the standards. In fact, the only clear match concerns the focus on native speaker culture which, as we have seen, is problematic.

3.4

Isolated ministry of education initiatives

While the National Education Act, standards and recommended books could (but unfortunately do not) provide a coherent framework for English language education, another source of policy is dependent on the beliefs of individuals. Incoming Ministers of Education wish to make their mark and so initiate and provide funding for projects based on their personal beliefs about education. For instance, in 2005, following the interests of a new Minister, there was a flurry of activity promoting brain-based learning as the future of Thai education. A National Institute for Brain-based Learning was set up and provided with substantial funds (initially 340 million baht or eleven million US dollars), curricula were designed following the theory, and schools were selected to implement the approach (Watson Todd 2005b). With a change of Ministers, however, brain-based learning was replaced by the next fad. If Ministers lasted for several years in the position, these isolated initiatives might have some meaningful impact. With twelve politicians holding the post of Minister of Education in the last ten years, however, the reality is that Ministers’ initiatives add an extra burden on schools as they are required to show that they are implementing the Ministers’ pet project which within a year is likely to be replaced by the next project.

 Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd

3.5

Policies concerning types of schools

In mainstream schools, English is restricted to specific English language lessons taught for one hour a week in grades 1 to 3, two hours a week in grades 4 to 6, and three hours a week on average in secondary schools. However, demand by parents for their children to be proficient at English has led to the establishment of various schools and programmes that place a greater emphasis on English. At the extreme are Englishmedium international schools which, until 1991, were not allowed to accept Thai nationals as students unless their parents were diplomats (Wanchupela 2007). With the opening of international schools to Thais under the Education Act of 1991, their numbers jumped massively from four in 1990 to 106 in 2006 (Office of the Education Council 2006) with concurrent concerns about quality. Driven by market demand, private and government schools followed the lead of international schools and started to provide programmes where two to four core subjects were taught through English in addition to the normal English language classes, with 332 schools offering such programmes in 2009 (Keyuravong 2010). Although more expensive than mainstream schooling, the success of these programmes means that English is starting to take on the role of the language of education by default.

3.6

Test washback

Although not designed as policy instruments, tests have a major washback impact on teaching and learning, and thus could be considered implicit policy tools. English is a required subject in national education tests taken at grades 6, 9 and 12 and in the university entrance exam which is probably the most influential exam in Thailand. The university entrance exam system was set up in 1967 and consisted solely of multiplechoice tests until the late 1990s. In 1998, grades from secondary school were taken into consideration with them comprising 10% of the entrance system score, with the remaining 90% still coming from the entrance exam. It was planned that the proportion of the entrance score derived from school grades would steadily increase to 70%, but the highest contribution it has reached was 30% in 1999. While the inclusion of secondary school grades reduces the influence of multiple-choice testing, this reduction is minimal since, on average, 50% of the marks for school grades come from multiplechoice tests (Piboonkanarax 2008). A more significant attempt to reduce the influence of multiple-choice testing was made in 2006 when, for the first and only time, openended questions were included in the entrance exams. So, despite constant minor changes to the entrance exam system, multiple-choice tests still dominate Thai education with washback effects meaning that testing, and thus teaching, focuses on simplistic, non-transferable knowledge especially of grammar and vocabulary, lower-order thinking, ephemeral memory, and receptive skills (Watson Todd 2008). From the perspective of policy, the heavy washback from multiple-choice tests means that many enlightened and forward-looking policies have little effect in practice.



Chapter 12.  Policy on English language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand 

3.7

Decentralised decision making

The National Education Act of 1999 stipulates that the Ministry of Education “shall decentralize powers in educational administration and management regarding academic matters” (Section 39, Office of the National Education Commission 1999). Although the full decentralisation process has been constantly delayed, one outcome of this policy has been that schools have been encouraged to create their own curricula accounting for at least 30% of teaching, which focuses on and serves the local community (Ministry of Education 2001a). Until a recent about-face, this meant that schools were expected to design their own English learning materials based on the issues and needs of the local community. Unfortunately, the needs for English within the local communities were often unclear, especially in remote upcountry communities, and teachers often did not have the skills to design effective materials (Wall, Hull & Srimavin 2008). The decentralisation policy in practice, then, often resulted in a hotchpotch of poorly designed materials with no relation to any other policies.

4. Policy and practice in English language education in Thailand While there may be little official documentation directly concerning language policy in Thailand, from the above we can see that there is a substantial amount concerning educational policies for the English language, much of which has implicit implications for a broader interpretation of language policy. However, there are numerous conflicts between the different sources of policy. The stipulations of the National Education Act are not manifested in the national standards, which in turn do not form the basis for the recommended books; Ministers of Education promote and implement their own pet projects which bear no relationship to the Act or standards; the market for English creates demands leading to a new role for English not explicitly considered in other documentation; the national tests mean that all policies and initiatives are modified in practice because of washback; and the policy of decentralisation means that the actual impact of all the other sources is unclear as schools have the right to implement their own curricula. In other words, English language education policy in Thailand is a mess. Even if the various sources of policy did provide a clear direction, it is unclear to what extent a clear policy would affect classroom practice. A coherent and beneficial policy is of little use if it is not implemented effectively. Unfortunately, the Thai Ministry of Education has gained an unwelcome reputation for ineffective top-down imposition of policy on schools and teachers (Watson Todd 2005a). The ineffectiveness of the implementation of policy can be seen in two ways. First, senior education figures in Thailand almost constantly complain about the prevalence of rote learning in the education system and the need to change (e.g. Srisa-an 2007, then-Minister of Education; Johnson, Trivitayakhun & Thirasak 2009 quoting the then-Minister of Education). The repetitiveness and frequency of such complaints suggest that the policies are not being implemented

 Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd

effectively. Second, even when teachers are aware of policies and agree with them, their ratings for how the policies affect their teaching are consistently lower than their levels of agreement with the policies (Thongsri et al. 2006). Therefore, there appears to be a significant gap between the policies (whatever they are) and their implementation. To investigate the nature of this gap, in other words, the relationship between policies and practice, we interviewed principals and English teachers at four secondary schools.

5. Data collection The four secondary schools chosen for data collection are all in Ratchaburi province, since this province is representative of many other provinces with a large municipality, extensive agricultural areas centred around market towns, and some remote villages in mountainous areas. The four schools represent a cross-section of schools in the province and are: 1. Ratanarasbumroong School, a large school (2,700 students) with a good reputation in a major agricultural area. 2. Wat Dontoom School, a medium-sized school (1,000 students) in a less privileged agricultural area. 3. Kururatrungsarit School, a medium-sized school (1,600 students) which was selected as part of the Dream Schools project and so has received higher than average funding. 4. Ban Ka Wittaya School, a small school (700 students) in a slightly more remote area. Originally, it was our intention to interview the principals and most of the English teachers at all four schools. However, the principals of the second two schools above were not available on the dates of the interviews, so data was collected from only two principals, but from English teachers at all schools. The interviews with the principals were conducted as free interviews with the goal of finding out the school’s policies, especially for English and also in relation to the seven sources of policy. The interviews with the teachers were more structured and aimed to elicit their knowledge of national policies, how they implemented these policies, and the content, materials and processes used in teaching. All interview data were analysed to identify awareness of and implementation of policy as well as educational practice at the school.

6. The principals’ school policies There was a marked contrast between the two principals in their concern for English language teaching. Despite knowing that the purpose of the interview was to elicit



Chapter 12.  Policy on English language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand 

school policy on English teaching, the principal of Ratanarasbumroong School avoided discussion of English and focused on his policy to upgrade Information Communications Technology (henceforth ICT) at the school, illustrating the impact of a principal’s personal interests and concerns on school policy: The results from the quality assurance showed that we needed to work more on ICT ... The issue of ICT is also my idea to develop this school because I took care of the ICT project in Ratchaburi before moving to be the principal of this school ... I am interested in educational media.

Unlike the principal of Ratanarasbumroong School, the principal of Wat Dontoom School, which has won a prize for its English language teaching, was concerned about English language education and had made numerous initiatives promoting English and educational development: My policy about English language learning is to have students learn English by themselves. We have English resources centre and technology used in English language teaching but they are not enough ... We also have a sound lab and an English Innovation room ... We have various English activities ... We also have the Love Reading Project in every subject matter. All the subjects can be integrated with one another ... I came up with the policy myself by looking at our context and the resources we have; we apply the policy of the Ministry of Education only when appropriate ... The strategic plan provided by the Ministry is broad so we should have our own strategy ... Dontoom Plan was created by every teacher ... We don’t care much about quality assurance but we care more about developing ourselves ... We focus on innovation from doing research ... every teacher has to do it and submit it to the school administrators ...

While clearly differing in the emphasis they place on English, the interviews with both principals highlight the power of individual schools to make their own policies in line with decentralised decision making.

7. The teachers’ classroom practice As with school policy, the interviews with teachers reveal a great diversity in classroom practice. In part, this diversity in practice reflects the different school policies. For instance, at Ratanarasbumroong School where the policy emphasis is on ICT: There is a multimedia room and a sound lab ... we use the Internet when preparing the teaching materials and ask the students to search for information.

The various policy sources also have an impact on practice. At Ratanarasbumroong School, practice is influenced by the Ministry of Education recommended textbooks

 Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd

and possibly by some broad objectives in the National Education Act (such as training in thinking skills), although the emphasis placed on reading in the Act is ignored: The texts used are chosen from the list of texts provided by the Office of the Basic Educational Commission [henceforth OBEC] and we add other books. We mainly teach four skills ... We use project work in the English class of Mattayomsuksa 6 [equivalent to Grade 12] to enhance the thinking process ... we don’t focus on reading much.

The Ministry of Education textbooks and the National Education Act have a clear influence on classroom practice at Wat Dontoom School as well: We taught every skill as stated in the four strands and focus on reading because it is emphasized in the 1999 National Act ... we encourage the students to read 20 stories and record what they read in a learning log ... we chose the texts from the list provided by the OBEC ... choosing the level of difficulty, up-to-date content and vocabulary which is specified in the syllabus ... problem-solving is the thinking skill integrated in the learning process ... we chose to use only the relevant policy from the OBEC and the Local Area Education Office to be used.

Indeed, Wat Dontoom School appears to pay more attention to the National Education Act and the National Education Standards than the other schools as evinced by a prominently displayed statement of the policy goals of foreign language teaching in the department: Learners have discipline, morality, knowledge, and good attitudes towards English. They should be able to use English to communicate in various situations, to seek knowledge to work and further their education. Also, they should understand the Thai culture and the native speaker’s culture.

The interviews with the teachers of the other two schools, Kururatrungsarit School and Ban Ka Wittaya School, show how different policies can impact practice. Kururatrungsarit School is a so-called Dream School, an initiative started by the then-Minister of Education in 2004. A dream school is a well-equipped school which acts as a model for other schools in the district. Although the funding for dream schools has been reduced in recent years, generally they still provide more facilities for students and a higher quality of education than the average school. The facilities available at Kururatrungsarit School allow the teachers to organise learning in ways which might not be possible at other schools: We have an E-classroom which the students can use during lunch time and during their free time. The students can choose to study according to their interest such as vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar ... English study is a compulsory for the students during their free hour [normally this period is allocated as a free elective for the students], so they will have five hours of English per week.



Chapter 12.  Policy on English language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand 

As with other schools, the broad objectives of the National Education Act have been put into practice at Kururatrungsarit School, as has the need to incorporate local content into learning as envisaged by the decentralisation policy. However, the school has chosen not to use textbooks from the Ministry of Education’s recommended list: Project work is integrated in the English course ... it emphasizes information search and tourist attractions in Ratchaburi. The students will present these tourist attractions in English and simple conversation related to traveling ... Reading is also encouraged ... the students have to record their reading and give comments on it ... the teachers chose the texts based on appropriateness, convenience and up-to-date content ... the text should cover the overall content.

The final school, Ban Ka Wittaya School, is the smallest and the least privileged school. While the teachers here appear to be aware of objectives from the National Education Act and the standards (and even perhaps attempt to have an element of English medium education in other subjects), their attempts to reach these objectives have been so fraught with problems that their teaching has become guided more by test washback than by the other policy sources: We use short stories to teach English...try to integrate English with other subjects ... It takes time to have the students do activities in class ... we chose the texts on the list, but we also adapt the content as appropriate ... we also consider the national test when we design what to teach ... grammar is our main focus, but we also teach four skills ... we prepare the content by searching for it on the Internet and preparing worksheets from old texts ... the school supported reading activity but the students were not very interested ... we used to have some activities to enhance English language reading ... we have the students recite vocabulary in front of the flagpole in the morning ... taking turns between Thai and English vocabulary.

The extent to which the teachers’ responses in the interviews reflect actual practice is unclear, but, taken at face value, two patterns emerge. Overall, although there are some similarities in practice between the four schools, such as in using project work and technology to aid learning, the differences are more noticeable. Similarly, although there are some similarities in the policy sources influencing practice, such as the impact of the broad objectives of the National Education Act, the differences are more noticeable with all of the policy sources having some influence in at least one school.

8. Discussion Foreign language education policy can be viewed as affecting education practice in three main ways: influencing the processes of teaching and learning, influencing the content to be taught, and influencing how education is set up at a systemic level. We

 Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd

will discuss the policy documentation and classroom practice as shown in the interviews on the basis of these three levels. From the interviews with principals and teachers, most of the information concerned processes of teaching and learning, especially the promotion of learner-centredness and the use of technology. The teachers’ focus on these issues suggests that the broad process objectives of the National Education Act have created a certain mindset in teachers, but the extent to which this mindset leads to successful learning is unclear. On the one hand, the popular discourse on English language education in Thailand is still replete with complaints that rote learning is prevalent; on the other hand, students have complained that learner-centredness in practice is tantamount to student neglect by teachers (Bunnag 2000). For the purposes of this chapter, beyond showing high levels of awareness of the goals of the National Education Act, the focus on processes of teaching and learning tells us little about the impact of language policy. The content to be taught may provide more insights into language policy than the processes of teaching. For instance, the policy statement displayed at Wat Dontoom School implies that English is taught for purely instrumental purposes and also prioritises native speaker culture, both issues highlighted in the policy documentation. However, there is surprisingly little in the interviews concerning content so no clear conclusions can be reached. Practices at the systemic level, such as the allocation of an extra hour for English at Kururatrungsarit School and the variety of support facilities for English at Wat Dontoom School, perhaps provide the most insight into language policy by highlighting the extent to which English is valued in terms of time and budget. As with content, however, there is little in the interviews concerning systemic practices. The clearest issue emerging from the interviews is the diversity of practice and of policy sources used to inform practice. For instance, regarding practice, Ratanarasbumroong School largely ignores teaching reading, whereas Wat Dontoom School views reading as the key skill to be taught. Regarding policy, there is some evidence that all seven sources of policy influence practice. However, individual schools appear to pick and choose which sources and which policies they implement. Three of the schools use the list of recommended textbooks as the basis for choosing classroom texts, whereas at the other school teachers do not base their choices of texts on this list. In fact, while the schools and teachers appear aware of the various policies, they do not seem to be constrained to follow them: “we apply the policy of the Ministry of Education only when appropriate”, and “we chose to use only the relevant policy”. The power of schools and teachers to choose between policies and to set their own practices could be seen as evidence for the success of decentralised decision making in Thai education. However, the fact that more formal aspects of administration such as budgeting have yet to be decentralised casts doubt on this conclusion. Rather, the sheer number of and conflicts between different policies may mean that schools are unintentionally empowered to make their own decisions. In fact, it could be argued that schools could do whatever they wanted and still be able to find some policy from some



Chapter 12.  Policy on English language teaching at secondary schools in Thailand 

source that justifies their practice. The conflicts between the various policies and the lack of any clear relationship between policies and practice have implications for language policy research. In Thailand, at least, it seems likely that policy research focusing on one or two sources of policy documentation and not accounting for how such documentation is put into practice would lead to a biased and invalid view of language policy in the country. To conclude, the various sources, taken individually, provide some idea of how educational policy manifests language policy. However, the conflicts between different sources and the power of schools to pick and choose which policies to implement mean that the idea of official documentation providing a coherent language policy for Thailand is an illusion.

References Bangkok Post. 2002. Trapped by the same old system. Bangkok Post, Mid-Year Economic Review. (11 May 2011). Broukal, M. 2004. Weaving It Together. New York NY: Heinle. Bunnag, S. 2000. Students see system on creative thinking going the wrong way. Bangkok Post, 4, 28 February 2000. Bunnag, S. 2005. English skills lowly ranked. Bangkok Post, 5, 10 August 2005. Bunnag, S. 2010. English skills receive boost in Thailand. Bangkok Post, 2, 6 July 2010. Chinmaneevong, C. 2010. Blame it on the riots. In Bangkok Post Economic Review Year-End 2010, Busrin Treerapongpichit (ed), 30–31. Bangkok: Bangkok Post. Darasawang, P. 2007. English language teaching and education in Thailand: A decade of change. In English in Southeast Asia: Varieties, Literacies and Literatures, D. Prescott (ed), 185–202. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press. Durongphan, M., Aksornkool, N., Wannawech, S. & Tiancharoen, S. n.d. The Development of English Teaching in Thailand: A Rattanakosin Experience. Bangkok: ThaiTESOL. von Feigenblatt, O.F., Suttichujit, V., Shuib, M. S., Keling, M. F. & Ajis, M. N. 2010. Weapons of mass assimilation: A critical analysis of the use of education in Thailand. Journal of Asia Pacific Studies 1(2): 292–311. Johnson, B. J., Trivitayakhun, P. & Thirasak, V. 2009. Jurin on education. Bangkok Post, E1, 6 October 2009. Keyuravong, S. 2010. Insights from Thailand. In Learning through English: Policies, Challenges and Prospects: Insights from East Asia, R. Johnstone (ed), 69–95. Manchester: British Council. Masavisut, N., Sukwiwat, M. & Wongmontha, S. 1986. The power of the English language in Thai media. World Englishes 5(2/3): 197–207. Ministry of Education. 2001a. Curriculum Standards for Foreign Language Learning in the Basic Education Curriculum B.E. 2544 [2001]. Bangkok: Ror Sor Por. Ministry of Education. 2001b. The List of Teaching and Learning Materials Indicating Contents, Foreign Language Subject Group. Bangkok: Kurusapha. Ministry of Education. 2010. List of Recommended Learning Materials to Choose from for Educational Institutions Following the Central Basic Educational Curriculum 2008 for 2010.

 Pornapit Darasawang and Richard Watson Todd and (30 December 2010). Office of the Education Council. 2006. Education in Thailand 2005/2006. Bangkok: Ministry of Education. Office of the National Education Commission. 1999. National Education Act of B. E. 2542 (1999). Bangkok: Office of the National Education Commission. Office of the National Education Council. 2004. National Education Standards. Bangkok: Office of the National Education Council. O’Neill, R. 1971/1978. Kernel One. Bangkok: Thai Wattana Panich. Piboonkanarax, K. 2008. A Survey of Secondary School Evaluation Procedures Focusing on Continuous Assessment. MA thesis, King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi, Bangkok, Thailand. Rappa, A. L. & Wee, L. 2006. Language Policy and Modernity in Southeast Asia: Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Berlin: Springer. Smalley, W.A. 1994. Linguistic Diversity and National Unity: Language Ecology in Thailand. Chicago IL: University of Chicago Press. Srisa-an, W. 2007. Moulding the future. In Bangkok Post 2007 Mid-Year Economic Review, Chiratas Nivatpumin (ed), 37. Bangkok: Bangkok Post. Thongsri, M., Charumanee, N. & Chatupote, M. 2006. The implementation of 2001 English language curriculum in government secondary schools in Songkhla. ThaiTESOL Bulletin 19(1): 60–94. Wall, U., Hull, J. & Srimavin, W. 2008. Using English as an international language in the local context. Proceedings of the 12th ESEA Conference: Trends and Directions, 103–117. Bangkok: King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. Wanchupela, R.M. 2007. A history of international schools in Thailand. Thai-American Business, Volume 3/2007, Preparing for the Future, (Page 24). (11 May 2011). Watson Todd, R. 2005a. A new methodology for Thailand? English Language Studies Forum 2: 45–53. Watson Todd, R. 2005b. Innovative approach deserves proper implementation. Bangkok Post, 4, 17 July 2005. Watson Todd, R. 2006. In plain English. Bangkok Post, 4, 17 December 2006. Watson Todd, R. 2008. The impact of evaluation on Thai ELT. Selected Proceedings of the 12th English in Southeast Asia International Conference: Trends and Directions, 118 – 127. Bangkok: King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi. Watson Todd, R. & Keyuravong, S. 2004. Process and product of English language learning in the National Education Act, Ministry of Education standards and recommended textbooks at the secondary level. ThaiTESOL Bulletin 17(1): 15–45.

chapter 13

Language policy and planning in Hong Kong The historical context and current realities Kingsley Bolton

City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China Until 1974, Chinese had no de jure status as an official language of Hong Kong where the colonial government had often claimed to favour a laissez-faire approach to language planning. In the run-up to the resumption of Chinese sovereignty throughout the 1990s, official policy became more interventionist. From 1995, the stated policy of the government has been to promote a “biliterate” and “trilingual” society, and the use of Chinese as a medium of instruction in schools. Immediately after the change in sovereignty, Putonghua became a compulsory school subject. This chapter examines the issue of language planning and policies both from a historical perspective and through a consideration of current policies and practice across the domains of government, law and education in Hong Kong. Keywords: language policy and planning, Putonghua, Cantonese, Chinese medium education

1. Introduction Although questions of language policy and planning have received much attention in Hong Kong over the last two decades or so, these issues continue to engage both academic commentators and the wider population. Perhaps one major reason for this has been the speed of economic, political and social change in modern Hong Kong society, which, between the 1960s and 1990s, saw Hong Kong transform from a colonial backwater to a post-colonial global city. This chapter attempts to review current issues in language planning in Hong Kong from a number of perspectives. First, the chapter starts with a brief survey of language planning from the perspective of sociolinguistics, proceeds to a discussion of the history of language planning and policies in colonial Hong Kong, and then focuses on contemporary language policies in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (henceforth HKSAR) of China.

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2. Language planning theories and their relevance to Hong Kong According to Mesthrie, Swann, Deumert and Leap (2000), the term “language planning” was originally coined by the Norwegian-American sociolinguist Einar Haugen (1959), and might be broadly defined as “all conscious efforts that aim at changing the linguistic behaviour of a speech community” (Mesthrie et al. 2000: 384). The same author also explains the term “language policies”, as referring to “the more general linguistic, political and social goals underlying the actual language planning process” (Mesthrie et al. 2000: 384). An obvious problem here, however, is the similarity of the two terms, “language planning” and “language policies”, which are frequently used in overlapping fashion. More explanation is offered by Spolsky and Lambert (2006) who attempt to disambiguate these two expressions. For them, language policy may be explained thus: The language policy of a speech community [...] consists of the commonly agreed set of choices of language items – whether sounds or words or grammar – or language varieties – whether codes or dialects or named languages – and the beliefs or ideologies associated with those choices. It can be found in language practices and beliefs or in formal policy decisions such as laws, constitutions, or regulations. (Spolsky & Lambert 2006: 561)

In contrast, “language planning” (or “language management”) may be defined as follows: Language management, planning, engineering, cultivation, and treatment are actions taken by formal authorities such as governments or other agencies or people who believe that they have authority, such as parents, teachers, or academies, to modify the language choices made by those they claim to have under their control [...] Language management itself has three components: the development of explicit language plans and policies, their implementation (by rules or laws or resource allocation), and the evaluation of results and effects. (Spolsky & Lambert 2006: 561)

There seems to be agreement that the term “language policy” has a broader application in referring to the more general beliefs, considerations and ideologies relating to the orientation of such decision-making bodies as governments and educational authorities. The term “language planning” is thus more specifically applied to the actions of such decision makers. Spolsky and Lambert further note that most analyses of language policies and planning have been concerned with examining “formal, governmentally backed activities at the national or regional level aimed at controlling language knowledge and use within a country or region” (Spolsky & Lambert 2006: 562–563). Following Kloss (1969), they also highlight the distinction between “status planning” versus “corpus planning”, while also accepting Cooper’s (1989) addition of a third-level of “acquisition planning”. For Kloss, status planning referred to the choice of official and national languages, etc., while corpus planning concerned itself with the establishment and



Chapter 13.  Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 

regulation of particular aspects of language, such as dictionaries, grammar, and writing systems. Cooper’s (1989) notion of “acquisition planning” crucially was concerned with “the determination of which languages should be taught to those who do not speak them and how” (Spolsky & Lambert 2006: 563). Perhaps what is most typical of the kind of approach adopted by Spolsky and Lambert, however, is the underlying assumption that functional models can adequately account for, and usefully illuminate, the kinds of choices made by governments in language planning, in terms of principles, procedures, and processes. Language policy/ planning or LPP studies, as an area of sociolinguistic research and practice, began to achieve prominence in the 1960s, and were often associated with language surveys in developing nations, particularly those in the early stages of post-colonial independence (Fishman, Ferguson & Gupta 1968). Other sociolinguists, including Cooper (1989), Neustupný (1970), and Kaplan and Baldauf (1997), among others, followed Fishman in attempting to build rational models of language planning suitable for implementation in the developing world and other multilingual settings. In broad terms, these were often written as almost apolitical structural-functional explanations of the dynamics of decision-making, in those societies under discussion. From the 1990s onwards, however, new approaches to language planning were clearly visible, characterised by a strong interest in issues related to language and inequality and influenced by critical and postcolonial theory. Thus, for such critical scholars: linguistic theories adopted by language planners, rather than being neutral, objective, scientific tools, were viewed [...] as detrimental to the development of equitable language policies in complex multilingual settings. This realization led to a rather broad calling into question of received ideas about the nature of language itself, and of the degree to which scholars of language were perpetuating assumptions that had the effect of rationalizing the support of colonial languages, and concomitant economic interests, at the expense of indigenous languages and local economic development. (Ricento 2006)

In this context, scholars such as Tollefson (1991), Phillipson (1992), and Pennycook (1998) have done much to promote critical perspectives on language, greatly extending earlier sociolinguistic approaches by promoting an explicit awareness of issues relating to inequality, power, and the politics of language.

3. Language planning in Hong Kong: The historical context A brief description of the historical situation of the English language in Hong Kong was provided in Chapter 7 of this volume. For much of its recorded history, language planning in Hong Kong was a by-product of the British colonial system, which governed Hong Kong from 1842 until 1997. During most of that period, English was not directly challenged as the language of government and law in Hong Kong society until

 Kingsley Bolton

the era of late colonialism from around 1970 until 1997, when issues of language planning and policies were brought into sharp focus through a number of debates on language issues, as well as through government legislation and interventions. Such debates and interventions have continued to the present, although the reunification of Hong Kong with China has added a number of new complexities to such issues, including, not least, the relationship between Hong Kong language planning and policies, and those of mainland China. During the First Opium War, in January 1841, the island of Hong Kong was ceded by the Chinese government to the British. The following year, this was ratified by the Treaty of Nanking, and the British trading and missionary community that had previously taken residence in the Portuguese enclave of Macao soon transferred to the island. From 1842 to 1845 the population of the island grew remarkably from around 5,000 to more than 20,000, reaching 40,000 by 1853, and topping 120,000 by the early 1860s. The vast majority of such immigration into Hong Kong came from neighbouring Guangdong province, and were typically classified as belonging to four distinct groups: the Punti, locals, i.e. Cantonese; the Hakka; the Tanka, boat dwellers; and the Hoklo, from eastern Guangdong province (Munn 2001: 71). In 1860, the British annexed the Kowloon Peninsula, and, in 1898, added an additional swathe of its hinterland known as the “New Territories”, so that, by the early twentieth century, British Hong Kong had come to include all three territories, which together constituted the territorial entity of colonial Hong Kong throughout most of the twentieth century, until the celebrated 1997 “Handover”, which finally returned sovereignty over Hong Kong to the People’s Republic of China. British colonial language policy has been explained by a range of historical commentaries of varying accuracy and perspective. In the post-colonial imagery, British colonial language policy worldwide has sometimes been linked to a blatant linguistic imperialism which sought to impose the language of the imperial power on colonised communities in Africa, Asia and elsewhere (Phillipson 1992, 1994). Other, more nuanced, accounts have explained British colonial language policy in terms of strategies of divide and rule, pointing to the British predilection in many colonial territories for reserving English-medium education for an elite, and propagating “vernacular” education for the masses (Pennycook 1998). In its bluntest form, the Phillipson/Pennycook perspective on colonial language policy has seen the spread of English as a tool of colonial control and subjugation, either explicitly and overtly through the imposition of English, or, more subtly, through the establishment of systems of parallel languages in such societies. A related argument is that – in many former colonies – the legacy of such policies has extended to the present, through the “deep and indissoluble links between the practices, theories and contexts of ELT [English Language Teaching] and the history of colonialism” (Pennycook 1998: 19). The critical perspectives of both Phillipson and Pennycook have influenced discussions of the history of language policies put forward by a number of local scholars in recent years, including Tsui (2004) and Hopkins (2006).



Chapter 13.  Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 

A rather different picture has emerged from recent research by other scholars, who have attempted to provide a much more detailed picture of the development of the colonial educational system, including the work of Sweeting and Vickers (2005, 2007) and Evans (2008a, 2008b), following Brutt-Griffler’s (2002) reconceptualisation of British colonial language policy as an historically “contested terrain”, where local elites and others often campaigned or negotiated for access to English-medium education. For example, what emerges from Evans’ careful (2008a) discussion of language policy in Hong Kong between 1855 and 1900 is the picture of a complex patchwork of government Chinese, government Anglo-Chinese, aided Chinese, aided English, and aided Anglo-Chinese schools. Within this system, moreover, by far the largest enrolments were in the aided Chinese schools. For their part, Sweeting and Vickers (2005) also emphasise the complexity of the nineteenth century school system in the colony, noting that for a number of decades “there was no top-down imposition of a clear, consistent language policy.” Later, after the government’s Central School (which later became “Queen’s College”) was founded, both Chinese and English were used as instructional languages for a number of years, which also mirrored the situation in many missionary schools in the territory. Sweeting and Vickers also report that vernacular education expanded substantially in the first decades of the twentieth century, and that educationalists and government spokesmen repeatedly acknowledged the importance of both languages in the education system. The work of Evans and Sweeting in retrieving the historical record is crucial in providing some kind of balance, not only to the discussion of the history of language issues in Hong Kong, but also as a key to the present. So far, only part of this project has been completed. For example, whereas their work has now done much to illuminate the complexity of government policies on language education in the nineteenth century, very little detailed work (to my knowledge) has been carried out on the influence of missionary and religious schools in Hong Kong, which have deployed both Chinese and English in various types of schools in the territory.1 Indeed, a detailed historical narrative of language education in Hong Kong remains to be written, although recent work by local historians such as John M. Carroll has emphasised the collaborative nature of colonialism, and the role played by local Chinese elites in policy-formation in many key areas of society (Carroll 2007). Despite the lack of a clear historical narrative of high colonial history in Hong Kong, a greater clarity arguably exists for the period from the 1960s until the 1990s, an era that could broadly be described as “late British colonialism”. During the 1970s, after the disturbances of the Cultural Revolution in China and social unrest and riots in 1. The role of religious schools in Hong Kong continues to be important to the present day, and a number of Catholic, Protestant, and other religious organizations still run significant numbers of primary and secondary schools in the society. This is a state of affairs greatly in contrast with neighbouring Guangdong and other parts of China, where missionary schools operated in large numbers throughout the Republican period, but closed their doors or were re-organised after the Communist Party came to power in 1949.

 Kingsley Bolton

Hong Kong in 1966 and 1967, the government began to give greater recognition to the Chinese language. In 1974, Chinese was recognised as a co-official language in the territory, while, around the same time, the colonial authorities also established a system of free, compulsory primary and secondary education, as well as extensive systems of public housing and public health. Until the 1970s, the English language had been the sole official language of government, the official language of law, and, de facto, the more prestigious medium of secondary and university education. The Official Languages Ordinance of 1974 established that Chinese and English would thenceforth “enjoy equality of use”, and, subsequently, measures were taken by the government to promote this policy. A decade or so later, after the negotiations between Beijing and London determined the arrangements for the 1997 “Handover”, the position of Chinese was further strengthened by the publication of The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Article 9 of which stated that: “In addition to the Chinese language, English may also be used as an official language by the executive authorities, legislative and judicial organs of the Hong Kong Administrative Region” (Chinese Government 1992: 7). In 1995, the Hong Kong Government announced that its new language policy would be “to develop a civil service which is ‘biliterate’ in English and Chinese and ‘trilingual’ in English, Cantonese and Putonghua” (Lau 1995: 19), an official policy statement which is still in force. In the run-up to 1997, an increasing proportion of Cantonese was used in Legislative Council (henceforth Legco) speeches, and since then, the Legco has almost exclusively used Cantonese to conduct its affairs. Since the early 1990s, the government has been trying to establish training courses in Putonghua for Hong Kong civil servants but, at present, Cantonese, rather than Putonghua, is still the dominant variety. Similar changes have taken place in the legal system in Hong Kong and, from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, amendments to the Official Languages Ordinance have promoted “legal bilingualism” in the law courts. In December 1995, the first civil High Court case was heard in Putonghua and, in August 1997, the first criminal case was conducted in Cantonese in the High Court (Cheung 1997). Immediately before the 1997 change of sovereignty, there was widespread concern that the post-colonial period would see the immediate downgrading of English and the rise of Putonghua in key official domains. As is discussed in the next section, an abrupt change in language policy and management has not occurred in Hong Kong, at least in most domains of society. However, one abrupt change in policy that did occur immediately before July 1997 concerned education, when, shortly before the transition, the colonial Hong Kong government formulated a new policy on the medium of instruction for secondary schools. On 22 March 1997, it was announced that only approximately one hundred secondary schools (some 22 per cent of the total of 460) would be allowed to use English as a teaching medium and that punitive measures (e.g., a maximum fine of $25,000 and two years in jail) might be used against school principals who did not follow the instructions of the government (Kwok 1997). This



Chapter 13.  Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 

policy has been largely maintained since 1997, although, very recently, it has been amended to provide more opportunities for the use of English, not least in order to prepare secondary school students for what is a predominantly English-medium university system. Notwithstanding such recent changes, the adoption of a new “firm” policy in promoting Chinese was the most visible change in language policy at the end of the colonial period, although it might also be argued that the adoption of Putonghua as a compulsory school subject – which occurred around the same time – is likely to have even more lasting consequences.

4. Current language planning and policies in Hong Kong Problems of investigation and interpretation of language policies in Hong Kong are not only confined to the historical past but also extend to the present. In certain settings, including the European Union in recent years, language policies are explicitly articulated, set down, and disseminated through public documents, reports, and regulations. In Hong Kong, however, this has rarely been the case, and, in the contemporary HKSAR, there are few (if any) documents that set out an official language policy for all the major domains of society in a cohesive and principled fashion. Instead, there are a number of diverse laws and policy statements that have been issued by government (and continue to be issued) in the colonial and post-colonial period that have combined to shape language planning practices since 1997. Such practices have evidently been moved by circumstances or by public opinion, at times leading the government to respond, in an immediate pragmatic fashion, to the political pressures of the day.

4.1

Language planning in the Hong Kong government

In Hong Kong, official language policies now regulate which languages are used in government offices in the HKSAR, although these policies changed significantly during the decades before 1997, in the immediate period before the transition from British to Chinese rule. The definition of what the official languages are, and decisions about official language policies in Hong Kong are determined in part by the Basic Law governing Hong Kong, which provided a “mini-constitution” for the territory before the change of government. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China has two articles that deal specifically with language policies and planning, Articles 9 and 136: Article 9 In addition to the Chinese language, English may also be used as an official language by the executive authorities, legislature and judiciary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. (Chinese Government 1992)

 Kingsley Bolton

Article 136 On the basis of the previous educational system, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall, on its own, formulate policies on the development and improvement of education, including policies regarding the educational system and its administration, the language of instruction, the allocation of funds, the examination system, the system of academic awards and the recognition of educational qualifications. (Chinese Government 1992) The Decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress on the English Text of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China is also relevant (Adopted on 28 June 1990): The 14th sitting of the Standing Committee of the Seventh National People’s Congress hereby decides that the English translation of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China which has been finalized upon examination under the auspices of the Law Committee of the National People’s Congress shall be the official English text and shall be used in parallel with the Chinese text. In case of discrepancy between the two texts in the implication of any word used, the Chinese text shall prevail (cited in Ghai 1999: 570).

In addition to the legal provisions made for the use of Chinese and English in the Basic Law, the government has also, in a number of statements, summarized its policy as that of trilingualism and biliteracy, which refers to the promotion of trilingualism in Cantonese, English, and Putonghua, and biliteracy in written Chinese and English. Interestingly, this policy began in the 1990s, with particular reference to the use of languages in the civil service in the 1990s, but, by 2002, this had been extended to the general population, so that an official report of the Education Committee in 2002 states that “[t]he language policy of the HKSAR Government is to enable students and the working population to be biliterate (in Chinese and English) and trilingual (in Cantonese, Putonghua and English)” (HKSAR Government 2002). Indeed, throughout the last thirteen years, the formula of “trilingualism and biliteracy” has received support in numerous government and educational pronouncements, although, to my knowledge, no fully detailed report or fully comprehensive rationale of this policy has been officially published. The promotion of the policy of “trilingualism and biliteracy” involves the government in accepting the use of all three languages at the spoken level, as well as a great deal of translation of documents and official papers. This work is carried out by the Official Languages Division of the Civil Service Bureau of the HKSAR government, whose website states its responsibilities as providing translation, interpretation and editing services to Government bureaux and departments as well as: developing the institutional arrangements for the use of official languages in the Civil Service, including setting guidelines, reviewing Civil Service language practices, and providing language advisory services to bureaux and departments; promoting the effective use of the official languages, in particular Chinese and



Chapter 13.  Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 

Putonghua, in the Civil Service [...]; monitoring the use of the official languages and the implementation of the language policy in bureaux and departments”  (HKSAR Government 2010a).

Within the Government, one of the most important institutions is “Legco”, the Legislative Council, the body that is responsible for discussing and approving the laws of Hong Kong. The Legco occupies a place at the heart of the political process, although, in theory, it is independent of government and the civil service. In compliance with the official language policy of the Hong Kong government, all proceedings in Legco are translated into a variety of languages. At present, the vast majority of debates and discussions in committees take place in Cantonese, but, at the spoken level, are routinely translated from Cantonese into English by simultaneous interpreters so that members of Legco and members of the public listening to the debates have access to translation. Today, only very occasionally is English or Putonghua heard in the Legco chamber, and on almost all occasions Cantonese is the sole language of spoken communication (Government translator, personal communication, 18 May 2010). The vast majority of linguistic work that takes place in Legco involves not spoken communication, but written communication, as all debates and subsequent reports of debates (the Hansard or ‘proceedings’) are recorded in two versions, a Chinese version and an English version. The body that has the responsibility of carrying out these translations is the Translation and Interpretation Division of the Legco Secretariat, which is responsible for the production of the Hong Kong Hansard, and is also responsible for translating questions, motions, papers, minutes and other Council papers (Legislative Council 2010). According to an interview with one of the Chief Translators of the Secretariat, around 80% of the documents written for the Legco are currently drafted in English, and then translated into Chinese, so that English very much remains the default written language of government (Government translator, personal communication, 18 May 2010).

4.2

The languages of the legal system

The government’s language policy also regulates the languages used in written statutes and in the law courts. Prior to the 1980s, English was the sole and dominant language of the legal system in Hong Kong. Now the government is officially committed to a bilingual legal system, and in 1998, a Committee on Bilingual Legal System was set up to advise the Government on bilingualism in the legal domain and how the goal of a bilingual legal system could be achieved. On the Department of Justice website, it is stated that, in light of Article 9 of the Basic Law, “both Chinese and English therefore have a part to play in the language of the law” (HKSAR Government 2010b). Specific policies are stipulated for the Common Law, Statute Law, and the law courts as follows: The common law The principles of the common law are to be found in the judgments of the courts, both in Hong Kong and in other common law jurisdictions around the world. The language

 Kingsley Bolton

in which those judgments have been delivered over the years is almost exclusively English. There are hundreds of thousands of reported cases which form the basis of the common law, and it would obviously be impractical to attempt to translate these into Chinese. While in future there is likely to be an increasing number of judgments in Hong Kong delivered in Chinese, English will continue to be the only medium in which the majority of judgments from overseas is reported. Statute law In keeping with the Basic Law’s provisions on bilingualism, all legislation in Hong Kong is enacted in both Chinese and English, and both versions are accorded equal status. Thanks to the bilingual legislation programme begun in 1989, authentic Chinese texts have been completed of all pre-existing legislation which had been enacted in the English language only, and Hong Kong’s statute book is now entirely bilingual [...]. The courts In July 1995, the Official Languages Ordinance (Cap 5) was amended to enable any court to use either or both of the official languages in any proceedings before it as it thinks fit; to enable a party or his legal representatives or a witness in proceedings in a court to use either or both the official languages, or such other language as the court may permit; to provide that the decision of a court to use one of the official languages in any proceedings before it, is final; and to empower the Chief Justice to make rules and issue practice directions to regulate the use of Chinese language in the courts. Efforts are being made on various fronts to improve the use of Chinese in the higher courts. A Practice Direction on the use of Chinese in the Court of First Instance has been prepared by the Judiciary. Training for bilingual judges has also been introduced, including the provision of courses on Chinese judgment writing skills. No matter whether English or Chinese is used in the proceedings, everyone has a right to use the language of his choice to give evidence. The court will arrange interpretation facilities.  (HKSAR Government 2010b) From the above, we can see that three main concerns are articulated. The first concerns the role of English in the “common law” system, which is the norm in the UK, and other English common law systems, such as Australia, New Zealand, etc. The second concern is with the written laws (“statute law”) of the HKSAR, where it is stated that “all legislation in Hong Kong is enacted in both Chinese and English, and both versions are accorded equal status”. The third concern relates to the language of the courts and the expressed desire to improve the use of Chinese in the higher courts. However, despite the aim of providing legal proceedings in “either or both of the official languages”, at present, Cantonese is the dominant language of the lower courts, but English still remains the major language of the higher courts. A recent study by Ng (2009) has examined the use of Cantonese and English in Hong Kong courts in great detail. Ng notes that it was only in 1987 that the Official Languages Ordinance was amended to state that “all ordinances shall be enacted and



Chapter 13.  Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 

published in both official languages” (cited in Ng 2009: 71), and that it was not until 1989 that the first Bilingual Ordinance was enacted. Since the early 1990s, a massive project to translate the statutes of Hong Kong has taken place, a remarkable process involving the translation of more than 19,000 pages of legislation (Ng 2009: 72). Despite this, even today, the vast majority of court documents and judgements are written in English, as are most legal reference books and case law records. At the spoken level, in theory, Chinese enjoys equal status with English, but in practice, there is a clear hierarchy in Hong Kong courts. This hierarchy goes from the lowest courts (the Magistracies), through the District Courts (Criminal and Civil), to the Courts of First Instance (Criminal and Civil), to the Courts of Appeal (Criminal and Civil), and finally to the Courts of Final Appeal (Criminal and Civil). Ng’s analysis indicates a clear asymmetry in legal bilingualism in the Hong Kong law courts: Cantonese is used with decreasing frequency as one moves up the court hierarchy, and it is totally absent in the Court of Final Appeal. In a parallel manner, the presence of English exhibits an inverted pyramidal distribution. English is used less frequently in the lower courts but retains its strong presence in the higher courts. Horizontally, there is a growing practice of mixed-language trials in the Court of First Instance and the District Court. Cantonese is used when witnesses are examined, but English remains the language of choice when law is debated. (Ng 2009: 253)

4.3

The languages of education

As has been the case in many other multilingual societies, issues related to the choice of languages to be used in schools have been controversial and sensitive, as it is here that ordinary citizens are most likely to perceive their lives directly affected by language policy. In Hong Kong, the history of the “medium of instruction issue” in the modern era dates back most immediately to the early 1970s, when the British colonial administration attempted to introduce a policy of using Chinese as the medium of instruction. In 1973, the government published a “Green Paper”, or policy proposal, on language education, which asserted that: The medium of instruction bears significantly upon the quality of education offered at post-primary level. Pupils coming from primary schools where they have been taught in the medium of Cantonese have a grievous burden put on them when required to absorb new subjects through the medium of English. We recommend that Chinese become the usual language of instruction in the lower forms of secondary schools, and that English should be studied as the second language (cited in Gibbons 1982: 117).

