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Changing Dialect of Singapore - Essay Example

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To educate individuals about the changes in communication and language that have occurred and how this relates directly to the culture and changes of the land…
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Changing Dialect of Singapore
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Download file to see previous pages Tan has made it a point to continue to work with the original language of Singapore to keep the memory of the past alive and to embrace the past through the use of speaking. Tan has made an effort with the younger generations to continue to speak in the main language of Malay. “If we lose our culture through language, then what do we have left? I believe it is important to continue to remember what we speak, where we are from and what the ancient history is of this land,” says Tan. To him, the idea of keeping the language alive is also a part of keeping the memories and heritage and of his world as a part of the everyday lifestyle. For Tan’s children and grand children, understanding the language isn’t one that they rebel against and often find that the extra dialect helps them to stay ahead in their own thinking. “Even though we learn English in school, we like having the Malay dialect as a part of our upbringing. It makes us feel unique and like we are truly from Singapore,” says Tan’s grandchild. This attitude is one that many who are able to speak in two dialects carry with them as they progress forward with the understanding of different dialects. The languages of Singapore have undergone changes through every generation, even though they are kept alive through stories such as Tan. English is now recognized as the main language of the land, specifically because of the colonialization that took place in the 1820s by James Cook. However, there is also an influence of Mandarin, Chinese and Indian dialects, all which have come from the several who have migrated to Singapore through time. This is combined with the main dialect of Malay which is spoken by those who are considered as native to the land. The mixture of languages has led to the four main dialects of English, Malay, Chinese and Tamil becoming the main dialects of the island. It is not only the recognition of the four main dialects that influences the diversity of Singapore. While it is a small island, the influx of immigration into the land and the philosophies, such as what Tan has, continue to alter the dialects which are spoken in various regions. For instance, the recognition of Mandarin Chinese as a dialect is only one of several ethnic ways of speaking that are in the region. When visiting Singapore, you will note that Hokkien, Teochew, Hakka, Hainanese and Cantonese are also spoken among households. No more than 10 -20% speak these languages and most is recognized in the home; however, the strong traditions keep the dialects such as these strong and alive (Chan, 2009). The alterations of dialect have also led to a creation of mixtures of each of the languages. A combination of English and Malay, for instance, is commonly heard among locals when they are working to converse among others who know more English. This is a common practice of those in the region, specifically with older generations who have not been educated with the formal applications of English in the nation. The split of languages is known to have occurred specifically with waves of immigration which occurred from the 1800s. The beginning of the Malays and the structure of Singapore as a country was one which was noted as the dominant culture through this time. Ancient beliefs were kept during this time as well as patterns for economic trade and village life. While there were some fluctuations in Arabic and immigrants from other lands, most adapted to the Malay traditions and way of living. It was from the 1800s – ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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