Singapore English: An indexical approach



ABSTRACT:  Existing models of variation for Singapore English, with the possible exception of Alsagoff's cultural orientation model, are largely unsatisfactory in accounting for the high degree of Singlish–Standard alternation found in everyday speech. The occurrence, for instance, of Singlish elements in otherwise Standard speech is a challenge. An approach based on indexicality enables a less code-based, more inclusive analysis, allowing for a multitude of codes from various languages to be taken into account. Thus, the clear separation of ‘varieties’ such as Singlish, Standard English, Mandarin, Hokkien, etc., is deconstructed, and their interplay highlighted. The data presented herein shows the strength of such a model, and raises questions as to the appropriateness of independent, distinct ‘varieties’ in the speech community at hand.