After the publication of the 1973 Green Paper, the government met strong opposition from parents and schools about such plans to introduce Chinese Medium Instruction (henceforth CMI). Following these protests, the government backed down from pressing ahead with Chinese-medium instruction, and issued a 1974 White Paper which

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decided on a laissez-faire approach to the medium of instruction issue. The school system that then evolved from the 1970s until the early 1990s was one with around 90 per cent of primary schools teaching through Cantonese, and a similar percentage of secondary schools claiming to be “English medium” (or “Anglo-Chinese”). In reality this meant that school textbooks in all such schools were overwhelmingly written in English, while at the spoken level the amount of English used varied greatly according to the type of school and the abilities of staff and students. This so-called laissez-faire approach generally continued until March 1997, when the government introduced a policy of “firm guidance” to schools. As reported above, the new policy then established a system where around 75% of secondary schools were required to teach through Chinese (CMI schools), and some 25% were permitted to teach through English (‘English medium instruction’ or EMI schools), if they could demonstrate the feasibility of so doing. This policy was consistently promoted by the Education Bureau of the HKSAR government for around ten years after 1997, and was even re-affirmed by a government report of December 2005, despite frequent challenges by parents and schools who felt disadvantaged. In 2008 and 2009, however, a significant shift in government policy began, which resulted in a new report on Finetuning the Medium of Instruction for Secondary Schools (HKSAR Government 2009). Essentially, the report moves away from the “firm guidance” policy of 1997, to provide for greater flexibility about how language management will take place in individual schools. According to the recommendations of the report, “schools will no longer be classified into CMI schools and EMI schools” and “teaching modes will become more diversified, including all CMI, CMI/EMI in different subjects and total EMI immersion”. This, it is claimed, “allows schools more flexibility in using EMI for one or more subjects for different classes”. Thus, it is expected that “the choice and number of subjects taught in EMI would likely vary between classes within individual schools as well as among schools”, and that “MOI arrangements in schools will become more diversified” (HKSAR Government 2009: 5). This “fine tuning policy” goes into effect in autumn 2010, and the media have already reported that a number of schools are planning to switch from Chinese- to English-medium instruction (Yau 2009a). This loosening of government policy seems to have been motivated by a number of factors, including the desire of the business community to maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness as a centre for international commerce and finance, the pragmatic need to prepare students for a university education (in a society where most of Hong Kong’s universities are officially English-medium), as well as a groundswell of public opinion from many local parents.2 Despite this, given 2. Hong Kong has seven government-funded universities: City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Lingnan University, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and The University of Hong Kong. In addition, there is a tertiary-level educational institute, The Hong Kong Institute of Education. The Chinese University of Hong Kong is officially a bilingual



Chapter 13.  Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 

the complicated dynamics of education in the HKSAR, whatever policy is implemented is likely to encounter resistance from some quarter, and this change of direction has already attracted criticism from a number of leading educators (Yau 2009b).

4.4

Cantonese and Putonghua

One key aspect of language planning in Hong Kong has a direct bearing on the educational debates discussed above, and is, indeed, at the heart of many sociolinguistic issues in Hong Kong society. That is the relationship between Cantonese and Putonghua. The status and functions of the Cantonese language are unique to Hong Kong, which has been described as “the greatest Cantonese city that the world has ever seen” (Harrison & So 1997: 12). Many local linguists have been less concerned about the tension between English and Chinese than a potential conflict between Cantonese and Putonghua. The widespread use of Cantonese in Hong Kong society, in high domains as well as low, is obviously at odds with the official policy in China, which promotes Putonghua, together with simplified Chinese characters instead of the “full characters” used in Hong Kong and Taiwan. Cantonese may be a mere “regional dialect” in the People’s Replublic of China (henceforth PRC), but Hong Kong is the Cantonese-speaking capital of the world. In many senses, Cantonese is the essential community language. Given the wide use of the language in education, religion, the print and broadcast media, and government, “the status of Cantonese is much higher than is normally thought and cannot be simply brushed aside as the ‘vernacular’” (Sin & Roebuck 1996: 252). In stark contrast, the PRC’s official language policy since 1956 has included the “unification of the Chinese language”, the promotion of Putonghua, the removal of illiteracy, the propagation of simplified characters, and the promotion of the official romanization system of pinyin (Bolton & Lam 2006: 350). In October 2000, the national government published a new law, entitled The Law of the National Commonly Used Language and Script of the People’s Republic of China, which stipulated that: “Schools and other educational organizations will take Putonghua and standard Chinese characters as the basic language and characters to be used in teaching and study” (Rohsenow 2004: 41; Zhang & Yang 2004: 154). Such laws have taken effect in most other Chinese cities, including Guangzhou, where an estimated five to six million people out of a population of twelve million have in-migrated from other parts of China, thus adding to a process of language shift away from Cantonese in the community (Lai 2009). Ironically, many of the Hong Kong government’s pronouncements in support of Chinese-medium instruction in the period immediately after 1997 emphasized the benefits of “mother tongue” education along the same lines as the renowned 1953 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization or UNESCO report that valorized mother tongue education in schools. However, one issue regularly institution, while the language policy of The Hong Kong Institute of Education stipulates the promotion of trilingualism and biliteracy. All other institutions are officially “English-medium”.

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occluded in local language debates is that “mother tongue education” (in its vernacular European sense), simply does not exist in many regions of China. For many of China’s students, Putonghua is a “second language”, and, in many regions, children learn a “home dialect” before going to school, which is often very different from Putonghua, such as Cantonese, Fukienese, or Shanghainese. But national language policy is quite clear, and has only a limited acceptance of regional dialects and minority languages in educational and other official domains. In the context of the HKSAR, whose systems of government and administration are expected to “converge” with those of mainland China in another forty years, the question may be not whether Putonghua will be introduced as an official teaching medium, but when. Debates on the desirability of increasing the use of Putonghua have already surfaced among local educationalists, and such discussions are regularly reported in the press. Even more important is the fact that, in 1998, Putonghua became a compulsory subject in all Hong Kong schools, and today, more and more children than ever before are now learning Putonghua as a second (or third) language. Whether that means that eventually Putonghua will displace Cantonese in the more formal domains of language use is a question of a good deal of speculation, and, in this context, the domain of education is particularly sensitive. In 2003, the government-backed Standing Committee on Language Education and Research or SCOLAR published the Action Plan to Raise Language Standards in Hong Kong, where it was stated that its policy on the teaching of Chinese in schools included endorsing the Curriculum Development Council’s long-term goal of teaching Chinese Language in Putonghua, and encouraging schools to try using Putonghua to teach Chinese Language (SCOLAR 2003). However, the action plan stopped short of urging a “firm policy” to promote the language, conceding that “further studies on the conditions were required to ensure a successful switch and prevent negative outcomes” (SCOLAR 2003). At present, attempts to extend Putonghua to teaching Chinese within the public school system have achieved only limited success, but there is always the possibility that – in an altered political climate – the government may attempt to implement this policy more strenuously. At present, however, in spite of some initiatives to promote Putonghua in schools and discussions concerning the use of the national language in other domains, it is evident that the majority of Hong Kong people have a strong attachment to Cantonese, and Putonghua still has only a limited range of functions in present-day Hong Kong (Zhang & Yang 2004).

5. Conclusion In many other contexts discussed in preceding chapters in this volume, the crucial questions for language policy have concerned the choice and cultivation of national and official languages in the post-colonial context. As is evident from the preceding discussion, the situation in Hong Kong is rather different. Modern Hong Kong was



Chapter 13.  Language policy and planning in Hong Kong 

essentially founded by refugees fleeing from the control of a Communist regime and the horrors of the Cultural Revolution, and the identification of Hong Kong people with the national language of the PRC is tempered by the experience of the last six decades. For orthodox language planning, Hong Kong may appear to be an exceptional case, as Tsui notes: With China’s resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong, the Chinese language, being the national language, should enjoy a much higher status. The people of Hong Kong should have a stronger awareness of Chinese identity. The adoption of Chinese as the medium of instruction in the majority of the schools should enhance the status of the Chinese language, as well as strengthen the national identity of Hong Kong people and their patriotic sentiments. Consequently, the community should be less resistant to this policy [...] this has not proved to be the case. Whereas most former colonies have been eager to establish their national identity upon decolonization [...] this does not seem to have happened in Hong Kong. (Tsui 2004: 108–109)

The essential reason for this, as Tsui concedes, is that language policy in the HKSAR has been decided by the political agenda set for Hong Kong in the transition to its “reunification” with mainland China. In this context, neither traditional language policy theorizations nor the standard critical responses appear to offer easy solutions. Some fourteen years into the post-colonial experience, little on the surface of Hong Kong society seems to have changed. English still enjoys high prestige as a coofficial language of government and law, and as the dominant language of higher education and the business community. Cantonese enjoys an unequalled status in many domains of high and not-so-high use, including Legco, the mass media, popular culture, and much else. Putonghua has yet to be heavy-handedly imposed as the language of national and official power on China’s most dynamic and prosperous southern city, which is still enjoying the benefits of the “one country, two systems” policy, devised by Deng Xiaoping. In this context, however, for many Hong Kong people, the notion of “mother tongue” education may evoke fear of the imposition of the “big brother tongue”, as there is widespread suspicion that Cantonese-medium education may segue into Putonghua-medium education at some point in the not-too-distant future. Post-colonialism in the Hong Kong context has its own specific characteristics, and as Carroll has commented, “[a]lthough Hong Kong has returned to China, it has not been de-colonized”. Instead, he argues, “it has been re-colonized with the metropole simply shifting from London to Beijing” (2007: 192). That may be true, but the full weight of metropolitan and national policies – including language policy – has yet to be felt in Hong Kong. Viewed from this perspective, the vitality of Cantonese as a community language (layered with a measure of English) is a touchstone for the continued lifestyle of a city whose identity combines a unique blend of colonial modernity, global capitalism and diverse contacts with Asia, Europe, North America and the world. The Draft Agreement on the future of Hong Kong signed by the Chinese

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government in the 1980s promised the territory “a high degree of autonomy”, according to a policy of “one country, two systems”. It remains to be seen how long such autonomy will survive in many spheres of society, including those areas of society directly affected by questions of language policy and language planning.

References Bolton, K. & Lam, A.S.L. 2006. Applied linguistics in China. In Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, Vol. 1, 2nd edn., K. Brown (ed), 350–356. Oxford: Elsevier. Brutt-Griffler, J. 2002. World English: A Study of Its Development. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Carroll, J.M. 2007. Edge of Empires: Chinese Elites and British Colonials in Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Cheung, A. 1997. Language rights and the Hong Kong courts. Hong Kong Journal of Applied Linguistics 2(2): 49–75. Chinese Government. 1992. The Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China. Hong Kong: One Country, Two Systems Economic Research Institute. Cooper, R.L. 1989. Language Planning and Social Change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Evans, S. 2008a. Disputes and deliberations over language policy: The case of early colonial Hong Kong. Language Policy 7(1): 47–65. Evans, S. 2008b. The introduction of English-language education in early colonial Hong Kong. History of Education 37(3): 383–408. Fishman, J.A., Ferguson, C.A. & Gupta, J.D. 1968. Language Problems of Developing Nations. New York NY: Wiley. Ghai, Y. 1999. Hong Kong’s New Constitutional Order: The Resumption of Chinese Sovereignty, 2nd edn. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Gibbons, J. 1982. The issue of the medium of instruction in the lower forms of Hong Kong secondary schools. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 3(2): 117–28. Harrison, G. & So, L.K.H. 1997. The background to language change in Hong Kong. In One Country, Two Systems, Three Languages: A Survey of Changing Language Use in Hong Kong, S. Wright & H. Kelly-Holmes (eds), 8–17. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Haugen, E. 1959. Planning for a standard language in Norway. Anthropological Linguistics 1(3): 8–21. HKSAR Government. 2002. Progress Report on the Education Reform (1): Learning for Life, Learning Through Life. (15 May 2010). HKSAR Government. 2009. Education Bureau Circular No. 6/2009: Fine-tuning the Medium of Instruction for Secondary Schools. Government of the HKSAR Education Bureau, 5 June 2009. (15 May 2010). HKSAR Government. 2010a. Official Languages Division website, (15 May 2010). HKSAR Government. 2010b. Department of Justice website, (15 May 2010).



Chapter 13.  Language policy and planning in Hong Kong  Hopkins, M. 2006. Policies without planning? The medium of instruction issue in Hong Kong. Language and Education 20(4): 270–286. Kaplan, R.B. & Baldauf, R.B. 1997. Language Planning: From Practice to Theory. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Kloss, H. 1969. Research Possibilities on Group Bilingualism: A Report. Quebec: International Centre for Research on Bilingualism. Kwok, S. 1997. New rule will halve schools using English. South China Morning Post, 7, 22 March 1997. Lai, C. 2009. Linguistic heritage in peril. South China Morning Post, 11 October 2009. (11 May 2011). Lau, C. 1995. Language of the future. South China Morning Post, 18 September 1995. (11 May 2011). Legislative Council. 2010. Legislative Council Secretariat, Translation and Interpretation Division. (15 May 2010). Mesthrie, R., Swann, J., Deumert, A. & Leap, W.L. 2000. Introducing Sociolinguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Munn, C. 2001. Anglo-China: Chinese People and British Rule in Hong Kong, 1841–1880. Surrey: Curzon Press. Neustupný, J.V. 1970. Basic types of treatment of language problems. Linguistic Communications 1: 77–98. Ng, K.H. 2009. The Common Law in Two Voices: Language, Law, and the Postcolonial Dilemma in Hong Kong. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Pennycook, A. 1998. English and the Discourses of Colonialism. London: Routledge. Phillipson, R. 1992. Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Phillipson, R. 1994. English language spread policy. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 107(1): 7–24. Ricento, T. 2006. Language policy: Theory and practice: An introduction. In An Introduction to Language Policy: Theory and Method, T. Ricento (ed), 10–23. Oxford: Blackwell. Rohsenow, J.S. 2004. Fifty years of script and written language reform in the P.R.C. In Language Policy in the People’s Republic of China: Theory and Practice Since 1949, M. Zhou (ed), 21–43. Dordrecht: Kluwer. SCOLAR. 2003. Action Plan to Raise Language Standards in Hong Kong. Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR). (15 May 2010). Sin, K. & Roebuck, D. 1996. Language engineering for legal transplantation: Conceptual problems in creating common law Chinese. Language and Communication 16(3): 235–254. Spolsky, B. & Lambert, R.D. 2006. Language planning and policy: Models. In Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics,Vol. 6, 2nd edn., K. Brown (ed), 561–575. Oxford: Elsevier. Sweeting, A. & Vickers, E. 2005. On colonizing “colonialism”: The discourses of the history of English in Hong Kong. World Englishes 24(2): 113–130. Sweeting, A. & Vickers, E. 2007. Language and the history of colonial education: The case of Hong Kong. Modern Asian Studies 41(1): 1–40. Tollefson, J.W. 1991. Planning Language, Planning Inequality. London: Longman. Tsui, A.B.M. 2004. Medium of Instruction in Hong Kong: One country, two systems, whose language? In Medium of Instruction Policies: Which Agenda? Whose Agenda?, J.W. Tollefson & A.B.M. Tsui (eds), 97–106. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

 Kingsley Bolton Yau, E. 2009a. Parents flock to schools that will switch to English. South China Morning Post, 5 January 2009. (11 May 2011). Yau, E. 2009b. Rethink policy on MOI, says expert. South China Morning Post, 28 March 2009, (11 May 2011). Zhang, B. & Yang, R. R. 2004. Putonghua education and language policy in postcolonial Hong Kong. In Language Policy in the People’s Republic of China: Theory and Practice since 1949, M. Zhou (ed), 143–162. Dordrecht: Kluwer.

part iii

Language in use

chapter 14

English in Southeast Asian law Richard Powell

Nihon University, Japan To a large extent, the importance of English in a given Southeast Asian legal system reflects the extent to which the polity in which it is situated is perceived as an ESL rather than an EFL society.1 Thus Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and Hong Kong SAR, which were British colonies, Brunei, a former British protectorate, and the Philippines, a former American colony, have all evolved into societies in which an influential section of the population uses English in a variety of local domains and above all in the legal one. Conversely, polities once colonised by non-anglophone countries (Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Macao SAR) and those that avoided colonisation altogether (Thailand) have legal systems in which English plays a minor role at best. However, in the same way that sociolinguistic research is questioning, reformulating and eroding traditional ESL/EFL dichotomies and outer/expanding circle distinctions, close examination of language use in Southeast Asia’s legal domains reveals increasing complexity and dynamism. Keywords: legal system, legal discourse, language for specific purposes (LSP), colonisation, anglophone

1. Introduction Although there is a clear contrast between Singapore, whose linguistic ecology shares many features with Inner Circle societies, and Vietnam, where English has little impact on domestic law, the position of English in many other Southeast Asian legal systems falls somewhere between these two poles. In Malaysia and Myanmar, for example, Malay and Burmese respectively have largely displaced English in many areas of law, especially oral proceedings in the lower courts. Similarly, the use of Chinese has increased steadily in Hong Kong since 1997, and Filipino has made limited inroads into the mixed civil-common law system that operates in the Philippines. At the same time that English is losing its exclusive role in some legal systems, it is gaining new ground in 1. For the purposes of this chapter, Hong Kong and Macao have been included as Southeast Asian societies.

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other systems where it was once of little importance. English has become far more influential than French as a vehicle of innovation in the Khmer and Lao legal lexicons, for example. New laws designed to encourage international investment are often based on American business models, and civil and penal legal reforms are frequently worked out between local and foreign jurists in English, even where this is not the main language of any of the governments that sponsor them. Athough the legal systems of Southeast Asia (henceforth SEA) remain discrete and nation-based, there has been a steady increase in cross-border agreements within the region, and such agreements are nearly always worked out and published in English. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (henceforth ASEAN) Law Association has been particularly active in promoting intraregional collaboration among lawyers and works almost entirely in English. While it has proven highly productive in bringing insights into how English reflects heterogeneous sociocultural practices and interfaces with other languages, the paradigm of World Englishes (henceforth WE) is seldom applied to the language of speech communities bound by professional and institutional norms. Use-based Englishes can be both wider and narrower than the variety of English typical of the country in which they are situated: wider, inasmuch as their use often transcends national boundaries; and narrower, in the sense that they employ specific language in specific ways that may be unfamiliar to English-speaking locals not engaged in the same profession. In the multilingual and postcolonial contexts of SEA, tension between perceived international and local needs is ever present in administrative and educational policies regarding English. The English used by professional communities in the region is thus unlikely to be devoid of conflicting norms. The second section of this chapter lays out arguments for the increasing relevance of a WE approach to the analysis of the language of one vocational speech community: the legal profession. In the next section (Section 3), we will review the historical roles played by English in Southeast Asian common law systems. Section 4 examines the bilingualism that has emerged in several of these anglophone systems as a result of postcolonial language planning. Section 5 considers the influence – often increasing – of English in Southeast Asian legal systems that traditionally had little use for it. In the final section (Section 6), we will discuss if there is any evidence of an emergence of national or regional legal Englishes and evaluate the insights Southeast Asian legal systems may bring to studies of sociolinguistic issues surrounding the interface between language and law.

2. WE and legalese Legal English enables lawyers to converse across the globe, yet frequently baffles lay compatriots with whom they brush shoulders every day. It has been subjected to genrebased analyses of how texts are constructed (e.g. Bhatia 1993), Language for Specific Purposes or LSP studies revealing the linguistic demands of legal training (e.g. Lee, Hall & Hurley 1999), and forensic linguistics research into how lawyers manipulate oral



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

evidence in order to produce favourable reconstructions of events (e.g. Gibbons 2003). Much of this work makes the assumption that the language of the law sits apart from that of the local community in which it operates, being difficult for outsiders to understand and resistant to the sociolinguistic influences that make other varieties of English so dynamic and adaptable. It is not an unreasonable assumption, given that a great deal of legalese is indeed conservative in nature, and that lawyers are often understood by other lawyers in distant parts of the world better than by the non-lawyers in their local town. However, legal language is not a monolith, but a complex repertoire of registers ranging from dense written clauses packed with provisos intended to account for every context, to oral questioning that aims to be understandable to witnesses and the general public. Lawyers do not communicate solely with other lawyers. Neither is legal language necessarily resistant to change. The complexity of legal linguistics, the slow pace of legislative change, the precedent-orientated focus of the administration of justice and the conservative culture of much of the legal profession do indeed reinforce among lawyers the idea that changing the wording of the law is likely to change its substance. Yet technical and economic innovation require lexical innovation and the formulation of new concepts. Growth in litigation and political pressure for more transparency promote changes in the style of legal drafting. Many legal systems have evolved eclectically and pragmatically, and so the fit between English common law and the English language is not perfect: some civil law operates in English, and some common law operates in languages other than English. And in polities where there has been sufficient socioeconomic disruption, including a number in SEA, the old medium of common law has been encroached upon and even displaced by local languages. Thus a WE approach to legalese could enhance existing research by shedding light on the way legal discourse is influenced not only by vocational tasks and procedures and the cultural constraints of the legal profession, but also by the lexicogrammatical and sociopragmatic norms of the English and multilingualism of the local society where it is generated. In outer- and expanding circle contexts in particular, an emphasis on the equal validity of varieties could inform debates about when lawyers need language more appropriate to discourse with other lawyers within and beyond their own country, and when more local varieties or code-switching are suitable. Tension between resistance to change and need to innovate can be seen in the various roles English plays in Southeast Asian legal systems. To a large extent its status in a given system reflects the degree to which the surrounding society is perceived to fit an ESL/Outer Circle or an EFL/Expanding Circle model.2 Thus Singapore, Malaysia, Myanmar and Hong Kong, once British colonies, Brunei, a former British protectorate, and the Philippines, a former American colony, have evolved into postcolonial societies in which an influential section of the population continues to use English in a variety of local domains, including the law. Conversely, where colonisation was by a 2. ESL stands for English as a Second Language and EFL refers to English as a Foreign Language.

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non-anglophone power (Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Macao and Vietnam), or avoided altogether (Thailand), English has played a minor role at best in the legal domain. However, just as research into language use – as opposed to status – has cast doubt upon traditional ESL/EFL distinctions, an examination of English in the region’s legal domains reveals a complex and increasingly dynamic situation. On the one hand, English is losing its monopoly in several jurisdictions where it was once used exclusively; on the other hand, it is gaining importance in jurisdictions where it once had very little. Legal systems developed primarily for pre-industrial cultures commonly look to English for lexical innovation because of its position as the default medium of global business. Thus a combination of language planning in favour of indigenous languages and internationalisation in favour of English is eroding the historical distinction in the region between anglophone and non-anglophone systems.

3. English and the development of law in British- and Americanadministered territories 3.1

Malaya

British administrative practices did not spread uniformly across the Malay states. The earliest and most intensive colonial activity was in the Straits Settlements of Singapore, Penang, Dinding and Malacca, where English law was applied in disputes involving British subjects, many of whom were ethnic Chinese (Wu 1999: 24). Otherwise, local customs and laws were generally respected as long as they did not curtail British commercial interests. Letters Patent issued in London required settlers to administer justice in the Settlements as closely as possibly to the laws of England and Wales. In 1826 the Second Charter of Justice established Courts of Judicature. Decisions made in Penang were to be noted as precedents by lawmakers in Singapore. Whether out of genuine concern to prevent the law “from operating unjustly and oppressively,” or out of economic necessity, the Second Charter sanctioned differential application of English law “to the various races,” tolerating polygamy, syariah and customary laws such as the matrilineal inheritance system of Adat Perpateh and corresponding patrilineal practices of Adat Temenggong (Tan 1997).3 In his study of Grand Juries in Singapore, Lee (1973: 58) concludes that on the whole the administrators – few of whom were trained in law – made a reasonable job of dispensing justice pragmatically and at minimal cost to London. The growing English proficiency of Singapore’s Chinese and Indian merchants was gradually recognised 3. Adat perpateh (also spelt perpatih) is a system of customary law practised principally by Minangkabau communities in West Sumatra and the Negeri Sembilan region of Malaya and centred around matrilineal land inheritance. Adat temenggong is a more widespread and less clearly defined system of Malay customary law based on patrilineal inheritance.



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

as an opportunity for enhancing juries by recruiting from their ranks, and they were finally made eligible for service in 1851. In addition to tapping into local knowledge, the financial benefits of co-opting a new body of local citizens into unpaid service are unlikely to have been overlooked. The 1879 Civil Law Ordinance harmonised the laws of the Straits Settlements with those of England and Wales, incorporating both statutes and case law. Beyond the Settlements, the Malay States had the status of British protectorates where local sovereigns reigned subject to “advice” from British administrators. Specific local enactments were required for common law to be received. Long before its de jure adoption in 1937, however, the de facto spread of English common law had displaced many of the functions of adat (customary law) and syariah. The 1956 Civil Law Ordinance incorporated the common law of England and rules of equity (Wu 1999: 30) into the laws of the Malayan Federation established the following year. In Singapore, which broke from what had become the Federation of Malaysia in 1965, the authority of English law remained controversial until the 1993 Application of English Law Act incorporated specific statutes and excluded others. Decisions of the British House of Lords are still binding on points of fact, but no longer on points of law (Woon 1997: 342). English cases continue to have persuasive authority. Official versions of the constitution, statutes, judgments and court records are in English. The Rules of Court oblige advocates to address judges in English; litigants may address judges and lawyers in other languages only through interpreters (Siew Kum Hong, personal communication, 18 September 2007). English is the only language required in order to train and qualify as a lawyer in Singapore. The dominance of English in the legal domain is reinforced by its dominance in education, where it is the medium of instruction at all levels. English law also retains persuasive, but not binding, authority in Malaysia, the successor to the Malayan Federation that excludes Singapore but includes Sarawak and Sabah in Borneo. Some post-independence legislation specifically describes English law as the default authority where local law is silent. Unlike in Singapore, however, a series of reforms since the 1980s has brought in a much greater role for the national language, Malay. Currently, criminal law and the lower courts function mostly in Malay and commercial law and the higher courts in English.

3.2

Borneo

Following British adventurer James Brooke’s appointment in 1842 as governor of Sarawak (as a reward for helping the Sultanate of Brunei put down a Dayak rebellion), Sarawak and Labuan evolved into an independent family fiefdom. While successive Brookes administrations made extensive use of local customs, the status of English law was formalised by the 1928 Law of Sarawak Order. Sarawak was ceded to Britain in 1946 and became part of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, along with neighbouring Sabah. The latter had been a protectorate under the British North Borneo Company

 Richard Powell

since 1881, despite claims to sovereignty from the Sulu Sultanate and later the government of the Philippines, and, as in Sarawak, English law had been formally received (in 1938 under the Civil Law Ordinance) well before incorporation into Malaysia. East Malaysia retains a considerable degree of administrative independence, and while its lawyers may practise freely in more populous West Malaysia, the reverse is not true. The introduction of the Malay language into government offices, schools and the courts came later to East than to West Malaysia, and the courts still operate in English. Brunei experienced reception of common law similar to that in the rest of northern Borneo, even though British suzerainty there never amounted to formal colonisation. The 1856 Treaty of Friendship and Commerce empowered British officials to hear legal cases involving British subjects in the presence of a local judge. Under the protectorate established in 1888, Britain obtained full judicial powers in cases involving British subjects. Under the 1905/6 Supplementary Protectorate Agreement, the Crown appointed a Resident to advise the Sultan. The Courts Enactments of 1906 and 1908 introduced Straits Settlement laws, including the Criminal Procedure and Penal Codes, the Civil Code, and rules of contract and equitable relief, but a Court of Native Magistrates handled disputes among the indigenous population. The jurisdiction of syariah was confined to personal property, family matters and minor criminal offences, and its operations to English procedural rules, and when a distinct system of syariah courts was established by the 1955 Muhammadan Laws Enactment, the bulk of criminal offences were reserved for common law. Even after full independence in 1984, Brunei’s legal domain continues to be dominated by English law and the English language. The court hierarchy resembles the English model. The laws comprise pre- and post-independence legislation and Acts extended directly from the UK. English law is applicable where Bruneian law is silent. In Baiduri Bank v Pg Hjh Zaibadah and Pg Abdul Qahar (2001), for example, the Law of Property Act was applied because no relevant Bruneian statute or precedent could be found (cited in Azrimah 2006). Final appeals go up to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London. While the majority of judges are now Bruneian, many others are appointed from the benches of the UK or other Commonwealth countries and are not required to know Malay. There is no local law school and under the 1999 Legal Profession Act, those who have qualified in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Malaysia or Singapore may be admitted to the bar. Court proceedings and records are in English.4

3.3

Burma

The British steadily extended control over Burma from their base in India between 1824 and 1886. It was administered as part of India and common law introduced. While there is some evidence that Burmese was used orally in some court proceedings 4. I have twice observed instances of Malay being used in discourse between a witness and a lawyer without the interpreter intervening.



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

(Rangoon Gazette 1888), all appellate decisions surviving from the colonial period were written in English (Myint Zan 2004: 386). Only three out of the 117 decisions published in the Burma Law Reports of 1948, the year in which the country gained independence, were written in Burmese. All were High Court rulings in which there seems to have been a particular reason for using the vernacular, such as a contempt of court case (Saw Ba Thein v U Ko Ko Lay) concerning a newspaper article that had been published in Burmese (Myint Zan 2004: 405). Four of the eleven Supreme and High Court judges in 1948 had degrees from Cambridge (Myint Zan 2004: 396). As late as 1962–69, a third of Chief Court rulings and two-thirds of Court Martial Appeals were being rendered in English (Myint Zan 2008). Various enactments from the pre-independence India Statutes remain on the books today, including the Civil and Criminal Procedure Codes, the Companies Act, and the Contract Act – the latter an unusual example of codified contract law in a common law jurisdiction (Christie 2006). As far as legal education is concerned, up to the mid-1960s all courses and exams in the Bachelor of Laws – a postgraduate degree leading to internship with an advocate and subsequent legal practice – were still in English (Myint Zan 2008). However, having been used extensively in the legal domain as well as in education, English was increasingly restricted after the military coup of 1962 in favour of Burmese, the national language and language of widest communication, though by no means known to all citizens, especially in outlying states. According to officers of the exiled Burmese Lawyers Council, the decision to promote Burmese was not simply a manifestation of postcolonial nationalism, but a political manoeuvre to contain the traditionally anglophone legal profession, which had been at the forefront of movements opposing the militarisation of the country (Aung Htoo, personal communication, 2 October 2005). Under its new official name of Myanmar, the country has restricted the role of English more than perhaps any other common law jurisdiction, without entirely eradicating it.

3.4

Hong Kong

Hong Kong was occupied by the British in 1841 following the First Opium War and a legislature was established two years later. English common law, statutes and commercial practices were introduced in much the same way as we have seen with Singapore, Brunei, Malaysia and Burma, with an emphasis on commercial law. At the same time, administrators made efforts to ensure that English laws were not applied directly when inappropriate to local circumstances (Leung 1997: 68). Even today, the courts recognise certain Chinese customary rights, for example, under the Legitimacy Ordinance (Cap 184) and under Section 13 of the New Territories Ordinance (Cap 97) (Hong Kong Department of Justice). The formal reception of English law was sanctioned by the 1966 Application of English Law Ordinance. The English language remains the primary vehicle of law and the medium of the vast majority of written authorities. However, Chinese has been given equal status under the 1997 Basic Law and its use in court proceedings is increasing.

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3.5

The Philippines

As a result of colonisation by both Spain (1551–1898) and the United States (1899– 1945), the legal system of the Philippines combines elements from continental civil and common law. (Mixed legal systems in Sri Lanka, Canada, Southern Africa and other parts of the world are the result of similar experiences of rule by both Continental and English-speaking powers.) Civil law is more influential in criminal matters, contracts and family property, and common law in financial and constitutional law. There is also syariah, particularly in the southern province of Mindanao, and the 1987 Constitution arguably recognises a role for customary law. In 1733, faculties of civil and canonical law were founded at Universidad de Santo Tomás. Towards the end of the Spanish occupation, Universidad Literaria de Filipinas and Escuela de Derecho de Manila also started teaching law. Despite pressure from US and UK commercial interests for the replacement of Spanish law by an English-medium common law system (New York Times 1899), the Americans retained a great deal of civil law, including the Commercial and Civil Codes. The practice of codification, more typical of continental than common law jurisdictions, was also continued. The Revised Penal Code, promulgated in 1930 to replace the Spanish one, remains in force. More recent examples of codified law include the 1997 Intellectual Property Code and the 2005 revised National Internal Revenue Code. However, while case law remains subject to codified law (Herminia Pasamba, personal communication, 27 November 2009), under the common law doctrine of stare decisis Supreme Court precedents have became binding. Spanish continued in the courts under the US administration, but had been largely displaced by English by the mid-1930s, with American judges dominating the higher court benches and cases being appealed to the Supreme Court in Washington. The last law drafted in Spanish was in 1935 (Gonzalez 1996: 230), the same year that home rule under a new American-influenced constitution was established. The Philippine Reports were compiled by translating earlier Supreme Court decisions from Spanish and adding subsequent judgments rendered in English.

4. The emergence of bilingualism in English-based legal systems 4.1

Malaysia

Article 152 of the 1957 constitution declared Malay the national language but expressly provided for English to continue for a transitional period in legal and administrative affairs. Since then, a succession of language planning measures has increased the role of Malay in the legal domain, following similar reforms in government and education. In 1967, a constitutional amendment known as the National Language Act installed Malay as the official language for West Malaysia (and for East Malaysia from 1974) and



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

allowed its use in the courts without translation (Government of Malaysia 2003), while in the 1970s English was phased out from parliamentary debate (Nik Safiah 1994: 138). In 1980 a directive by the Lord President required judges, magistrates and court administrators in West Malaysia to use Malay (Mead 1988: 1) and an amendment of the Rules of the High Court made Malay compulsory for documentary submissions (Rules of the High Court 1980). The 1983 National Language (Amendment and Extension) Act applied these changes to the higher courts and in 1990 they were extended to East Malaysia – but they have yet to be ratified by parliament there. Status planning has been reinforced by corpus planning. The lexicography section of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the National Institute for Language and Literature) (2003) brought out its first Istilah Undang-undang (legal terminology) in 1970. The third edition of 2003 contains 3,500 sets of English-Malay entries. While there are Arabic words that have long-standing use in Malay (istytihar = ‘promulgate’ and zuriat = ‘heir’), and French, Latin and German words transferred unchanged from English law (en ventre sa mère, ex parte, thalweg), the overwhelming majority of new Malay terms have been translated or adapted from English. These include direct transfers (libel, writ); words orthographically modified to fit Malay spelling (catel = ‘chattel’, syer = ‘share’); words written similarly to the original English but pronounced differently (autoriti); morphological adaptations (litigasi = ‘litigation’, pengagresi = ‘aggressor’); syntactical adaptations (kes sivil = ‘civil case’); direct translations (gangguan = ‘disturbance’, walau apa pun = ‘notwithstanding’); conceptual translations (kematian tak berwasiat = ‘death unwilled’, i.e. intestacy); and calques (pisah dan umpuk = ‘sever and apportion’). Other corpus planning measures include the bilingual drafting of all new laws since 1967 and a project to translate pre-1967 legislation. Although less than a hundred laws have been translated to date, they include those most commonly cited in the lower courts, such as the Road Traffic Act. No attempt has been made to translate the huge amount of case law, however, much of which dates back to before independence. The third strand to language planning in favour of Malay has been legal education and training. Since 1983, all candidates for the Bar have been required to pass a Malay language exam unless they have already gained a credit in Malay at the Malaysian Certificate of Education (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) or SPM high school examination (Hickling 2001: 36). Most university law departments teach bilingually. For example, at Universiti Malaya, lectures are in Malay and tutorials in English. Over the last quarter of a century, Malaysia’s legal profession has been transformed from one dominated by lawyers trained in English – more often than not, overseas – into a bilingual one. Most discussion in the lower courts, where the bulk of cases begin and end, is in Malay (Powell 2008). However, legal provisos (e.g. in the National Language (Amendment and Extension) Act and directives of the Chief Registrar) for the use of English where deemed in the “interests of justice” justify the continuation of the colonial language in many areas. English is frequently used in the High Court and

 Richard Powell

dominates the Court of Appeal and Federal Court. It remains the default language of most commercial law and much civil litigation. The bilingual legal system remains controversial. For some, the continuance of English is a violation of the status of Malay as the national language in all official domains. A recent reminder of this position was the dismissal of an appeal by former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim because it was drafted in English. Justice Abdul Malek Ishak declared that failure to submit the appeal in Malay amounted to a “blatant breach that would compel us to conclude that no memorandum has been filed at all” (Malaysiakini 2009). But many legal practitioners feel innovation in the Malay legal lexicon to have been inadequate to cope with modern legal tasks, particularly those relying on authorities available only in English (Powell 2008). While the arguments continue, bilingualism in Malaysian law seems to be both pragmatic and relatively stable, Malay being used for those legal practices most in the public eye and likely to involve people with limited English, and English common in appeals, commercial cases and private law where most participants are proficient in the language. While some lawyers practise only in the lower courts and others only in corporate law, the majority require proficiency in both languages. Indeed bilingualism is so engrained that language alternation frequently features in courtroom discourse. Instances found in a recent trial in the Shah Alam High Court include non-convergent dialogues in which interlocutors stick to separate codes and dispense with interpretation (Ex.1); lexically-motivated code-mixes (Ex.2); strategic intersentential codeswitching (Ex.3); and interlocutor-differentiated code-shifting (Ex.4). (1) Counsel (C): Bila? Same day as you told Razak? ‘When?’ Witness (W): Ya. Hari yang sama. ‘Yes, The same day.’ (2) Counsel: Kemudian, apa response dia? ‘What was her response then?’ (3) Counsel: Bila dia, Suras, bertugas sebagai pembantu, Encik B? ‘When was Suras working as an assistant, Mr B?’ When did you appoint him? When did you engage him? (4) Judge (J) to Counsel: Dia senyum atau tidak macam tiada berbeza? ‘Was he smiling or was there no difference?’ C to J: Dia setuju tidak senyum. ‘He agreed that he wasn’t smiling.’ J to W: You have taken a vow, you have to tell the truth. W to J: He always have a smiling face. The co-existence of English and Malay is even found in written texts, with judgments that cite decisions made in previous proceedings switching to the language in which those proceedings were held (Ex. 5):



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

(5) Rayuan Jenayah ‘Criminal Appeal’ The facts of the case as summarised by the learned trial judge in his grounds of judgment read as follows: “Pada 23 September 1998 jam 8.25 malam, Inspektor Wan Azlan (SP1) dan 13 anggota polis yang lain....” (On 23 September 1998 at 8.25 in the evening Inspector Wan Azlan and 13 other members of the police...) (Balachandran vs Public Prosecutor 05-42-2002 (W))

4.2

Myanmar

The only former British colony never to join the Commonwealth, Myanmar’s exceptional restriction of the colonial language – all or most Supreme Court judgments in Brunei, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore and Sri Lanka, as well as in many Commonwealth jurisdictions beyond Asia, continue to be written in English – offers support to the argument that radical change in the language of a legal system tends to occur only where there is considerable sociopolitical discontinuity. International isolation since 1962 and a lack of separation between the executive and judiciary (the ruling junta appoints judges directly) have enabled the country to achieve a far greater degree of language shift than in Malaysia, for example, where post-independence sociopolitical change has been more gradual. Most of the more frequently cited criminal, civil and corporate laws have been translated into Burmese. New laws are enacted in Burmese and only some of these have English versions. When it comes to drafting, the literary form of the language seems to be preferred over the more widely understood colloquial form (Myint Zan, personal communication, 4 May 2010). The national language is used almost exclusively in court proceedings (Aung Htoo, personal communication, 2 October 2005). Only three of the 47 judgments of the Chief Court published in 1969 were in English and since 1970, all judgments published in what is now known as Pyidaug-su Myamar Naing-ngan daw Tayar-Yone-Gyoke Tayar-SeyinHtone Myar (‘Union of Myanmar Supreme Court Cases’) have been in Burmese, with no English appearing on the cover or inside and even the titles of English and Indian cases (which are occasionally still cited as authorities) transliterated into Burmese characters (Myint Zan 2004: 387). Not a single English-trained barrister sat among the nine Supreme Court judges of 1998, and only one had an overseas postgraduate degree – a Doctor of Laws or LLD from an East German university (Myint Zan 2004: 396). A Translation Committee for Pedagogical Terms has been helping to innovate the Burmese lexicon since the 1960s, not only with new terms for law but also science. Methods of innovations include direct translation, conceptual transfer and transliterations from English and other languages (Myint Zan, personal communication, 4 May 2010). Despite politically motivated language reform in the legal domain, however, English has not been entirely removed. It remains admissible as a language of the court and is still used in some oral arguments, especially when they depend on references to legal

 Richard Powell

authorities (Sen B.K., personal communication, 29 September 2004). The thirteen volumes of the All Burma Codes and many legal commentaries are available only in English. Further, since the late 1980s, there has been a move back towards English in education, it now being one of three subjects required for university entrance and the main medium of instruction for many arts and science subjects. Law is no exception. Since 1967, law students at Rangoon Arts and Science University (until 1996 the only institution in the country with a law department) take a five-year Bachelor of Laws or LLB rather than the old Bachelor of Laws, which can be embarked upon directly from high school. The new course was designed for Burmese-medium instruction at a time when all tertiary education was shifting to Burmese (with English remaining a compulsory subject). However, from 1987 there was an abrupt switch back to English, and since the early 1990s all exam questions have been set in that language (Myint Zan 2008). Teaching faculty, most of whom are of the generation that was educated in Burmese, have had to produce a range of materials in English (Myint Zan 2008). Only a few courses are still taught in Burmese, such as Myanmar Customary Law or the Labour Law and part of the module for land law for distance education students. This marks an ironic reversal from the days when students had to take exams in Burmese while continuing to rely on English texts, many of them produced in India, because of a lack of Burmese material (Sen B.K., personal communication, 29 September 2004). The reintroduction of English into the legal curriculum does not appear to have been accompanied by greater use of English in the courts, however. While the government seems to be re-emphasising commercial law in an effort to attract much-needed foreign investment (Christie 2006), Burmese continues to be the medium of court arguments and documentary submissions (Myint Zan 2008). Indeed, experienced advocates reportedly blame the English curriculum for a decline in legal skills among the newer generation of lawyers, who have had hardly any more opportunity than their immediate predecessors to research and discuss jurisprudence in English and yet have been forced to cram for English-medium exams, thus leaving insufficient time to gain the practical knowledge needed to take on court work (Myint Zan 2008). The dichotomy between the teaching of law and its actual practice suggests that moves back towards English in education in general and in law in particular are more a matter of appearance than substance and perhaps also the result of tactical rather than pedagogical calculations.

