In Memory of Michael Clyne- In Collaboration with Catrin Norrby, Leo Kretzenbacher, Carla Amorós
Edited By Rudolf Muhr
Adrian TIEN: Chinese Hokkien and its lexicon in Singapore: evidence for an indigenised Singapore culture
In: Rudolf Muhr (ed.) (2012): Non-dominant Varieties of pluricentric Languages. Getting the Pic- ture. In memory of Michael Clyne. Wien et. al., Peter Lang Verlag. p. 453-472. Adrian TIEN (National University of Singapore, Singapore) firstname.lastname@example.org Chinese Hokkien and its lexicon in Singapore: evidence for an indigenised Singapore culture Abstract More surveys of languages of Singapore have concentrated on Chinese Mandarin - one of the official languages – than any other Chinese “dia- lects” that are also spoken by at least some of the Singaporeans, notably Hokkien, Teochew, Cantonese. In focusing on Singapore Chinese Hok- kien, this chapter shows that (1) this dialect is, essentially, a pluricentric language, and its Singaporean version reflects a local or indigenised va- riety of Hokkien which exhibits differences with varieties of Hokkien spoken elsewhere, e.g. Taiwan; (2) at least for now, the status of Hokkien has remained more or less secure and has, in fact, continued to play a prominent role in Singapore language and culture, despite it being non- official and non-dominant; and (3) in fact, Hokkien has assumed an in- fluential role in other languages spoken in Singapore, official or not, e.g. Singapore English (“Singlish”) and Singapore Mandarin etc. A case study presented here based on the semantic analysis of a Singapore Chinese Hokkien lexicon demonstrates the uniqueness of this lexicon in usage and in culture. 1. Background Singapore is a country that sits at the crossroads between the many lands, languages and cultures: geographically, it assumes a key position in Southeast Asia,...
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