There are many varies of English in the world. The two best known are British and American English, but there are also African, Asian, Pacific and Caribbean varieties. English as a widely used language has through its contact with other languages developed regional distinctiveness in many countries. In this blogpost I am going to give tree examples of other varieties of English than those that are used in the Anglo-American core area and I am going to reflect on their distinctive character.
I have chosen to write about Indian English, Malaysian English and Singapore English.
Indian English is one of the two official languages in India, the other language being Hindi. The language that the people choose to speak in India often reflects their socioeconomic standpoint. When they speak Indian English instead of Hindi it’s often because of the use of the language in trading, also known as a lingua franca. This gives the Indian English speakers a great advantage when it comes to trading, but also with sharing cultural beliefs to non-native speakers, using Indian English as a bridge between languages. The clear difference between English and Indian English is that the Indian English has almost phonetic spelling. For example, “jewelry” is pronounced /dʒʋeləriː/, and “jewel” is pronounced /dʒʋel/. English is a stress-timed language which means that only certain words are stressed in a sentence. Whereas Indian English speakers often speak in a syllabic rhythm. This causes, of course, a different rhythm when the Indians speak, and plays a major part in dividing the two languages. Furthermore, when English speaker stress syllables they tend to go high pitched, whereas Indian English speakers go low pitched when they stress syllables. Thus creating a whole other pronunciation to English words.
Manglish or Mangled English is not to be confused with Malaysian English. Manglish consists of words originating from languages such as English, Malay, Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, Tamil, and Malayalam. Even though Manglish resembles some southern variants of mandarin some American and Australian slang has impacted the language. These slang terms have probably been imported from American and Australian television. Manglish differs from geographical locations in Malaysia and on the west coast of West-Malaysia the language is almost identical to Singlish. There are large amounts of similarities between Singlish and Manglish, although they are seemingly similar there are some differences. The most distinct difference is found in the vocabulary seeing as the slang from American English is strong, especially in the Malaysian youth. The reason that Singlish and Manglish are so similar, is because they were both British colonies, during the same time period.
Singapore English is the English language spoken in Singapore. There are two main forms, Standard Singapore English and Singapore Colloquial English, also known as Singlish. Although Standard Singapore English is mainly influenced by British English and, recently, American English, there are other languages that also contribute to its use on a regular basis, such as Chinese, Indian and Malay. Most of the educated Singaporeans speak Standard Singapore English, mostly because it is not too far from British English grammatically. Unlike Standard Singapore English, Singlish includes conversation particles and loan words from Malay, Mandarin and Hokkien, and isn’t used in formal communication.
Singaporeans, even those of the same ethnic group, have many different first languages and cultures.Within the Singaporean Chinese group almost a third speaks English as their home language while nearly half speak Mandarin as their home language. The rest of the Singaporean Chinese group speaks various mutually intelligible Chinese dialects as their home language.
I recommend you to watch the video below. Try to see how well you understand Singlish!
Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you learned something.