4.3

Hong Kong

Whereas bilingualism has emerged controversially and to a large extent by default in the legal systems of Malaysia and Myanmar, the Hong Kong authorities promote it as part of the “one country two systems” policy. Article 9 of the 1997 Basic Law asserts the admissibility of the two languages in the Special Administrative Region (henceforth SAR):



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

In addition to the Chinese Language, English may also be used as an official language by the executive authorities, legislature and judiciary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Preparations for bilingualism started at least a decade before the Basic Law. In 1987 Chinese became an official medium of law. Two years later, bilingual drafting was required for all new legislation and a project – now completed – to translate pre-existing legislation was begun. A 1995 amendment of the Official Languages Ordinance (Cap 5) authorised court proceedings in Chinese, English, or both. In 1998 a Committee on the Bilingual Legal System was established, and there have been a number of bilingual training programmes for judges and counsel to improve legal writing in Chinese. Although the Basic Law appears to give symbolic priority to Chinese, Hong Kong authorities have been consistently clear about the equality of the two languages. A 1987 amendment of Section 10B of the General Clauses Ordinance (Cap 5) on statutory interpretation, for example, declares that the Chinese and English versions of ordinances have equal authenticity. Citing the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, which proceeds from the presumption that texts in different languages of the same law are intended to have the same meaning, Section 10B outlines strategies for resolving ambiguities, including preference for the text which is more specific on the particular point in question. [W]here a comparison of the authentic texts of an Ordinance discloses a difference in meaning which the rules of statutory interpretation ordinarily applicable do not resolve, the meaning which best reconciles the texts, having regard to the object and purposes of the ordinance, shall be adopted.

The principle of equal authenticity is unusual in bilingual legal systems: in cases of discrepancy in Malaysia and Quebec, for instance, the Malay and French version respectively have priority over the English. Hong Kong courts have had several opportunities to put the principle to the test. In Chan Fung Lan v Lai Wai Chuen (1996), a text in one language was ruled to be authoritative because of a drafting error in the other language version. The Queen v Tam Yuk-ha (1996) turned on a lexical difference between the Chinese and English texts of the Food Business (Urban Council) By-law. The defendant was convicted in the Magistrates Court for making an illegal “addition” to her premises by setting out food racks on the pavement in front of her shop. She appealed on the grounds that the English was ambiguous and the equivalent in the Chinese text, 增建工程 (‘additional construction’), could not be construed to cover anything as insubstantial as the equipment in question. Justice Yeung allowed the appeal under the rules of statutory construction, whereby the more clear-cut text is to be preferred. Yeung’s ruling was then overturned in HKSAR v Tam Yuk-ha, 1996, Justice Liu holding not only that the English text was unambiguous, but that the Chinese term could reasonably be applied to temporary occupation of pavement space, given that the intent of the By-law was to restrict businesses to the space

 Richard Powell

they had been allocated. Thus the two texts were ruled to be consistent with each other. Nevertheless the wording of the By-law was subsequently amended. The principle of reconciling texts according to the intent of the law they express means that defendants cannot necessarily avoid possibly unfavourable wordings of authorities written in one language by electing trial in the other. Indeed in HKSAR v Leung Kwok Hung, Fung Ka Keung and Lo Wai Ming (2003), Justice Yeung reaffirmed the obligation of the court to reconcile Chinese clauses relating to public order with their English counterparts, even though the former were “imprecise, elusive and possibly confusing”. In theory, two languages may be used in the same proceedings, as happens routinely in Malaysia, but so far there seems to be a preference for one or the other. English is still used for the majority of trials at District Court level and above, but most summonses and charges in the Magistrates courts are in Chinese (Hong Kong Legislative Council 2005). The Department of Justice acknowledges that English will remain indispensable because of the vast body of SAR and Commonwealth case law, yet expects an increasing number of judgments to be rendered in Chinese (Hong Kong SAR Department of Justice 2008). While bringing Chinese into the legal domain – which effectively means using Mandarin for documents and Cantonese in oral proceedings – seems indispensable to increasing the transparency of a jurisdiction where English is the preferred language of only 3.2% of the population, it also indicates symbolic recognition of China’s sovereignty. From his observations of civil cases, Ng Kwai Hang (2009) concludes that although the rules of speech are supposed to be the same, trials in Cantonese often proceed quite differently from those in English, with witnesses given much freer rein in cross-examination. ... there are moments when the procedural rules of cross-examination are overturned so completely that counsel I talked to would comment: “Never in English. Only in Cantonese.” Together these moments reveal a relationship between Cantonese and formalistic statement-making that is fundamentally different from the tight affinity displayed between English and the format of adversarial trial... (Ng 2009: 383)

Ng concludes that the difference lies not in lexicogrammatical or even pragmatic differences between the languages, but in the different roles they play in Hong Kong society, with English occupying an elitist position that gives it an aloofness suited to the traditions of tightly-controlled questioning and Cantonese, the language of the majority, an outsider in the legal domain “that brings the clamouring voice of the local into the courtroom” (Ng 2009: 399).

4.4

The Philippines

In the early years of the American occupation, the McKinley Commission’s search for a national language rejected Spanish as spoken by too few – less than 3% in 1899,



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

according to Gonzalez (1996: 232) – and the indigenous languages as too localised and lacking in literature. A programme of mass education through English ensued. Perhaps 59% of the population can speak the language nowadays, and although this compares unfavourably with Filipino (90%), as many as 73% are deemed able to read it (Gonzalez 2004: 13). Article XIV of the 1987 constitution declares Filipino the na­ tional language but grants English official status until the former can take over all the functions of government and law. Gonzalez (1996) describes this as a pragmatic recognition of Tagalog-based Filipino’s current lack of technical registers. A bilingual education policy dating from 1974 assigns scientific subjects to English while retaining Filipino for literature and social studies. In 2003, there was an Executive Order to expand English-medium education, but it was challenged in the Supreme Court (Wika Ng Kultura v Macapagal Arroyo & Ermita 2006) as a violation of Article XIV. Senatorial debates take place mostly in English (Crudo 2007) and bureaucrats show little enthusiasm for implementing directives promoting use of the national language in official correspondence. It is thus hardly surprising that English continues to dominate law. Few lawyers have ever read a case or ruling in any other language and judges sometimes admonish witnesses to stick to it, especially in commercial cases (Benitez 2009). It is the language of all legislation and court records and most documentary court submissions.5 It is also the language into which local syariah is being codified (Gonzalez 1996: 232). Nevertheless there are indications that a gradual move toward bilingualism may be underfoot. While Komisyon sa Wikang Filipina (the National Language Commission) has translated very little legislation apart from the 1987 constitution, Judge Cesar Peralejo has produced Filipino versions of the 1974 Civil Code, 1993 Penal and Family Codes, and the Rules of Court on criminal procedure and evidence (Gonzalez 1996: 230). Occasionally, judicial decisions are rendered in Filipino, including a lower court judgment in 1968 (Gonzalez 1996: 230) and a 1996 decision by Jose de la Rama in response to an appeal (also in Filipino) by journalists prosecuted for libel (Reyes 2007). Documents submitted to the court in Filipino need no longer be accompanied by English translations, and testimony is often admitted in the national language without interpretation (Gonzalez 1996: 230). Judges seem increasingly willing to intervene in Filipino in order to reassure witnesses, as in the following example from Benitez (2009). (6) Prosecutor: Witness: Judge:

Do you and your husband have a loving relationship? Bakit po kailangan tanungin itan? ‘Why is it necessary to ask that question//?’ //Importante poi yon, kasi lailangan natin malaman. ‘It matters because we need to know.’

5. Complimenting a court recorder in Cebu in October 2009 on her ability to transcribe proceedings taking place in English, Cebuano and Filipino, I was reminded “But if it is not in English I don’t have to write it down.”

 Richard Powell

Potentially more significant than the above developments is a pilot scheme started in 2008 to use the national language in all proceedings of some of the courts of Bulacan, a site chosen partly for its connections with Judge de la Rama, chair of the Supreme Court Committee on Linguistic Commissions, and partly because it is one of the few provinces where nearly all the population are native speakers of Tagalog. Judges have been supplied with bilingual versions of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Rules and the Family Code as well as legal dictionaries, and the scheme has expanded from an initial three courts as other local judges agree to join subject to the proviso that court recorders be given adequate training in Filipino shorthand. But whilst recorders have been attending weekend courses arranged by the Judicial Academy of the Supreme Court, many appear to feel the training is inadequate for the sudden change. Some aspects of cases have speeded up because interpreting is dispensed with, but transcription of proceedings is taking longer (Herminia Pasamba, personal communication, 27 November 2009). Some court officials also feel the switch has lengthened the preparation of court lists because they are less familiar with Filipino legal terms. A lack of terminology and reliance on authorities written only in English have curtailed plans to include civil cases in the scheme. Court documents reveal that a great deal of English lexis is used in Filipino legalese, such as ‘arraignment’, ‘litigant’ and ‘produce order’, yet Spanish loans appear to play a more pervasive role (abogado, akusado, ebidensya), alongside a large number of innovations based on indigenous roots such as nasasakdal (defendant) and sabi-sabi (hearsay).

5. SEA’s non-English legal systems 5.1

Thailand

Fearing incursion from the British to the south and west and the French to the north and east, and inspired by Japan’s rapid modernisation and commercialisation in order to avoid colonisation, Thailand underwent intense legal reform during the reigns of Rama V (Chulalongkorn, 1853–1910) and Rama VI (1910–1925). A Ministry of Justice was established in 1892 and Criminal, Civil and Commercial Codes were drafted in English and translated into Thai. The drafting of new laws was put into the hands of a Council of State set up under Rama VII, Thailand’s last absolute monarch (1925–1935). Civil law was influential, as seen in a preference for codification, but common law elements were also introduced as a result of including lawyers from the British Empire and Thais trained in England on the Drafting Committee, whose minutes were recorded in English (Pakorn Nilprapunt, personal communication, 14 November 2007). Much recent Thai legislation has been modeled on foreign laws. British legislation was the source of a Law on Floating Charges, America’s Homeland Security Act the model for an Internal Security Act, and an English draft of the Finnish Forest Act inspired a Wild Life Protection Act. The latter posed considerable difficulty for translators,



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

not only because of culturally differential concepts of land tenure, but basic categorisations of natural phenomena such as rocks and stones (Pakorn Nilprapunt, personal communication, 14 November 2007). English has been an important resource for innovating the Thai legal lexicon. In the 1925 Civil and Commercial Code, for example, kwanrappit (‘responsibility’) is semantically expanded to cover English legal terms for ‘liability’ and ‘accountability’ (Pakorn Nilprapunt, personal communication, 14 November 2007). The Thai legal register has also been influenced by English grammatical constructions, with legal drafters employing passives and other syntactical constructions that “are not how Thais would say things at all” (Pakorn Nilprapunt, personal communication, 14 November 2007). Thai remains the only language with judicial standing, but the Ministry of Justice is keen to improve the capacity of judges and lawyers to deal with untranslated international documents and jurisprudence. The government offers 33% funding to candidates on a new Masters of Laws or LLM taught in English at Assumption University.

5.2

Macau

The legal system of the first and last European colony in Asia evolved over 450 years of rule by Portugal and still functions largely in Portuguese, yet this is the usual language of just 0.7% of the population and an additional language for only a further 2% (Andrew Moody, personal communication, 12 May 2011). However, the handover of sovereignty to China has been accompanied by bilingual programmes similar to those in Hong Kong. Under Article 9 of the 1999 Basic Law, both Chinese and Portuguese are official and laws are to be drafted bilingually. Documents and oral testimony may be admitted in Chinese without Portuguese translation. While it is still possible to qualify as a lawyer only through Portuguese, and proficiency in the language is used unofficially to maintain the exclusivity of the bureaucracy, the alternative Portuguese and Chinese law programmes offered at the University of Macau each requires undergraduates to study the other language. Many government documents, including the Basic Law, have English versions (Andrew Moody, personal communication, 12 May 2011). While lacking de jure status, English has long been of great importance in Macau, which was one of China’s earliest centres of English culture (Bolton 2003) and arguably functioned more as a colony of Hong Kong than of Portugal (Lo 1999). Some 12.7% claim English as a usual or additional language, and it is the medium of thirteen schools and the only university (Andrew Moody, personal communication, 12 May 2011).

5.3

Indonesia

The Dutch ruled the East Indies for 346 years and left an indelible mark on the legal system. Modern Indonesian commercial law, for example, is essentially a translation of the Roman-Dutch Wetboek van Koopheld of 1847, supplemented by postcolonial

 Richard Powell

legislation such as the 1995 Company Law and 1999 Antimonopoly Law. Dutch texts are commonly taught in law faculties and a number of Roman Law terms have passed into Indonesian through Dutch, such as kasasi (‘cassation’) and akta otentik (‘authentic deed’). The legal system nevertheless functions entirely in Bahasa Indonesia. Indonesia’s linguistic decolonisation is often compared favourably to Malaysia’s and attributed to its more decisive sociopolitical break with the past. However, this linguistic independence has to be weighed against the questionable independence of the legal system. The fact that the law functions in the vernacular is not in itself an indication of transparency or accessibility. Despite including consensual adat (‘customary law’) principles (Tabalujan 2002) and comprehensive police powers to investigate corruption (Ben Aras 2007), for the average citizen Indonesian law retains a remoteness that owes as much to postcolonial political interference as to its colonial origins (Hoadley 2004). Traditionally, common law and the English language have had little influence. There is no stare decisis, Supreme Court decisions serving merely as guidelines. There is no formal requirement for English in legal training. However, English has been Indonesia’s first foreign language since independence, as well as a component of university exams and the medium of many legal resources, and so it is unlikely a lawyer could qualify without reasonable proficiency in it (Henry Soelistyo Budi, personal communication, 10 September 2007). When Indonesian and Malaysian lawyers collaborate they tend to use English because of potentially confusing lexical differences between Bahasa Indonesia and Bahasa Malaysia (Colin Ong, personal communication, 19 September 2007). In the 1970s, a body of konsultan hokum (legal consultants) was created to deal with foreign investments. Most specialise in non-litigious commercial law and cross-border agreements (Tabalujan 2002) and work extensively in English (Henry Soelistyo Budi, personal communication, 10 September 2007).

5.4

Indochina

Since international commercial activity and domestic civil litigation were at low levels during four decades of postcolonial political and military conflict, the legal systems of Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam had little exposure to common law business concepts or international law mediated through English. However, recent enthusiasm for foreign investment in all three countries has created an interest in legal reform and the internationalisation of legal training, with English playing a central role. Cambodia’s largely French-educated legal class was targeted for annihilation by the Khmers Rouges in the 1970s, with many lawyers fleeing the country never to return. The United Nations Transitional Authority or UNTAC in Cambodia initiated a reconstruction of the legal system, overseeing the adoption of a Code of Criminal Law and Procedure in 1992 and a new constitution in 1993. With judges earning only $20 a month (Moore 2007), the establishment of an impartial and independent judiciary is far from assured, but funding for legal projects is being provided not only from France but from American and Australian agencies and the Hong Kong-based Asian Legal



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

Resources Centre. English is the working language of these projects, with even French non-governmental organizations or NGOs using it as their first language (Kirkpatrick 2009). Many Cambodians themselves are skeptical about the suitability of Khmer for academic and professional discourse (Kagnarith & Visal 2007) and look to English more readily than French for sources of innovation. To circumvent a backlog in the publication of new enactments in the Official Journal, private organisations regularly publish unauthorised English, French and Khmer versions of new financial legislation. While avoiding the extreme social dislocation of Cambodia, Laos had no constitution or effective legislature in the decade after the communist revolution of 1975, which ended twenty years of civil and international conflict that followed the withdrawal of French administrators. In 1986 the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party relaxed its stance against market capitalism by launching the New Economic Management Mechanism (Radetsky 1994: 799). This led to a new constitution in 1991 and laws on Foreign Investment, Contract, Property, Insurance, Accounting, Labour, Tort and Civil Procedure (Radetsky 1994: 801). Much of this legislation has been translated into English and is accessible online (http://www.na.gov.la/). The World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme are prominent among international agencies in providing funding and expertise for legal reform. Many experts are drawn from common law countries and nearly all work in English (Sivath Seng, personal communication, 15 March 2007). In drafting laws, concepts absent from the underdeveloped Lao legal register, such as floating charges introduced into the revised Secured Transactions Law of 2005, have been translated directly from English. Ambiguities frequently result from gaps between civil/socialist law and common law (Erik Haggqvist, personal communication, 15 March 2008). Sweden’s International Development and Cooperation Agency (Sida) supports law programmes at the National University of Laos. A major concern has been providing teaching materials, which commonly involves translation of English-language texts into Lao (Erik Haggqvist, personal communication, 15 March 2008). English is not compulsory for law students but is extremely popular because of reliance on foreign source materials as well as the possibilities it offers for study overseas. Far more populous than Cambodia or Laos combined, Vietnam was steadily colonised by the French from the 19th century but received French law unevenly. While the 1883 Précis de Législation Civile was applied in the south, where the bulk of French settlers were concentrated, much of the rest of the country was governed by the Confucian Nguyen Code (Sidel 1997). Until 1950, many lawyers studied in French at the Indochina Law School in Hanoi, but following independence, Soviet legal models and the Russian language were more influential in the north, and American common law and English in the south. In 1986 the policy of Đổi mới (‘renovation’) introduced administrative and legal reforms to usher in a capitalist economy. A new constitution in 1992 recognised private property and the 1995 Civil Code (updated in 2006 in anticipation of World Trade Organisation or WTO entry) sanctioned free market principles. There has subsequently been a growing demand for lawyers, but attempts to meet this

 Richard Powell

demand have been handicapped by abstract and impractical legal training and tensions between lawyers trained under the old French or American systems, in socialist regimes, and more recently at law schools overseas (Rose 1998). The Lawyers’ Association publishes The Vietnam Law Journal in both English and French.

6. Legal English in postcolonial multilingual and multicultural contexts In general we can see an expanding and adaptive role for English in Southeast Asian law. Although laws in English were imported piecemeal and with differential applicability in many parts of SEA, they came to form the basis of many postcolonial jurisdictions. English remains the unchallenged medium of law in Brunei, the Philippines and Singapore. It has adapted to new legal systems, such as the civil and syariah traditions of the Philippines, and cohabits in various ways with Asian languages in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Myanmar. While its role in other jurisdictions still lies essentially in international contexts, it has played a vital part in legal reform in Thailand and more recently in Indochina and is often the source language for legal models in areas such as finance and ecology. The presence of English in Southeast Asian law throws up a number of questions of interest to different fields. From the point of jurisprudence, for instance, does its continuation serve the interests of justice in postcolonial polities where many citizens lack proficiency in the language? From the language planning aspect, is it in a competitive or collaborative relationship with other languages? Within the paradigm of WE, what can the roles of Southeast Asian legalese tell us about nativisation and language alternation in professional contexts? And do the current ways in which English interfaces with Asian languages give any indications of the future of the language in Southeast Asian law?

6.1

English and the interests of justice

In jurisdictions where a minority are proficient in English, is use of the language in the legal domain necessarily an aberration? Throughout history, many legal systems have functioned in an elitist language (e.g. Latin in Europe, French in England, Persian in India). It is hard to disagree that using the language of widest communication is a necessary tool of increasing transparency, but as we can see from the examples of Indonesia and Myanmar, it is hardly sufficient. Many Malaysian lawyers express fears that changing the medium of the law risks changing the substance of the law and the integrity of the legal profession and would prefer resources be spent on improving translation and interpreting rather than on language shift (Powell 2008). As Ng (2009) has argued for Hong Kong, the aloofness of English contributes to its suitability for adversarial debate. Whether adversarial law is suitable for Southeast Asian legal



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

societies with their traditions of consensus and compromise is another matter, of course. In the case of Myanmar, a radical shift away from English has certainly coincided with a radical revision of the curriculum (American and British constitutional law has been displaced by an exclusive focus on the home-grown constitution), numerous changes in legal practice (precedent in general is increasingly discouraged, for example, and reference to British or Indian cases virtually prohibited) and also an undeniable decline in the professional independence and academic quality of legal practitioners. As Myint Zan (2004) has argued, however, the switch to Burmese cannot in itself be held responsible for the deterioration in the legal domain. Around SEA the soundness of a given justice system cannot be directly related to whether it uses a vernacular or a colonial medium.

6.2

English and other languages in law

While most legal systems around the world are monolingual and exclude other languages for fear of conflicts of meaning, co-admissibility of languages within the same Asian jurisdiction, courtroom or text offers lawyers and linguists new insights into the cultural relativity of the law.6 Bilingual drafting may be seen by some as a burden on resources and a possible source of ambiguity, but it can also be viewed as an opportunity to improve clarity because of the need to refer to the intent of a law rather than simply repeat drafting formulae. Court interpreters are routinely overworked, underpaid and undervalued, and inculcating bilingual awareness in the legal profession they serve can only improve their effectiveness. In any case, as evidence of Filipino and Cebuano in the Philippines shows, when there are bilingual participants, utterances in non-admissible languages do occur: If they fail to appear in records, important information may be overlooked when cases come to be reviewed. While none of the bilingual legal systems of SEA is diglossic, English and the national languages seem to be developing in complementary rather than competitive ways, with a tendency to use one language or the other according to the nature of the professional task and background of the participants.7 Moreover, although Englishtrained lawyers are sometimes criticised for tending to code-mix because of a lack of proficiency in local languages, English can serve positively as a resource for Asian legal lexicons lacking in modern legal terminology, either through direct borrowing or translation. The principle that all languages are equal is not violated by accepting that they may need support from others to develop certain registers. After all, legal English itself emerged from a largely francophone system only in the 18th century.

6. In Hernandez v New York (1991) bilingualism was accepted as a possible ground for excluding jurors. 7. This description might be applied to Sri Lanka, where English is prescribed for the higher courts and Sinhala or Tamil to the lower, but in practice the divisions are less clear.

 Richard Powell

6.3

Evidence for Southeast Asian legal Englishes

Having used English by default since its inauguration in 1967 and generated a large body of cross-border agreements, ASEAN seems the most likely source of a characteristically Southeast Asian legal register.8 However, perusal of its official publications reveals little more notable than an unusual propensity for complex acronyms, such as IMT-GT ZOPFAN (Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle Zone of Peace, Freedom and Neutrality). Seeing international English in SEA as essentially functionbased, rather than with a regionally specific lexicogrammar, the Asian ELF Project has identified numerous pragmatic strategies typical of multilingual societies, such as an inexhaustible willingness to reformulate and a high awareness of seniority in turntaking (Kirkpatrick 2009). As for legalese specific to individual Southeast Asian jurisdictions, the main evidence from written texts appears to be lexical. This includes loans from other colonial languages, such as estafa (corruption, from Spanish, in the Philippines); loans from local languages, such as penghulu, takaful, Yang Arif (‘headman’, ‘insurance’ and ‘Your Honour’ respectively), from Malay and tanod (‘police constable’) from Tagalog; conceptual transfers (Ruling Chiefs in Malaysia); and holdovers from imperial bureaucracy, such as to gazette and outraging modesty in Malaysia and Singapore. It seems hard to find examples of syntactical or discursive nativisation, with new law frequently modeled on Commonwealth or US legislation. Indeed it has been suggested that drafters in Asia may be even more reluctant than those in Britain to depart from established norms (Bhatia 1993: 140). In oral mode, local Englishes are very much in evidence phonologically, lexicogrammatically and discursively. Many Southeast Asian lawyers and judges switch not only between languages but between more international and more local varieties of English. Filipino and Malaysian judges seem especially prone to switching between formality and informality according to their interlocutor: (7) Counsel [to clerk]: This one lah [giving bundle of documents to clerk]. C [to Judge]: I humbly request for a short break, Yang Arif. Judge [to Counsel]: Short one is it, ah?  (High Court, Terengganu 2005.11, cited in Powell, 2009) While lawyers throughout the anglophone world style-switch to create rapport and also to coerce, the distinctiveness of many Asian Englishes and the ability of professionals to switch between widely differing varieties, together with the increasing prevalence of code-switching, suggest that SEA should prove to be a particularly rich site for research into the way legal practitioners manipulate discourse within apparently strict rules of speaking. 8. The de facto status of English as the working language was finally formalised in the ASEAN Charter of February 2009.



Chapter 14.  English in Southeast Asian law 

6.4

The future of English in Southeast Asian law

A perusal of the current language situation in Southeast Asian legal systems reveals a dynamic and apparently contradictory picture: English shows few signs of losing its importance (except, perhaps, in Myanmar – and even there the mixed messages being sent out by the ruling regime suggest the language may be coming back into fashion) and is indeed expanding in some places where it formally had little importance, such as Indochina; but at the same time, Asian languages are being increasingly used in a variety of legal capacities. The paradox is perhaps best explained by the fact that legal activity, whether domestic, regional or global, is rapidly expanding, giving rise to a profession that is increasingly diverse and increasingly multilingual. As Asian economies become more precedent-orientated and markets become more international, English is likely to become more important as a medium for drawing up agreements and negotiating disputes among people who themselves use a range of other languages and indeed a range of Englishes. We can therefore expect to see a growing need for bilingual lawyers and increasing instances of collaboration between lawyers and linguists in response to complex questions of legal translation, textual equivalence and comparative legal culture. While exciting for linguists, interaction between languages and language varieties can be threatening for lawyers, accustomed as many of them are to drafting and interpreting laws through tried and tested monolingual registers that prioritise clarity of reasoning before other members of their profession over communicability to the general public. Having to grapple with multilingual interpretations or to shift between different varieties and registers of the same language may therefore appear to be an unnecessary burden. Yet this very process should prove a sobering reminder that meaning is never unambiguous, no matter how carefully it is drafted, but subject to continual negotiation. Lawyers in the traditionally anglophone jurisdictions of the region are nevertheless right to be wary of wholesale attempts to shift the medium of the law, given that there have been few convincing examples so far of a change to the vernacular bringing fairer and more transparent administration of justice. Planned language shift is typically politically motivated, and examples from around SEA suggest that the legal domain is no exception. Yet it may nonetheless be undertaken with the sincere aim and real possibility of improving the administration of justice. Once the decision is taken to engineer language change, what is important is that planners provide adequate time and resources for local languages to develop new terminology and – equally important, but routinely overlooked – for legal practitioners to develop new legal discourses in local languages. Those planners failing to provide the necessary time and resources should not be surprised by the continued tenacity of legal English.

 Richard Powell

Cases cited Baiduri Bank v Pg Hjh Zaibadah and Pg Abdul Qahar 2001 (Brunei, 6 Sept 2001). Balachandran vs Public Prosecutor 05-42-2002 (W) (Malaysian Court of Appeal, 2002). Chan Fung Lan v Lai Wai Chuen HCMP4210/1996 (Hong Kong High Court Miscellaneous Proceedings, 1996). Hernandez v. New York 500 U.S. 352 (1991) HKSAR v Leung Kwok Hung, Fung Ka Keung and Lo Wai Ming MA No.16 of 2003 (Magistracy Appeal in Hong Kong High Court). Saw Ba Thein v U Ko Ko Lay. Civil Misc. Applications (Burma, 1948). The Queen v Tam Yuk-ha MA No. 933 of 1996 (Hong Kong Magistrates Court, later appealed as HKSAR v Tam Yuk Ha MA No. 1385 of 1996). Wika Ng Kultura v Macapagal Arroyo & Ermita 2006 (Supreme Court of the Philippines).

References Azrimah Binti Haji Abdul Rahman. 2006. The legal system in Brunei Darussalam after the signing of the Supplementary Agreement 1905/6 between Brunei and Great Britain. Working Paper for National Day Seminar, 2006. (15 September 2007). Ben Aras. 2007. Pelaksanaan tugas dan wewenang kepolisian dalam penyidikan tindak pidana korupsi (Implementation of Police duties and Authority in the Investigation of Acts of Criminal Corruption.). Master of Laws thesis, Universitas Andalas. Benitez, I. 2009. The relevance of English in Philippine courtrooms. Paper presented at 14th English in Southeast Asia Conference, 26–28 November 2009, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. Bhatia, V.K. 1993. Analysing Genre – Language Use in Professional Settings. London: Longman. Bolton, K. 2003. Chinese Englishes: A Sociolinguistic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Christie, A. 2006. Australia: Myanmar’s legal and contract law. (20 November 2006). Crudo, C. 2007. An ethnographic study of investigating hearings in the Philippine Senate. Paper presented at the 12th English in Southeast Asia Conference, 12–14 December 2007, King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand. Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. 2003. Istilah Undang-undang (Legal Terminology, 3rd edn.). Kuala Lumpur: DBP. Gibbons, J. 2003. Forensic Linguistics: An Introduction to Language in the Justice System. Oxford: Blackwell. Gonzalez, A. 1996. Incongruity between the language of law and the language of court proceedings: The Philippine experience. Language & Communication 16(3): 229–234. Gonzalez, A. 2004. The social dimensions of Philippine English. World Englishes 23(1): 7–16. Government of Malaysia. 2003. Federal Constitution (as of November 2003). Petaling Jaya: International LawBook Services. Hickling, R.H. 2001. Malaysian Law. Kuala Lumpur: Pelanduk.



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Hoadley, M. 2004. The role of law in contemporary Indonesia. Focus Asia [Public Lecture Series], May 25–27, Lund University Centre for East and Southeast Asian Studies. (10 September 2004). Hong Kong Legislative Council. 2005. Hansard 3331: Official Record of Proceedings. Legislative Council, 26 January 2005. (26 January 2005). Hong Kong SAR Department of Justice. 2008. The legal system in Hong Kong. Department of Justice. (28 September 2008). Kagnarith C. & Visal, S. 2007. Influence of Cambodian culture on English writing. Paper presented at the 12th English in Southeast Asia Conference, 12 – 14 December 2007, King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand. Kirkpatrick, A. 2009. The English as a lingua franca in Asia Project. Paper presented at the 14th English in Southeast Asia Conference, 26–28 November 2009, Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines. Lee, D.S., Hall, C. & Hurley, M. 1999. American Legal English: Using Language in Legal Contexts. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan Press. Lee, Y.K. 1973. The grand jury in early Singapore 1819–1873. Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 46(2): 55–150. Leung, C.S.C. 1997. Hong Kong. In Asian Legal Systems, P.L. Tan (ed), 67–81. Sydney: Butterworths. Lo, S.H. 1999. Macao’s political system. In Macao 2000, J.A. Berlie (ed), 53–70. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. Malaysiakini. 2009. Anwar’s suit struck out as document was in English. Malaysiakini.com, 9 December 2009. (12 December 2009). Mead, R. 1988. Malaysia’s National Language Policy and the Legal System. New Haven CT: Yale. Moore, S. 2007. English in Cambodia: representing contemporary Cambodia in the local English press. Paper presented at the 12th English in Southeast Asia Conference, 12–14 December 2007, King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand. Myint Zan. 2004. A comparison of the first and fiftieth year of independent Burma’s law reports. Victoria University of Wellington Law Review 35(2): 385–426. Myint Zan. 2008. Legal education in Burma since the mid-1960s. Journal of Burma Studies 12: 63–107. New York Times. 1899. Philippine Courts Opened. 30 May 1899. (12 September 2007). Ng Kwai Hang. 2009. “If I lie, I tell you, may heaven and earth destroy me.” Language and Legal Consciousness in Hong Kong Bilingual Law. Law and Society Review 43(2): 369–402. Nik Safiah Karim. 1994. The controlling domains of Bahasa Melayu: The story of language planning in Malaysia. In Language Planning in Southeast Asia, Abdullah Hassan (ed), 133–150. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Powell, R. 2008. Motivations for Language Choice in Malaysian Courtrooms. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Powell, R. 2009. ‘ADR in multilingual contexts: language policy and language choice in Malaysian mediation and arbitration.’ Paper presented at Law and Society Association Annual Conference, May 38–31, Denver CO. Radetsky, M. 1994. From communism to capitalism in Laos: The legal dimension. Asian Survey 34(9): 799–806.

 Richard Powell Reyes, C. 2007. 3 Bulacan courts to use Filipino in judicial proceedings. Inquirer.net., 22 August 2007. (10 December 2007). Rangoon Gazette and Weekly Budget. 1888. Report on lecture by Reverend Dr. J.N. Cushing, reproduced in SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 1, No. 2, Autumn 2003. Rose, C.V. 1998. The “new” law and development movement in the post-Cold War era: A Vietnam case study. Law and Society Review 32(1): 93 – 140. Rules of the High Court. 1980. Rules of the High Court 1980 (as at 2003.5.1) [PU (A) 60/1980]. Kuala Lumpur: Malayan Law Journal Sdn. Bhd. Sidel, M. 1997. Vietnam. In Asian Legal Systems, P.L. Tan (ed), 356–389. Sydney: Butterworths. Tabalujan, B. 2002. The Indonesian legal system – An overview. Law and technology resource for legal professionals, 2 December 2002. (8 September 2007). Tan, P.L. 1997. Malaysia. In Asian Legal Systems, P.L. Tan (ed), 263–313. Sydney: Butterworths. Woon, W. 1997. Singapore. In Asian Legal Systems, P.L. Tan (ed), 314–355. Sydney: Butterworths. Wu, M.A. 1999. The Malaysian Legal System. Petaling Jaya: Pearson Malaysia.

chapter 15

The view from below Code-switching and the influence of “substrate” languages in the development of Southeast Asian Englishes* James McLellan

The University of Waikato, New Zealand This chapter takes a synchronic approach to the investigation of influences of other languages on Malaysian, Singapore, Philippine and Brunei English. Whilst it would be naïve to describe all features as simply the result of transfer from other languages, it is important to consider the axiom that all Southeast Asian Englishes are spoken and written by people who have access to other languages and for whom English is an add-on. It is suggested that all Southeast Asian Englishes are code-mixed varieties, and the main focus is on aspects of codeswitching and on broader issues of language contact and pidginisation. In the discussion section, a framework from code-switching research is outlined for analysis at both text- and sentence-level. Keywords: code-switching, language alternation, multilingual, acrolectal, mesolectal, basilectal

1. Introduction This chapter explores the hypothesis that all Southeast Asian Englishes are by definition code-mixed varieties. It is self-evident that all Englishes in this geographical region are spoken and written by users who also have access to other languages. Hence English may not necessarily be the default or the only available language choice for intranational communication. Interlocutors may also have access to varieties of Malay, * I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Cerise P. Crudo, De La Salle University, Philippines, for assisting with the translations of Filipino expressions; also to the anonymous reviewers of earlier drafts of this chapter. Remaining deficiencies are the sole responsibility of the author.

 James McLellan

Mandarin, Tamil, Filipino or a range of other languages that exist within national and local linguistic ecosystems. This chapter is seen as complementary to the typological study of Asian Englishes outlined in Lim and Gisborne (2009), and aims to contribute in a small way to the research agenda for Southeast Asian multilingualism discussed by Chitravelu (2007). The theoretical framework for this exploration is in two sections. The first part reviews approaches to code-switching research, whilst the second, drawing particularly on the work of Mufwene (e.g. 2001), focuses on theories of pidginisation and creolisation. Following a brief consideration of the common ground between these two, data examples from four Southeast Asian Outer Circle Englishes are analysed in terms of whether they count as code-switching, and whether they exemplify processes of pidginisation. The discussion section considers whether the data examples can be considered as instances of code-switching, or alternatively, whether superstrate/substrate models from pidgin and creole linguistics offer a better explanation, or whether both frameworks are applicable. A subsidiary question is whether the mixed code can usefully be considered as a separate third code, distinct from both the contributing languages, e.g. Filipino (Tagalog), English and “Mix-mix”, as described by Marasigan (1983).

2. Approaches to code-switching and language alternation research Researchers traditionally approach the study of texts showing language alternation (LA, used henceforth as an alternative to “code-switching”) from two main perspectives: grammatical and sociolinguistic. The most complete theoretical reference in the field of LA and code-switching research is the work of Carol Myers-Scotton and her associates. Her approach is of particular relevance as it comprises both a grammatical framework and an attempt to account for social motivations for LA (Myers-Scotton 1993a, 1993b, 2006). Myers-Scotton’s grammatical theory is termed Matrix Language Frame (henceforth MLF), and is most fully elaborated in Myers-Scotton (1993a). In MLF theory, it is assumed that there is always an unequal or asymmetric relationship between the two (or more) languages that contribute to code-switched text. The “matrix language” provides the syntactic frame, whilst the “embedded language” contributes mostly content words, i.e. nouns and verbs. In her more recent publications, this basic asymmetry of role is said to operate at the level of the “projection of complementizer”, a syntactic unit akin to the clause (Myers-Scotton 2006: 252–253). However, Bentahila and Davies (1998) and Jacobson (2001a) argue on the basis of Arabic/French, Spanish/English and Malay/English examples, that it is also possible for two languages to play an equal role in the construction of code-mixed text. This issue has been further investigated by McLellan (2005) in the context of Bruneian computer-mediated communication: it was found that twelve texts (5.7%) out of a



Chapter 15.  The view from below 

corpus of 211 fitted the strict criteria for the “equal LA” category. Other texts displaying a measure of LA were classified Main-language English (henceforth MLE, 36 texts, 17.1%) if they were predominantly English with some Malay, or Main-language Malay (MLM, 57 texts, 27%) if they were mainly in Malay with some English interspersed. The remainder of the texts in the corpus were in monolingual English (83 texts, 39.3%) and monolingual Malay (23 texts, 10.9%). Whilst LA is normally found to occur in informal spoken interaction, Jacobson (2001b) has shown that Malay-English LA can also occur in more formal contexts in Malaysia, such as in meetings of university staff. McLellan (2000a) demonstrates that code-switching in Brunei can occur at various points along the formal-informal and spoken-written continua, including in academic writing. Studies of LA have the potential to challenge traditionally-held views of one speaker belonging to one speech community speaking one clearly defined and delineated language, as in the “separate fortresses” argument discussed by Muysken (2000: 41). Myers-Scotton sees a need for theories specific to language contact situations: My assumptions regarding language activation and language switching do not necessarily depend on treating languages themselves as “discrete” in the sense of being closed or finite rule systems. (Myers-Scotton 1993a: 8)

Approaches to LA research such as those of Bentahila and Davies, Jacobson and Myers-Scotton offer scope for languages to be seen as fuzzy, leaking paradigms, and are thus better-suited to the type of texts and examples from highly multilingual Southeast Asian contexts discussed in this chapter. LA involving English and a local language has been seen as the default or unmarked choice for interlocutors in some Southeast Asian contexts, that is, the variety which they will naturally tend to use, unless there are any extenuating circumstances such as the presence of an addressee not fluent in one of the languages concerned. Myers-Scotton (1993a: 12–13) notes that such unmarked code-switching is only likely to occur in sociolinguistic contexts where both languages are regarded as having some degree of prestige and status, but not in cases where the ethnic groups using the languages are in competition with each other. Sebba (1998: 2, 18) also suggests that unmarked code-switching is most likely to occur where there is a high level of both individual and societal bilingualism. These requirements are met in the Outer Circle English contexts of Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei Darussalam which are the principal focus of this chapter. In the Philippines, for example, alternation between English and indigenous languages is a common feature at all points along the formal-informal continuum (Gonzalez 1997: 205–207), as can easily be ascertained from a study of any Filipino national daily newspaper or weekly magazine (see example text (3) below), as well as through research studies such as those of Bautista (1980, 1991) and Dayag (2002). The indigenous languages in question (Tagalog/Filipino, Ilocano, Cebuano and others in the Philippines; Malay and other indigenous languages in Malaysia and Brunei) belong

 James McLellan

to the same Western Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family, and there are many similarities in the roles played by the respective languages (English and indigenous) in the education systems of the three nations. This increases the potential for the various Southeast Asian Englishes to share features in common. Closely related to LA as the unmarked choice for multilingual Southeast Asians is the question of whether the restructured mixed code is a distinct third code (Kirkpatrick 2007: 127–128). With reference to Malaysia and Brunei, Ożóg (1990: 14) notes that Malay-English bilinguals in Malaysia and Brunei have access to at least two codes, with a further one made up of a mixture of the two languages.

