The Evolvement Of Chinese Language In Singapore
Singapore is a vibrant and diverse country with a range of languages spoken. The four main ones are English, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil. The national language is Malay, and it plays a significant role because the Malays are the ones recognised constitutionally as the indigenous men of the land. However, the Chinese Language has also undergone several changes in usage and priority throughout the decades.
Aside from the English language, the three other languages the constitution recognised were chosen regarding the dominating ethnics groups in the region. Mandarin gained stand at the introduction of the Chinese medium school. The Malay view as the Malay was seen as the major choice since it has the indigenous men of the region and Tamil was chosen for the Indians. More so, the language has been used for education in the history of Malaysia and Singapore.
In the year 2009, there were more than 20 languages spoken in Singapore which reflects it richness in language diversity. Its history of foreign trade in the past helped several languages in being welcomed and embraced by the land. This is because as they trade, they trade language as well, learning and also inculcating not just the language but also the cultures of some of the foreign traders. This in a way affects the present day linguistic repertoire of the Singaporeans.
Changes in Lingua Franca
In the early years, the lingua franca was the Malay. However, the influence of the Chinese in the ASEAN, its diplomatic establishments and great economic success in all and sundry brought the lands together with Singapore swearing allegiance to China. This in a way has helped Singapore as involvement with China did not only help in getting economic growth but also in educational establishments, fighting terrorism and involving in maritime art.
This makes Singapore accept it as their lingua franca especially because it has also emerged the language of instructions in classrooms in Singapore. Though, the Chinese language accepted as lingua franca at a time was Hokkien which emerged amidst the Chinese people. However, Mandarin was later embraced because the Chinese had different dialects and to bridge the gap, there was a need to choose a more general language, which was Mandarin.
Chinese’s rise in economic growth has also given more power to the mandarin use in China and its environs. In formal settings, television programmes, newspapers and several public usages, despite that there are several other dialects of Chinese, the Mandarin language has been used.
However, as civilisation emerged and the international language became the English language, the Singapore’s lingua franca also moved from being Mandarin to the English language as it would not be left behind in the change in the world. Singaporeans then gave themselves to the study of English language instead of the Mandarin language earlier used though this did not put an end to the use of Mandarin language as it emerged as the second lingua franca of the country. More so, students learn the language in school but no longer as a language of instruction.