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The Making of Vernacular Singapore English
System, Transfer, and Filter

Part of Cambridge Approaches to Language Contact

  • Date Published: August 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107022089


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About the Authors
  • Singapore English is a focal point across the many subfields of linguistics, as its semantic, syntactic and phonetic/phonological qualities tell us a great deal about what happens when very different types of language come together. Sociolinguists are also interested in the relative status of Singapore English compared to other languages in the country. This book charts the history of Singapore English and explores the linguistic, historical and social factors that have influenced the variety as it is spoken today. It identifies novel grammatical features of the language, discusses their structure and function, and traces their origins to the local languages of Singapore. It places grammatical system and usage at the core of the analysis, and shows that introspective and corpus data are complementary. This study will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working on language contact, world varieties of English, historical linguistics and sociolinguistics.

    • Proposes a new theory of contact-induced grammatical restructuring
    • Argues for a usage-based theory of language growth
    • Offers a new analytical approach to New English from a formal or structural perspective
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Bao offers a nuanced and novel take on the role of Chinese grammar in the formation of Singapore English. He clearly shows that this continuously evolving language holds important lessons for our understanding of language creation and New English varieties.' Umberto Ansaldo, University of Hong Kong

    'Superstrate filter guides selection from systemic substrate transfer in emergent 'Singlish': Bao's brilliant, theoretically ambitious analysis represents cutting-edge thinking uniting contact theory, usage-based linguistics, exemplar theory, typology, and construction grammar.' Edgar W. Schneider, Universität Regensburg, Germany

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107022089
    • length: 232 pages
    • dimensions: 236 x 160 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 33 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. The ecology of Singapore English
    3. Grammatical system and substratum transfer
    4. Topic prominence, empty categories and the bare conditional
    5. Substratum, lexifier and typological universals
    6. Frequency, usage and the circumscriptive role of the lexifier
    7. Convergence-to-substratum
    8. Epilogue.

  • Author

    Zhiming Bao, National University of Singapore
    Zhiming Bao is a Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore.

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