This view is also espoused by Poplack, a major contributor to advances in code-switching research through her suggestions of universal syntactic constraints: the “equivalence constraint” and the “free morpheme constraint” (Poplack 1980: 227–230). Referring to the Puerto Rican community in New York City, she claims that codeswitching “is such an integral part of the community linguistic repertoire that it could be said to function as a mode of interaction similar to monolingual language use” (Poplack 1988: 217). Other researchers who support this view include Kachru (1978) and Singh (1985: 34). The latter suggests that “the mixed code is a new code that enters in opposition with the other two codes that it mixes.” This argument has been further developed by Blommaert (1999: 192), who notes that, in multilingual contexts such as central Africa, purely monolingual texts are highly marked. Such texts are only likely to be found in restricted contexts, and decisions not to mix syntactic and lexical items from more than one language signify as much as the presence of LA elsewhere.

3. Approaches from pidgin and creole research Myers-Scotton’s MLF framework, emphasising the basic asymmetry of the roles of the matrix and embedded languages, underlies many code-switching and LA research studies, and has parallels in Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, where one language, usually a local vernacular, is designated as the base language, and another functions as the lexicalizer language (Sebba 1997: 25–26). Alternative terms for these are “substrate” and “superstrate” respectively. In this research field, an earlier focus on the lexifier languages has been counterbalanced recently by greater attention to the roles played by the base languages (e.g. Migge & Smith 2007). For example, Tok Pisin, now the national language of Papua New Guinea, developed from the Melanesian pidgin which evolved in contexts of slavery and indentured labour in the Pacific in the mid 19th century. English is the principal lexifier language in Tok Pisin, whilst the main “substrates” or base languages are those of New Britain and New Ireland such as Tolai (Crowley 1997: 264–71). Initially pidgins are lexically and syntactically restricted contact languages, but over time these may stabilize, expand their lexicon and functional



Chapter 15.  The view from below 

range, and then become creoles once they acquire first-language speakers who are the offspring of parents who communicate with each other in the pidgin. In a historical linguistic approach to pidgin and creole language genesis and development, one possible outcome is the post-creole continuum of acrolect, mesolect(s) and basilect (Platt, Weber & Ho 1984: 8; Wardhaugh 2006: 80–1). The acrolect is closest to Inner Circle and international standard Englishes, while basilects will tend to demonstrate the strongest influence of substrate languages. As pointed out by Poedjosoedarmo (2000: 218), the varieties can influence each other in the context of Singapore, where the basilectal variety is used in home and friendship domains, but may also seep into the acrolectal variety that is expected in the educational domain. In “exploitation colonies” such as the Southeast Asian contexts under consideration here (although Brunei Darussalam was never a “colony” as such), Mufwene (2001: 4–7) argues that all the superstrate languages have been “restructured” through the choices made out of a pool of available features from all the languages in the ecosystem. Pools of features both from the languages of the colonising powers and from those languages spoken in the colonised territories are available for selection for the creation and development of the new restructured varieties. Applying the pidgin/creole framework to the study of Southeast Asian Englishes, it is evident that these “new” varieties are distinct from both the base or “substrate” local languages and the lexifier language, English. The post-creole lectal continuum has been applied to Southeast Asian Englishes, notably by Platt and Weber (1980). If this is mapped onto the code-switching/LA framework, acrolectal varieties will tend to have fewer instance of LA in comparison with basilectal varieties such as “Manglish” and “Singlish”, in which items from the “substrate” languages are frequently mixed, as shown in Figure 1. Even at the acrolectal level, though, substrate features, including code-switching, are found to occur (e.g. Deterding 2000, see example set (6) below), and highly proficient multilingual/multilectal users may compose texts such as those in examples (3) and (4) below. The attempt to blend code-switching and pidgin/creole theoretical frameworks is not new. Myers-Scotton’s (2006: 267–287) “4-M model” is a revision of her MLF theory which acknowledges the distinction between content morphemes and three types of system morphemes within syntactic groups (“projection of complementiser” in her terminology). System morphemes classified as “late outsiders”, for example verb inflections marking tense and number, are said to come from the matrix language. If Asian languages such as Malay or Chinese are the matrix or base languages, then tense and number will not be marked inflectionally on verbs, as is often the case in Southeast Asian basilectal Englishes. Acrolect Less LA

Figure 1.  LA and the lectal continuum

Mesolects

Basilect More LA

 James McLellan

4. Data examples Following a personal preference for full or partial texts, rather than isolated data fragments selected and taken out of their discourse context, this section begins with four texts, one each from Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei and the Philippines. I then offer a re-analysis of some examples discussed in earlier studies on the four Southeast Asian Englishes. (1) Malaysia (“Manglish”) Aitelyu, nemmain wat debladigarmen say, mose Malaysians tok Manglish. Bekoswai? Bekos we all shai oni to spik proper English – afturds people ting we trying to action oni. But Manglish is best-la when you want to simply toktok like fren-fren, la. Donkair you Malay or Chinese or Indian or everyting miksup: at the mamak stall, in the awfis, sitting around in the kopi-shop, we Malaysians orways tok like dis wan kain oni – got kick wat. You want to tokkok osoken, no problem, we gifchan you flers, la... (Leee 1989: 85) Leee provides a Manglish glossary in which some, not all, of the words in this text are glossed: nemmain (‘never mind’); debladigarmen (‘the bloody government’); tokkok (‘talk cock’); gifchan (‘please give me a chance, will you’) (Leee 1989: 86–89). Mamak stall, not glossed by Leee, refers to the food and drink stalls run by members of the Malaysian Indian Muslim community. (2) Singapore (“Singlish”) In Singapore your English no good you get stuck, Singlish never mind. So long as people know the difference. Ang moh want to talk Singlish also cannot. All this talk about Singlish from all these people. Think they know so much right. Ai-yah, I tell you, they all talk nonsense one. I tell you, Singlish very good. English ah take so long; Singlish faster. Like I talk to my children like that.... (Chua 1999) Ang moh here refers to Europeans; its literal meaning is ‘red hair’ in Hokkien. Ai-yah is an interjection used to express surprise or resentment. This text was published in the Singapore Straits Times newspaper at a time when there was ongoing controversy over the role and desirability of Singlish, alias basilectal or colloquial Singapore English (henceforth SingE). Singapore’s political leadership instituted a “Speak Good English” movement, insisting that “Singlish is a handicap we must not wish on Singaporeans” (Straits Times 1999: 26). (3) Philippines (“Mix-mix”) What makes your shows successful? We use the language that common people use, parang nagkukwentuhan lang. In the beginning, “Dos Por Dos” was a bit on the serious side. It was also like



Chapter 15.  The view from below 

that for “Ito Ang Radyo Patrol.” Since we only have an hour, we decided to pick a main story, which is always a national issue concerning politics, peace and order, or the economy, then we lightly touch on four to six other issues. This is the only radio program where you can discuss serious topics in a funny way. Sometimes, bugbog na ang interviewee namin nakangiti pa rin. I guess listeners got tired of announcers who are too serious and preachy. (Cruz 2009) Glosses: parang nagkukwentuhan lang (Filipino) like av-hang out only1 ‘like we’re just hanging out, telling stories, having a casual conversation’ Dos Por Dos (Spanish) two by two ‘two by two’ Ito Ang Radyo Patrol (Filipino/English) dem det radio patrol ‘This is the patrol radio’ bugbog na ang interviewee namin nakangiti pa rin. (Filipino/English) hit already det 1pe (we) av-smile still also ‘Our interviewee may be given a hard time but in the end he’s still smiling.’ Text (3) is from the entertainment section of a serious Philippines daily newspaper. It demonstrates the alternation of Filipino phrases in an otherwise standard English text in the journalistic register, comparable to the code-switching patterns found by Marasigan (1983), and by Smedley (2007) in his investigation of “Taglish” (Tagalog/English) in online blog texts. (4) Brunei Darussalam (“Bahasa rojak” – salad language) ....Wake up man...Cronyism can be found anywhere in the public or private sector...katak bawah tempurong banar kamu ani...as the saying goes...mesti pandai behidup...luckily i am one of her group at moe. Guess what, soon we will be promoted again, hahahahaha......, and there is nothing anybody can do...after all she is the most important VVIP at moe...mun ia nada, nada bejalan education system tani ani especially SPN21 yang belum berapa mantap ah...well good bye group and hello superscale c...hahahaha..– What????   (Bukan katak dibawah tempurong 2009) Abbreviations used in this text: moe: ‘Ministry of Education’; VVIP: ‘very very important person’; SPN21: Sistem Pendidikan Negara Abad yang ke-21, ‘national education system for the 21st century’ 1. A list of all abbreviations used in interlinear glosses in data example texts can be found in the endnote.

 James McLellan

Glosses: katak bawah tempurong banar kamu ani (Brunei Malay) frog under coconut-shell true 2s dem ‘You truly are a frog under a coconut shell’ Mesti pandai behidup (Brunei Malay) Must clever av-live ‘You must know how to struggle through these times’ Mun ia nada, nada bejalan education system tani ani If 3s v-neg-have v-neg-have av-work 1pi dem especially spn21 yang belum berapa mantap ah... rel not-yet how-much stable dm ‘If she doesn’t want it, it doesn’t happen in our education system, for example the National Education System for the 21st Century, which is not yet fully established’ This text, from a Brunei Darussalam public online discussion forum, is directly comparable to the Philippines text (3), in terms of the patterns of alternation of Brunei Malay expressions in a mostly standard English text. Using the analysis applied to the corpus of 211 similar texts in McLellan (2005), this text is classified as MLE, as it contains a predominance of English words and syntactic groups over Malay, with a single mixed group (education system tani ani: ‘this education system of ours’). It is evident that these four texts fall naturally into two pairs. Texts (1) and (2) demonstrate the basilectal varieties of Malaysia and SingE in a partly humorous manner, and are written representations of spoken varieties. Texts (3) and (4) show the alternation of Filipino and Brunei Malay expressions within structurally complex written English (e.g. the two passive constructions in (4)), with few deviations from standard English grammar and lexis. Hence the first two texts lend themselves more to analysis using the framework of pidginisation and creolisation, particularly the substrate influences on the phonology (as represented orthographically here), syntax and morphology. Texts (3) and (4) appear better suited to analysis as code-mixed texts, using Myers-Scotton’s (2006) MLF, or else Muysken’s (2000) model of insertion, alternation and congruent lexicalisation. Only the word mamak, the phrase ang moh and perhaps the discourse particles -la and Ai-yah in texts (1) and (2) can be considered as explicit surface-level examples of LA, although if they are analysed as spoken texts, many other features of Malay and Chinese can be identified as underlying the surface forms. These four texts are not offered as typical examples of the respective varieties of English. It would be equally possible to show basilectal “Taglish” (Tagalog/Filipino English) and “Brulish” (Brunei English) texts, and other texts at a higher level of formality including LA from Malaysia and Singapore. Many users of Southeast Asian Englishes, as well as being multilingual, are also multilectal, and are thus able to shift between the acrolectal, mesolectal and basilectal varieties.



Chapter 15.  The view from below 

Most of the shorter examples in sets 5–8 below have been discussed in previous studies of the particular variety of English. Many of the features are common to more than one of the Englishes under consideration, and may even be found in all four. Here they are evaluated in terms of whether they can be considered as code-switching, whether they have “substrate” origins, and whether they can be seen as “pidginised”, i.e. simplified, when contrasted with more acrolectal or “standard” English forms. Since almost all the examples are from written or keyboarded texts, the focus is on syntactic and lexical features.

4.1

Malaysia

Most of the Malaysian examples cited are from Soo’s (1990) survey of Malaysian teachers and students, who were asked to judge the acceptability of these examples in speech and writing. The two examples with code-switched constituents, (5g) and (5h), are from a study of the language and discourse of an East Malaysian public online discussion forum “Minyu Sarawak Talk” (McLellan 2000b).

(5) a. Twenty over cars and motor cycles were destroyed by the demonstrators.  (Soo 1990: 206)

This use of over following the numeral, in place of the more standard more than twenty is not an example of LA, although it may reflect the substrate influence of the Malay equivalent expression Dua puluh lebih (‘twenty over’). It is not pidginised, as no syntactic or lexical simplification processes are evident. (5) b. Last time I work in Ipoh as a temporary teacher for six months  (Soo 1990: 207; Newbrook 1998: 168) The non-occurrence of the simple past -ed morpheme in (5b) is not an example of LA, but demonstrates substrate influences from Chinese languages and from Malay (‘Dulu saya bekerja...’), in which verbs do not inflect for tense and aspect. Because this example is morphologically simpler than the standard (‘worked’), it can be considered as pidginised. (5) c. You finish eating already? d. What for you go and lie to him?

(Soo 1990: 208) (Soo 1990: 203)

Examples (5c) and (5d) are parallel in that neither has any overt code-switching, but both demonstrate the substrate influence of Malay. In (5c) there is simplification in the non-marking of the perfective aspect of finish (cf. Have you finished eating already?), which reflects influence from the Malay Habis makan sudah? (‘finished eating already?’). What for in (5d) is used informally in place of why, possibly influenced by the Malay Buat apa...?, literally glossed as ‘Do what?’, but equivalent to Why? or What for?

 James McLellan

(5) e. She feels very tensed before the oral examination  (Newbrook 1998: 168; Soo 1990: 209) Example (5e) can be considered as an instance of overcorrection, adding a past-tense morpheme to the predicative adjective tense, thereby following the Malay tendency to perceive all adjectivals as potential verbs. Again there is no overt LA, and no pidginisation because with the added morpheme the sentence is structurally more complex than the standard She feels very tense before the oral examination.

(5) f. Please close the lights when you leave the room

(Soo 1990: 210)

Example (5f) is another example without overt LA, but reflecting the substrate influence of the Malay expression Sila tutup lampu (‘please close light’). It can be considered as pidginised or simplified in relation to the standard form using the prepositional verb, Please turn off the lights....

(5) g. The point is, dia main cut and paste larr

(McLellan 2000b: 16)

Example (5g) is taken from a public discussion forum text. It does show overt LA, with both English and Malay contributing to both the syntactic frame and to the lexical content of the sentence. By word-count and phrase-count it is classified as MLE (qv discussion in Section 5 below). The Malay verb phrase dia main is glossed as ‘he is playing’ and the Malay sentence-final discourse particle larr may reflect a rhoticized spoken form of the more frequent lah. In the context of the online discussion forum thread the writer is criticising a previous contributor for posting texts which are cut and pasted from other sources rather than making an original contribution to the online forum. There is no simplification in (5g).

(5) h. Aku boleh kontrol market VCD, 34K sebulan net, you(McLellan 2000b: 17)

Example (5h), like (5g), shows overt LA, but in this case there is an equal amount of Malay and English by word-count and by phrase-count. The loan-word kontrol is classified as Malay as the writer has chosen to spell it with k- rather than c-. The sentence can be freely glossed as ‘I can control the VCD market, it’s worth 34K net a month, you know’. In the noun phrase market VCD, both the constituents are in English, but it reflects the influence of Malay as the base language through the choice of the Malay head-modifier word order. Arguably this example is pidginised when compared to the fuller standard form, but it can also be seen as reflecting features of spoken interaction in the interactive online forum context.

4.2

Singapore

As noted above, Deterding (2000) uses examples at the acrolectal level of SingE to illustrate the influence of Mandarin, Hokkien and Cantonese, mostly from academic writing or from the Straits Times daily newspaper. Poedjosoedarmo (2000: 216–218),



Chapter 15.  The view from below 

in a parallel study, investigates the “substrate” influence of Malay but notes the many syntactic and discoursal features which are common to Malay and Chinese languages. This makes it hard to determine which language is the major substrate influence.

(6) a. Though it may not be direct translation, but it is more acceptable in English (Deterding 2000: 206)

Examples (6a) is taken from an academic essay, and includes a feature found regularly throughout South Asian English varieties, especially in written texts: the overt marking of both parts of a contrastive proposition. Deterding notes the influence of the Mandarin sui-ran...ke-shi (‘although...but’) construction. The Malay walaupun ...tetapi (‘although...but’) construction could equally well be a substrate influence. As with (5e) above, there is no LA, nor is there any pidginisation, since an element (but) is added to the standard English form.

(6) b. From the computer analysis, it shows that I have /eI/ in my citation speech  (Deterding 2000: 207)

Example (6b), like (6a), shows greater structural complexity than the standard English, reflecting the tendency towards stronger topic prominence in both Mandarin and Malay (Daripada analisa komputer, ia menunjuk bahawa...). Once again there is no overt surface-level LA. (6) c. This is still evident, but in very insignificant number of cases  (Poedjosoedarmo 2000: 213) Example (6c) demonstrates non-occurrence of the indefinite article a, which is required in standard varieties. There is no overt LA, but it can be analysed as pidginisation, since the resulting form is simpler than the standard, under the substrate influence both of Malay and of Chinese languages, which do not have exact equivalents to the complex English definite and indefinite article system.

(6) d. John kena scold by his boss.

(Wee 2008: 600)

Example (6d) involves the use of the Malay adversative passive form kena, restricted both in Malay and in SingE to undesired events. Hence this is an instance of overt LA, with simplification also evident in the missing -ed morpheme on the verb scold. (6) e. Some customers, they disapprove if you speak to them in English  (Hickey 2004: 569) Example (6e) is a case of pronoun copying, which can be considered as a strategy for marking topic prominence. As noted by Hickey, the substrate influence of both Mandarin and Malay are in evidence here. There is no LA, nor any simplification, since an extra constituent is present which is not required in the standard Some customers disapprove...

 James McLellan



(6) f. Class tees/Hoodies/Jerseys Buy one free one

(SGClub Forum n.d.)

Example (6f) includes a structure commonly found across Southeast Asian Englishes in advertising discourse, especially retail shop posters. It is a simplification of Buy one get one free, and again reflects the substrate influence of both Malay (Beli satu, percuma satu, ‘Buy one free one’), and Mandarin (Mianfei yi mai yi, ‘Buy one free one’), but with no overt LA. (6) g. If the teacher comes, we all cabut, OK?  (The Coxford Singlish Dictionary n.d.) Cabut is the Malay for ‘escape’ or ‘run away’, used here in an utterance which has English as its base language. It is an instance of LA, also of pidginisation in the simplification of the more complex tense choice required in this conditional construction (‘then we will all run away’). As noted in the online Singlish dictionary from which the example is taken, it is used “when the context of flight is urgent or unexpected”. This semantic restriction suggests that the word is filling a lexical gap in colloquial SingE. (6) h. These parents are so kiasu! School hasn’t started yet for their Primary One children and they’re already buying tons of assessment books.  (Urban Dictionary n.d.)

The term kiasu is a Hokkien expression meaning ‘fear of losing out’, discussed by Tan (2009: 467) with reference to Malaysian English (henceforth MalE). Tan notes that the borrowing originated in Singapore. Example (6h) is overt LA, with no pidginisation.

4.3

Philippines

There are parallels between the code-switching patterns found in the examples from the Philippines and those from Brunei, Singapore and Malaysia. Similar sociolinguistic motivations appear to be salient. Whilst a comparable frequency of intra-sentential LA may occur at basilectal levels, it appears that LA in more formal acrolectal texts is less marked and occurs more often in the Philippines than in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

(7) a. I am ashamed to you

(Gonzalez 1983: 156)

Example (7a) shows no overt LA, but is seen by Gonzalez as a reflection of substrate influence from the Filipino expression Nahihiya ako sa iyo (‘I am embarrassed because of something I did to you’). No pidginisation is involved here.

(7) b. He has already taken cared of it

(Gonzalez 1983: 163)

Example (7b) here is comparable to (5e) in the MalE set above, with the addition of the -d morpheme on care. As Gonzalez notes, this is a case of overcorrection, not



Chapter 15.  The view from below 

attributable to any substrate influence. It has no overt LA, and the additional element means that this is not a case of simplification.

(7) c. Holdupper shot dead

(Antonio 2009; Hickey 2004: 578)

Hickey classifies holdupper as a “local neologism”. Being derived from the English expression hold-up, it is not overt LA, nor is it pidginised.

(7) d. Marasigan, Elizabeth. 1979. “Sex and the use of language among Filipino teachers”. Unpublished masteral thesis. Ateneo de Manila University.  (Marasigan 1983: 160) The use of masteral as an adjective derived from masters, referring to the academic qualification, as shown in (7d) here, appears widespread in Philippine English (henceforth PhilE), judging from the 86,900 hits obtained from a Google ® Philippines search. It is a case of overgeneralization, influenced by the standard use of doctoral. Thus there is no overt LA, nor any simplification. (7) e. I don’t care if it means na you’ll be a struggling artist or whatnot.  (Smedley 2007: 4) Example (7e) is from an online blog, in which na is a direct word-for-word substitution of the Filipino equivalent for ‘that’. This is a case of LA, but with no simplification.

(7) f. Sabi ng teacher ko I must discipline myself para I can control myself na makipag-away (Marasigan 1983: 144)

Example (7f) is from a Grade 6 student composition, glossed by Marasigan as ‘My teacher said I must discipline myself so I can control myself from quarrelling with others’. It demonstrates rich intra-sentential LA in a written discourse context, with no pidginisation. (7) g. “What is ventricular septal defect? Yes? This is congenital disease ano?”  (Martin 2006: 60) Example (7g) is an example of teacher-talk in a classroom context. It includes two examples of indefinite article omission, comparable to (6c) in the Singapore set, and tagswitching in the choice of the Filipino tag ano (‘isn’t it?’). The article omissions are examples of pidginisation as well as of the substrate influence of Filipino, whilst the tag switch is overt LA. (7) h. Isn’t being a doctor achievement enough? Magaling ka na eh.  (Smedley 2007: 5) The final example in the PhilE set is again from an online blog, and shows overt intersentential LA in the second sentence, glossed by Smedley as ‘You’re very good now eh’. No pidginisation is evident here.

 James McLellan

4.4

Brunei Darussalam

The Brunei English examples without surface-level code-switching could equally well occur in the other Englishes. Those with code-switched constituents show evidence of the Brunei variety of Malay mixed with English at different levels of the lectal continuum.

(8) a. Although these factors suggest the breakdown of the extended family, but they are not necessarily true.(Rosnah, Noor Azam & McLellan 2002: 98)

Example (8a), taken from an academic essay, is directly comparable with (6a) in the Singapore set. It shows no simplification, as an element is added. Nor is there overt LA, but the usage reflects the substrate influence of the Malay walaupun...tetapi (‘although ...but ...) structure. (8) b. By this way, it can solve the problem  (Rosnah, Noor Azam & McLellan 2002: 98) Example (8b) also shows the substrate influence of Malay, as it can be glossed as ‘Dengan cara ini, ia boleh menyelesaikan masalah’. It shows no LA, nor any simplification.

(8) c. The chief guest then proceeded to do the tepung tawar on the new vehicles.  (Rosnah, Noor Azam & McLellan 2002: 99)

Example (8c) is taken from a news media text and shows overt LA in the use of the Malay expression tepung tawar, (‘powder fresh’: ‘fresh powder’), which refers to a ceremonial blessing. No pidginisation is involved here. (8) d. ...ex minister atu, kana remove from office due to this housing scheme.  (McLellan 2005: 166) Example (8d), from a public online discussion forum text, is parallel to (6d) in the SingE set. It also includes the use of the Malay adversative passive, here spelt ‘kana’, reflecting Brunei Malay pronunciation. Overt LA is also evident in the use of the Brunei Malay demonstrative adjective atu (‘that’), in a noun phrase with Malay headmodifier word order. Simplification occurs here, as in (6d), with the non-marking of the past participle -d morpheme on remove.

(8) e. Carrying capacity kitani overloaded sudah 

(McLellan 2005: 103)

Example (8e) can be glossed as ‘Our carrying capacity is already overloaded’. This example includes overt LA in the use of the first-person plural inclusive possessive adjective kitani (‘our’) and in the adverbial sudah (‘already’). The substrate influence of Malay is also evident in the zero-copula construction, and in the head-modifier noun phrase structure. This can be seen as simplification when compared to standard English, where the copula verb is required.



Chapter 15.  The view from below 

(8) f. ...that the Concept MIB had suppressed certain group of individual...  (McLellan 2005: 235) Example (8f) is also taken from a public online forum text. MIB is an abbreviation for Melayu Islam Beraja (Malay Islamic Monarchy), the national ideology of Negara Brunei Darussalam, and is thus an instance of overt LA, within a noun phrase (Concept MIB) which follows the Malay head-modifier word order. The non-marking of the plural -s morpheme on both group and individual also reflects the substrate influence of Malay, where plurality is not signalled through nominal inflection. Hence these two nouns in this context can be seen as cases of simplification.

(8) g. ...so they prefer to minum kopi...

(McLellan 2005: 248)

The phrase minum kopi in example (8g) means ‘drink coffee’ Thus there is no simplification in this example, only overt intra-sentential LA. (8) h. The four-day fair was participated by six local computer companies.  (Entrée 2002) Example (8h) is from a University of Brunei Darussalam student newsletter. It includes non-standard use of the passive voice with the verb ‘participate’. This most likely reflects substrate influence of the Malay equivalent disertai oleh. This example has no overt LA, and has no element of simplification.

5. Discussion In determining possible substrate influences, more than one language is suggested for several of the above examples. This supports Deterding’s (2000: 201) contention that “it is likely that the influences for one feature come from several different sources which serve to reinforce each other”. Poedjosoedarmo (2000: 217–218), concurring with this view, suggests that the absence of subject-verb concord in Singaporeans’ written English reflects an areal or typological feature of Asian languages. This view can be further supported by examples from other Southeast Asian varieties, an approach adopted recently by Lim and Gisborne (2009) and by Ansaldo (2009), who use an evolutionary model of language contact, viewing Asian Englishes as “restructured vernaculars” (Ansaldo 2009: 134). Using this approach Ansaldo seeks to account for three features of Singlish, zero-copula, predicative adjectives and topic prominence, which may derive from both Malay and the Sinitic languages. An interactional sociolinguistic approach to LA/code-switching, focusing on the text-level as well as on sentences and syntactic groups, can be blended with the restructuring superstrate/substrate model which derives from Pidgin and Creole studies, as outlined by Mufwene (2001). This acknowledges both the multilingual and multilectal capabilities of English-knowing Singaporeans, Malaysians, Filipinos and Bruneians. The four sets of

 James McLellan

examples from Malaysian, Singapore, Philippine and Brunei English sometimes demonstrate overt LA, both inter- and intra-sentential, as well as substrate influences from other languages available to the text producers. In the analysis of example sets 5–8 above, instances of code-switching inevitably involve substrate languages. But the substrate influence does not necessarily result in code-switching, as there are also examples where there is no overt LA, but where substrate influence is evident, for instance in noun phrase word order and the absence of articles and inflectional morphemes. Nor does the substrate influence inevitably result in simplification or pidginised forms: examples (6a), (7b) and (8a) are more structurally complex than their standard English equivalents. A subsidiary question is whether texts showing any measure of LA should be analysed as a separate third variety, distinct from both the matrix (substrate) and the embedded (superstrate) languages. This is a popular perception in Southeast Asia or SEA, which underlies the notions of “Bahasa rojak” and “Mix-mix”, which are often debated in the print and electronic media (McLellan 2009, 2010). Mixed codes are stigmatised by political and academic leaders, who often speak out in favour of pure unmixed language use, although when interviewed on national broadcast media, the same leaders often demonstrate their proficiency in LA (McLellan 2009) Rather than making any prior assumptions as to whether the mixed code is distinct, it may be more expedient to apply the five-way descriptive categorisation used by McLellan (2005) for the analysis of a corpus of Brunei public online forum postings. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

English-only (E-) Main-language English (MLE) Equal language alternation (= LA) Main-language Malay (MLM) Malay-only (M-)

This can be used initially at the text level. Further detailed syntactic analysis can draw on pidgin and creole linguistic notions of base and lexifier languages, incorporating the post-creole lectal continuum model. To demonstrate the application of such a model at the text level, text (9), from the Brunei online public discussion forum corpus, discussed in McLellan (2005: 91–92), can serve as an example. (9) Memang no one dares to fight Allah’s will. Our concept is totally not contradicting Indeed

with Islamic teachings. That’s why ianya di satukan menjadi satu 3s-3s-poss pass-unified av-become one Falasafah, MIB. Supaya ianya inda bercanggah. Kalau Oil and Gas kan philosophy, MIB So that 3s-3s-poss neg av-oppose. If fut habis ...memang tia sudah takdir... bukankah kerajaan kitani finish indeed dm already fate neg-dm government 1pi-poss



Chapter 15.  The view from below 

sedang mempelbagaikan sumber ekonomi. Atu tah sebabnya... currently av-diversify source economy dem dm reason-3s-poss untuk masa depan kitani, our children and our children’s children. for time ahead 1pi-poss (Free translation: Indeed no one dares to fight Allah’s will. Our concept is totally not in contradiction to Islamic teachings. That’s why it’s been combined to form one single philosophy, MIB. So that it’s not opposed. If the oil and gas runs out...It’s already pre-ordained. Isn’t our government in the process of diversifying the sources of economic revenue? That’s the reason... for our future, our children’s and our children’s children’s future.)  (McLellan 2005: 91–92) This extract from a longer forum posting has 27 English words as against 33 Malay. Although the full text is classified as MLE, this extract shows equal LA in which both languages contribute to both the grammatical structure and to the meaning. There are a total of five switching points in text (9). The switches are seamless, occurring at points where the phrase structure rules of neither language are violated. The first two occur between sentence-initial discourse markers and the main proposition, with the Malay adverbial memang introducing an English sentence, then the converse is found in the second sentence, where That’s why introduces a Malay sentence. The third and fourth switches are for the English noun phrase Oil and Gas, which occurs in an otherwise Malay-only sentence beginning with the conditional Kalau (‘If ’). This may be seen as a formulaic set phrase, and thus as an “EL-island” according to MyersScotton’s (1993a) MLF theory, but the Malay equivalent minyak dan gas is also frequently found in spoken and written discourse in Brunei, hence it is not a necessary switch. The switch to English for another formulaic phrase, our children and our children’s children is perhaps an example of switching for stylistic or emotional effect, since it too can be equally well rendered in Malay (kanak-kanak dan cucu-cucu kitani). From an interactional perspective, the anonymous author of text (9) expects the targeted readership to share a high level of bilingual proficiency in Brunei Malay and English. In this text, pidginised features do not occur, and the structural and propositional complexity is consistent with a high level of formality. Unlike in other discussion forum texts, this is not informal spoken language in a computer-mediated, keyboarded context. Contrary to the general tendency illustrated in Figure (1) above, this richly code-mixed text can be considered as acrolectal, and there are no pidginised elements in either the English or the Malay in this extract.

6. Conclusion This chapter has explored the affordances for research into Southeast Asian Englishes of using a mixture of approaches: from code-switching and LA research, and approaches from pidgin and creole linguistics. It began by asking whether all varieties of

 James McLellan

Southeast Asian Englishes are code-mixed. The evidence discussed in this chapter suggests that they all have the potential to be code-mixed, although the substrate influence may not necessarily result in overt surface-level LA. A continuum of language choices is available, and users negotiate between these. These choices range from monolingual use of local vernacular and national varieties such as Malay and Filipino, through LA in various measures including equal mixing, to monolingual use of English in a variety of lects. They all have the potential for incorporating various LA strategies ranging from the most common, single noun insertion, to highly-skilled intra-sentential and intraphrase alternation between English and the various substrate languages. The choice depends on the contexts of use and on interactional sociolinguistic factors such as the available shared languages, including varieties of languages, between the participants.

Note The following is a list of abbreviations used in interlinear glosses in data example texts (based on Adelaar & Himmelmann 2005): 1pi 1pe 2s 3s av- dem dm fut neg poss rel

First-person plural inclusive pronoun First-person plural exclusive pronoun Second-person singular pronoun Third-person singular pronoun Active verb Demonstrative pronoun/adjective Discourse marker Future Negative particle or adverb Possessive Relative pronoun

References Adelaar, K.A. & Himmelmann, N. (eds). 2005. The Austronesian Languages of Asia and Madagascar. London: Routledge. Ansaldo, U. 2009. The Asian typology of English: Theoretical and methodological considerations. English World-Wide 32(2): 133–148. Antonio, N. 2009. Holdupper shot dead. Zamboanga Daily Times, 22 July 2009. (31 December 2010). Bautista, M.L.S. 1980. The Filipino Bilingual’s Competence: A Model Based on an Analysis of Tagalog-English Code-switching. Canberra: Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.



Chapter 15.  The view from below  Bautista, M.L.S. 1991. Code-switching studies in the Philippines. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 88(1): 19–32. Bentahila, A. & Davies, E.E. 1998. Codeswitching: An unequal partnership? In Codeswitching Worldwide, R. Jacobson (ed), 25–49. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Blommaert, J. 1999. Reconstructing the sociolinguistic image of Africa: Grassroots writing in Shaba (Congo). Text 19(2): 175–200. Bukan katak dibawah tempurong. 2009. Reply to Cronysm in public sector. (28 July 2009). Chitravelu, N. 2007. Multilingualism in Southeast Asia: A tentative research agenda. In English in Southeast Asia: Varieties, Literacies and Literatures, D. Prescott, A. Kirkpatrick, I.P. Martin & Azirah Hashim (eds), 224–245. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England: Cambridge Scholars Press. Chua, M.H. 1999. Ang moh also want to talk. Straits Times, 12, 7 August 1999. Crowley, T. 1997. An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Cruz, M. 2009. Point for point with Anthony Taberna. Inquirer.net, 25 July 2009. (28 July 2009). Dayag, D.T. 2002. Code-switching in Philippine print ads: A syntactico-pragmatic description. Philippines Journal of Linguistics 3(1): 33–52. Deterding, D. 2000. Potential influences of Chinese on the written English of Singapore. In English in Southeast Asia ‘99, A. Brown (ed), 201–209. Singapore: English Language and Literature Academic Group, NIE, Nanyang Technological University. Entrée. 2002. Voice of Persatuan Mahasiswa Universiti Brunei Darussalam. PMUBD Student Newsletter, p. 6. Gonzalez, A. 1983. When does an error become a feature of Philippine English? In Varieties of English in Southeast Asia: Selected Papers from the RELC Seminar on ‘Varieties of English and Their Implications for English Language Teaching in Southeast Asia’ in Singapore, April 1981, R.B. Noss (ed), 150–172. Singapore: RELC. Gonzalez, A. 1997. Philippine English: A variety in search of legitimation. In Englishes around the World, 2: Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Australasia Studies in Honour of Manfred Görlach [Varieties of English around the World 19], E.W. Schneider (ed), 205–212. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Hickey, R. 2004. Legacies of Colonial English: Studies in Transported Dialects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jacobson, R. 2001a. Language alternation: The third kind of code-switching mechanism. In Codeswitching Worldwide II, R. Jacobson (ed), 59–76. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Jacobson, R. 2001b. Aspects of scholarly language in Malaysia: Switching codes in formal settings. In The Effects of the Dominance of English as a Language of Science on the Non-English Communities, U. Ammon (ed), 177–192. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Kachru, B.B. 1978. Towards structuring code-mixing: An Indian perspective. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 16: 27–46. Kirkpatrick, A. 2007. World Englishes: Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Leee, K. 1989. Adoi! A Lipsmacking Ribtickling Taste of the Real Malaysian. Singapore: Times Books International. Lim, L. & Gisborne, N. 2009. The typology of Asian Englishes: Setting the agenda. English WorldWide 30(2): 123–132. Marasigan, E. 1983. Code-switching and Code-mixing in Multilingual Societies. Singapore: RELC.

 James McLellan Martin, I.P. 2006. Language in Philippine classrooms: Enfeebling or enabling? Asian Englishes 9(2): 48–66. McLellan, J. 2000a. English-Malay code-switching in Brunei: A domain-based analysis. In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 164–174. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden & The Macquarie Dictionary. McLellan, J. 2000b. The language and discourse of the “Minyu Sarawak Talk” discussion forum (http://www.malaysia.net/sarawak/). In Borneo 2000 – Language, Management and Tourism: Proceedings of the Sixth Biennial Borneo Research Conference, M. Leigh (ed), 11–20. Kuching: Institute of East Asian Studies, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak. McLellan, J. 2005. Malay-English Language Alternation in Two Brunei Darussalam Online Discussion Forums. PhD dissertation, Curtin University of Technology. McLellan, J. 2009. Keeping the beast in its cage: Compartmentalization of English in the Malay world. In Code Switching in Malaysia, M.K. David, J. McLellan, Shameem Rafik-Galea & Ain Nadzimah Abdullah (eds), 203–224. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. McLellan, J. 2010. Mixed codes or varieties of English. In The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 425–441. London: Routledge. Migge, B. & Smith, N. 2007. Introduction: Substrate influence in creole formation. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 22(1): 1–15. Mufwene, S. 2001. The Ecology of Language Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Muysken, P. 2000. Bilingual Speech. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Myers-Scotton, C. 1993a. Duelling Languages: Grammatical Structure in Code-switching. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Myers-Scotton, C. 1993b. Social Motivations for Code-switching: Evidence from Africa. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Myers-Scotton, C. 2006. Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Malden MA: Blackwell. Newbrook, M. 1998. The attitudes and beliefs of some educated Malaysians with respect to grammatical and lexical features of Malaysian English. Te Reo 41: 163–177. Ożóg, A.C. 1990. Code switching in Peninisular Malaysia and Brunei: A study in contrastive linguistic strategies. Paper presented at the 8th Conference of the Asian Association on National Languages (ASANAL), May 1990, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Platt, J. & Weber, H. 1980. English in Singapore and Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. Platt, J., Weber, H. & Ho, M.L. 1984. The New Englishes. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Poedjosoedarmo, G. 2000. Influences of Malay on the written English of university students in Singapore. In English in Southeast Asia ‘99, A. Brown (ed), 210–219. Singapore: Division of English Language and Applied Linguistics, NIE, Nanyang Technological University. Poplack, S. 1980. Sometimes I’ll start a sentence in Spanish y termino en Espanol: Toward a typology of code-switching. In The Bilingualism Reader, W. Li (ed), 221–256. London: Routledge. Poplack, S. 1988. Contrasting patterns of codeswitching in two communities. In Code-switching: Anthropological and Sociolinguistic Perspectives, M. Heller (ed), 215–243. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Rosnah Haji Ramly, Noor Azam Haji-Othman & McLellan, J. 2002. Englishization and nativization processes in the context of Brunei Darussalam: Evidence for and against. In Englishes in Asia: Communication, Identity, Power & Education, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 95–112. Melbourne: Language Australia. Sebba, M. 1997. Contact Languages: Pidgins and Creoles. Basingstoke: MacMillan.



Chapter 15.  The view from below  Sebba, M. 1998. A congruence approach to the syntax of code switching. International Journal of Bilingualism 2(1): 1–19. SGClub Forum. n.d. CLASS TEES/HOODIES/JERSEYS BUY ONE FREE ONE. (19 January 2011). Singh, R. 1985. Grammatical constraints on code-mixing: Evidence from Hindi-English. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 30(1): 33–45. Smedley, F. 2007. Code-switching and identity on the blogs: An analysis of Taglish in computermediated communication. Paper presented at Applied Linguistics Association of New Zealand Auckland-Waikato Regional Seminar, June 23, 2007, New Zealand. Soo, K. 1990. Malaysian English at the crossroads: Some sign-posts. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 11(3): 199–214. Straits Times (Singapore). 1999. Singlish “a handicap we do not wish on Singaporeans”. Report of speech by Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, Straits Times, 26, 7 August 1999. Tan, S. I. 2009. Lexical borrowing from Chinese languages in Malaysian English. World Englishes 28(4): 451–484. The Coxford Singlish Dictionary. n.d. (17 January 2011). Urban Dictionary. n.d. (18 January 2011). Wardhaugh, R. 2006. An Introduction to Sociolinguistics, 5th edn. Oxford: Blackwell. Wee, L. 2008. Singapore English: Morphology and syntax. In Varieties of English, 4: Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Mesthrie, R. (ed), 593–609. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

chapter 16

Curriculum and world Englishes Additive language learning as SLA Paradigm James D’Angelo

Chukyo University, Japan The World Englishes (henceforth WE) paradigm has made possible the recognition of legitimate Outer Circle varieties, with nascent inroads into pedagogy. This has been followed by growing acceptance in the Expanding Circle. Nevertheless there is also resistance, rendering the adoption of a WE approach in the Expanding Circle unresolved. The author outlines the relevance of WE theory to the Inner, Outer and Expanding Circles, and its ramifications for educators and students in those differing contexts, drawing on the work of Kachru, Mufwene, Seidlhofer, and Sridhar. He then looks at how a WE-informed curriculum can be implemented in the Expanding Circle. The chapter also addresses the fundamental teacher-education efforts needed to assure that the theoretical vision of Additive Language Learning is realized in practitioners’ daily implementation, as well as in broader SLA theory. Keywords: SLA, Inner Circle, Outer Circle, Expanding Circle, pedagogy

“SLA Theory needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.” 

