The global spread of English has resulted in an increasing number of new varieties of the language and in more cultures being associated with it; the relatively new approach of Cultural Linguistics studies these varieties by emphasising the relationship between language and culturally-constructed conceptualisations (Sharifian, 2015). English is frequently seen as having a negative impact on local languages, especially in post-colonial contexts; however, speech communities often develop new varieties by localising English in order to suit it to their needs, thus supporting the “glocalisation” or “nativisation” of English (Sharifian, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to further investigate these notions and their relevance in the study of world Englishes by considering the example of Singlish, the colloquial variety of Singapore English. In this case, the adoption of English words along with dialect ones has contributed to the creation of a localised variety, though this hybridisation is often seen as a socially unacceptable corruption of the standard. The long-lasting debate around it has seen direct intervention of the government (Speak Good English Movement), and reactions of linguistic resistance or “chutzpah” (Wee, 2014) coming from Singlish speakers (Speak Good Singlish Movement), in an attempt to reclaim Singlish as the true expression of Singaporean identity (Bokhorst-Eng, 2005). The analysis will examine English loanwords in two online dictionaries of Singlish (A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English and The Coxford Singlish Dictionary), in order to understand the cultural conceptualisations and categories they represent. A cross-checking with the Oxford English Dictionary will further highlight differences with Standard (British) English: this should help demonstrate that English expressions can become the keywords of a culture of non-native speakers (Wong, 2006) and contribute to a redefinition of its linguistic identity, rather than cancelling it.

Exploring cultural conceptualisations in two online Singlish dictionaries / M. Guzzetti. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Vulnerability and resilience : voices and practices from the margins/ Vulnerabilità e resilienza : voci e pratiche dai margini tenutosi a online nel 2021.

Exploring cultural conceptualisations in two online Singlish dictionaries

M. Guzzetti
2021

Abstract

The global spread of English has resulted in an increasing number of new varieties of the language and in more cultures being associated with it; the relatively new approach of Cultural Linguistics studies these varieties by emphasising the relationship between language and culturally-constructed conceptualisations (Sharifian, 2015). English is frequently seen as having a negative impact on local languages, especially in post-colonial contexts; however, speech communities often develop new varieties by localising English in order to suit it to their needs, thus supporting the “glocalisation” or “nativisation” of English (Sharifian, 2016). The purpose of this paper is to further investigate these notions and their relevance in the study of world Englishes by considering the example of Singlish, the colloquial variety of Singapore English. In this case, the adoption of English words along with dialect ones has contributed to the creation of a localised variety, though this hybridisation is often seen as a socially unacceptable corruption of the standard. The long-lasting debate around it has seen direct intervention of the government (Speak Good English Movement), and reactions of linguistic resistance or “chutzpah” (Wee, 2014) coming from Singlish speakers (Speak Good Singlish Movement), in an attempt to reclaim Singlish as the true expression of Singaporean identity (Bokhorst-Eng, 2005). The analysis will examine English loanwords in two online dictionaries of Singlish (A Dictionary of Singlish and Singapore English and The Coxford Singlish Dictionary), in order to understand the cultural conceptualisations and categories they represent. A cross-checking with the Oxford English Dictionary will further highlight differences with Standard (British) English: this should help demonstrate that English expressions can become the keywords of a culture of non-native speakers (Wong, 2006) and contribute to a redefinition of its linguistic identity, rather than cancelling it.
Singlish; world Englishes; cultural conceptualisations; online dictionaries; linguistic chutzpah
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
Università degli studi di Milano
Exploring cultural conceptualisations in two online Singlish dictionaries / M. Guzzetti. ((Intervento presentato al convegno Vulnerability and resilience : voices and practices from the margins/ Vulnerabilità e resilienza : voci e pratiche dai margini tenutosi a online nel 2021.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/828263
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