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English in Malaysia

Postcolonial and Beyond


Edited By 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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Discoursal Features of Malaysian English in Malaysian Short Stories: Rita Abdul Rahman Ramakrishna


The development of the English language today is very much coloured by the influences of local languages with which it operates. The resulting new varieties of English, in other words, are most often reflective of the sociolinguistic and cultural backgrounds of their respective speakers or writers. Burridge (2007) uses the metaphor “weeds” in her discussion of language change and the effects on the Standard English. She writes that:

[t]hey are structural features of the language whose virtues have yet to be realized. They are the pronunciations we don’t want, the constructions that are out of place, the words we create but we hate. Like weedy plants they are entirely location and time specific. One speaker’s noxious weed can be another’s garden ornamental. Whether they are in the gardens or in languages, weeds are totally centred around human value judgments. (Burridge, 2007: 22)

The term “nativised variety” is often characterised through a more localised accent, intonation, grammatical structures and word choice. According to Kirkpatrick (2007) a nativised variety is influenced by the local cultures in which it has developed. Acculturated variety and indigenised variety are the other two terms used to refer to nativised variety. McArthur (2003: 10), writes that a nativised or indigenised English is used in “…territories where it was not originally present, but English has been present for some time, and may or may not be the primary language of the majority of people using it”. ← 161 | 162 →

The development of...

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