– S.N. Sridhar

1. Introduction In this chapter I would like to propose Additive Language Learning (henceforth ALL) as a fundamental concept which should inform curriculum decisions, methodology and implementation across all English linguistic contexts. The Kachruvian ThreeConcentric-Circle Model (Kachru 1990) seems now to be gradually but steadily giving way to a more permeable paradigm which looks at an increasingly variegated and differentiated Mufwenian “feature pool” (Mufwene 2001, 2007); the true monolingual context, even in the Inner Circle, seems to be a vanishing breed. I will thus use the two concepts – Kachruvian and Mufwenian – to try to accurately examine the sociolinguistic reality of today’s global educational environments. I will demonstrate how the

 James D’Angelo

consistencies in these two frameworks can and must inform administrators’ and teachers’ approaches to language use and pedagogy, regardless of the location, academic discipline, or age group, and that increasing such awareness among educators will help the classroom to better reflect the world as it is today. Doing so is ultimately providing a better and richer service to our students. As with all aspects of academia, descriptive approaches are in a sense “truer” and thus more effective than prescriptive ones. Language education must prepare students to function appropriately in the sociolinguistic reality they will face, as Seidlhofer (2009) reminds us in her work on English as a Lingua Franca (henceforth ELF). This chapter is thus less an outline of specific curriculum suggestions or lesson-planning concepts, than a comprehensive theoretical discussion, with specific examples from different actual contexts, designed to provide an ideological foundation for broad-based curriculum decisions: which must then trickle down to concrete decisions at the classroom level, and further, become part of an iterative process of ongoing re-evaluation and improvement if it is to have a lasting effect (Brown 1995: 29). An additional focus are the concepts of “ownership” and “inclusivity” so important to a pluralistic, open view of English today (Bolton 2005: 78).

2. The traditional Inner Circle The very concept of being asked to discuss curriculum with regard to WE seems at first to have an inherent contradiction, as Sridhar recently stated, “World Englishes are not on the way to becoming something else” (Sridhar 2008): i.e. they are not “learner varieties”. The theory of WE – what Sridhar concisely refers to as “This sociolinguistically realistic insight” – is most easily and obviously true in the Outer Circle Indigenized Varieties of English or IVEs, where the varieties are already established and are not normally viewed within the typical classroom curriculum issues of language acquisition. As a result, much of the work done on WE has been to describe lexical, syntactic, phonological or discourse features of these “new” varieties, rather than to see how these varieties are or were acquired. They are living, highly-developed entities which can be observed and documented. They have been the domain of pure linguists more than applied linguists, with the exception of scholars such as Coetzee-Van Rooy (2006) and the Sridhars (1986, 2008). As a result, many applied linguists question (Ho 2008; Jenkins 2000; Olagboyega 2009), especially for the Expanding Circle, whether indigenized varieties can effectively serve as models in their local country. Some of the recent work by Seidlhofer (2009) and D’Angelo (2010), questions traditional WE notions of what makes for legitimate language varieties. Seidlhofer (2009: 242) presciently questions the whole concept when she states, “...the incipient study of ELF may even encourage us to raise questions about the denomination ‘Englishes’ and ‘world Englishes’, i.e. countable (proper) nouns implying separate bounded entities”. Perhaps we could be moving towards a new conceptual framework, which I venture to call “borderless English”.



Chapter 16.  Curriculum and world Englishes 

This is the fundamental conundrum of efforts to identify the role of “World Englishes in the Classroom”, which is nevertheless one of B. Kachru’s highest priorities, as seen in his effort to tackle this topic in the final chapter of The Other Tongue (B. Kachru 1992), and through more recent personal communication we have had regarding his keen interest in the curriculum of the Department of World Englishes at Chukyo University. To view WE as “on the way to something else,” does not fit with the heretofore descriptive, or features “codification” focus of WE research, and may also imply the nuance that they are somehow substandard, deficient varieties of English, reminding one of an outmoded/disproven concept such as Interlanguage. Fortunately, Y. Kachru’s (1993) review of Selinker’s book was one of the most serious indictments of Interlanguage, and the concept has been largely disassociated from modern concepts of language variety. While WE are not on the way to something else, any language is always a living organism in a state of ecological development, and any language-user is also in a state of development (in spite of theories of “fossilization”, etc.). Thus, it is not a contradiction to view WE and its applicability across wide ranges of curriculum. Seidlhofer (2009: 243) mentions that, regarding one of the newer and hence more controversial efforts to: understand and confront the sociolinguistic challenges of a rapidly changing world...ELF research has benefitted immensely from pioneering work in WE and has new insights to offer that can feed back into scholarship in the world Englishes paradigm at large.

Bilingualism and multilingualism are now much more common in traditionally monolingual societies, and WE concepts, augmented by concepts of the available feature pool, or of recent renewed interest in English as an international language or EIL (Matsuda 2010; Sharifian 2009) and developments in ELF, are of great relevance in Inner Circle contexts, in what was once viewed as the domain of the native speaker of English. Let us view the situation with an eye to B. Kachru’s famous six fallacies or myths regarding English use (B. Kachru 2005: 17), which learners and pedagogy practitioners in the Inner Circle and Expanding Circle, are most likely to fall prey to. The six myths are: Myth 1: The Native Speaker Idealization Myth: the native speaker (usually a white middle class American) is the only expert of the correct variety. Myth 2: The Native vs. Non-Native Speaker Interaction Myth: that most Expanding Circle speakers learn English to interact with, and are most likely to encounter, Inner Circle idealized native speakers. Myth 3: The Culture Identity (or Monoculture) Myth: that English is closely connected to British or American Culture, and thus that those cultures must be studied as an integral part of learning English.

 James D’Angelo

Myth 4: The Exocentric Norm Myth: that the model of “correctness” comes from an Inner Circle variety. It denies the rich creativity of Japanese or other Expanding Circle English in the process of adaptation to the local context (Y. Kachru 2003). Myth 5: The Interlanguage Myth: that non Inner Circle varieties are somehow deficient/sub-standard varieties, falling short of Native Speaker proficiency. Myth 6: The Cassandra Myth: that the “Balkanization” of English as it spread around the world, spells the impending doom of the language. B. Kachru, usually opposed to the Judeo-Christian canon, uses a figure from Greek mythology to get his point across. The six myths, when combined with the reality of the multilingual feature pool, provide an indispensable guide to inform curriculum development, in all of Kachru’s three circles. In fact, I feel that any misguided language curriculum macro-level policy or micro-level practice can be understood as falling victim to the beliefs expressed in one of these myths. The myths represent a crucial litmus test to evaluate curriculum and classroom decisions. The appendix, from D’Angelo (2008a: 73), shows these myths incorporated into a more practical guide, expressed through a series of questions Japanese educators can ask themselves. Japan could be changed to any other Outer/Expanding Circle locale and the same questions would be applicable. Myths One and Two are sometimes hard to visualize when in a white middle-class suburban context in America, but they do certainly apply. One example would be the great number of foreign professors and graduate students in the U.S. They are highly educated speakers and their educated English far surpasses that of the average American. For example the Turkish-born and raised astrophysicist, Feryal Ozel, is at Princeton’s renowned Institute for Advanced Study and her variety of English is impressively displayed in the video series Big Ideas (Ozel 2003), sponsored by Films for the Humanities and Sciences. Such examples also abound in the various documentary films produced by the History Channel, the British Broadcast Corporation or BBC, or Public Broadcasting Service (henceforth PBS) Public Television. There is an impressive writer named Tariq Ali (see Ali 1998) whose acrolectal Pakistani English can be heard on the PBS Empires series: Islam: Empire of Faith. These academics come from all over the globe, and their English is highly educated, but the syntax, the lexicon, the phonology and the idiom are not quite American. Lim’s (2008) concept of “dovetailing” in Singapore English or SingE may better describe the process. When one combines such wonderful models of non-native varieties with the realisation, as Van Rooy (2008) has pointed out, that, “...native varieties also contain such non-codifiable aberrations, but they are conveniently ignored, and not condemned as non-standard,” or that, “Australia shows similar rejection rates for Call Center jobs as the Philippines” (Martin 2008), one can clearly see that native speakers should not be the sole arbiters of correct language. So while some college-age native speakers may complain that they have trouble understanding the English of their



Chapter 16.  Curriculum and world Englishes 

foreign, PhD-candidate teaching assistant or lecturer, they also should have a commitment to “‘drop the attitude’, because if you want to, it is possible not to understand someone” (Van Rooy 2008). Or, as Dayag (2008: 21) says, “Intelligibility must be viewed as a two-way process in which meaning is negotiated”, so it is essential for monolingual native speakers to be eager to negotiate meaning and benefit from interactions with those from more complex/rich linguistic backgrounds. Seidlhofer (2009) further stresses the importance of accommodation theory, as ELF interactions demonstrate a total “on-line” focus of the respective interlocutors, reminding us of Bamgbose’s (1998: 11) point that “it is people, not language codes, that understand one another.” Kirkpatrick (2006) significantly notes that during his tenure at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, less than half the faculty was Australian and the majority of IT faculty members were Indian or Chinese, so this is becoming the norm even in the Inner Circle. Seeing the multiethnic spectrum of home-stay families our own students were placed with in Sydney several years ago provides further attestation of this. Regarding B. Kachru’s Myth Three, monolingual native speaker (henceforth NS) teachers also need to be aware that the Judeo-Christian tradition may not be the dominant cultural context within many American, Canadian, Australian or U.K. classrooms today. This creates a cultural tightrope-walk for educators, since their students come from many backgrounds and belief systems, but at the same time, as Hirsch (1987) would argue, students who have chosen to live and try to succeed in America, nevertheless need a basic well-rounded background in the main narratives of traditional American culture, including things which “educational activists” might decry as coming from the “dead white European male” tradition, such as George Washington and his cherry tree, Abe Lincoln and his walking five miles to return a penny or two, etc. Similarly, Alan Davies of the University of Edinburgh, while recognizing the need for making English as a second language (henceforth ESL) testing more balanced (Lowenberg 1989), stresses that the Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL test is designed for those who wish to come and study in the USA, and thus the test should reflect the norms and expectations of that society’s mainstream (Davies 2003). Still, classrooms are so diverse today that relying mainly on a Judeo-Christian eurocentric cultural paradigm is not realistic, and practitioners need to be sensitive to, and made aware of this, in teacher training programmes. For Inner Circle native-speaker teachers, especially those teaching ESL in their own country or travelling to Expanding Circle contexts to teach in an English as a foreign language (henceforth EFL) environment, an awareness of the sociolinguistic insight of WE requires a new outlook. Thumboo, one of the pioneers of WE, says of the acronym TESOL, “What a terrible term, ‘Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages’: it’s off-putting” (Thumboo 2006). Unfortunately, although the TESOL organisation itself is becoming more open to EIL (if not embracing WE), this mindset has for too long dominated the course of applied linguistics theory, which is also mainly written by Inner Circle scholars. As Sridhar laments,

 James D’Angelo

There are major constraints on traditional second language acquisition theory: the SL is learned in a native speaker (NS) environment, with an NS interlocutor, and is judged by its approximation to an idealized NS in a monolingual milieu. Learners’ first and other languages have no role in the society, as such. The assumption goes contrary to the obvious understanding that the goal in SLA is to become bilingual. SLA has been too long in teachers’ hands – the pedagogical impulse is a prescriptive impulse, leans towards an NS model, suffers the horror of first language transfer, and the role of the L1 is not appreciated, but characterized as interference. Other languages are not just unwanted intrusions, but valuable resources to enrich meaning. (D’Angelo 2008b: 99)

This is where we can really see that ALL is a long overdue concept that can be applied not only to bilingual education (Grosjean 1982) but to all language contexts. For as Sridhar says above, the goal of SLA is to become bilingual. Different students each come to the classroom with a unique sociolinguistic profile, and as Sridhar states, “we must dip into every language in one’s verbal repertoire, and recognize the positive role of transfer” (D’Angelo 2008b: 99). For this reason, it is essential that the Inner Circle TESOL-type teacher be bilingual, especially if he/she is teaching overseas in an Expanding Circle context where most or all of the students are from the same L1 background, as stressed by Kirkpatrick (2006).

3. The traditional Outer Circle A highly interesting recent development in the Outer Circle is that this context, in countries such as India, Singapore, the Philippines, Nigeria and other East African nations, is now becoming more complex as well. Kachru focuses on them as the source of codifiable new varieties, where exonormative standards from British or American English have been replaced by their own endonormative standards. They are not “performance varieties” which depend on contact with external parties for use, but are widely used internally within the country, for official or semi-official use for a variety of functions and domains, such as administrative, judicial, business, or the media. English also conveniently provides a neutral medium which does not come from one of the dominant cultures/races within such a context, as Hindi might be perceived in India. Yet the growing influence of what Bolton (2005) refers to as “the American Vernacular” and of global borderless business functions such as the Call Centre or Business Process Outsourcing, has taken this locally grown Indian variety and re-exposed it to outside influences of American or other Englishes. In a more recent development, China’s exploding involvement in Africa may also push African varieties to accommodate more to China English. As Gargesh mentions, “American English is growing, India is now a combination of endocentric and exocentric standards: It seems we are not comfortable with



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ourselves. We are living a contradiction, but that’s OK!” (D’Angelo 2008b: 96). Perhaps what Gargesh is indicating is that the line between exonormative and endonormative is also being blurred, since globalisation makes it difficult for an indigenous variety to incubate in an isolated milieu. This simply reinforces the reality and complexity of the international feature pool to which speakers are exposed, and highlights the fact that Outer Circle varieties are now less a function of colonial dominance, than a gradually and wilfully re-internalized part of the ever-burgeoning language ecology. A Japanese sociolinguist who draws heavily on Intercultural Communication Studies, Honna, has long stressed the richness of the additions to the English language provided by different contexts: “Non-native speakers contribute to the Expansion of English as a Multicultural Language...there is no language which has used up its inherent potentiality. The portion that native speakers have explored is very limited” (Honna 2003). The Outer Circle is traditionally quite different from the Expanding Circle, as in the earlier quote from Sridhar, since the varieties are not viewed in the EFL context of being “on the way to something else,” in spite of the fact that “it is very common for locals to be prejudiced against their own variety...local people equate basilectal ‘Singlish’ with Singapore English but it’s a highly intimate local variety” (Kirkpatrick 2006; Yoshikawa 2005: 355). Clearly, the mesolectal and acrolectal varieties are legitimate, codifiable varieties that have earned their own prestige. This is why Singapore’s “Speak Good English” movement may be viewed by many WE scholars as unnecessary, since educated Singaporeans already do speak “Good English”. I do not have a problem with the name of the campaign, since at least it does not say, “Speak Good British English!” But still, Singaporeans need to be reminded what “good” means, and that there are solid endonormative examples of this. Singaporeans should not be trying to speak Received Pronunciation or RP English. Again, teachers in Singapore need to communicate their confidence in the local acrolect to their students. Kirkpatrick mentions that this recognition of a variety may take, or have taken, a long time, and only happens if the local model is given prestige. In fact, “British English was the model in Australia until 30 years ago. It took 170 years to respect the local variety, when in 1981 the Macquarie Dictionary was finally published” (Kirkpatrick 2006). This recognition had come to India by 1991 when a study by Parasher (1991) indicated that, regarding the variety of English students want taught in India, those desiring American English (henceforth AmE) and British English or BrE were just 4.0% and 31.5% respectively, while those who preferred “The kind of English used by educated Indians” stood at 60.8%! We cannot of course ignore the influence of B. Kachru’s landmark 1983 work The Indianization of English, on this outcome. In the foreword of that volume, he quotes the novelist Raja Rao, “...we shall have the English language with us and amongst us, and not as a guest or friend, but as one of our own, of our caste, our creed, our sect and our tradition” (Rao 1978: 421). Bokamba echoes this sense of ownership: “English in Africa is still in full communion with its ancestral home, but altered to suit its new African surroundings” (Bokamba 2009).

 James D’Angelo

So while the existence of legitimate varieties of English in the Outer Circle is now commonly accepted, the landscape is still not adequately described. As Sridhar has stressed, “There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in describing the varieties in a precise, theoretical way, and this must be related to current theories of SLA” (D’Angelo 2008b: 100). There are a wide range of sub-varieties and proficiency levels within each Outer Circle context, just as there are such ranges and sub-varieties in an Inner Circle context. Kirkpatrick (2006) gives the comical example of Liverpool bus drivers as not providing a desirable model to emulate! India, for example, can provide a wide range of Englishes, depending on differing features of the particular L1 substrate, whether one is in an urban or rural setting, or whether one is visiting government schools (where proficiency may closely resemble Expanding Circle contexts), or the primarily English-medium “public” schools, where the traditional three-language policy breaks down and English-medium education is stressed (Enokizono 2000). From a curriculum standpoint, it is clear that such countries have largely eliminated most of their NS language teachers, as Nihalani (personal communication 24 May 2002) once mentioned with some understandable satisfaction, “We got rid of all the Britishers!” Thus the input model which Outer Circle students receive is now in shades of the local educated variety. But due to the various at-home sociolinguistic settings and economic backgrounds of the families, students come to school with differing proficiency and needs. Even in Singapore, which with its tiny population is a relatively manageable experiment in social engineering and language policy implementation, the disparities are striking. According to data from the 2000 Census (Singapore Department of Statistics 2000), the language “most frequently” spoken at home is widely skewed based on race and educational level, with university-educated Indians showing the highest rate of English use at home of 47.1%, while Malays with only an elementary educational qualification are as low as 0.6%. This raises the concern of the “English Divide” and the depth of penetration of English in various societies, but that is beyond the scope of this discussion. Still it raises the crucial question for language education policy, “What percentage of a country’s populace should be English-capable”? Considering the above, it is obvious that curriculum and daily interaction with students in the Outer Circle requires great flexibility on the part of the teacher and students, depending on the proficiency level and needs of the student. But one must keep in mind that the unrealistic (and not desirable!) “desired outcome” should not be the “idealized native speaker” which Sridhar (2008) and Honna and Takeshita (1998) decry, but a bi-/multi-lingual individual who takes advantage of two or more languages. Echoing the data of Martin (2008) regarding the failure of an English-only policy in the rural Philippines, Sridhar (D’Angelo 2008b: 100) reminds us, the monolingual’s perspective prefers a “pure form” and has a fear of code-mixing as interference. But if both speaker and hearer are bilingual in the same languages, it’s an additional resource. They are not hermetically sealed from one another. The mind does not have these compartments.



Chapter 16.  Curriculum and world Englishes 

He continues (D’Angelo 2008b: 100): ... ignorance of the pervasiveness of transfer in bilingual situations is ignoring ‘the Gorilla in the room’. It denies the positive roles of transfer we make use of. The Bloomfieldian model of bilingualism pictures two full/perfect native speakers in one. But this is not necessary. I prefer the work of Francis Grosjean, in which the two languages are partial, and complement each other. People acquire what they need, retain what they use. SLA theories ignore the functional relationship between the various languages. They expect that no other languages are used, when actually they are permeable. There is “easy traffic” between the two. I question the Montreal syndrome of the “balanced bilingual.” (emphasis added)

Thus educators in the Outer Circle should not feel an obligation to teach in an Englishonly environment, but should feel free to allow a certain amount of code-mixing and code-switching to take full benefit of the student’s knowledge. This is what I mean by ALL (Canagarajah 1999: 125–129). In the author’s own situation when studying with the Boston University (henceforth B.U.) Masters in Business Administration (henceforth MBA) programme at a SANYO Electric facility in summer 1988, I was one of six B.U. entering MBA students to attend a six-week programme in Kobe, Japan. The programme was conducted mainly in English due to the linguistic limitations of the B.U. professors, but U.S. participants were totally open to learning key Japanese expressions such as isshin/denshin, which perfectly describes the “high context” Japanese concept of understanding one’s peers intuitively, without speech. A very similar but much richer exchange happened every day at Harvard Business School in 2007, when a Japanese colleague’s son was part of the very international group studying in Boston. Students from all over the world were in that “Inner Circle” setting, exchanging business and cultural terminology with their fellow students, in a plethora of languages. Those phrases will be so useful to the students in their future lives, and will be well-remembered when they encounter a future Korean or Russian or Brazilian colleague. As you can see, even Harvard is not exactly the true Inner Circle. Similarly, at a 20th anniversary dinner of the same Boston University/SANYO programme in the summer of 2008 in Kobe, the increasing internationalization of the student body was clear, with many Taiwanese and Indian students from Boston interacting with their local Japanese classmates. When asked about the beloved 20~25-page Harvard Business School case studies, a professor responded, “Oh we don’t use those anymore; the students can’t read such long assignments!” While at first shocking to hear, this is reminiscent of Japanese colleagues who came to Boston to finish their MBAs taking mainly accounting and finance classes, in order to ‘even the playing field’ with less reading-intensive classes. Also, when one thinks of the benefits gained by exposure to the thinking and experiences of classmates from so many countries, the loss of depth, or more accurately “length”, in some areas of reading is more than offset I believe. Nevertheless, Singaporean poet laureate and WE scholar Thumboo stated at the International Association for World Englishes (henceforth IAWE) Conference banquet

 James D’Angelo

speech in 2006 that one does need a “main working language” (henceforth MWL) in order to really function well in a language. Many of the attendees seemed to disagree with this, but it seems intuitively accurate: that even in an Outer Circle setting, students need to work on their academic English to get it to the point where they can handle serious academic reading and classroom debate/discussion. This does not, however, mean “English-only”, but a predominance of English for a fairly extended period of time. The mother tongue will be intact, and always have a role, but if the student truly plans to work in a mainly English environment, hard work is needed. Of course, one reason why some teachers insist on an “English-only” classroom is that allowing for bilingualism can be a Pandora’s box of sorts, for once the students see that use of the mother tongue is accepted, certain less-confident students may resort to it frequently, if not exclusively. It is at that time that the teacher’s role is crucial. They must establish the ground rules, that this is mainly an English environment, but at times when certain terms are best said in one of the local languages, or when certain lexical items escape the mind of the student, then the additive nature of the local language can be drawn on. It may be much easier to stick to English in a complex situation such as in India or Singapore where the students’ native languages or dialects are varied, which is an advantage of the Outer Circle as compared with a more homogenous situation such as in Japan, where it can be hard to put the local language “genie” back in the bottle. A final item to be aware of in the Outer Circle, which nicely shows the value of the positive transfer which occurs in ALL, is that with educated speech, a local teacher will be more appreciative of uncommon constructions, which are drawn from the speaker’s L1. A wonderful example of this is the thirteen-year-old son of a visiting professor from India. He asked, “In your eyes, what is a good student?” The formality of the expression took one aback, but it was also pleasantly surprising to hear this rather formal-sounding expression from a thirteen-year-old. His mother was able to explain that this example of educated Indian English was a direct translation of an Urdu expression. This is a perfect example of the additive nature of transfer. Y. Kachru also reminds us of the colloquial-speaking Americans she first encountered upon arriving in Urbana-Champaign from India. They chided her, “You speak like a book,” to which she replied, “Where do you think I learned my English!” (Y. Kachru 2003: 36). Finally, the need to have an MWL may be especially true with academic writing, which becomes increasingly important in a country such as Singapore or India where documents in legal and business domains need to be in English. The importance can also be seen in the Expanding Circle, where the increase in written business correspondence conducted via e-mail has elevated the importance of written versus spoken comprehension and communication skills. But still, with regard to writing classes, it should be educated local-speaking teachers who decide the appropriateness of different forms, since they have a better idea of the fine line between what is clearly “error”, versus the “creativity” of indigenous forms and constructions. Yet in general, academic writing allows for less leeway for divergences and variation than spoken language, and teachers need to be made aware of this.



Chapter 16.  Curriculum and world Englishes 

4. The traditional Expanding Circle The Expanding Circle can be as varied, if not even more varied, than the Outer Circle. Traditionally, it was a place where English had limited use within the country, but was used mainly for external contact. Kachru himself characterized Englishes in the Expanding Circle as being performance varieties but this term is off-putting to scholars such as Honna (2003, 2008) or Hino (2007). In fact, Honna brilliantly states in his newest book, English as an international language was formerly referred to as a “foreign” language. However, in view of the current spread of English on a global scale, it cannot be considered as a foreign language any more in Japan and many other countries. “Foreign” implies “out of the system” socially and “undesirable” psychologically...we need to be prepared to treat English as “our” language for economic promotion, regional cooperation, and international exchange and collaboration. (Honna 2008: 2)

This claim points to the insightful truth, that as the world becomes more and more globalized and connected, having one’s own legitimate variety of English is not dependent on the language being used primarily in a domestic context. This is why Honna and Hino tend to lean more towards “English as a Multicultural Language” (in preference to WE), with each speaker’s idiolect or personal English, being filled from the Mufwenian feature pool in a customized manner, as outlined by Van Rooy (D’Angelo 2008b: 98). In fact, any “variety” such as AmE or Indian English or acrolectal Nigerian English is an abstraction. As Crystal (2008: 235) states: “A dialect can be seen as an abstraction deriving from the analysis of a large number of idiolects.” It is important to realize that WE is not an attempt to promote English as a Global Language, as Kachru admitted to Mufwene in a personal correspondence which he referred to in his IAWE #10 Keynote Address at Syracuse University in 2004, when he stated that Kachru confessed a “heresy” to him, that, “World Englishes is independent of whether or not English functions as a World Language” (D’Angelo 2004: 31). It is important to recognize that all of Kachru’s Circles are in some ways abstractions. The lines have become blurred between the Outer Circle and the Expanding Circle (Berns 2005: 91). In addition, Schneider’s five-phase dynamic model is recently proving to be a more useful construct (Schneider 2007). Kirkpatrick (2006) stresses that in Europe 90% of English teachers are locals, and Hilgendorf (2005) has argued recently that Germany now fits more with the definition of an Outer Circle context than Expanding, where it has been traditionally located. Additionally, Kirkpatrick (2010: 14) advocates interesting new changes for Hong Kong, and that it adopt a “trilingual/biliterate” policy. Hong Kong would have been considered closer to the Outer Circle before the 1997 handover to China, but is now an interesting hybrid between Outer and Expanding. Kirkpatrick explains that, “Hong Kong experiences a kind of streaming, in which only 25% of secondary schools are English medium, but six out of eight universities are English medium” (D’Angelo 2008b: 102). So the higher one goes up the educational scale, the closer to an Outer Circle environment it becomes! My earlier neologism, “Borderless English,” seems apt here.

 James D’Angelo

Perhaps one of the most heated debates in WE is whether or not certain features of an Expanding Circle variety are creative “divergences/deviations/innovations” or actual errors. I think the crucial thing is to recognize that languages do change and develop over time, and that the term “standardizing” is an essential concept of Kachruvian thinking. The key for curriculum is to recognize this point, and while, of course, languages have grammatical rules, what Thumboo cleverly terms “associations” (B. Kachru 1990: 161), teachers should balance correction of errors with alert recognition of potential new forms, forms created by what Sridhar calls “positive transfer.” By being open to this additive potential, the classroom becomes a richer place where all students can contribute to the development of their, and the teacher’s own, idiolect of English. Much teacher-training is needed to develop such an awareness, which should be an urgent focus of WE researchers as well. For teachers, D’Souza (1988) provides a useful list of eight criteria for whether to accept a divergence as codifiable or not, such as: Is the deviation widespread? Is it rule-governed? Is it systematic? A very recent paper by Radwanska-Williams (2009) about a linguistic polymath, a Hindi woman owning a famous Indian restaurant in Macau, indicates the rich Mufwenian complexity of the feature pool in a context such as Macau. This demonstrates that the three circles can exist and even overlap in the same context. Here, within one small “hospitality industry” setting, there are a plethora of languages spoken. Macau has a colonial Portuguese language history, with local Chinese inhabitants speaking mainly Cantonese, but with a recent increase in Putonghua (as seen in Hong Kong also) due to the increase in mainland China visitors. There are also a great number of newly-rich Russian tourists, who enjoy the casinos and entertainment. Of course, expatriate and travelling Indians seek out the restaurant, which is the finest Indian establishment on the island. And last but not least, are the many primarily English-speaking visitors from the U.S., Australia and the U.K., who are part of the international English speaking community. The restaurateurs, Aruna and her sister Indu, are observed in the article within the framework of previous work done on “the good language learner”. They keep a growing stack of notebooks of all the languages they encounter from customers, so that they may make warm human contact with them: the “phatic communion” which Malinowski (1972) first elucidated. According to Radwanska-Williams (2009: 20), Salikoko Mufwene’s great insight is that language contact always takes place at the inter-idiolectal level. It is surprising this should not be obvious to linguists; the reason I think, is that linguistics as a discipline tends to be more concerned with studying languages than with individual speakers. A focus on the individual speaker...reveals his or her uniqueness as a participant in multiple communicative encounters...in today’s globalized world, multiple codes are becoming the norm rather than the exception. As Mufwene (2007) argues, to some extent multiple codes and multiple encounters have always been historically the norm. What may be novel in today’s globalized sociolinguistic situation is the frequency of multiple communicative encounters. (emphasis added)



Chapter 16.  Curriculum and world Englishes 

The sisters can speak Cantonese, Putonghua, Korean, German, French, Hindi, English, Portuguese, Russian, Finnish, Malayalam, Kannada, Tamil, Tagalog and a host of other languages, in varying degrees of fluency – in some cases just a few words useful for the restaurant. Code-mixing and code-switching are normal – often within a context where English is the prime medium, and lexical items and phrases are interspersed from the other languages. The restaurant is described as a “glocal locus”, “...in that it serves as both a focal point in the local community and as a gateway for newcomers” (Radwanska-Williams 2009: 22). For them (Aruna and Indu), it is the contact itself, with so many different people, which is truly valued. Faced with such a multilingual world, some basic guidelines for a WE approach to the Expanding Circle can be seen from a series of questions developed in my recent research (D’Angelo 2008a). Every “question word” in English can have relevance to a WE approach: (1) Who should teach English to Expanding Circle students? (2) What should be talked about in English classes? What should the content of English-medium classes be? (3) Who are the people you will speak English with? (4) Where and when will Expanding Circle speakers use English? (5) Why will Expanding Circle speakers use English? (6) How should Expanding Circle learners speak English, with regard to syntax, lexicon, phonology and discourse/politeness/pragmatics? The above Question Two, about the content of English classes in the Expanding Circle, covers a wide range from the traditional beginner’s EFL classroom, to international universities in which nearly all classes are English-medium. The recent context of the Netherlands, and several Nordic Countries, shows this trend well. Kaur Gill mentioned that according to J. Ritzen, the Dutch Minister of Education and Science, at least 50% of the student population is international at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands (Kaur Gill 2004). A similar goal has been attained at Asia Pacific University – affiliated with the famous Rikkyo University of Kyoto – in Beppu on Kyushu Island, Japan, which draws many students from the Pacific Rim. This phenomenon is not limited to the Expanding Circle either. Indeed, Bolton stressed recently that Jenkins would have been very aware of this new constituency as a flood of international students entered British universities in the 1990s, giving rise to her interest in ELF as she tried to describe the type of new interactions taking place in the Inner Circle (D’Angelo 2009: 103). At the University of Helsinki a study by Lehtonen has been conducted on the intelligibility of international faculty teaching in English, where it was found that a teacher is able to compensate for his/her lack of language skills by being pedagogically and culturally aware (Kaur Gill 2004; D’Angelo 2007). This is supported by the experience documented by Klassen at DELFT University of Technology, where the pedagogic skills of lecturers presenting in English-medium instruction are more important than the language proficiency level...when the students’ perception on the quality of education is measured (Kaur Gill 2004; D’Angelo 2007). There are, however, instances of students complaining about the intelligibility of such lectures (Rias van den Doel, personal communication).

 James D’Angelo

In general, the role of English in Dutch higher education is growing rapidly, and not only in formal speeches. The proposal to make English the official language of instruction at Dutch universities was first introduced in 1990 by the country’s education minister at the time, Jo Ritzen. If Dutch higher education wanted to continue to pull its weight in the sciences, Ritzen argued, it had to become more international (Hagers 2009). As a further example, of the nineteen bachelor’s programmes offered in Maastricht, nine are given in English, as are all 46 master’s programmes although, this at times leads to ironies: such as the bizarre situation of a philosophy student from Germany reading Kant in English (Hagers 2009). Examples such as these in Europe, Japan and elsewhere in the world indicate that my six questions from the Appendix about English usage are being addressed and grappled with in these university settings, and conducting further field research there would be highly informative with regard to how the feature pool is filled, and participants’ English is modified. An interesting study by Breiteneder (2007), as part of Barbara Seidlhofer’s VOICE Corpus Project, indicates that via such a process, the third person “s” may likely be dropped in a large number of cases of E.U. meetings in Brussels.

5. Conclusion We now live in a highly complex multilingual, multiracial, and multicultural world. It is globalized in many ways – due to technology, the Internet, ease of travel and global companies, but also fragmented in many ways – due to the post Cold-War “Balkanization” with a reversion to ancient loyalties/hostilities (Huntington 1996), various struggles for independence, and even to awkward new proximities created via globalisation. As many of us know, the only guarantee in life is that things will change. With this in mind, the best approach to attitudes and policies regarding language and curriculum, whether they be for specific English language-learning contexts, or those where English is the medium for content-based education, is to accurately reflect the sociolinguistic reality of the various stakeholders involved, in their “community of practice”. This is why WE is such a valuable fundamental insight, because it has come the closest to getting people to recognize the reality, and abandon more prescriptivist approaches. The danger of a Tower of Babel, the fear expressed in Kachru’s sixth myth, is not real. As Van Rooy says, “...theoretical linguists seek language to fit their theory, and variation is idealized away. Variation is highly overrated as a threat to intelligibility” (D’Angelo 2008b: 98). So let us foster and thrive on variation. As the world becomes increasingly complex and fast-paced, educators must be open to a new paradigm which builds on the success of WE, such as Mufwene’s Feature Pool, or ELF, yet which goes beyond it, to more accurately describe reality. This requires a basic sense of optimism and a commitment to valuing diversity in ourselves and others. We don’t have a crystal ball to see the exact shape of Borderless English or Englishes in the future, but we must all help to discover what is really happening with



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language, and help build a stronger connection between research in this field, and its application in our curricula. Acknowledging the multi-linguistic and multi-cultural repertoires which various participants bring to the classroom, or to any human interaction, as a valuable resource to add to the richness of English, rather than as sources of “interference” or “negative transfer”, will help facilitate better learning and the everricher variation of English. I hope one day that ALL replaces the sterile controversies which have dominated SLA theory for far too long, and becomes the theoretical foundation upon which future curricula are built.

References Ali, T. 1998. The Book of Saladin. London: Verso. Bamgbose, A. 1998. Torn between the norms: Innovations in world Englishes. World Englishes 17(1): 1–14. Berns, M. 2005. Expanding on the expanding circle: Where do WE go from here? World Englishes 24(1): 85–94. Bokamba, E. 2009. Texts in contexts: African Englishes and creative writers. Plenary address at the 15th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 22–24 October 2009, Cebu, Philippines. Bolton, K. 2005. Where WE stands: Approaches, issues and debate in world Englishes. World Englishes 24(1): 69–84. Breiteneder, A. 2007. The thing function in both possibilities: English as a Lingua Franca in Europe and the case of the third person “-s”. Paper presented at 13th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 4–6 October 2007, Regensburg, Germany. Brown, J.D. 1995. The Elements of Language Curriculum. Boston MA: Heinle & Heinle. Canagarajah, S. 1999. Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Coetzee-Van Rooy, S. 2006. Integrativeness: Untenable for world Englishes learners? World Englishes 25(3/4): 437–450. Crystal, D. 2008. A Dictionary of Linguistics and Phonetics, 6th edn. Malden MA: Blackwell. D’Angelo, J. 2004. Salikoko Mufwene in global English: Myths and facts. Journal of College of World Englishes 6: 29–32. D’Angelo, J. 2007. Japanese universities in crisis: Learning from Outer Circle Asia. Paper presented at the 13th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 4–6 October 2007, Regensburg, Germany. D’Angelo, J. 2008a. The Japan context and the Expanding Circle: A Kachruvian response to Debbie Ho. Asian Englishes 11(2): 64–73. D’Angelo, J. 2008b. The 14th IAWE – Mapping the exploding multilingual feature pool. Asian Englishes 11(2): 94–103. D’Angelo, J. 2009. The 15th IAWE: Form follows function. Asian Englishes 12(2): 96–109. D’Angelo, J. 2010. The Kachru-Smith ethos of inclusivity in Japanese curriculum: The exonormative/endonormative debate resolved. Paper presented at the 15th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 22–24 October 2009, Cebu, Philippines.

 James D’Angelo D’Souza, J. 1988. Interactional strategies in South Asian languages: Their implications for teaching English internationally. World Englishes 7(2): 159–172. Davies, A. 2003. The Native Speaker: Myth and Reality. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Dayag, D.T. 2008. Exploring the intelligibility of Philippine English. Asian Englishes 10(1): 4–23. Enokizono, T. 2000. English in India: Possibilities of non-native Englishes for inter-Asian communication. Asian English Studies Monograph Series 1: 37–48. Grosjean, F. 1982. Life with Two Languages: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press. Hagers, M. 2009. The globalization of college: English becomes lingua franca at Dutch universities. Spiegel Online International, 20 March 2009. (4 May 2009). Hilgendorf, S.K. 2005. Brain gain statt [instead of] brain drain: The role of English in German education. World Englishes 24(1): 53–67. Hino, N. 2007. The future of Japanese English – Prospects for JEIL from pedagogical perspectives. Paper presented at Japan Association for Asian Englishes (JAFAE) #21, 30 June 2007, Kyoto, Japan. Hirsch, E.D. 1987. Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know. New York NY: Vintage Books. Ho, D.G.E. 2008. English in the Expanding Circle – A third diaspora? Asian Englishes 11(1): 36–50. Honna, N. 2003. English as an Asian Language: Some thoughts for action proposals. Paper presented at the 14th National Conference of the Japan Association for Asian Englishes (JAFAE), 6 December 2003, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan. Honna, N. 2008. English as a Multicultural Language in Asian Contexts: Issues and Ideas. Tokyo: Kurosio Publishers. Honna, N. & Takeshita, Y. 1998. On Japan’s propensity for native speaker English: A change in sight. Asian Englishes 1(1): 117–137. Huntington, S. 1996. The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order. New York NY: Touchstone. Jenkins, J. 2000. The Phonology of English as an International Language. Hong Kong: Oxford University Press. Kachru, B.B. 1983. The Indianization of English. Delhi: Oxford University Press. Kachru, B.B. 1990. The Alchemy of English. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Kachru, B.B. 1992. The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, 2nd edn. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Kachru, B.B. 2005. Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kachru, Y. 1993. Review of “Rediscovering Interlanguage” by Larry Selinker. World Englishes 12(2): 265–273. Kachru, Y. 2003. Context, competence and curriculum in world Englishes. In First Conference on World Englishes in the Classroom: Proceedings, G. French & J. D’Angelo (eds), 34–51. Nagoya: Chukyo University. Kaur Gill, S. 2004. Internationalize! The story of language policy, standards, and academic competencies in higher education. Plenary Address at the 43rd JACET Conference, 3 December 2004, Nagoya, Aichi, Japan.



Chapter 16.  Curriculum and world Englishes  Kirkpatrick, A. 2006. Asian Englishes: Implications for international communication and English language teaching. Keynote address at the 19th National Conference of the Japan Association for Asian Englishes (JAFAE), 1 July 2006, Tokyo, Japan. Kirkpatrick, A. 2010. Researching English as a Lingua Franca in Asia: The Asian Corpus of English (ACE) project. Asian Englishes 13(1): 4–19. Lim, L. 2008. Singapore dreaming, Singapore English and Singapore’s languages: How linguistics can be enriched by popular culture. Paper presented at the 14th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 3–5 December 2008, Hong Kong. Lowenberg, P.H. 1989. Testing English as a world language: Issues in assessing non-native proficiency. In Language Teaching, Testing, and Technology: Lessons from the Past with a View toward the Future, J.E. Alatis (ed), 216–227. Washington DC: Georgetown University Press. Malinowski, B. 1972. Phatic communion. In Communication in Face to Face Interaction, J. Laver & S. Hutcheson (eds), 146–152. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Martin, I.P. 2008. Periphery ELT: Policies and practices of English teaching in the Philippines. Paper presented at The 14th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes, 3–5 December 2008, Hong Kong. Matsuda, A. 2010. Introductory remarks. Panel on Teaching English as an International Language, 16th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 25–27 July 2010, Vancouver, Canada. Mufwene, S. 2001. The Ecology of Language Evolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Mufwene, S. 2007. Population movements and contacts in language evolution. Journal of Language Contact – THEMA 1: 63–92 Olagboyega, K.W. 2009. “Japanese English”: A descriptive grammar of the nominal phrase of educated written English in Japan. Unpublished paper submitted for consideration to Asian Englishes 12(1). Ozel, F. 2003. Big Ideas: Exploring the Cosmos. Films for the Humanities and Sciences. New York NY: Thirteen/WNET New York. Parasher, S.V. 1991. Indian English: Functions and Forms. Delhi: Bahri Publications. Radwanska-Williams, J. 2009. Language contact and language learning in a multicultural setting: A Case Study of an Indian Family in Macao. Unpublished paper submitted to the Journal International Communication Studies. Rao, R. 1978. The caste of English. In Awakened Conscience: Studies in Commonwealth Literature, C.D. Narasimhaiah (ed), 420–422. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers. Schneider, E.W. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Seidlhofer, B. 2009. Common ground and different realities: World Englishes and English as a lingua franca. World Englishes 28(2): 236–245. Sharifian, F. 2009. English as an International Language: Perspectives and Pedagogical Issues. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Singapore Department of Statistics. 2000. Singapore Census of Population 2000 Advance Data Release, Chapter 3 Changing Education Profile (Table 5). Singapore: Census of Population Office. Sridhar, K.K. & Sridhar, S.N. 1986. Bridging the paradigm gap: Second language acquisition theory and indigenized varieties of English. World Englishes 5(1): 3–14. Sridhar, S.N. 2008. World English and theories of bilingualism and second language acquisition. Focus lecture given at the 14th conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 3–5 December 2008, Hong Kong.

