The emotional dimension of Singapore Colloquial English as an explanation for its solidarity status
Mah, Elaine Ke Yun
Date of Issue2016-03-17
College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Singapore Colloquial English (SCE) has always intrigued researchers with its unique linguistic features as well as its sociolinguistic importance in Singapore. However, it is often difficult to determine the solidarity status of the language when it enjoys covert prestige and many Singaporeans do not openly convey their positive attitudes towards it. This study was designed to investigate the sub-conscious linguistic behaviour of Chinese Singaporeans through their active emotion vocabularies. The aim of the study is to explore Singaporeans’ emotional connection to SCE and to see if this connection is a possible explanation for the stronger solidarity measure of SCE compared to Singapore Standard English (SSE). 50 undergraduate students from Nanyang Technological University took part in the study. The experiment comprised a lexical decision task which was used to assess subjects’ conceptualisation of SSE and SCE emotion words. Following which, a surprise recall task was administered based on the set of emotion words which appeared during the lexical decision task. The findings show that subjects retrieve SCE emotion words more easily than SSE emotion words. It provides strong support to the widely held assumption of SCE as a language of solidarity. Overall, this study is significant in revealing the emotional dimension of SCE, which becomes apparent when it is contrasted with SSE.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University