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English in Malaysia

Postcolonial and Beyond


Hajar Abdul Rahim and Shakila Abdul Manan

The main thrust of this edited book is the development of Malaysian English (ME) as a new variety of English from the 1950s to the first decade of the 21st century. The book comprises nine chapters on different aspects of the variety based on original research.
The journey ME has taken as a postcolonial variety is discussed in terms of its linguistic development within the current frameworks of World Englishes (WE), particularly with regard to the evolution of new Englishes. Thus, the book discusses a range of ME linguistic and development issues such as lexis, phonology, modality, discoursal features, linguistic style and variation based on a variety of spoken, written, formal, informal, literary and non-literary language data. The findings from the studies contribute new knowledge on how ME has developed and also importantly, the realities and prospects of the variety as a dynamic and rich New English.
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Phonological Variation in the Speech Production of Malaysian Learners of English: Alias Abd Ghani


Research in the area of learners’ language phonology (e. g. Tarone 1983; Dickerson 1974; Beebe 1980; Schmidt 1977) concludes that learners’ realisation of the target language (TL) sounds is rather systematic in its variability. In Malaysia, there is a paucity of research in this area despite the fact that English is the most important second language due to its relative importance in the education system (Asmah 1983). English is a compulsory taught subject in Malaysian schools, which means that by the time Malaysian students complete their primary and secondary formal education, they will have learnt English as a formal subject for 11 years. At the tertiary level, even in programmes that are taught in Malay, students continue to use English as many reference materials are in English.

Studies on Malaysian English (ME) (e. g. Augustine 1962; Platt and Weber 1980; Wong 1981; Lowenberg 1986; Wang 1987; Baskaran 2004; Rajadurai 2004) have to a large extent focused on broad linguistic areas and pedagogical issues. Most studies on ME mainly aim at establishing the linguistic features of ME at various linguistic levels. To date, there is very little research on the variability in the phonology of Malaysian learners of English either in the context of a group of speakers or in the context of multilingualism and multiculturalism. Research in ME phonology (e. g. Phoon and Maclagan 2010; Pillai et al. 2010; Yap et al. 2010) have for the most part focused on acoustic features of the phonology of ME. The...

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