 James D’Angelo Thumboo, E. 2006. Tilting paradigms: Creativity in Englishes. Banquet Speech at the 12th Conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 7–9 October 2006, Nagoya, Japan. Van Rooy, B. 2008. Societal and linguistic perspectives on variability. Presidential address at the 14th conference of the International Association for World Englishes (IAWE), 3–5 December 2008, Hong Kong. Yoshikawa, H. 2005. Recognition of world Englishes: Changes in Chukyo University’s students’ attitudes. World Englishes 24(3): 351–360.

Appendix World Englishes in the Japanese Classroom: Teaching for an ‘Educated Japanese English’ A. There is no one true, Standard English B. You must challenge every assumption! C. Thus, Students and Teachers in Japan must ask, and CURRICULUM and LESSON PLANS should always address, the following questions– Who should teach English to Japanese students? (Mainly Japanese nationals) What to talk about in English class? (Not mainly American culture) Who are the people Japanese will speak English with? (Not mainly Inner Circle) Where & When will Japanese people speak English? (Not just travelling to USA, etc.) 5. Why will Japanese people speak English? (Not to mainly learn American culture) 6. How should Japanese people speak English? – Like Americans? X – Like British people? X – Like educated Japanese people? O Japanese English has its own –

1. 2. 3. 4.

For teachers: Grammar, Vocabulary, Pronunciation, Politeness For researchers: Syntax, Lexicon, Phonology, Discourse Analysis, Pragmatics  (Modified from a model which first appeared in D’Angelo 2008a: 73)

chapter 17

English in Southeast Asian pop culture* Andrew Moody

University of Macau, Macau SAR, China Southeast Asian countries are diverse in their histories, ethnic and racial populations, and languages. English in these countries therefore functions within a wide variety of roles and contexts that are not always very similar to one another. One exception to this, however, is the role of English within popular culture. This chapter examines the different ways that English is used across popular culture in Southeast Asia. As the linguistic expressions in popular culture are not “naturally occurring” or spontaneous uses of language, popular culture data have long been overlooked in sociolinguistic descriptions of Englishes. Therefore this chapter also proposes a rationale and methods for the study of pop English in Southeast Asia. Keywords: pop culture, media, diversity, pop music, advertising

1. Introduction In the press release announcing auditions for the third season of the popular reality game show “The Amazing Race Asia”, broadcast in Asia on the AXN network, the producers specify the requirements for potential contestants: Registration is from 23 January to 25 February 2008. All interested participants are to submit their applications in teams of two, and must be living and/or working in Asia (excluding Australia, New Zealand, and the Middle East). All contestants are required to be aged 21 and above, must speak English, as well as possess both a valid international driving licence and an international passport. (AXN 2008; emphasis added)

* I am grateful to Azirah Hashim for supplying me with the data from newspapers, advertisements and the translation of Zee Avi’s “Kantoi.” This chapter has greatly benefitted from the suggestive comments offered by both editors. All remaining errors and oversights within the chapter are, of course, my own. Research for this chapter was partly funded by the University of Macau Research Grant for the “Corpus of Asian Magazine Advertising (CAMA) Project.”

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The language requirement for appearance on the programme is somewhat understandable; the programme is a reality game show that asks competitors to perform tasks as they travel to various places around Asia. During the third season, competing teams were selected from seven different countries – Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand – and all but two of these countries represent contestants from Southeast Asia (henceforth SEA). Within the competition, therefore, English functions as a lingua franca in situations where there is no common native language spoken by competitors, judges and other individuals that contestants interact with while racing across Asia. In addition, English functions as a lingua franca such that competitors do not necessarily speak the language of the regions where they are performing tasks. These two functions of English as a lingua franca (henceforth ELF) are expected in the types of interactions the programme requires. But the most remarkable aspect of English within the programme is the wide popularity that the show enjoyed and the fact that it was produced entirely in English. The programme’s production company, ActiveTV, notes that the programme often broke ratings records, even when competing against programmes on “free-to-air” channels (ActiveTV 2009). The programme not only shows participants using English as an Asian language across SEA, but it is also a commercially successful pop culture product that relies upon and models English as a Southeast Asian language. In this way the programme illustrates the dynamic popularity that English maintains in SEA, not only as a lingua franca in most international and inter-ethnic interactions, but also as a language of popular culture.

2. The diversity of Southeast Asian cultures Southeast Asian countries are widely divergent in their histories, ethnic and racial populations, and languages. It is understandable, therefore, that English within these countries functions in a wide variety of roles and contexts that are not always very similar to one another. One exception to this, however, is the role of English within popular culture. Southeast Asian media repeatedly adopt popular uses of English in entertainment media regardless of the local factors that describe the individual countries, including such factors as linguistic competence, the official or semi-official status of English and the functional domains of English. This chapter surveys some of the different ways that English is used across Southeast Asian popular cultures and argues that English plays an important role in the formation and definition of regional identities within the area. The media that are often responsible for the spread of pop culture forms of English include popular music, radio and television broadcasting, newspapers and advertising. Linguistic data from these media are sometimes spontaneously and naturally occurring speech events, but more often they are not. This dimension of linguistic data from popular culture has, until recently, meant that these types of data are usually overlooked in sociolinguistic



Chapter 17.  English in Southeast Asian pop culture 

descriptions.1 Unlike other types of edited English, however, data from popular culture can be especially informative about local language norms. Unlike other types of edited English – academic writing, official or governmental reports, legal writing, etc. – that are edited to correspond to international standards, edited English data from popular culture are often written especially to appeal to listeners/readers from the local culture. This chapter seeks to suggest ways to use linguistic data from popular culture in order to understand the unique roles of English within SEA.

3. Overview of language situation in SEA The introductory chapter and Chapter 1 of this volume have already given a definition of the geography and the language situation in SEA. The Southeast Asian region can be thought of as comprised primarily of the member nations of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (henceforth ASEAN). They include Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. While this is not a comprehensive list of the countries of SEA, it does give us a general picture of the geographical and political area that we refer to as SEA. In terms of the use of English, there are a number of different historical, functional and acquisitional factors that have come to define differences between nations within the region. Using the circles of English model developed in B. Kachru (1985) earlier described in several chapters of this volume as a means of understanding these different types of English varieties, Southeast Asian varieties fall into the categories of Outer Circle and Expanding Circle varieties. The Outer Circle English varieties of Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines derive their status as former colonial languages. English came to the British colony of Malaya – later to become Malaysia and Singapore – in the 18th century, and to the American-influenced Philippines at the end of the 19th century.2 In each of these three Southeast Asian nations English has institutional status within the government, law, education and media. However, in each of the three nations, English is used multilingually in addition to at least two other ethnic languages, which may or may not have national status. The varieties of English used in other nations of the Southeast Asian region are usually considered to belong to the Expanding Circle of Englishes.3 Unlike the varieties of the Outer Circle, these varieties do not carry any

1. A complete discussion of the roles of English in popular culture and a justification for including pop culture data in sociolinguistics can be found in Moody (2010). 2. Although it is not a member state of ASEAN, the former British colony of Hong Kong, which has a variety of English that is an Outer Circle variety, is sometimes considered a Southeast Asian territory. 3. The variety of English spoken in Brunei is sometimes included as an Outer Circle variety because of Brunei’s close proximity in distance, culture and history to Malaysia and Singapore.

 Andrew Moody

institutional status and there is usually a wider range of local proficiencies in these varieties of English.

3.1

Approaches to English in SEA

Because of the two different types of English varieties – Outer Circle and Expanding Circle varieties – there has been little attempt to develop a comprehensive approach to English in SEA, much less for Asia. Two notable exceptions are the work of B. Kachru (2005) and Y. Kachru and Nelson (2006), both of which approach English in Asia from the viewpoint of the pluricentric World Englishes paradigm, as outlined above. Another notable approach to Southeast Asian Englishes, however, is represented by the ELF approach, and has been most notably promoted in the work of Deterding and Kirkpatrick (2006), Kirkpatrick (2010), Schneider (2007) and others. The approach exploits one of the characteristics of English in both the Outer and Expanding Circles: that it is used multilingually and usually as a second or additional language of communication. This means that the roles that English fulfils in SEA, although they are widespread and pervasive throughout the region, are not necessarily the same roles in every Southeast Asian community. Most Southeast Asian countries also use indigenous local languages – e.g. Malay, Indonesian, Thai, Filipino, etc. – and these languages are sometimes used in domains that compete with the domains of English. But throughout the region English is a lingua franca that is used internationally, interethnically and sometimes even intra-ethnically and intra-nationally. This lingua franca characteristic of English goes a long way towards promoting English within each of the Southeast Asian countries. While this is to be expected within domains of, say, international relations or foreign trade, what is especially significant within the development of Southeast Asian popular cultures (and their penchant for using English) is that English communication is now typical of interactions between Southeast Asian cultures. This appears to be one of the characteristics of the post-colonial development of English in SEA, that the language is no longer exclusively, or even primarily, used for communication with the Inner Circle colonising country. Instead, it has become, as the title of a recent book series proclaims, an Asian language (Macquarie 2007).

3.2

Diversity of English functions across SEA

A quick look at the Outer Circle varieties of English in Southeast Asian countries suggests the greater degree to which English functions within the entire region (i.e. within both Outer and Expanding Circle varieties). In Singapore, English is taken as a language of intra-national and inter-ethnic communication. However, after many years within the educational and cultural environment of Singapore, the language is also frequently used as a language of intra-ethnic communication (Lim, Pakir & Wee 2010). This contrasts, somewhat, with the position of English in Malaysia. Since the split of Singapore away from Malaysia in 1965, the two countries have developed along



Chapter 17.  English in Southeast Asian pop culture 

divergent paths with regard to the roles of English. Although English is still typically used within education, law and other professional circles in Malaysia, the official language policy of Malaysia has instead promoted the use of Bahasa Melayu, the language of the ethnic Malay majority, as the primary language in these areas (Azirah 2009). Recent attempts to emphasise the importance of English as a language of education have largely resulted from a perceived decline in English proficiency that may have at least partly resulted from the advancement of Bahasa Melayu (Gill in press). In the Philippines, English is often treated as a language of education and more strongly connected to economic development than national administration. One of the interesting aspects of English in the Philippines that has not developed in other Southeast Asian varieties is the degree to which English has become hybridized with Tagalog in the mixed code “Taglish” (Rafael 2008). To the degree that there are such great differences in the functions of English within Southeast Asian Outer Circle varieties, the variation of functions in the region is amplified when one considers the range of functions and proficiencies in the Expanding Circle varieties as well. The result is that there are few places one might reliably look for a variety of Southeast Asian English to be developing, except within the development of particular domains, such as popular culture, across Asia.

4. Cultural similarity and diversity in SEA There are obvious ethnic, religious and linguistic differences across SEA and, indeed, across all of Asia. For example, although SEA is not usually characterised as an Islamic region, Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims worldwide in a country where 207 million Muslims make up 88% of the population of the fourth largest country in the world. Likewise Buddhism is widely practiced throughout SEA and Christianity has a large number of followers in Singapore and the Philippines. Ethnic diversity within the region has been complicated by a number of diasporas, most notably the diaspora of ethnic Chinese and ethnic Indians throughout the region. Despite these differences, however, the development of popular culture and the appropriation of English as an important language within popular culture have come to characterise the linguistic situation of the region.

4.1

Dominant Southeast Asian values

Although there has been little extensive examination of the values that are uniquely Asian, there are several values that may be thought of as dominant Asian values, and these are worth mentioning here when considering whether a variety of Southeast Asian English is able to develop within the region. This is important because Southeast Asian values may define what we expect to see as linguistic trends in Southeast Asian

 Andrew Moody

pop culture media. Asian cultural values, therefore, may be found in pop cultures throughout the diverse region, although with varying degrees of commitment. For example, a number of scholars have noted that the values of ‘family’ and ‘filial piety’ play an important role within Asian cultures. The degree to which this stereotype is true or not, however, is not really a question that concerns us when looking for the cultural or linguistic unification across Asia. Instead, the fact that many Southeast Asian cultures see this as an important characteristic of Asian cultural values is significant because it can then be taken as a symbol of cultural unity. Likewise, it has been suggested that Southeast Asian cultures are notoriously ‘pragmatic’ and that this cultural feature sometimes defines SEA’s regional cultural unity and differentiation from its colonial past. In addition, analysts of Asian advertising – itself a form of creative linguistic expression in popular culture – have frequently noted the importance of humour in Asian culture and especially in Southeast Asian advertising (Aitchison 2002). In particular, it seems that self-deprecating humour is especially successful in Asian advertising, as well as humour that relies upon punning. While this may not be unique to Southeast Asian humour, it does seem to be one important way that Asian cultures see themselves and it may be one of the characteristics that is easily transmitted from one Southeast Asian culture to another.

4.2

Common Southeast Asian experience

Although it may be difficult to define Asian values that serve as a link across the region, it is not difficult to identify common features of the Southeast Asian experience. Most nations of the Southeast Asian region have recently (within the past fifty years) become post-colonial states and, in some cases, have responded ambiguously to the colonial languages. Furthermore, in the same way that colonialism imposes somewhat arbitrary boundaries to territories, Southeast Asian nations have a common experience of building a post-colonial state within a region of ethnic and cultural diversity. Hence, multi-ethnic populations are another characteristic of the shared Southeast Asian experience. The recent growth of media, genres and other expressions of popular culture across SEA is also closely related to the shared experience of modernisation and economic growth throughout the region. The growth of consumer cultures within SEA has probably had the greatest impact on the development of popular culture within the region, although the development of inexpensive broadcast and recording technology has also doubtlessly played an important role. As popular culture has developed, the source of economic innovation becomes apparent as SEA borrows English expressions of popular culture from both the former colonial cultures and from other Southeast Asian pop cultures.



Chapter 17.  English in Southeast Asian pop culture 

5. Ways of using pop culture in linguistic analysis Recent years have seen sociolinguists increasingly use data from media sources. These have included sociolinguistic analyses of popular music (see Cutler 1999; Pennycook 2003; Simpson 1999), broadcast media and film (see Mesthrie 2002; Taylor 2004: Thornborrow & Morris 2004), advertising (see Luna, Lerman & Peracchio 2005; Strauss 2005; van Mulken, van Enschot-van dijk & Hoeken 2005) and computer-mediated communication (see Calefato 2004; Herring 2004; Thurlow 2003). These recent studies demonstrate the importance of data from mass media and popular culture to sociolinguistics. Although these data sources were once regarded as beyond the scope of linguistics, newer theoretical orientations and methodological developments have made popular culture an accepted and justifiably useful resource of analyses in the study of language in society (Moody 2010). Nowhere are these approaches more enlightening of sociolinguistic environments than in the burgeoning popular cultures of East and SEA. Recent years have seen the development of popular media across Asia and the Pacific in contexts where English frequently plays a role as a language of cultural transmission, or as a language in contact with the major languages of the region. While some Asian cultures (e.g. Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore) have adopted English as a result of colonial history, others (such as Indonesia, Vietnam or Thailand) instead treat English as a link to global modes of communication. Similarly, some of these cultures (e.g. Malaysia and Singapore) stress the importance of English as a language for intraethnic and national communication, while others (Indonesia or Thailand) use English only in inter-ethnic and international communication. Despite the differences across SEA and Southeast Asian countries’ diverse responses to English, each of these countries has, to some extent, adopted English as a language of popular culture. When discussing linguistic data that are available from popular culture, the most important sources of data include TV and radio broadcasts, advertising, music, the Internet and electronic “gaming”, and to a somewhat lesser degree, movies and print media like newspapers and magazines. The degree to which English is present within each Southeast Asian popular culture and the fact that English is used to link Southeast Asian popular cultures with each other and with popular culture in the West, East Asia and South Asia, demands our attention.

6. Samples of pop English from Southeast Asian media The following illustrations of English used in Southeast Asian popular cultures represent the types of data that can appear in pop culture in SEA, and they demonstrate how useful linguistic analyses might be conducted with data that does not fulfil traditional sociolinguistic requirements of naturally occurring data.

 Andrew Moody

6.1

Advertising

The following advertisements from Malaysia demonstrate the degree to which mixtures of English and Malay are acceptable in print. Figure 1 is an advertisement promoting the Sihat Malaysia national medical coverage programme. The English slogan “Malaysians Protecting Malaysians” appears above the cartoon drawing, which uses Bahasa Melayu within the cartoon and Chinese captioned at the bottom of the advertisement. The Chinese text describes how nation-wide coverage can be purchased for as little as 35 sen ‘cents’ per day. In a linguistically more colourful advertisement, the automobile advertisement in Figure 2 promotes the Malaysian version of the Toyota brand automobile, the Unser. Local expressions like “Got 7 passengers what...” and “Crazy... You want to pay the fine?” not only make the advertisement more locally appealing, but also recommend the product for the local market. Part of what makes advertising such a compelling source of sociolinguistic data is that advertisements both construct and respond to the consumer cultures that have developed across SEA in recent years. While this is true for all pop culture products, it

Figure 1.  Malaysian newspaper advertisement



Chapter 17.  English in Southeast Asian pop culture 

Figure 2.  Malaysian newspaper advertisement

is especially true for advertisements, which must borrow from the local linguistic and cultural idioms to persuade and promote without offending many of the diverse cultures within Southeast Asian markets.

6.2

Print

English language newspapers are common throughout SEA and represent an important site for language play and innovation, especially, as the following examples demonstrate, with language mixing. Figure 3, from The Malay Mail, illustrates language

 Andrew Moody

Figure 3.  The Malay Mail newspaper story

mixing that is not usually found within the news press. The term tidak apa (never mind) is blended with apathy to describe a case of urban apathy. Although this sort of language play is somewhat less frequently found in the print media, it does illustrate a possible influence of English within Southeast Asian popular culture. Figure 4, from The Sun newspaper in Malaysia represents a more typical way to represent local norms of mixing between Bahasa Melayu and English. Here, the advice about how to bargain effectively in local markets is illustrated with typical exchanges that one might hear in the market: “Hiyah, towkay, think long-term-lah” [Here, sir...]; “Ok-lah... Like that, never mind-lah.” These language forms are easily recognisable as spoken forms that are very local, but they are not usually included within the edited style of newspapers and magazines. When these types of spoken forms are included, they can, within certain newspaper or magazine subgenres, appeal to a local audience in a way that is more consistent with media from popular culture.



Chapter 17.  English in Southeast Asian pop culture 

Figure 4.  The Sun newspaper article

6.3

Radio

Pop culture data from radio broadcasts generally fall into two categories: (1) advertisements and promotions and (2) DJ talk. Excerpts (1) and (2) below illustrate the advertisements and promotions that can easily be heard on the radio in SEA. The following radio commercial, cited in (1) below, was broadcast on Singapore radio and demonstrates the usefulness of local features in radio broadcast.

(1) Singapore Radio Ad A: B: A: B: A: B:

Eh, how was your weekend, lah? Great man! I went surfing, play beach volleyball, had a massage and a company dinner by the beach. Wah, seok man... Then, I went for a live concert party by the beach and watch fireworks by the moon light. You went to Bali, ah? No, I did all this at Sunway Surf Beach.

The example, cited in (2) below, is a sixty-second promotional segment produced by DJs at HITZ-FM in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to promote the morning show and the comedy of the programme. In the promotion the DJs portray a fictional detective

 Andrew Moody

agency named TC (probably named from the Cantonese tsi sing ‘crazy’) Investigations to probe into the loss of the English language on the show.

(2) Radio Promotion from Malaysian Radio Narrator: A (singing): Narrator: B: Narrator: All (singing): Narrator: A: Narrator: B: Narrator: B: A: All (Singing): A: B: A: Narrator: All (Singing): B:

A: B: Narrator:

All (Singing): Narrator:

They saw the solvable. em-en-en . . . . qu ar es tv (i.e. m-n-n, q-r-s-t-v) They find all the obvious clues. (? ?) It’s the team of T.S.I. Tee-See, Tee-See (T.C., T.C.) Tee See (i.e. Tsi Sing) Investigations. Yesterday Team T.S.I. was investigating the case of the missing England. We has left our team hot on the trail of the . . . huh? Where’s my England? How is this happening? I is the narrator. Where is I be going? Somebody is the please be helping me! Oh my god. I finally understand what’s going on. Someone has been stealing everyone’s English. Ta-Ta-Ta! Why didn’t you tell me, B? I’ve been trying to tell you for the past two days, A. Right, now that I know what’s going on, let’s go find this English thief, or, is it England thief? Whatever. Wait, wait, wait. I is not in the best of the form right now. Please be making me speak less. At the school, I (??). Tee-see, Tee-see. I is not know what is happen to my English. For the heaven and the sea, I is a England teacher. I mean, “England!” Eh! I mean “England!” Eh! “England!” E-N-G-L-Y-A-I eh, “England.” I, ah~ha ha ha~ah Oh my god. B, what is going on? I say to you, I am quite all right, uh. I seem to understand everyone much better now. Please-uh people. Don’t be making me talking too much. My England is stolen. The union of the narrator is already the complaint is so much. Just come back tomorrow. Lah, and (??) Tee-see, Tee-see Tee See Investigations: another morning co-production in collaboration with Skeletor, co-starring Ean, and Aaron, and not forgetting Nat, AKA Dave.



Chapter 17.  English in Southeast Asian pop culture 

This advertisement illustrates some of the stereotypical features of Malaysian English, and in a way that one can see the diversification and nativization of English. The advertisement makes a subtle political comment about the need to reactivate the role of English within Malaysian society, and how failure to do this will eventually lead to the reactivation or discovery of the “missing English.” The unique role of the marketplace in the media requires that language respond to issues of identity. Given the limitations of media language, linguistic analysis identifies important language attitudes and ideologies that are functioning within the society.

6.4

Pop music

A number of linguists following the analyses of cultural theorists – based largely upon understandings of population movements – have observed the way that musical, cultural and linguistic forms may “flow” from one culture to another within the medium of pop music (Trudgill 1983; Pennycook 2007; Alim, Ibrahim & Pennycook 2009). Lockard (1998: 49–50) describes how flows have been influential in pop music in SEA: The flood of Anglo-American music around the world in the 1950s and 1960s influenced local musicians but did not prevent them from developing their own styles, adapting to their own cultures. The result has been transculturation, where individual music cultures pick up elements from transcultural music – but also some national and local music cultures contribute to transcultural music. The resulting process is characterized by a two-way flow.

One example of how these flows work back and forth between Inner Circle and Outer Circle Southeast Asian popular cultures is illustrated by the rock band Journey. The band was formed in the early 1970s from members who had played in the band Santana, fronted by guitarist/singer Carlos Santana. When the band hired Steve Perry in 1977 as a lead singer, they had a string of seventeen hits that appeared in the Billboard Top 40 between 1979 and 1987. With a number of line-up changes, including the loss of Steve Perry and replacement by at least two other lead singers, it appeared that Journey had little hope of future success until December 2007 when the band hired Arnel Pineda to sing lead. Pineda had been lead singer in a cover band from the Philippines called The Zoo, and Journey guitarist Neal Schon first saw him perform Journey songs on YouTube. After Pineda joined the band, they had successful tours in 2008 and released Revelation in 2009, their most successful album since 1996’s Trial by Fire. The “two-way flow” is characterised first by the popularity of Journey songs in the Philippines, and the success that The Zoo found in performing these and similar “stadium rock” songs live. But the second direction of the flow occurred when the band hired Pineda as their lead singer. This potentially brought cultural experience and forms from the Philippines to the band. Whereas the Philippines began performing Journey, Journey eventually came to perform the Philippines, and linguistic performances flowed alongside cultural performances.

 Andrew Moody

Similarly, Dengue Fever is a band that was formed by two brothers, Ethan and Zac Holtzman, in Los Angeles, California. The band’s music is inspired by psychedelic pop from Cambodia and the lead vocalist, Chhom Nimol, went to California from Cambodia, where she used to sing. Many of the band’s songs are written and sung in Khmer, but the example transcribed in (3) below is in English and is sung as a conversation by Zac Holtzman and Chhom Nimol. The song does not necessarily illustrate the use of English in Cambodia or SEA, but it does illustrate the way that cultural flows affect the types of pop culture products in Southeast Asian popular culture markets.

(3) “Tiger Phone Card” Dengue Fever (2008) Man: Woman: Together:

You live in Phnom Penh You live in New York City But I think about you so, so, so, so So much I forget to eat

Man: Woman: Together:

It’s 4 a.m., I check my email I’m too geared up to fall asleep So I write you back and count the days Until we’ll be together

Woman: Together: Man: Woman:

The first thing that I do is Throw my arms around you And never let go And never let go

Man:

I call you from my hotel room I’m sitting on the hallway floor I know that we are so, so, so, so tired My phone card just expired

Woman:

You only call me when you’re drunk I can tell it by your voice It’s the only time that you open up to me And tell me that you love me

Woman: Together: Man: Woman:

The first thing that I do is Throw my arms around you And never let go And never let go

Man:

I’m thirty thousand feet high Flying through the dead of night I took an Ambien and you came To visit me in my dreams



Chapter 17.  English in Southeast Asian pop culture 

Woman:

You were bathed in blue light Floating right in front of me Your face was so, so, so, so bright I had to close my eyes to see

Woman: Together: Man: Woman:

The first thing that I do is Throw my arms around you And never let go And never let go

Together:

Never let go, oh, oh (X5)

The example cited in (4) below is a less typical example of how cultural flows merge in the form of code mixing or code switching in popular music, although this phenomenon has been discussed in Chan (2009). “Kantoi” is performed without any accompaniment except Zee Avi playing the ukulele, and has a soft lilting melody. The title, “Kantoi”, can colloquially be translated as ‘Busted’ in the sense that the story of the song is about a pair of infidelities. The mixing of English and Malay, however, suggests that the experience portrayed in the song is as natural as the form of the language mixing that takes place.

(4) “Kantoi” Zee Avi (2009) Semalam I call you, you tak answer [last night I called you, you don’t answer] You kata you keluar pergi dinner [you said you went out to dinner] You kata you keluar dengan kawan you [you said you went out with your friends] But when I called Tommy he said it wasn’t true So I drove my car pergi Damansara [to Damansara] Tommy kata maybe you tengok bola [Tommy said maybe you were watching a football match] Tapi bila I sampai, you tak ada [but when I arrived, you were not there] Lagilah I jadi gila! [Of course I became angry] So I called and called sampai you answer [until] You kata, ‘Sorry, sayang. Tadi tak dengar. [You said ‘Sorry, darling. I didn’t hear the call.] My phone was on silent; I was at the gym’. Tapi latar belakang suara perempuan lain. [But another woman’s voice was in the background] Sudahlah, sayang, I don’t believe you [Enough, darling] I’ve always known that your words were never true

 Andrew Moody

Why am I with you? I pun tak tahu [I do not know] No wonder-lah my friends pun tak suka you [do not like you] So I guess that’s the end of our story Akhir kata she accepted his apology [Finally] Tapi last-last kita dapat tahu she was cheating too [But last-last (in the end) we know that] With her ex-boyfriend’s best friend... Tommy... Kantoi As with Dengue Fever, Zee Avi is developing her career in the popular culture markets of North America, and is not quite so well known in her native Malaysia. However, like Journey’s Arnel Pineda, Zee Avi was offered a recording contract after her songs and her performances were viewed on YouTube. In this way, music in SEA is both influenced by English music and it has begun to influence the musical forms that are marketed not only in SEA, but worldwide.

6. Conclusion English is more than just a “link language” between pop cultures, although this is an important feature of English. English allows diverse Southeast Asian popular cultures to borrow from one another as well as from the colonial language and other more developed popular cultures in South Asia and East Asia. However, the use of English is also transmitted through this link as an art form. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why popular culture is an especially useful place to look for the indigenization of English. Because the medium of English can have a larger impact than it does in spontaneous or naturally occurring genres, linguistic data from popular culture is especially suitable.

References ActiveTV. 2009. The Amazing Race Asia. activeTV. (25 April 2009). Alim, H.S., Ibrahim, A. & Pennycook, A. (eds). 2009. Global Linguistic Flows: Hip Hop Cultures, Youth Identities, and the Politics of Language. London: Routledge. Aitchison, J. 2002. How Asia Advertises: The Most Successful Campaigns in Asia-Pacific and the Marketing Strategies Behind Them. Singapore: John Wiley and Sons. Avi Zee. 2009. Kantoi. On Zee Avi (CD). San Francisco: Brushfire Records and Encino, California: Monotone.



Chapter 17.  English in Southeast Asian pop culture 

AXN. 2008. Press releases – The Amazing Race Asia 3 – The hardest race ever! Do you have what it takes to be our next rising star? The Amazing Race Asia – Exclusively on AXN. (25 April 2009). Azirah Hashim. 2009. Not plain sailing: Malaysia’s language choice in policy and education. AILA Review 22: 36–51. Calefato, P. 2004. The “public square” and the net: Polyphony, community, and communication. Semiotica 148 (1–4): 175–185. Chan, B.H. 2009. English in Hong Kong Cantopop: Language choice, code-switching and genre. World Englishes 28(1): 107–29. Cutler, C.A. 1999. Yorkville crossing: White teens, hip hop and African American English. Journal of Sociolinguistics 3(4): 428–444. Dengue Fever. 2008. Tiger Phone Card. On Venus on Earth (CD). Los Angeles: M80 Music. Deterding, D. & Kirkpatrick, A. 2006. Emerging Southeast Asian Englishes and intelligibility. World Englishes 25(3): 391–409. Gill, S.K. In press. Contrasting language policies in higher education in Malaysia (working title). In English as an International Language in Asia, A. Kirkpatrick & R. Sussex (eds). Dordrecht: Springer. Herring, S.C. 2004. Slouching toward the ordinary: Current trends in computer-mediated communication. New Media & Society 6(1): 26–36. Journey. 1996. Trial by Fire (CD). United States: Columbia Records. Journey. 2009. Revelation (CD). United States: Nomota LLC. Kachru, B.B. 1985. Standards, codification and sociolinguistic realism: the English language in the outer circle. In English in the World: Teaching and Learning the Language and Literatures, R. Quirk & H.G. Widdowson (eds), 11–30. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kachru, B.B. 2005. Asian Englishes: Beyond the Canon. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kachru, Y. & Nelson, C.L. 2006. World Englishes in Asian Contexts. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kirkpatrick, A. 2010. English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN: A Multilingual Model. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Lim, L., Pakir, A. & Wee, L. 2010. English in Singapore: Modernity and Management. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Lockard, C.A. 1998. Dance of Life: Popular Music and Politics in Southeast Asia. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press. Luna, D., Lerman, D. & Peracchio, L.A. 2005. Structural constraints in code-switching advertising. Journal of Consumer Research 32(3): 416–423. Macquarie Library Pty. Ltd. 2007. Macquarie Publications. (14 September 2007). Mesthrie, R. 2002. Mock languages and symbolic power: The South African radio series Applesammy and Naidoo. World Englishes 21(1): 99–112. Moody, A. 2010. The Englishes of popular cultures. In The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 535–549. London: Routledge. Pennycook, A. 2003. Global Englishes, Rip Slyme, and performativity. Journal of Sociolinguistics 7(4): 513–533. Pennycook, A. 2007. Global Englishes and Transcultural Flows. London: Routledge. Rafael, V.L. 2008. Taglish, or the phantom power of the lingua franca. In Philippine English: Linguistic and Literary Perspectives, M.L.S. Bautista & K. Bolton (eds), 101–128. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

 Andrew Moody Schneider, E.W. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Simpson, P. 1999. Language, culture and identity: With (another) look at accents in pop and rock singing. Multilingua 18(4): 343–367. Strauss, S. 2005. The linguistic aestheticization of food: A crosscultural look at food commercials in Japan, Korea, and the United States. Journal of Pragmatics 37(9): 1427–1455. Taylor, C.J. 2004. The language of film: Corpora and statistics in the search for authenticity. Notting Hill (1998) – A case study. Miscelanea 30: 71–85. Thornborrow, J. & Morris, D. 2004. Gossip as strategy: The management of talk about others on reality TV show “Big Brother”. Journal of Sociolinguistics 8(2): 246–271. Thurlow, C. 2003. Generation txt? Exposing the sociolinguistics of young people’s text-messaging. Discourse Analysis Online 1(1). Trudgill, P. 1983. Acts of conflicting identity: The sociolinguistics of British pop song pronunciation. In On Dialect: Social and Geographical Perspectives, P. Trudgill (ed), 141–160. New York NY: New York University Press. van Mulken, M., van Enschot-van Dijk, R. & Hoeken, H. 2005. Puns, relevance and appreciation in advertisements. Journal of Pragmatics 37(5): 707–721.

chapter 18

Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships Electronic English in Malaysia* Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip University of Malaya, Malaysia

The Internet has come to dominate our lives and emerged as one of the key communication technologies. Since the Internet is a medium which can be considered revolutionary and is therefore bound to have a profound effect on language, it is crucial to evaluate and study its impact on language. Although many have noted the linguistic changes emerging in online communication, not many have studied the phenomenon and written about it. This study examines the extent to which the Internet fosters diversity of languages or English dominance. In addition, it looks at how standard English competes with various varieties of English in online realms in Malaysia and the complex interrelationship between the Internet and English language variation in Malaysia. Keywords: the Internet, media, multilingual, lingua franca, discourse

1. Introduction The Internet has been described as an electronic, interactive and global medium. It is not just a technological revolution but also a social one (Crystal 2001, 2006). Moreover, it represents a third medium that shares elements of both speech and writing and electronic mediated properties. In the last decade or so, the Internet has come to dominate our lives and emerged as one of the key communication technologies. Different modes of communication on the Internet such as instant messages (henceforth IMs), blogs and the latest rage, Twitter, are rapidly overtaking conventional forms of communication for work and leisure. This has resulted in the formation of new words, * Acknowledgement by the second author: The research conducted here was supported in part by a grant from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for research in Germany in 2009/2010.

 Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

structures and styles of expression in contemporary language use. In other words, due to the continual search for vocabulary to describe experiences, to capture the character of the electronic world and to overcome the communicative limitations of technology, a new communication variety has emerged. Much of the work on language on the Internet has been on medium specific features of language called “electronic language,” “Internet language” or “computer mediated communication” (henceforth CMC). Much less has been done on socially situated discourse of this form of communication or on electronic discourse in context. Herring (1996) discusses two important issues which are the interplay of technological, social and contextual factors in shaping electronic language practices and the role of linguistic variability in social interaction and social identity formation. In addition, the study of the pluricentricity of English in the electronic domain remains lacking. Therefore, studies that look into this new empirical arena are needed. In this chapter, we discuss the impact of new media technologies on English in Malaysia by looking at samples of electronic data comprising e-mails, blogs, chats/IMs and text messages. We identify the innovative and creative uses of English and highlight some distinctive features of Malaysian English (henceforth MalE) used between people from different ethnic groups in this new arena. Since Malaysians are generally bilingual or multilingual, we examine whether one language is consistently used, or two or more in the same message or text. We argue that this new blend of English is a result of the impact of technology on MalE which has arisen from the globalisation and the pluricentricity of English.

2. Background to the study According to Crystal (2010), it is estimated that there are 369,706,100 people who speak English as a first language around the world. However, one must note that these conservative figures (rounded to the nearest hundred) do not include figures for people who have learned English as a foreign language (henceforth EFL) and countries where the language has no official status. In Asia itself, both English as a second language or ESL and EFL are widely used with 32 percent of the Malaysian population speaking English. In Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei, the percentage of ESL speakers are estimated at 50 per cent, 48 per cent and 39 per cent respectively (Bolton 2008: 6). As Bolton has mentioned, the statistics of English worldwide is an inexact science, and utilises information of varying reliability. Thus, these figures can at best be regarded as informed estimates. Given the vast global presence of English at the time of the birth of the Internet and the impact of globalisation and internationalisation, it is not surprising that English has rapidly become the de facto lingua franca of online communication. According to Internet World Stats, English is estimated to make up 29.4 per cent of online



Chapter 18.  Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships 

communication as of 2008. Many might perceive that English is the most dominant language in all spheres of the web. However, as of April 2007, Japanese is the most popular blogging language at 37 per cent followed by English at 33 per cent and Chinese at 8 per cent according to Sifry’s Alerts (Sifry 2007). English is used as a lingua franca by people ranging from those who speak the local variety of English to those whose proficiency level is low. It is also the lingua franca of speakers who have different language backgrounds, and is now the default language of international discussion online. The dominance of English on the Internet, however, has probably been overestimated. “What began as an anglophone phenomenon has rapidly become a multilingual affair... local languages are more likely to appear in less formal contexts such as chat rooms than in corporate e-mails, and in contexts where everyone shares a first language” (Graddol 2006: 45). Technology is fast changing the language resulting in uses and forms that diverge from a single standard. The varieties may vary according to the culture or nation in which they are used giving rise to convergences with the local languages.

3. CMC CMC refers to natural language messaging that is transmitted and/or received via a computer connection via the Internet or through mobile phone connections. It encompasses at the one end, writing that is similar to traditional texts and at the other end, dialogue that resembles speech. Some of the genres are monologues and others dialogues. Figure 1 illustrates the CMC spectrum ranging from monologues to dialogues (Baron 2003: 125). Product (monologue)

Process (dialogue)

Category

Completed works

Web sites

Anonymous dialogue

One-to-many dialogue (identified interlocutors)

One-to-one dialogue (identified interlocutor)

Examples

Academic papers, business reports

Web pages, Web logs (blogs)

Newsgroups, MUDs, MOOs, chat (including IRC)

Listservs

E-mail, IM, SMS

Comments

Available through selfarchiving or attachments

Increasing options for comments and interaction

Some forums insist on vetting participants

Some participants can enter under pseudonyms

E-mail, IM, may have multiple recipients

Figure 1.  CMC spectrum

 Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

Two types of communication exist in CMC: asynchronous and synchronous. In asynchronous communication, sender and recipient may not be logged onto their respective computers at the same time and the sender can take his/her time in composing the message. On the other hand, in synchronous communication sender and recipient are logged on at the same time and communication is similar to face-to-face communication. Messages are therefore shorter and unedited and either participant can interrupt. To make up for the lack of facial and bodily expressions, two features have emerged: emoticons and flaming. Emoticons are formed by combining punctuation marks to represent emotions and flaming is the use of rude or profane language. Apart from these features, abbreviations and acronyms are often used in CMC to conserve space and to indicate membership (Baron 2003).

4. Previous work on electronic English Not much work has yet been done on electronic English in Malaysia and, given that the Internet has come to dominate our lives and emerged as one of the key communication technologies, it is crucial that discourse and the roles of language on the Internet are examined in greater depth. In other parts of Asia, research on electronic discourse has been carried out by a number of scholars. Based on the analysis of two discussion threads of a Thai Usenet newsgroup (soc.culture.thai), Hongladarom (1998) found out that the Internet reduplicates the existing local cultural boundaries instead of erasing them. But at the same time, the Internet creates an umbrella cosmopolitan culture which is necessary for communication among people from disparate cultures. Gill (1998) discussed the relationship between self, culture and communication in a preliminary study of British and Japanese subjects. Her starting point was that communication by e-mail and video conferencing assumes a universality of culture. Her results revealed that since English is the language used, it is the non-English speaking cultures that have to accommodate to a different language and its perceived norms, and stated that the use of communications technology seems to be creating a perception of language as being independent of the culture its participants are situated in. Lee (2002) carried out a corpus-based and questionnaire-complemented examination of the linguistic features of text-based CMC in Hong Kong. The subjects of her study included a group of youngsters. She identified some language-specific features such as Cantonese-based shortenings, common grammatical “errors” like inappropriate verb forms and lexical choice, subject omission, code-mixing, and creative orthographic representations of Cantonese. She promoted the recognition of the novelty and linguistic specificity of CMC texts and postulated that CMC texts should be analysed in different CMC systems (as well as in different linguistic and cultural settings). Fung and Carter (2007) carried out an investigation of the linguistic creativity of a group of bilingual English-Cantonese speaking university students from Hong Kong,



Chapter 18.  Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships 

based on a 20,000-word corpus of private “I Seek You” or ICQ data. They identified a bimodal, “hybrid” spoken-written variety of English embracing an essentially informal, speech-type style that is produced in intimate, collaborative and synchronic contexts. The linguistic creativity in this variety, evidenced, in particular, by codeswitching, loan translation and relexicalisation, as well as by acoustic and graphical wordplay, represents an e-discourse repertoire that is used to achieve both specific interactional purposes and to articulate a dual cultural identity. A study of Japanese BBSs (electronic bulletin boards) for fans of popular culture idols conducted by Nishimura (2003) revealed an interesting mixture of similarities to English as well as distinctive differences, for instance, evidence of multiple punctuation, eccentric spelling, use of all caps, written out laughter, verbal descriptions of actions, and kaomoji (face marks), rough equivalents of Western-style “smiley” emoticons – the familiar :-) for a smile; :-( for a frown. Ooi, Tan and Chiang (2007) analysed personal weblogs in Singapore English or SingE and revealed that the personal blogs of younger teens and maturing adults in Singapore disclosed their respective online identities/cultures. The conclusion of this analysis was that gender is a significant sociolinguistic variable and that linguistic styles of males and females may be sufficiently differentiating. The rivalry between British and American English on the Internet in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, using the web as corpus, has been investigated by Wang (2007). He discovered that former British colonies like Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei favour British English (henceforth BrE) on the web. Also, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea (under indirect influence of BrE) also tend to lean towards BrE, whereas the Philippines still continues to exhibit America’s influence with a preference for American English or AmE on the Internet.

5. Data and methodology The data in this study comes from a project funded by the University of Malaya Research Grant which started at the end of 2007. Currently, we have collected a corpus of two million words from four genres: e-mails, blogs, chats/IMs and text messages. The data encompasses sources from West and East Malaysia from several age groups categorised as follows: a. Teens (13–19 years old) b. Young adults (20–25 years old) c. Adults (26 years old and over) It must be noted, however, that this categorisation by age is not fully reliable, since the age that Internet users state on their profiles cannot always be verified. For this study, a selection of data from each of the genres is analysed to illustrate features that are found in the Malaysian context. We take the view that it is not possible

 Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

to generalise about electronic language because of the diversity of contexts and purposes these genres are used for. Furthermore, many of the issues involving language usage on the Internet are not unique to this medium, and technology has for a long time had an effect on written language. Here, we focus mainly on familiar and informal contexts where bilingual/multilingual creativity is found and where the more informal variety of MalE is used. Blogs were collected from various blogsites and blogrolls, while chats/IMs were collected from several Malaysian “Internet Relay Chat” or IRC channels, messengers and chatboxes from social networking sites. Lastly, e-mails and text messages were provided by various sources. Our sources voluntarily offered their e-mails and text messages without editing the contents. They were informed that these messages would be used for research purposes.

6. Analysis In the analysis, we discovered many of the features found in spoken MalE as well as other varieties such as code-switching and code-mixing, abbreviations and acronyms, discourse particles, borrowings, affixation, coinage and blending. Some online conventions/features are universal (e.g. lol for ‘laugh out loud’) but others are only found in Malaysian online communication. We observed how interlocutors use creative ways to overcome the temporal and contextual constraints which the medium imposes on them to establish interpersonal relationships and to convey a common identity. Examples of electronic English in Malaysia are given below:

6.1

Code-switching and code-mixing

Code-switching and code-mixing occur when two or more languages are used interchangeably. They often occur when a bilingual/trilingual/multilingual person alternates between two, three or more languages during speech with another bilingual person. Switching commonly occurs when a person wishes to express solidarity with a particular social group, and rapport is established between the speaker and listener when the listener responds with a similar switch. According to Myers-Scotton (1993) (also reviewed in Chapter 15 of this volume), code-switching is the unmarked choice and an expected form of communication in a bilingual community. Below are some examples of code-switching and code-mixing taken from the four electronic genres. a. Intrasentential Code-switching which occurs within a sentence (insertion). (1) Blog: And yea... anang ngirup mayuh, ok? Translation: don’t drink too much (Iban)



Chapter 18.  Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships 

(2) (3) (4)

Chat/IM: so gam dung Translation: touched (Cantonese) E-Mail: sorry my bahasa very teruk Translation: language, bad (Malay) Text Message: Y so “kan” 1? Translation: bad (Hokkien)

b. Intersentential Code-switching that occurs between sentences (alternation). (5) Blog: Tahan hati ja tidak tau apa mo buat... ehehehehehe. Been like this since 7.50am this morning till now... Translation: Just have to bear with it. I don’t know what to do. (Colloquial Malay) (6) Chat/IM: any decent young man? belasan tahun Translation: In their teens (Malay) (7) E-Mail: How abt 10:30 a.m? Boleh tak? Translation: Is that okay? (Malay) (8) Text Message: I canot join u guys 2nite. wa ai tak chek lah.. Translation: I have to study (Hokkien) The above examples illustrate both intersentential and intrasentential code-switching between English and Malay, Cantonese, Hokkien and Iban, an indigenous language of East Malaysia. The features seen here are also commonly found in spoken MalE except that, in these examples, we see the use of symbols like @, the use of emoticons for facial expressions and the use of the Roman script to represent sounds in Chinese. Code-switching is also a common phenomenon in other varieties of English. Fung and Carter (2007) found this to be a common strategy used by Hong Kong users of the Internet. It is “a device used to affirm participants’ claim to membership of the group in contrast to outsiders, principally as a means to shift allegiances and develop identities” (Kramsch 1998; Cadas & Coron-Cadas 2002).

6.2

Discourse particles

Discourse particles are commonly found in colloquial MalE. They have a pragmatic function that serves to convey emotive or affective attitudes. The presence of discourse

 Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

particles may change the meaning or the tone of a sentence. They can be used to, for example, soften a remark, place emphasis on a statement or word, affirm a statement or to turn a statement into a question. In other words, the function of discourse particles is to “instruct discourse participants how to consider an upcoming utterance by providing a path toward the integration of different components of language use into coherent discourse” (Louwerse & Mitchell 2003: 202), while at the same time they “seem to be dispensable elements functioning as signposts in the communication facilitating the hearer’s interpretation of the utterance on the basis of various contextual clues” (Aijmer 2002: 2). The examples are as follows: (9) Blog: wanted to add some zombies and ghosts but also no moneyyy... bah...  (Sabah, East Malaysia) (10) Chat/IM: coz i’m not important to u oso mah (Chinese) (11) E-Mail: sorry for the late reply on the thingy..busy lah (Malay, Chinese) (12) Text Message: u leh? (Chinese) The above examples contain particles that come from Malay, Chinese and Sabahan (East Malaysian) languages placed at the end of statements, each one serving a different function. These discourse particles which are hearer-oriented provide an interpersonal function. They present additional signals for interpretation of direct communication. Based on the example in the blog, the bah particle is used to seek empathy from the readers, whereas in the example on the chat/IM, the particle mah is used to indicate the apparentness of the chatter’s statement while coaxing a reply from the other chatter. The particle lah in the e-mail functions as a device to placate the recipient of the message. Lastly, the leh particle in the text message serves to soften the tone of the question. Here, we also see the Romanisation of Chinese particles (啦, la; 叻, leh; 嘛, mah) in the construction of CMC messages and how users make creative use of the Roman script to represent sounds in other languages. Some Malaysian netizens do not read and/or understand Chinese, but are still familiar with these discourse particles and do not wish to limit their expression online. Therefore, they come up with Romanised spellings that represent Chinese characters.

6.3

Borrowings

Borrowings are a common feature in both written and spoken English. They are used for items or events of cultural or religious significance but can also be used for words which are understood by members of all ethnic groups. They are also found when there are no equivalent words in English. The tables below provide examples of borrowings from different languages into English, for instance, the word kampung comes from Malay, macha from Tamil and angpow from Chinese. The examples are as follows:



Chapter 18.  Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships 

(13) (14) (15) (16)

6.4

Went back to my kampung on Friday evening, reached there around 7 pm. Word Origin: Malay Meaning: Hometown Angpow angpow...hehe...i like to get more money Word Origin: Hokkien Meaning: Red packet we can still have our Merdeka party... Word Origin: Malay Meaning: Malaysian Independence Day Macha, kk we go...settle, we go and enjoy Word Origin: Tamil Meaning: Brother

Affixation

Affixes are common in Malay and tend to get transferred into English in spoken MalE, and they are seen in electronic discourse as well. English participle affixes like ed and the ing are also found with Malay or Chinese words in the data, as can be seen in the following examples: (17) Blog: my mum yang kuat sembahyang pun terwake up from her slumber. The Malay prefix ter- means ‘accidentally’ or ‘unintentionally’. In this example, a Malay prefix (ter-) is attached to an English phrasal verb (wake up). (18) Chat/IM: no la i wasn’t kacau-ed... The English -ed suffix is used to show the passive. The meaning of kacau-ed is ‘disturbed’. Here, an English suffix (-ed) is attached to a Malay verb (kacau). (19) E-Mail: Sigh...Ystrday, I terhit my dad’s car. The Malay prefix ter- means ‘accidentally’ or ‘unintentionally’. This instance shows a Malay prefix (ter-) attached to an English verb (hit). (20) Text Message: Thought u r pak tohing. The English -ing suffix is used to show the present continuous tense. The meaning of pak tohing is ‘dating’. Here, an English suffix (-ing) is attached to a Cantonese verb.

6.5

Coinage

The digital speech community has got creative with language. In order to express their personality and their belonging to a particular social group, new words are constructed

 Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

Table 1.  Blending Donno don’t + know anot or + not e.g. donno got ppl read anot...

Gimme give + me e.g. Gimme a call when u’ve reached.

Gotta got + to e.g. But, I gotta work 2mrw.

Kinda kind + of e.g. I kinda like the photo too.

Lotsa lots + of e.g. lotsa work

Wanna want + to e.g. ahvian: i wanna watch it too.

Wazzup, whassup what’s + up e.g. wazzup? k here! Princess Lana Janelle: whassup guys?

Whaddahell what + the + hell e.g. Though some times, whaddahell, I makan jugak especially during satay binge :)

and invented. Some of these words are created to imitate the sounds of spoken language (see examples of blending in Table 1) while some words are constructed based on the users’ knowledge of other languages such as Malay and Chinese where compounds are common. a. Blending Blending is often found when parts of two or three words are combined to form a word. These types of blending are also found in other varieties of English. Usually the spelling and sounds of the blends imitate that of the spoken form. b. Compounding Compounding is found when two words are combined to make a new word. Compounds are found in all the four genres of electronic discourse. The examples and the process of compounding are illustrated below: (21)

camwhore (commonly found in blogs) Lexical Category: Verb Meaning: Posing for a picture camera + whore cam + whore (- era is clipped) e.g. ...just camwhoring with the cows!



Chapter 18.  Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships 

(22) (23) (24)

overthrilled over + thrilled e.g. My darling of course is overthrilled with it. over-riped over + riped e.g. i’m not really sure why but probably one of the reason is because i love him? haha....or also because i’m terrified of being over-riped yummylicious yummy + delicious yummy + licious (de- is clipped) e.g. The cake was yummylicious.

c. Affixation This process involves the attachment of a bound morpheme to a root or stem. Some of these newly created adverbs, nouns and adjectives are not generally found in standard English. The examples are as follows: fiercefully fierce + ful + ly e.g. she cried fiercefully... monkeyness monkey + ness e.g. although with his cheekiness and his monkeyness, he’s still an angel to hubby n myself... (27) maidless maid + less e.g. I’m maidless now. (25) (26)

d. Hypocorism Hypocorism refers to a diminutive and endearing term for the original complete word. It involves a process where shortening and affixation are involved. For instance, the noun ‘cigarette’ is shortened to ‘cig’ and subsequently, the suffix -gie is added. Another example that is found in our data is the noun ‘husband’. Firstly, the noun is shortened to ‘hubby’ and then the -by suffix is omitted while another suffix, -s, is added. Below are the examples: (28) (29)

ciggie cigarette – ette + gie e.g. The booze and the ciggie bonding time. hubs husband ◊ hubby – by + s e.g. so hubs says why not just celebrate it satu kali

 Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

6.6

Netspeak

According to Crystal (2001, 2006), Netspeak is a medium and not a variety. It is unlike traditional writing as it is not permanent. It is not like speech either. Netspeak with its distinctive features is a method of conveying text, thoughts and emoticons in the shortest form possible. This medium is also known as reading and writing (communication) version 2.0. Another term used to refer to this medium is Netlingo. The distinctive features of Netspeak are as follows: a. Abbreviations and acronyms Abbreviations and acronyms have long been used in handwritten and printed texts with the main reason being to save space or to be brief. In electronic discourse, they are important as genres like IMs and text messages often have to be short as a quick response is needed, and portable devices restrict the number of characters that are possible in a single message. Another reason for abbreviations and acronyms is socially motivated in that by using them, the users are indicating their membership in a particular group. In most cases, vowels are dropped in abbreviations. As Crystal (2001, 2006) has pointed out, users are aware of the information value of consonants as opposed to vowels. The following are some examples of abbreviations in the electronic data that we have. (30) (31) (32) (33)

Blog: Haha, didn’t i know tht already Tht is the abbreviation of ‘that. Chat/IM: it is srsly gd Srsly is the abbreviation of ‘seriously’ while gd is the abbreviation of ‘good’. E-Mail: sent u a msg b4 this ‘Message’ is abbreviated as msg. Text Message: Hv a safe journey. ‘Have’ is abbreviated as hv.

Below are some examples of acronyms found in our data: (34) (35) (36)

Blog: omg i have found my new love in life! omg is the acronym of ‘Oh, my God!’ Chat/IM: Wakaka. pop, there’s an idiot here. lmao lmao is the acronym of ‘“laughing my ass off ’. E-Mail: i gtg now, so take care gtg is the acronym of ‘got to go’.



Chapter 18.  Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships 

(37) Text Message: Hru? Hope u r okay. Hru is the acronym of ‘how are you?’ Technology has afforded netizens to write in more economical ways with abbreviations and acronyms. This has also been found by other researchers, for example, Crystal (2001, 2006), Lee (2002), Hadziahmetovic-Jurida (2007), Ooi (2008), and Ooi, Tan and Chiang (2007) who provided a number of examples of acronyms and abbreviations. The acronyms are not restricted to only words and short phrases but can also be sentence length: GTG (got to go) and WDYS (What did you say?) (Lee 2002) b. Phonetic replacement and spelling Phonetic replacement and spelling are quite similar to the rebus principle or “representation of a word or syllable by a picture of an object the name of which resembles in sound the represented word or syllable” (Britannica Online Encyclopedia n.d.). However, instead of using a picture to represent a word, a numerical digit or letter is used to replace a phonetic sound. In phonetic replacement, a numerical digit is used in place of a sound sequence within a word. Phonetic spelling, on the other hand, is a substitution of a letter for an entire word where the pronunciation of the letter is the same as the original word (Ramirez Johnson n.d.). According to Craig (2003), this feature of Netspeak is nothing more than a type of wordplay that has special importance to linguistic development. Here are some examples on phonetic replacement: (38) (39)

gr8 – great Hope u had a gr8 day. The digit 8 is used to replace the /eIt/ phonetic sound. b4 – before Will be back b4 12. The /ff:/ phonetic sound is substituted by the digit 4.

The following are examples of phonetic spelling: (40) (41)

c – see u – you I’ll c u on Mon then. The letters c and u are used in place of entire words like ‘see’ and ‘you’. y – why Nope, I’m working till 5:30p.m. Y? The word ‘why’ is replaced by the letter y.

c. Symbols replacing words Instead of spelling out an entire word, symbols are used as replacements. These symbols (see Table 2) are used to save space and keystrokes.

 Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

Table 2.  Symbols Symbol

Word

Example

@ &, +

at and

while waiting for Anne @ Sarapung. Ladies & gentlemen, pretty & handsome bloggers... ... we talked a lot about our school friends (juniors + seniors)

d. Shortenings/Clippings In order to save keystrokes, some parts of a longer word are deleted. The clipped words still hold the same meaning as the original longer word. They are also found in spoken MalE. The following are the examples: (42) (43) (44)

pic – picture here’s the pic we took tat day! bro – brother don’t worry, let it be natural bro... uni – university Dear, is there anything 2 eat in uni?

e. Spelling In online communication, netizens do not always comply with the standard forms of spelling. These spellings are not to be viewed as errors. Rather, it is a creative way of using language online. Here are some of the various (creative) spellings found in the data: (45) (46) (47)

wat – what Hey wat time r u goin bck? reali – really dat – that Reali happy 2 hear dat.. juz – just juz feel not so comfortable.

f. Capital letters Capital letters are used for word or phrase emphasis. These words or phrases with capital letters carry the most weight in a particular message. (48) weekends are simply the BEST! (49) I SERIOUSLY HATE it g. Extra vowels and consonants Extra vowels and consonants express the ferocity of emotion of the interlocutor. (50) I haven’t been using Skype for sooooo long



Chapter 18.  Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships 

(51) Buttttttttttt no matter how much headache she gives me... h. Emoticons According to Mehrabian (1971, 1981), body language accounts for 55 per cent of the communication of one’s attitude while communicating. Without any visual cues, textonly messages are more prone to misinterpretation. Facial expression and gestures are important in expressing personal opinions and attitudes and in moderating social relationships. Hence, emoticons or smileys are used. Fullwood and Martino (2007) believe that emoticons can have a positive influence on impression formation. One’s culture appears to have an influence over the emoticons used. Since Malaysia is a multicultural country, and animes and mangas are of great interest to many Malaysians, many types of emoticons are used. There are three kinds of emoticons that are commonly found in CMC (see below). They are all found in our data and the types of emoticons used are not genre-specific. 1. Graphical 2. Western =):-):) 3. Anime/Eastern ^^ ^_^ These are the examples: (52) (53) (54) (55)

Blog: remind me:P Meaning: Tongue sticking out Type: Western Chat/IM: O_O i like the cable car picc! Meaning: Amazed Type: Anime/Eastern E-Mail: except 4 K... she’s just pretty ugly Meaning: Toothy grin Type: Graphical Text Message: Wish me luck Meaning: Wink Type: Graphical

7. Concluding remarks This study shows the dominance of English as a lingua franca or ELF in intra-national communication in Malaysia and illustrates the evolution of a specific local variety of

 Norizah Hassan, Azirah Hashim and Adriana Sufun Phillip

electronic discourse which has arisen from the globalisation and pluricentricity of English. We illustrate how people adapt their language to meet the demands of the new situations and to exploit the potential of the new medium creatively to form new areas of expression. Interlocutors establish their social identity through the use of features specific to the variety and through the medium that is used. English is favoured in multilingual networks, although the preferred form is the informal variety with features such as code-switching, borrowings, and discourse particles from other languages and dialects. Online English has its own dynamics and understanding its nature and value is crucial for any English speaker in the 21st century. Our data reveals that teens and young adults have an immense influence on the language used online as they have grown up in this technological era. Most of the examples given are from these two age groups. The digital age is a domain where youngsters are the natives and adults, the visitors. Most adults and educators worry that Netspeak has a negative impact on language. However, as Eisenberg (2001) puts it, Netspeak does not threaten or replace existing varieties of English. In contrast, it enriches them, extending our range of expression and showing us, homo loquens, at our best. We believe that this emerging medium of communication is an evolution of and revolution in language, not a bastardisation of language, and thus, we conclude with this quote: “Language, then, like everything else, gradually transforms itself over the centuries. There is nothing surprising in this. In a world where humans grow old, tadpoles change into frogs, and milk turns into cheese, it would be strange if language alone remained unaltered” (Aitchison 1991: 4).

References Aijmer, K. 2002. English Discourse Particles. Evidence from a Corpus [Studies in Corpus Linguistics 10]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Aitchison, J. 1991. Language Change: Progress or Decay? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Baron, N. 2003. Language of the internet. In The Stanford Handbook for Language Engineers, Ali Farghali (ed), 59–127. Stanford CA: CSLI. Bolton, K. 2008. English in Asia, Asian Englishes and the issue of proficiency. English Today 24(2): 3–12. Britannica Online Encyclopedia. n.d. Rebus. (05 May 2011). Cadas, S.J. & Coron-Cadas, S. 2002. A sociolinguistic analysis of the language preference of adolescent bilinguals: Shifting allegiances and developing identities. Applied Linguistics 23(4): 490–514. Craig, D. 2003. Instant messaging: The language of youth literacy. The Boothe Prize Essays 2003. (3 May 2010). Crystal, D. 2001. Language and the Internet. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Crystal, D. 2006. Language and the Internet, 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Crystal, D. 2010. Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, 3rd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



Chapter 18.  Language use in the construction of interpersonal relationships  Eisenberg, A. 2001. Editorial Review: Scientific American. Amazon.com: Language and the Internet. (14 September 2007). Fullwood, C. & Martino, O.I. 2007. Emoticons and impression formation. (3 July 2008). Fung, L. & Carter, R. 2007. Cantonese e-discourse: A new hybrid variety of English. Multilingua 26(1): 35–66. Gill, S.P. 1998. The cultural interface: The role of self. In Proceedings Cultural Attitudes towards Communication and Technology '98, C. Ess & F. Sudweeks (eds), 246–251. Australia: University of Sydney. (24 November 2009). Graddol, D. 2006. English Next. London: British Council. Hadziahmetovic-Jurida, S. 2007. Some distinctive lexical features of Netspeak. Linguistics (Jezikoslovlje) 8(2): 193–210. (8 March 2009). Herring, S.C. (ed). 1996. Computer-Mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social and Cross-cultural Perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Hongladarom, S. 1998. Global culture, local cultures, and the internet: The Thai example. The Electronic Journal of Communication. (1 May 1999). Kramsch, C.1998. Language and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lee, C.K.M. 2002. Literacy practices in computer-mediated communication in Hong Kong. The Reading Matrix 2(2): 1–25. Louwerse, M.M. & Mitchell, H. H. 2003. Toward a taxonomy of set of discourse markers in dialog: A theoretical and computational linguistic account. Discourse Processes 35(3): 199–239. Mehrabian, A. 1971. Silent Messages. Belmont CA: Wadsworth. Mehrabian, A. 1981. Silent Messages: Implicit Communication of Emotions and Attitudes, 2nd edn. Belmont CA: Wadsworth. Myers-Scotton, C. 1993. Dueling Languages: Grammatical Structure in Code-switching. Oxford: Clarendon Press. Nishimura, Y. 2003. Establishing a community of practice on the internet: Linguistic behaviour of online Japanese communication. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, P. Nowak, D. Mortense & C. Yoquelet (eds), 337–348. Berkeley CA: BLS. Ooi, V.B.Y. 2008. The lexis of electronic gaming on the web: A Sinclairian approach. International Journal of Lexicography 21(3): 311–323. Ooi, V.B.Y., Tan, P. & Chiang, A. 2007. Analyzing personal weblogs in Singapore English: The WMatrix approach. VARIEENG: Studies in variation, contacts and change in English. (14 May 2011). Ramirez Johnson, J. n.d. IM, SMS, CMC, ESL and other acronyms that should be used together: Reviewing the feasibility of using instant messaging to teach English. (30 April 2010). Sifry, D. 2007. The state of the live web. Sifry’s Alerts. (31 July 2008). Wang, J. 2007. Dominance of British and American English on the World Wide Web in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei. Proceedings of Corpus Linguistics 2007. (3 May 2010).

chapter 19

Transfers of politeness strategies Some preliminary findings Beng Soon Lim

SIM University, Singapore This chapter attempts to investigate linguistic politeness in Malay and Malaysian English (henceforth MalE) and has three primary objectives. Firstly, it aims to compare the two systems of politeness through the use of politeness markers in Malay and MalE. Secondly, it sets out to identify the levels of directness and typical politeness markers that are common when Face Threatening Acts (henceforth FTAs) are performed in the two languages amongst educated Malay bilingual speakers in Malaysia. It is hoped that this study will afford a clearer picture of the linguistic permutations of the transfers of directness levels in multilingual Malaysia. Thirdly, the chapter will compare the data obtained for Malay and MalE with that of House and Kasper’s (1981) for British English (henceforth BrE) as the parameters of this chapter have been extensively modelled on those of House and Kasper. Keywords: mitigator, politeness marker, face-threatening acts (FTAs), power, distance

1. Introduction A comprehensive coverage of the linguistic and demographic landscape in Malaysia has been given in Chapter 9 of this volume. In this chapter, a very quick overview of the language situation in Malaysia will be provided as a background to the study. Malay is the national language of Malaysia, and English is the second language. Most academic subjects at school and universities in Malaysia are taught in Malay except, since 2002, science and mathematics. However, there has been a reversal back to Malay as the medium of instruction since 2010. There has been much debate as to the role English should play in the education system of the country. However, since the early 1970s the dominance of Malay has been established and entrenched in the primary, secondary and tertiary levels of education. Even though English is less important in the education system, many Malay undergraduates and postgraduates in Malaysian universities are

 Beng Soon Lim

conversant in English or at the very least have receptive skills in the language. Although Malay is the dominant language among the Malays, it would be presumptuous to assume from the outset that only Malay politeness strategies will be imposed on MalE. It must be emphasized that this study can only provide an insight into some preliminary findings of Malay and MalE politeness strategies and provide a prognosis of possible transfers. The linguistic situation can be quite complex, and it is through this complex interaction of languages that we are attempting to see the result of the constant interaction of the dynamics of usage of just two of the languages, MalE and Malay.

2. Theoretical framework This chapter aims to provide an insight into the phenomenon of the transfer of politeness strategies (i.e. directness levels and politeness markers) of Malay native speakers whose other tongue is English, and examine its effect on cross-cultural communication. In attempting to identify transfers of politeness strategies we initially recorded role-enactments in situations of complaints and requests in Malay and then we collected data consisting of complaints and requests based on similar speech situations in English. The situations used in this study have been constructed to enable respondents to perform role-enactments. McDonough has suggested that role-playing “may possibly create tension and worry which becomes counterproductive” (McDonough 1981: 81). For this reason, for their role-enactments, we have constructed situations which students have first-hand experience in or are familiar with. The twenty speech situations have elements which involve the private and university lives of students, thus ensuring that the respondents enact situations with which they are familiar (e.g. delivering things to a friend/colleague or closing a door that has been left ajar). Role-enactments of complaint and request situations were used in this study to elicit politeness strategies because they are FTAs, and hence the speakers are required to make manifest the necessary politeness strategies as mitigators.1 These mitigating strategies are a selection from a matrix of possible strategies used by each social grouping to minimise FTAs. As stated by Goffman (1967: 19), “One’s face then is a sacred thing and the expressive order required to sustain it, is therefore a ritual one.” It is in this ritual of sustaining face amidst frequently adverse and conflicting demands on face that face-work is called into use and it is the set of strategies preferred by a certain group as mitigators that are identified as politeness strategies. Essentially complaints attack the positive face of the hearer while requests attack the negative face of the hearer. The concept of sustaining face is seen as a basic need of every member of society. It is further refined into two individual parts, which are the 1. In this chapter the use of mitigators is primarily employed to lower or increase the force of the FTA similar to the modality markers of upgraders and downgraders in House and Kasper (1981).



Chapter 19.  Transfers of politeness strategies 

negative and the positive face. The former is defined as “the want of every competent adult member that his actions be unimpeded by others” while the latter is defined as “the want of every member that his wants be desirable at least to some other” (Brown & Levinson 1987: 62). Hence to elucidate politeness strategies, role play situations were created which were overt FTAs (i.e. acts that threaten either the positive or negative face). For example, requests naturally threaten negative face whilst complaints, on the other hand, invariably threaten the positive face as a complaint can only take place after an act that is complainable has taken place. This complainable act implies that the recipient of the complaint is in some way responsible for actions or desires that are not shared by the speaker. Role-enactments used in this study reflect similar situations used by House and Kasper (1981), and comparisons between this and House and Kaspar’s study will be made. To further enable cross comparisons between this study, which investigated the politeness strategies of Malay and MalE, with that of BrE in House and Kasper (1981), the findings in this study were tabulated in accordance to the schemata proposed by House and Kasper (1981). Their framework of directness markers is derived from the concept of face and FTAs described by Goffman (1967), using the principles of politeness of Leech (1980) and indirect speech acts. The schemata of directness and modality markers proposed by House and Kasper (1981) rely on the directness each FTA is couched within. At all the lower levels of directness, the hearer (henceforth H) must perform an inference process on the basis of the situational context by taking into account the relationship between the H and the speaker (henceforth S). In the schema of House and Kasper there were eight levels of directness with Level 1 (e.g. a hint – “Strange, my shirt was clean last night”) being the most indirect and Level 8, the most direct (e.g. stating the FTA itself – “You are mean to stain my shirt”). Their schemata are not without inherent weaknesses as the levels of directness are far from waterproof. The following parameters were important in this study, namely the levels of directness at which an FTA was pitched and the parameters of plus and minus power and (social) distance between the S and H. These were also variables prominently featured in most studies on politeness strategies. The many studies that have looked into the question of power and distance include those of Holtgraves and Yang (1990), SpencerOatey (1996) and Brown and Levinson (1987). All these studies indicate the importance of the concepts of social relations (i.e. power and distance) in research on pragmatics because the concepts of power and distance contribute to the subjects’ assessment of contextual factors. This study, reflecting the speech situations in House and Kasper (1981), took into consideration the variables plus and minus power and (social) distance. Thus in this study the role plays that were used were clearly devised to reflect situations with the speaker in positions of plus [+] power and [+] distance which were labelled as A situations while those of minus [–] power and [–] distance were labelled as B situations.

 Beng Soon Lim

3. Data collection The data contained herein was collected from male Malay native speakers between the ages of 22 and 30 who were studying at the University of Salford, United Kingdom, via role-enactments. The subjects were acquainted with the researcher and willingly participated in the study. The subjects were given a clear description of the FTAs including the parameters of power and distance between the interlocutors in the role play situations and the role plays were audio taped. Their age group, gender and level of education were elements of homogeneity essential in effecting a comparison of the 200 odd speech events collected. University students were used as subjects in this study because they were likely to have had the longest exposure to English instruction and were expected to be the most proficient in English compared to the general population. Thus, it can be safely assumed that elements of politeness strategies within their native language (i.e. Malay) will have already been transferred into English, and these strategies can be safely assumed to be prominently featured in their speech. This would not be expected of those segments of the population who are less competent in English. The age and gender specification was to ensure that the problem of generational and gender differences would be circumvented and would not be a variable in the study.

4. Findings 4.1

Levels of directness in complaints

The levels employed to measure directness in the FTA of complaints and requests are similar to those employed by House and Kasper (1981). There are in total 8 levels of directness with Level 1 being most indirect and Level 8 being most direct. For example, in a complaint, S might just mention the offending situation to imply H did the FTA: “Strange the kitchen was spotless yesterday” will yield the illocutionary force of a complaint if after the H has used the kitchen it is now dirty. A Level 2 directness will involve S explicitly stating the offending condition as in “The kitchen is in a real mess”, vs. a Level 3 in terms of directness where S asserts that the offending situation is detrimental to him/her, as in “Oh my, I will have to spend hours cleaning up this mess”. These levels of directness will graduate in their pointedness till Level 8 where the speakers attack the H due to his action as in “You are a real pain messing up my kitchen”. Similarly in requests, the obviousness of the request determines its level of directness. For example in Level 1 requests S hints at an action s/he desires from the H as in “It’s very hot in here” to get H to turn on the air conditioning, vs. Level 2 where S drops a strong hint “Why is the air-con off ”. In Level 3 the S will query a preparatory condition that the S desires: “Could you turn on the air-con?”, and so on, till Level 8 where the request is a bald on-record order “Turn on the air-con”. In Malay complaints, it was found that there was a tendency for respondents to pitch their complaints at directness Levels 5 and 6, which accounted for 31 times out



Chapter 19.  Transfers of politeness strategies 

of a total of seventy collected. These complaints at Levels 5 and 6 had only 26 instances of being modulated by downgraders, while there were 31 instances of upgraders used.2 The more frequent use of upgraders with such high levels of directness actually further compounds the FTA of the complaints. Examples of these complaints are where the S explicitly asserts that the H did the complainable action: (1) Sebablah kau, group kita tak dapat markah. ‘Because of you, our group did not get any marks.’ In contrast, complaints in MalE were most frequently pitched at Level 4 (thirteen out of seventy instances) where the S asks the H about the circumstances leading to the complainable act:

(2) “Did you wear my shirt last night?”

There was also a fair use of other levels of directness, for example Levels 2 and 5 had twelve instances of use. The fairly even use of downgraders and upgraders did not immediately reveal the influence of Malay on MalE. However, upon closer inspection, it is found that the use of Levels 6 and 7 directness with upgraders are distinctly Malay features which do not occur at all in the BrE data of House and Kasper (1981). In fact, House and Kasper did not record any instances of upgraders used above Level 6 (House & Kasper 1981: 161). Examples of directness Level 6 in MalE involves the S stating explicitly that the action of H is bad:

(3) “Hey why you’re so clever to use my shirt, now it’s torn.”

While at Level 7 directness, the S asserts explicitly that what H is doing is bad:

(4) “You are just irresponsible to take my things without telling me.”

These high levels of directness in complaints in MalE are influences from Malay predispositions for similar high levels of directness in complaints as evidenced in Table 1 below: Table 1.  Levels of directness in complaints (Malay, MalE & BrE) Directness Level Malay No. of instances Rel. frequency (%) MalE No. of instances Rel. frequency (%) BrE No. of instances Rel. frequency (%)

1

2

3

4

5

6

 0  0  2   2.85 11 13.8

10 14.2 12 17.1  5   6.3

 8 11.4  2   2.85 14 17.5

 9 11.4 13 18.5 17 21.3

18 25.7 12 17.1 15 18.8

13 18.5 10 14.2 18 22.5

7

8

Total

1 1.4 4 5.7 0 0

1 1.4 0 0 0 0

  70 100%   70 100%   80 100%

2. Downgraders are used to play down the impact of an FTA, most of which are to increase or restore harmony between H and S (cf. House and Kasper 1981). Upgraders are converse to downgraders and are meant to increase the force of an FTA.

 Beng Soon Lim

4.2

Level Zero – A proposed new level of directness

There is a need for the formulation of another level of directness which could possibly be labelled as Level Zero (where an indirect speech act is used). It is common in the Malay and MalE data that FTAs of complaints are sometimes realised as requests. The perlocutionary force of these speech acts are clearly those of requests as found in a study of politeness strategies of Malay and MalE (see Lim 1996), and significant proportions of 15.7% and 21.4% of complaints in Malay and MalE respectively were realised as requests. I propose that these FTAs be classified as complaints primarily for two reasons. Firstly, the speakers intended the speech acts to be complaints. Secondly, it is possible to distinguish between these speech acts in Level Zero from requests per se as these speech acts imply that something is wrong or an alternative action is preferable. For example, in a situation where H is making too much noise, S complains:

(5) “Can (you [elipted]) please, be a bit quieter.”

The example above implies that there was too much noise. Though realised as a request it has an unmistakable elipted pre-complaint of ‘you’re too noisy so {can (you) please, be a bit quieter}’. Hence there is justification for labelling this strategy as Level Zero as a more polite way of complaining. In this study there were eleven instances of complaints realized as requests in Malay and ten instances in MalE.

4.3

Cultural motivations of politeness strategies in complaints: The case of Malay

In terms of the distribution of levels of directness with regard to the contextual factors of power and (social) distance, Malay complaints tend to have low levels of directness when the speaker is in a position of power. Conversely, higher levels of directness were commonplace when the speaker was in a position of minus power and minus distance. These discoveries are, we believe, linguistic evidence for anthropological observations common among researchers on Javanese and Malay societies, e.g. Geertz (1960), Geertz (1961) and Smith-Hefner (1988) where, the more cultured and superior (i.e. + power) one is, the more one is supposed to adopt indirect methods of communicating FTAs; bluntness is simply not a virtue. Similarly, in this study we found that high levels of directness were adopted by friends while, in formal situations, low levels of directness were preferred. The preference to lower the force of an FTA is so commonly found in Malay that alternative forms of the imperative have evolved, for example the use of tak instead of tidak (Asmah 2008: 140–141). This use of the shorter form of the word is characteristic of informality and hence allows for higher levels of directness and this is also manifested in the MalE requests below.



Chapter 19.  Transfers of politeness strategies 

4.4

Levels of directness in requests

Requests in Malay tend to occur at directness Levels 3 and 7, with fifteen and fourteen occurrences out of a total of forty recorded requests, while for BrE, the most commonly used level of directness is that of Level 3 (eighteen out of 44 recorded instances). Some examples at Directness Level 3 in Malay are similar to those of BrE (i.e. the typical conventionally indirect speech act of a request), as when S queries whether an action can be executed:

(6) “Can you please help me do this?”

The MalE data for requesting strategies showed tendencies of a marked influence of Malay. This striking similarity between MalE and Malay at higher levels of directness, particularly from Levels 4 to 8, is shown in Table 2 below: As can be seen from the table above, the most popular level of directness in Malay, MalE and BrE is Level 3. However, there are quite a few instances of Malay and MalE requests at Levels 7 and 8. For example, at Directness Levels 7 and 8, there were sixteen instances of requests in MalE, seventeen instances in Malay and only six in BrE. We then proceeded to scrutinize the preference for certain levels of directness in requesting in relation to the variable, plus and minus formality, represented by A/ Formal (+power and +distance) to B/Informal (-power and -distance) speech situations. The breakdown of directness levels used in situations of different clines of formality can be seen in Table 3 below: Table 2.  Levels of directness in requests (Malay, MalE & BrE) Directness Level Malay No. of instances Rel. frequency MalE No. of instances Rel. frequency BrE No. of instances Rel. frequency

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

Total

 0  0  1   2.5  6 13.6

0 0 1 2.5 3 6.8

15 37.5 15 37.5 18 40.9

 4 10  4 10  6 13.6

4 10 3 7.5 3 6.8

0 0 0 0 2 4.5

14 35 13 32.5  1   2.3

 3   7.5  3   7.5  5 11

  40 100%   40 100%   44 100%

Table 3.  Distribution of A to B speech situations of requests (Figures are given in the form A: B.) Levels of Directness Malay MalE

1

2

3

4

5

0 1:0

0 0:1

21:5 17:6

0:4 2:2

1:3 1:2

6 0 0

7

8

  9:9 12:11

0:5 0:3

 Beng Soon Lim

In the data above, it is perhaps interesting to note that there is a nascent Malay influence in the predominance of B to A situations (i.e. speaker in a position of minus [–] power and [–] distance to the hearer) at high levels of directness particularly at Levels 5 and 8 in MalE, whilst there is a predominance of A situations (i.e. speaker in a position of [+] power and [+] distance) at low levels of directness as found in Directness Level 3. Recall the similarity in the predisposition of Malay A and B speech situations in both complaints and requests. This supports the cultural notes regarding Malay society that high levels of directness are used in situations of low levels of formality whilst low levels of directness are preferred in formal situations. However, this study also found exceptions to the above rule where Malay politeness allows for high levels of directness in certain formal settings where it is common for one’s request to be a hedged performative where the S hedges his request with a modal auxiliary as in the role-enactment below of a lecturer asking his student to close the door to the tutorial room: (7) Saya mesti minta saudara tutup pintu itu, kita nak mula. ‘I must ask you to close the door, we are going to start.’

4.5

Use of modality markers

4.5.1 Similarities between MalE and BrE In terms of the distribution of modality markers in both Malay and MalE, there is a marked preference for the minus committer (e.g. I think, maybe) in MalE complaints. The genesis of this influence is however unclear due to a heavy use of the minus committer in both Malay and BrE. This chapter proposes that a clear example of BrE influence on MalE can be seen in the use of politeness markers. As compared to the poor showing of only three instances in the use of politeness markers in Malay, the MalE complaints exhibited a profusion of ten instances. A possible reason for the prolific use of politeness markers (e.g. please and excuse me or their Malay equivalent such as tolong and maafkan saya) in MalE could be because these markers are overt devices that project politeness. This is in no small part due to the fact that many complaints are realized as requests as a form of indirect speech act. It is perhaps in the use of modality markers that MalE follows trends in BrE politeness strategies, particularly in the use of hesitators (e.g. emm, ahh), which is typically BrE whilst being uncommon in the Malay data. There is further evidence that MalE conforms to BrE trends in the lack of the use of modality markers (upgraders) with requests with high levels of directness, unlike a Malay predisposition where upgraders are used with high levels of directness. This close reflection of the BrE pattern of modality markers also demonstrates the stark preference for downgraders over upgraders in MalE requesting strategies, and reflects BrE tendencies similar to those reported by House and Kasper (1981).



Chapter 19.  Transfers of politeness strategies 

4.5.2 Similarities between Malay and MalE Evidence of transfers from Malay to MalE are particularly apparent in modality markers in complaints, especially in the use of upgraders. The most common upgrading devices in Malay are the Lexical Intensifiers, for example heh/cis/ooi or the use of the wrong choice of pronominal forms awak or kau as a low form of ‘you’ that carry the impression that the H is of lower social status than S and thus carry negative implicit meaning. The use of Intensifiers is also popular (e.g. emphatic particles viz. lah), as is the use of upgraders. MalE prefers the Aggressive Interrogative and the Rhetorical Appeal. Here we see the similarity in both MalE and Malay is so strong that some examples such as ‘awak tahu tak’ are rendered in MalE as ‘you know or not’; kan and huh rendered in MalE ’why ah’, ‘didn’t I tell you’ and ‘you know’. These examples of similarities between MalE and Malay seem to be almost like translations. To further prove this point, some examples are provided below: (8) Yang kau pergi rosakkan computer ni buat apa? (rhetorical question) ‘Why did you damage the computer?’ (9) “I told you to deliver this thing on time what, you know she is already mad with me, so what to do now?” The other common examples of upgraders/intensifiers used include terms like ‘what lah’, which mirrors the Malay ‘apa lah’; ‘teruk lah’ rendered into MalE as ‘Terrible lah’, and interrogatives that function as intensifiers such as ‘why are you like this’, which mirrors ‘kenapa awak buat begini’ and ‘see lah’: ‘tengok’ (an expression to indicate exasperation). If we look at the intensifiers, which can be considered as ‘abusive interjections’, many of them are semantically vacuous while the use of ‘you know’ is not a solidarity marker but a rhetorical device similar to kan. Some examples of the use of ‘you know’ can be seen below: (10) Kan kau dah tahu aku nak pakai buku tu semalam (.) kenapa kau bagi balik lambat. ‘You know didn’t you that I needed the book last night (.) why did you then return it late?’ (11) Awak tahu tak (ano. Int.) (.) awak betul-betul menyusahkahn saya. ‘Did you know (.) that you have truly inconvenienced me.’ 4.5.3 MalE independence? The lack of Malay influence on the MalE use of modality markers in requests is interesting as upon close analysis it indicates that MalE has come of age in that it has its own preference for modality markers not previously influenced by BrE or Malay. Almost all the downgraders preferred in Malay were not prominently featured in the MalE data. For example, the understater and the agent avoider suffered a decrease in use of 100% and 80% respectively in MalE requests. This impression of MalE having its own politeness strategies is further strengthened by the more than twofold increase in the use of

 Beng Soon Lim

the politeness marker as compared to the Malay data (i.e. compared to six recorded instances in Malay requests, MalE requests had 22 instances of politeness marker use).

4.6

Possible areas of miscommunication

We suggest that the findings in this study predict that certain areas of miscommunication might arise when MalE speakers convey their complaints and requests to speakers of BrE. We must bear in mind that the respondents of this study can be classified as acrolectal speakers of MalE and as such have a good command of English. Hence BrE speakers who come into contact with these MalE speakers may very well be lulled into expecting BrE politeness strategies as these MalE speakers do not exhibit ostensible features of a learner’s language. In the area of complaints, a very marked difference in the use of levels of directness does recommend itself as a possible area of uncertainty and confusion. There were eight instances of complaints at levels of directness 6–7 that are tempered with upgraders in MalE. House and Kasper (1981) discovered that none of their BrE respondents used upgraders above Level 6 directness. In fact, BrE respondents did not go beyond Level 6 directness in complaints. This MalE development of using high levels of directness with upgraders would then appear to be highly offensive to the BrE listener, for example: In complaining to a friend that a group assignment was not submitted to the detriment of the group. (12) “You’ve ruined my life, what have you done, you should give our assignment on time, otherwise I don’t get the marks and you also.” (Level 7, plus upgrader: Aggressive Interrogative x 1) In complaining that the shared kitchen is in a deplorable state: (13) “Why do you leave the kitchen dirty? When are you going to clean it back?” (Level 6, plus upgrader: Aggressive Interrogative x2) In MalE requesting strategies, the common use of directness Levels 7 and 8, which accounts for more than 50% of the recorded instances (in both situations of hearer being in a position of plus [+] distance and [+] power, and also in situations of minus [–] distance and [–] power), could recommend itself as being more urgent, and hence more face-threatening, to the speaker. Hence the use of this level of directness in requesting makes the FTA (i.e. request) weightier than it actually is and borders on becoming a demand. The MalE examples are provided below: In a situation of a patient requesting a different form of medication: (14) “I want the pills not the liquid medicine.” A student asking another student he doesn’t know for the use of the library’s video player beyond the time slot he has been allocated, thus encroaching into the time meant for the hearer of the request:



Chapter 19.  Transfers of politeness strategies 

(15) “Can I still use this video (player) for another 10 minutes?” Finally, it is predicted that the Malay predilection for using low levels of directness in situations of power and distance could be a constant source of confusion in crosscultural communication. The use of low levels of directness in complaints and requests by a Malay superior to a subordinate who does not share similar politeness strategies (or one who is unaware of Malay politeness strategies) might lead the subordinate to trivialize complaints and requests that have low levels of directness. One possible misperception, which is frequently generated and best depicts this miscommunication between speech communities that have different levels of politeness, is that the community that subscribes to low levels of directness is seen as being shifty at worst or indecisive at best. On the other hand, the community that subscribes to high levels of directness is seen as barefaced and rude.

5. Conclusion In conclusion, this study has highlighted several areas of possible miscommunication between BrE and MalE speakers in terms of the politeness strategies employed. It is possible that miscommunication could arise because of the apparent fluency of the MalE speakers that might lead the BrE speaker to expect their MalE interlocutors to either practice or be aware of BrE politeness strategies. This development might, to a large extent, be due to the intrinsic nature of politeness strategies being highly nebulous, but nevertheless prevalent in speech, and it further affects meaning to a high degree. The current paucity of research into the transfer of politeness strategies in multilingual societies is lamentable. In order to fully present a comprehensive linguistic identity of new Englishes and their interaction with the local languages and cultures, we should not only investigate the lexicon, syntax and phonology of these new varieties of English but also their politeness strategies. The variant of English investigated in this chapter has been clearly acculturated in Malaysia by Malay politeness strategies. MalE is the result of such acculturation not only in terms of its lexicon, syntax and phonology but also its politeness strategies. It is proposed that further research into the issue of the transfer of politeness strategies in bilingual and multilingual societies is indeed warranted as this phenomenon exists in a subtle fashion and it only becomes apparent when it motivates a breakdown in cross-cultural communication. I am of the opinion that this breakdown of communication in a multilingual context is not due to a lack of intelligibility but due to misinterpretations of pragmatic moves. Just as postulated by Smith (1992), understanding has three different levels and the most complicated is that of interpretability of illocutionary force. To a great extent, pragmatic force may be interpreted by considering the levels of directness and modality markers in FTAs and, when there are transfers of levels of directness and modality markers from one language to another, we run the risk of being misunderstood.

 Beng Soon Lim

References Asmah Haji Omar. 2008. Susur Galur Bahasa Melayu (Edisi Kedua). Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Brown, P. & Levinson, S. 1987. Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Geertz, C. 1960. The Religion of Java. New York NY: The Free Press. Geertz, H. 1961. The Javanese Family: A Study of Kinship and Socialization. New York NY: The Free Press of Glencoe. Goffman, E. 1967. Interaction Ritual. Chicago IL: Adline Publishing. Holtgraves, T. & Yang, J.N. 1990. Politeness as universal: Cross-cultural perceptions of request strategies and inferences based on their use. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 59(4): 719–729. House, J. & Kasper, G. 1981. Politeness markers in English and German. In Conversational Routine, F. Coulmas (ed), 157–185. The Hague: Mouton. Leech, G. 1980. Language and Tact. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Lim, B.S. 1996. Is There Transfer? Politeness Markers in Malay, English and Malaysian English. MA thesis, University of Salford. McDonough, S.H. 1981. Psychology in Foreign Language Teaching. London: Allen Unwin. Smith, L.E. 1992. Spread of English and issues of intelligibility. In The Other Tongue: English across Cultures, 2nd edn., B.B. Kachru (ed), 75–90. Urbana-Champaign IL: University of Illinois Press. Smith-Hefner, N.J. 1988. Women and politeness: The Javanese example. Language in Society 17(4): 535–554. Spencer-Oatey, H. 1996. Reconsidering power and distance. Journal of Pragmatics 26(1): 1–24.

part iv

Bibliography

chapter 20

Works on English in Southeast Asia Ee-Ling Lowa, Azirah Hashimb, Ran Aoa and Adriana Sufun Phillipb aNational

Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and bUniversity of Malaya, Malaysia

This chapter provides a bibliography of key works on English in Southeast Asia (henceforth SEA). The first section covers general works on English in SEA as a whole. For ease of reference, the authors have covered the countries represented in this volume alphabetically, namely Brunei, Hong Kong (China), Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. For each country, the works are divided according to ‘linguistic features’, ‘language policy’ and ‘language in use’. The reason for this division is to follow the key focal areas of this volume. The aim of this chapter is to provide an updated and useful resource for all researchers and educators interested in the topic of English in SEA.

1. General works on English in SEA Azirah Hashim & Norizah Hassan (eds). 2006a. English in Southeast Asia: Prospects, Perspectives and Possibilities. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Azirah Hashim & Norizah Hassan (eds). 2006b. Varieties of English in Southeast Asia and beyond. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Bautista, M.L.S. & Gonzalez, A. 2006. Southeast Asian Englishes. In The Handbook of World Englishes, B. B. Kachru, Y. Kachru & C. L. Nelson (eds), 130–144. Malden MA: Blackwell. Benson, P. 1997. English dictionaries in Asia: Asia in English dictionaries. In English Is an Asian Language – The Philippine Context: Proceedings of the Conference Held in Manila on August 2–3, 1996, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 125–140. Sydney: Macquarie Library. Bolton, K. 2008. English in Asia, Asian Englishes and the issue of proficiency. English Today 24(2): 3–12. Brown, A. (ed). 1996. English in Southeast Asia ‘96. Singapore: Nanyang Technological University. Brown, A. (ed). 2000. English in Southeast Asia 99: Proceedings of the Fourth ‘English in Southeast Asia’ Conference. Singapore: National Institute of Education. Butler, S. 1997. Corpus of English in Southeast Asia: Implications for a regional dictionary. In English Is an Asian Language – The Philippine Context: Proceedings of the Conference Held in Manila on August 2–3, 1996, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 103–124. Sydney: Macquarie Library. Deterding, D. 2006. Reduced vowels in SE Asia: Should we be teaching them? Southeast Asia: A Multidisciplinary Journal 6(1): 71–78.

 Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip Deterding, D. 2010. Norms for pronunciation in Southeast Asia. World Englishes 29(3): 364–377. Deterding, D. & Kirkpatrick, A. 2006. Emerging South-East Asian Englishes and intelligibility. World Englishes 25(3): 391–409. Kachru, Y. & Nelson, C.L. 2006. World Englishes in Asian Contexts. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Kandiah, T. & Kwan-Terry, J. (eds). 1994. English and Language Planning: A Southeast Asian Contribution. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Kirkpatrick, A. 2007. World Englishes: Implications for International Communication and English Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kirkpatrick, A. 2010. English as a Lingua Franca in ASEAN: A Multilingual Model. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Lee, H.K. & Suryadinata, L. 2007. Language, Nation and Development in Southeast Asia. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Lim, L. & Low, E.L. (eds). 2009. Multilingual, globalizing Asia: Implications for policy and education (Special issue). AILA Review 22. Low, E.L. & Pakir, A. (eds). 2010. Englishes in Southeast Asia (Special issue). World Englishes 29(3). Mesthrie, R. (ed). 2008. Varieties of English, Vol. 4: Africa, South and Southeast Asia. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. Noss, R.B. (ed). 1983. Varieties of English in Southeast Asia: Selected Papers from the RELC Seminar on ‘Varieties of English and Their Implications for English Language Teaching in Southeast Asia’, Singapore, April 1981. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Pakir, A. 2010. Current research on Englishes in Southeast Asia. World Englishes 29(3): 329–335. Patke, R.S. & Holden, P. 2009. The Routledge Concise History of Southeast Asian Writing in English. London: Routledge. Powell, R. 2009. The roles of English in Southeast Asian legal systems. In World Englishes – Problems, Properties and Prospects: Selected Papers from the 13th IAWE Conference [Varieties of English around the World G40], T. Hoffmann & L. Siebers (eds), 155–177. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Prescott, D. (ed). 2007. English in Southeast Asia: Varieties, Literacies and Literatures. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Press. Rappa, A.L. & Wee, L. 2006. Language Policy and Modernity in Southeast Asia: Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Berlin: Springer. Schneider, E.W. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Zhang, L.J. Rubdy, R. & Alsagoff, L. (eds). 2009. Englishes and Literatures-in-English in a Globalised World: Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on English in Southeast Asia. Singapore: National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.

2. English in Brunei Darussalam 2.1

Linguistic features

McLellan, J. 1996. Some features of written discourse in Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 223–235. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies.



Chapter 20.  Works on English in Southeast Asia  Mossop, J. 1996a. Markedness and fossilisation in the interlanguage phonology of Brunei English. World Englishes 15(2): 171–182. Mossop, J. 1996b. Some phonological features of Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, A.C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 189–208. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Salbrina Haji Sharbawi. 2006. The vowels of Brunei English: An acoustic investigation. English World-Wide 27(3): 247–264. Salbrina Haji Sharbawi & Deterding, D. 2010. Rhoticity in Brunei English. English World-Wide 31(2): 121–137.

2.2

Language policy

Jones, G.M. 1996. The bilingual education policy in Brunei Darussalam. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 123–132. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Saxena, M. 2008. Ideology, policy and practice in Bilingual classrooms: Brunei Darussalam. In Encyclopedia of Language and Education, N.H. Hornberger (ed), 3129–3141. Berlin: Springer.

2.3

Language in use

Cane, G. 1994. The English language in Brunei Darussalam. World Englishes 13(3): 351–60. Cane, G. 1996. Syntactic simplification and creativity in spoken Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 209–222. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Cane, G. & Rosnah Haji Ramly. 1996. Factors influencing the choice of a role model for trainee English teachers in Brunei Darussalam. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 133–155. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Ho, D.G.E. 2009. Exponents of politeness in Brunei English. World Englishes 28(1): 35–51. Jones, G.M. 1996. The changing role of English in Brunei Darussalam. In English in Southeast Asia ’96, A. Brown (ed), 13–34. Singapore: Nanyang Technological University. Martin, P.W., Ożog, A.C. & Poedjosoedarmo, G. (eds). 1996. Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. O’Hara-Davies, B. 2010. Brunei English: A developing variety. World Englishes 29(3): 406–419. Ozog, A.C. 1996a. Codeswitching in Peninsular Malaysia and Brunei Darussalam: A study in contrasting linguistic strategies. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 173–188. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Ozog, A.C. 1996b. The unplanned use of English: The case of Brunei Darussalam. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 156–172. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Ozog, A.C. & Martin, P.W. 1996. The bah particle in Brunei English. In Language Use and Language Change in Brunei Darussalam, P.W. Martin, C. Ożog & G. Poedjosoedarmo (eds), 236–249. Athens OH: Ohio University Center for International Studies. Poedjosoedarmo, G. 2004. English in Brunei Darussalam: Portrait of a vital language with an elusive role. RELC Journal 35(3): 359–370.

 Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip Svalberg, A.M.L. 1998. Nativization in Brunei English: Deviation vs. standard. World Englishes 17(3): 325–344. Svalberg, A.M-L. 2002. Language standards and language variation in Brunei Darussalam: The understanding of would by native and non-native speakers of English. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 12(1): 117–141.

3. English in Hong Kong 3.1

Linguistic features

Chan, A.Y.W. & Li, D.C.S. 2000. English and Cantonese phonology in contrast: Explaining Cantonese ESL learners’ English pronunciation problems. Language, Culture and Curriculum 13(1): 67–85. Deterding, D., Wong, J. & Kirkpatrick, A. 2008. The pronunciation of Hong Kong English. English World-Wide 29(2): 148–175. Gisborne, N. 2000. Relative clauses in Hong Kong English. World Englishes 19(3): 357–371. Gisborne, N. 2009. Aspects of the morphosyntactic typology of Hong Kong English. English World-Wide 30(2): 149–169. Hung, T.T.N. 2000. Towards a phonology of Hong Kong English. World Englishes 19(3): 337–356. Hung, T.T.N. 2009. Innovation in second language phonology: Evidence from Hong Kong English. In World Englishes – Problems, Properties and Prospects: Selected Papers from the 13th IAWE Conference [Varieties of English around the World G40], T. Hoffmann & L. Siebers (eds), 227–237. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Lee, J.F.K. 2001. Functions of need in Australian English and Hong Kong English. World Englishes 20(2): 133–143. Setter, J. 2006. Speech rhythm in World Englishes: The case of Hong Kong. TESOL Quarterly 40(4): 763–782. Sewell, A. & Chan, J. 2010. Patterns of variation in the consonantal phonology of Hong Kong English. English World-Wide 31(2): 138–161. Wee, L.H. 2008. Phonological patterns in the Englishes of Singapore and Hong Kong. World Englishes 27(3/4): 480–501. Wong, M.L.Y. 2007. Tag questions in Hong Kong English: A corpus-based study. Asian Englishes 10(1): 44–61.

3.2

Language policy

Evans, S. 2000. Hong Kong’s New English language policy in education. World Englishes 19(2): 185–204. Evans, S. 2008. The making of a colonial school: A study of language policies and practices in nineteenth-century Hong Kong. Language and Education 22(6): 345–362. Johnson, R.K. 1994. Language policy and planning in Hong Kong. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 14: 177–199. Kirkpatrick, A. & Chau, M. 2008. One country, two systems, three languages: A proposal for teaching Cantonese, Putonghua and English in Hong Kong’s schools. Asian Englishes 11(2): 32–45.



Chapter 20.  Works on English in Southeast Asia  Morrison, K. & Lui, I. 2000. Ideology, linguistic capital and the medium of instruction in Hong Kong. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 21(6): 471–486. Pang, T.T.T. 2002. Orientalism and English as social capital: Early colonial education policies in Hong Kong. Australian Language Matters 10(4): 4–7. Poon, A.Y.K. 2000. Medium of Instruction in Hong Kong: Policy and Practice. Lanham MD: University Press of America. Tsui, A.B.M. 2007. Language policy and the construction of identity: The case of Hong Kong. In Language Policy, Culture, and Identity in Asian Contexts, A.B.M. Tsui & J.W. Tollefson (eds), 121–141. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

3.3

Language in use

Bolton, K. 2000. The sociolinguistics of Hong Kong and the space for Hong Kong English. World Englishes 19(3): 265–285. Bolton, K. (ed). 2002. Hong Kong English: Autonomy and Creativity. Hong Kong: University Press. Bolton, K. 2003. Chinese Englishes: A Sociolinguistic History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bolton, K. & Kwok, H. 1990. The dynamics of the Hong Kong accent: Social identity and sociolinguistic description. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 1(1): 147–172. Bolton, K. & Luke, K.K. 1999. Language and Society in Hong Kong: The Social Survey of Languages in the 1980s. Hong Kong: Social Sciences Research Centre, University of Hong Kong. Boyle, J. 1997. The use of mixed code in Hong Kong English language teaching. System 25(1): 83–89. Chan, B.H. 2009. English in Hong Kong Cantopop: Language choice, code-switching and genre. World Englishes 28(1): 107–129. Chan, Y.Y. 2000. The English-language media in Hong Kong. World Englishes 19(3): 323–335. Coniam, D. & Falvey, P. 2002. Selecting models and setting standards for teachers of English in Hong Kong. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 12(1): 13–38. Evans, S. 2009. The evolution of the English-language speech community in Hong Kong. English World-Wide 30(3): 278–301. Flowerdew, J. 1997. Competing public discourses in transitional Hong Kong. Journal of Pragmatics 28(4): 533–553. Gibbons, J. 1987. Code-Mixing and Code Choice: A Hong Kong Case Study. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Hung, T.T.N. 2002. Languages in contact: Hong Kong English phonology and the influence of Cantonese. In Englishes in Asia: Communication, Identity, Power & Education, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 191–200. Melbourne: Language Australia. Hyland, K. 1997. Language attitudes at the handover: Communication and identity in 1997 Hong Kong. English World-Wide 18(2): 191–210. James, G. 2001. Cantonese particles in Hong Kong students’ English e-mails. English Today 17(3): 9–16. Kirkpatrick, A. 2007. Setting attainable and appropriate English language targets in multilingual settings: A case for Hong Kong. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 17(3): 376–391. Kirkpatrick, A., Deterding, D. & Wong, J. 2008. The international intelligibility of Hong Kong English. World Englishes 27(3–4): 359–377.

 Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip Li, D.C.S. 1996. Issues in Bilingualism and Biculturalism: A Hong Kong Case Study. New York: Lang. Li, D.C.S. 1999a. The functions and status of English in Hong Kong: A post-1997 update. English World-Wide 20(1): 67–110. Li, D.C.S. 1999b. Linguistic convergence: Impact of English on Hong Kong Cantonese. Asian Englishes 2(1): 5–36. Li, D.C.S. 2000. Cantonese-English code switching research in Hong Kong: A Y2K review. World Englishes 19(3): 305–322. Littlewood, W. & Li, D. 2006. The sociolinguistic awareness of tertiary level students in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Language Awareness 15(2): 97–109. Luke, K.K. & Richards, J.C. 1982. English in Hong Kong: Status and functions. English WorldWide 3(1): 47–64. McArthur, T. 2005. Teaching and using English in Hong Kong, China, and the world. English Today 21(4): 61–64. Pang, T.T.T. 2003. Hong Kong English: A stillborn variety? English Today 19(2): 12–18. Pennington, M.C. (ed). 1997. Language in Hong Kong at Century’s End. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Pennington, M.C. & Yue, F. 1994. English and Chinese in Hong Kong: Pre-1997 language attitudes. World Englishes 13(1): 1–20. Poon, F.K.C. 2006. Hong Kong English, China English and world English. English Today 22(2): 23–28. Sewell, A. 2009. World Englishes, English as a lingua franca, and the case of Hong Kong English. English Today 25(1): 37–43. Stibbard, R. 2004. The spoken English of Hong Kong: A study of co-occurring segmental errors. Language, Culture and Curriculum 17(2): 127–42. Sweeting, A. & Vickers, E. 2005. On colonizing ‘colonialism’: The discourses of the history of English in Hong Kong. World Englishes 24(2): 113–130. Tam, K.K. & Weiss, T. (eds). 2004. English and Globalization: Perspectives from Hong Kong and Mainland China. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Tsui, A.B.M. & Bunton, D. 2000. The discourse and attitudes of English language teachers in Hong Kong. World Englishes 19(3): 287–303. Tung, P., Lam, R. & Tsang, W.K. 1997. English as a medium of instruction in post-1997 Hong Kong: What students, teachers, and parents think. Journal of Pragmatics 28(4): 441–459. Webster, J.J. 2009. Language in Hong Kong: Ten years on (1997–2007). In World Englishes – Problems, Properties and Prospects: Selected Papers from the 13th IAWE Conference [Varieties of English around the World G40], T. Hoffmann & L. Siebers (eds), 143–153. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

4. English in Malaysia 4.1

Linguistic features

Baskaran, L. 1987. Aspects of Malaysian English Syntax. PhD dissertation, University College, University of London. Baskaran, L. 1991. The new Englishes. Modern Language Journal 6(11): 68–96.



Chapter 20.  Works on English in Southeast Asia 

Baskaran, L. 2004a. Malaysian English phonology. In A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol. 1, E.W. Schneider, K. Burridge, B. Kortmann, R. Mesthrie & C. Upton (eds), 1034–1046. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Baskaran, L. 2004b. Malaysian English: Morphology and syntax. In A Handbook of Varieties of English, Vol 2, B. Kortmann, K. Burridge, R. Mesthrie, E.W. Schneider & C. Upton (eds), 1073–1088. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Baskaran, L. 2005. A Malaysian English Primer: Aspects of Malaysian English Features. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Goh, C.C.M. 2001. Discourse intonation of English in Malaysia and Singapore: Implications for wider communication and teaching. RELC Journal 32(1): 92–105. Goh, C.C.M. 2003. Applications of discourse intonation I: Malaysian & Singaporean English. speechinaction.com, February 2003. (3 August 2009). Low, E.L. 2010. English in Singapore and Malaysia: Differences and similarities. In The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 229–246. London: Routledge. Morais, E. 2001. Lectal varieties of Malaysian English. In Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia, Ooi V.B.Y. (ed), 33–52. Singapore: Times Academic Press. McArthur, T. 1998. Malaysian English. Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. (24 February 2009). Menon, D. 2003. Non-native Features in the Lexis of Malaysian English. PhD dissertation, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Newbrook, M. 1997. Malaysian English: Status, norms, some grammatical and lexical features. In Englishes around the World, Vol. 2: Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Australasia, E.W. Schneider (ed), 229–256. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Platt, J. & Weber, H. 1980. English in Singapore and Malaysia: Status, Features, Functions. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. Platt, J., Weber, H. & Ho, M.L. 1983. Singapore and Malaysia [Varieties of English around the World T4]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Tan, R.S.K. & Low, E.L. 2010. How different are the monophthongs of Malay speakers of Malaysian and Singapore English? English World-Wide 31(2): 162–189. Tongue, R.K. 1974. The English of Singapore and Malaysia, 1st edn. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. Tongue, R.K. 1979. The English of Singapore and Malaysia, 2nd edn. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press. Wong, I.F.H. 1983. Simplification features in the structure of colloquial Malaysian English. In Varieties of English in Southeast Asia: Selected Papers from the RELC Seminar on ‘Varieties of English and Their Implications for English Language Teaching in Southeast Asia’, Singapore, April 1981, R.B. Noss, (ed), 125–149. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Zuraidah Mohd. Don. 2000. English + Malay – A Malay variety of English vowels and accent. In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd. Said & Ng, K.S. (eds), 35–46. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden Malaysia & Macquarie Library.

4.2

Language policy

Alis Putih. 2006. Language and Nation Building: A Study of the Language Medium Policy in Malaysia. Petaling Jaya: SIRD.

 Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip Asmah Haji Omar. 1979. Language Planning for Unity and Efficiency – A Study of the Language Status and Corpus Planning of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Asmah Haji Omar. 1997. A discussion of the path taken by English towards becoming a Malaysian language. In English is An Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, M.S. Halimah & Ng K. S. (eds), 12–21. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Modern Malaysia & Macquarie Library. Azirah Hashim. 2009. Not plain sailing: Malaysia’s language choice in policy and education. AILA Review 22: 36–51. David, M.K. 2003. Language policy in Malaysia – Empowerment or disenfranchisement? In Language: Issues of Inequality, P.M. Ryan & R. Trosborg (eds), 151–171. Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. David, M.K. 2004a. Language policies in a multilingual nation: Focus on Malaysia. In Teaching of English in Second and Foreign Language Settings: Focus on Malaysia, M. K. David (ed), 1–15. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. David, M.K. 2004b. Language policy changes in multiracial Malaysia: Effects and coping strategies. Studies in Foreign Language Education 18: 33–50. David, M.K. & Govindasamy, S. 2003. Language education and ‘nation building’ in multilingual Malaysia. In Language Education, Bourne, J. & Reid, E. (eds), 215–225. London: Kogan Page. David, M.K. & Govindasamy, S. 2005. Negotiating a language policy for Malaysia: Local demand for affirmative action versus challenges from globalization. In Reclaiming the Local in Language Policy and Practice, S. Canagarajah & Mahwah, N.J. (eds), 123–146. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Gill, S.K. 2002. Language policy and English language standards in Malaysia: Nationalism vs. pragmatism. Journal of Asian Pacific Communication 12(1): 95–115. Gill, S.K. 2003. English language policy changes in Malaysia: Demystifying the diverse demands of nationalism and modernisation. Asian Englishes 6(2): 10–25. Gill, S.K. 2004. Medium-of-instruction policy in higher education in Malaysia: Nationalism versus internationalization. In Medium of Instruction Policies: Which Agenda? Whose Agenda?, J.W. Tollefson & A.B.M. Tsui (eds), 135–152. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Gill, S.K. 2005. Language policy in Malaysia: Reversing direction. Language Policy 4(3): 241–260. Gill, S.K. 2006. Change in language policy in Malaysia: The reality of implementation in public universities. Current Issues in Language Planning 7(1): 82–94. Gill, S.K. 2007. Shift in language policy in Malaysia: Unravelling reasons for change, conflict and compromise in mother-tongue education. AILA Review 20: 106–122. Halimah Mohd Said & Ng, K.S. (eds). 2000. English is an Asian language: The Malaysian Context. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden Malaysia & Macquarie Library. Lee, H.K. 2007. Ethnic politics, national development and language policy in Malaysia. In Language, Nation and Development in Southeast Asia, Lee, H.G. & L. Suryadinata (eds), 118–149. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Ozog, A.C. 1993. Bilingualism and national development in Malaysia. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 14(1–2): 59–71. Pillay, H. & Mercy, T. 2003. A nation on the move: Challenges in the implementation of major change in language policy. Asian Englishes 6(2): 26–43. Powell, R. 2008. Motivations for Language Choice in Malaysian Courtrooms: Implications for Language Planning. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Ridge, B. 2004. Bangsa Malaysia and recent Malaysian English language policies. Current Issues in Language Planning 5(4): 407–423.



Chapter 20.  Works on English in Southeast Asia  Tan, P.K.W. 2005. The medium-of-instruction debate in Malaysia: English as a Malaysian language? Language Problems and Language Planning 29(1): 47–66. Watson, J.K.P. 1983. Cultural pluralism, nation-building and educational policies in peninsular Malaysia. In Language Planning and Language Education, C. Kennedy (ed), 132–145. London: George Allen & Unwin.

4.3

Language in use

Asmah Haji Omar. 1982. Language and Society in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Asmah Haji Omar. 1992. The Linguistic Scenery in Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. Asmah Haji Omar. 1996. Post-imperial English in Malaysia. In Post-Imperial English: Status Change in Former British and American Colonies 1940–1990, J.A. Fishman, A.W. Conrad & A. Rubal-Lopez (eds), 513–534. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Asmah Haji Omar. 2000. From imperialism to Malaysianisation: A discussion of the path taken by English towards becoming a Malaysian language. In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd. Said & Ng, K. S. (eds), 12–21. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden Malaysia & Macquarie Library. Asmah Haji Omar (ed). 2004. The Encyclopedia of Malaysia: Languages and Literature. Singapore: Didier Milet. Augustin, J. 1982. Regional standards of English in peninsular Malaysia. In New Englishes, J. B. Pride (ed), 249–258. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House Publishers, Inc. Azirah Hashim. 2002. Culture and identity in the English discourses of Malaysians. In Englishes in Asia: Communication, Identity, Power and Education, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 75–94. Melbourne: Language Australia. Azirah Hashim. 2003. Grammar and identity in Malaysian discourse. In Grammar in the Language Classroom, J.E. James (ed), 91–116. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Azirah Hashim. 2006. A multimodal analysis of cultural identity construction in Malaysian advertisements. In English in a Globalised Environment, Zuraidah Mohd. Don (ed), 231–244. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya. Azirah Hashim. 2007. The use of Malaysian English in creative writing. Journal of Asian Englishes 10(2): 30–44. Azirah Hashim. 2010a. Englishes in advertising. In The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, Kirkpatrick, A. (ed), 520–534. New York: Routledge. Azirah Hashim. 2010b. Print advertisements in Malaysia. World Englishes 29(3): 378–393. Azirah Hashim & Norizah Hassan. 2009. Electronic English in Malaysia: Features and language in use. English Today 25(4): 39–46. Azirah Hashim & Leitner, G. forthcoming. Balik kampong exodus: Contact expressions in today’s Malaysian English. World Englishes. Baskaran, L. 1994. The Malaysian English mosaic. English Today 10(1): 27–32. Crismore, A., Ngeow, K.Y.H. & Soo, K. 1996. Attitudes toward Malaysian English. World Englishes 15(3): 319–335. David, M.K. 2000. The language of Malaysian youth: An exploratory study. In English is an Asian Language, Halimah Mohd Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 64–72. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden & Macquarie Library.

 Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip David, M.K. & Yong, J. 2002. Even obituaries reflect cultural norms and values. In Englishes in Asia: Communication, Identity, Power and Education, A. Kirkpatrick (ed), 169–178. Melbourne: Language Australia. David, M.K., Hafriza Burhanudeen & Ain Nadzimah Abdullah (eds). 2006. The Power of Language and the Media. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. Foo, B. & Richards, J.C. 2004. English in Malaysia. RELC Journal 35(2): 229–240. Gaudart, H. 1997. Malaysian English, can or not? In English is an Asian Language: The Malaysian Context, Halimah Mohd. Said & Ng, K. S. (eds), 47–56. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden & Macquarie Library. Gill, S.K. 1999. Standards and emerging linguistic realities in the Malaysian workplace. World Englishes 18 (2): 215–231. Gill, S.K. 2001. The past, present and future of English as a global/international language: Issues and concerns in the Malaysian context. Asian Englishes 3(2): 98–126. Gill, S.K. 2002. International Communication: English Language Challenges for Malaysia. Serdang: Universiti Putra Malaysia Press. Kuldip Kaur. 1995. Why they need English in Malaysia: A survey. World Englishes 14(2): 223–230. Lim, G. 2001. Till divorce do us part: The case of Singaporean and Malaysian English. In Evolving identities: The English language in Singapore and Malaysia, V.B.Y. Ooi (ed), 125–139. Singapore: Time Academic Press. Lowenberg, P.H. 1985. Sociolinguistic context and second-language acquisition: Acculturation and creativity in Malaysian English. World Englishes 5(1): 71–83. Lowenberg, P.H. 1991. Variation in Malaysian English: The pragmatics of languages in contact. In English around the World: Sociolinguistic Perspectives, J. Cheshire (ed), 364–375. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Morais, E. 2000. Talking in English but thinking like a Malaysian: Insights from a car assembly plant. In English is an Asian Language, Halimah Mohd Said & K.S. Ng (eds), 64–72. Kuala Lumpur & Sydney: Persatuan Bahasa Moden & Macquarie Library. Nair-Venugopal, S. 2000. Language choice and communication in Malaysian business. Bangi: Penerbit Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. Nair-Venugopal, S. 2002. An international model of English in Malaysia: Confronting commodification. Asian Englishes 5(2): 44–66. Nair, R., Muhammed Shahriar Haque & Mahmud Hassan Khan. (eds). 2008. Constructing Identities in the Malaysian Media. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Nora Siti Nasir, Subramaniam Govindasamy & Mahmud Hasan Khan. 2008. The articulation of national integration in the Malaysian English print media. In Constructing Identities in the Malaysian Media, Nair, R., Muhammed Shahriar Haque & Mahmud Hassan Khan (eds), 33–44. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Ooi, V.B.Y. (ed). 2001. Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: Times Academic Press. Pillai, S. 2006a. Malaysian English as a first language. In Language Choices and Discourse of Malaysian Families: Case Studies of Families in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, M.K. David (ed), 61–75. Petaling Jaya: Strategic Information and Research Development Centre. Pillai, S. 2006b. Patterns of silent pauses in Malaysian English. In English in a Globalised Environment: Investigating an Emerging Variety of English, Zuraidah Mohd. Don. (ed), 87–101. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press.



Chapter 20.  Works on English in Southeast Asia  Pillai, S. 2006c. Self-repairs in Malaysian English. In English in a Globalised Environment: Investigating an Emerging Variety of English, Zuraidah Mohd. Don. (ed), 301–324. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Pillai, S. 2008. Speaking English the Malaysian way – Correct or not? English Today 24(2): 42–45. Pillai, S. & Fauziah Kamaruddin. 2006. The variety of Malaysian English used in radio advertisements. In Varieties of English in Southeast Asia and beyond, Azirah Hashim & Norizah Hassan (eds), 39–54. Kuala Lumpur: University of Malaya Press. Platt, J. 1980. Varieties and functions of English in Singapore and Malaysia. English World-Wide 1(1): 97–121. Platt, J. & Weber, H. 1980. English in Singapore and Malaysia: Status, Functions, Models. Kuala Lumpur: Oxford University Press. Platt, J., Weber, H. & Ho, M.L. 1983. Singapore and Malaysia [Varieties of English around the World T4]. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Powell, R. & Azirah Hashim. 2011. Language disadvantage in Malaysian litigation and arbitration. World Englishes 30(1): 92–105. Puvenesvary, Muthiah. 2003. English language proficiency at the workplace: Expectations of bank officers in Malaysia. Asian Englishes 6(2): 64–81. Rajadurai, J. 2004. The faces and facets of English in Malaysia. English Today 20(4): 54–58. Schneider, E.W. 2003. Evolutionary patterns of New Englishes and the special case of Malaysian English. Asian Englishes 6(2): 44–63. Soo, K. 1990. Malaysian English at the crossroads: Some sign-posts. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 11(3): 199–214. Tan, P.K.W. 2001. ‘Melaka or Malacca; Kallang or Care-Lang’: Lexical innovation and nativisation in Malaysian and Singaporean English. In Evolving Identities: The English Language in Singapore and Malaysia, V.B.Y. Ooi (ed), 140–167. Singapore: Time Academic Press. Wong, I.F.H. 1981. English in Malaysia. In English for Cross-cultural Communication, L.E. Smith (ed), 94–107. London: Macmillan.

5. English in the Philippines 5.1

Linguistic features

Abad, G., Evasco, M.M., Hidalgo, C.P. & Jose, F.S. 1997. Standards in Philippine English: The writers’ forum. In English is an Asian Language: The Philippine Context, Bautista, M.L.S. (ed), 163–176. Sydney: Macquarie Library. Alberca, W.L. 1978. The Distinctive Features of Philippine English in the Mass Media. PhD dissertation, University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Aranas, P.G. 1988. A Characterization of the English Spoken by English and Mathematics Teachers on the Tertiary Level of Education in Selected Universities in Metro Manila. PhD dissertation, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. B. Ranosa-Madrunio, Marilu. 2004. The linguistic features of complaint letters to editors in Philippine English and Singapore English. Asian Englishes 7(2): 52–73. Bautista, M.L.S. 1996. Notes on three sub-varieties of Philippine English. In Readings in Philippine Sociolinguistics, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 93–101. Manila: De La Salle University.

 Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip Bautista, M.L.S. 1997. The lexicon of Philippine English. In English is an Asian Language: The Philippine Context, Bautista, M.L.S. (ed), 49–72.Sydney: The Macquarie Library. Bautista, M.L.S. 2000a. Defining Standard Philippine English: Its Status and Grammatical Features. Manila: De La Salle University Press. Bautista, M.L.S. 2000b. The grammatical features of educated Phillipine English. In Parangal cang Brother Andrew: Festschrift for Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, Bautista, M.L.S., Llamzon, T.A. & Sibayan, B.P. (eds), 146–158. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Bautista, M.L.S. 2000c. Studies of Philippine English in the Philippines. Philippine Journal of Linguistics 31(1): 39–65. Bautista, M.L.S. (ed). 2004a. Special articles on Philippine English. Asian Englishes 7(2). Bautista, M.L.S. 2004b. The verb in Philippine English: A preliminary analysis of modal would. Special issue on ‘Philippine English: Tensions and transitions’, Bautista, M.L.S. & Bolton, K. (eds), World Englishes 23(1): 113–128. Bautista, M.L.S. & Bolton, K. (eds). 2004. Philippine English: Tensions and transitions (Special issue). Word Englishes 23(1). Bolton, K. 2000. Hong Kong English, Philippine English and the future of Asian Englishes. In Parangal cang Brother Andrew: Festschrift for Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, Bautista, M.L.S., Llamzon, T.A. & Sibayan, B.P. (eds), 93–114. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Bolton, K. & Butler, S. 2004. Dictionaries and the stratification of vocabulary: Towards a new lexicography for Philippine English. Special issue on ‘Philippine English: Tensions and transitions’, M.L.S. Bautista & K. Bolton (eds), World Englishes 23(1): 91–112. Casambre, N.G. 1986. What is Filipino English? Philippine Journal for Language Teaching 14(1–4): 34–49. Castelo, L.M. 1972. Verb usage in educated Filipino English. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching 10(2): 153–165. Cruz, I.R. & Bautista, M.L.S. 1993. A Dictionary of Philippine English. Pasig City: Anvil Publishing. Dayag, D.T. 2004. Negotiating evaluation in newspaper editorials in Philippine English. Asian Englishes 7(2): 28–51. Gonzalez, A. 1983. When does an error become a feature of Philippine English? In Varieties of English in Southeast Asia: Selected Papers from the RELC Seminar on ‘Varieties of English and Their Implications for English Language Teaching in Southeast Asia’, Singapore, April 1981, R.B. Noss (ed), 150–172. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Gonzalez, A. 1984. Philippine English across generations: The sound system. DLSU Dialogue 20(1): 1–26. Gonzalez, A. 1991. The Philippine variety of English and the problem of standardization. In Languages and Standards: Issues, Attitudes, Case Studies, Tickhoo, M.L. (ed), 86–96. Singapore: SEAMEO Regional Language Centre. Gonzalez, A. 1997. The history of English in the Philippines. In English is an Asian Language: The Philippine Context, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 25–40. Sydney: Macquarie Library. Gonzalez, A. 2004. The social dimensions of Philippine English. Special issue on ‘Philippine English: Tensions and transitions’, Bautista, M.L.S & Bolton, K. (eds), World Englishes 23(1): 7–16. Gonzalez, A. 2005. Distinctive grammatical features of Philippine literature in English: Influencing or influenced? In Linguistics and Language Education in the Philippines and Beyond: A Festschrift in honor of Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista, D.T. Dayag & J.S. Quakenbush (eds), 15–26. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines.



Chapter 20.  Works on English in Southeast Asia  Llamzon, T.A. 1969. Standard Filipino English. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. Llamzon, T.A. 1973. Reply to Gonzalez’s review of SFE. Philippine Journal for Language Teaching 7(3–4): 80–90. Llamzon, T.A. 1997. The phonology of Philippine English. In English is an Asian Language: The Philippine Context, M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 41–48. Sydney: Macquarie Library. Llamzon, T.A. 2000. Philippine English revisited. In Parangal cang Brother Andrew: Festshrift for Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, M.L.S. Bautista, T.A. Llamzon & B.P. Sibaya (eds), 138–145. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Madrunio, M.B.R. 2004. The linguistic features of complaint letters to editors in Philippine English and Singapore English. Asian Englishes 7(2): 52–73. Martinez, N.D. 1975. Standard Filipino English Pronunciation. Manila: National Book Store. McArthur, T. 1998. Philippine English. Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language. (7 April 2009). Schneider, E.W. 2005. The subjunctive in Philippine English. In Linguistics and Language Education in the Philippines and Beyond: A Festschrift in honor of Ma. Lourdes S. Bautista, D.T. Dayag & J.S. Quakenbush (eds), 27–40. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Tayao, M.L.G. 2004a. The evolving study of Philippine English phonology: Special issue on ‘Philippine English: Tensions and transitions’, M.L.S. Bautista & K. Bolton (eds), World Englishes 23(1): 77–90. Tayao, M.L.G. 2004b. Philippine English: Phonology. In A Handbook of Varieties of English: A Multimedia Reference Tool, Vol. V: Africa, South and Southeast Asia, R. Mesthrie (ed), 1047–1061. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. Trudgill, P. & Hannah, J. 2002. English in the Philippines. In International English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English, 4th edn., P. Trudgill & J. Hannah (eds), 138–139. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

5.2

Language policy

Bautista, M.L.S. 1996. An outline: The national language and the language of instruction. In Readings in Philippine Sociolinguistics, 2nd edn., M.L.S. Bautista (ed), 223–227. Manila: De La Salle University Press. Bernabe, E.F. 1987. Language Policy Formation: Programming, Implementaion and Evaluation in Philippine Education (1965–1974). Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Galang, R.G. 2000. Language planning in Philippine education in the 21st century: Toward a language-as-resource orientation. In Parangal cang Brother Andrew: Festchrift for Andrew Gonzalez on His Sixtieth Birthday, Bautista M.L.S., Teodoro A.L. & Bonifacio P.S. (eds), 267–276. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Garcia, E.A. 1997. The language policy in education. In English Is an Asian Language – The Philippine Context: Proceedings of the Conference Held in Manila on 2–3 August 1996, Maria Lourdes S. Bautista (ed), 73–86.Sydney: Macquarie Library. Gonzalez, A. (ed). 1984. Panagani: Language Planning, Implementation and Evaluation – Essays in Honor of Bonifacio P. Sibayan on His Sixty-Seventh Birthday. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Gonzalez, A. 1998. The language planning situation in the Philippines. In Language Planning in Malawi, Mozambique and the Philippines, R.B. Kaplan & R.B.J.C. Baldauf (eds), 133–171. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Also in: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 19(5–6): 487–525.

 Ee-Ling Low, Azirah Hashim, Ran Ao and Adriana Sufun Phillip Gonzalez, A. & Bautista, M.L.S. (eds). 1981. Aspects of Language Planning and Development in the Philippines. Manila: Linguistic Society of the Philippines. Gonzalez, A., Bernado, A.B.I., Bautista, M.L.S. & Pascasio, E.M. 2000. The social sciences and policy making in language. Philippine Journal of Linguistics 31(2): 27–37. Jones, G.M. 2000. Some language planning questions