The Popularity of the Chinese Language Among Singaporeans
The widespread use of the Singaporean Chinese language has made it to the top as a lingua franca in Singapore over time. It was also the major lingua franca as it constituted of over 50% speakers of the inhabitants of Singapore. More so, the Chinese language gained influence due to its economic stability and the opportunities attached to it.
In The Past
Years ago, the Chinese language used to be the only lingua franca, as students were taught the language and watched movies, newspaper and programmes in the chinese language. This also gave power to the language.
However, with the emergence of the English language, even though the Chinese language did not totally lose its power, it became second lingua franca. The decline in position is as a result of English language being an international language, and it was necessary for every level of Singaporean society to adapt, therefore, they embraced the English language. More so, the English language seems more promising and full of potentials when compared to the Chinese language. Students no longer watch local stations to learn new Chinese nor do they listen to locally casted news. Instead, they watch programmes carried out in the English language to learn new words and fit into the global society.
In The Present Day
Now, before the Chinese language could emerge has the second global language for the Singaporeans, several threats of communications were posed as the new generation kids of the Singaporeans could not connect with their Chinese parents, especially the extended families. The young ones could not communicate with their grandparents because they could not understand one another.
After several issues like this, even the children saw the need to bridge the gap between the new and old generation. They, therefore, saw the need to learn the Chinese language and then, they could connect with the generations before them.
Then, the government decided on which languages should be the lingua franca of the land and the Chinese and English language were chosen to serve as the language of commerce, civilisation and national communication.
In the 1970s, the government launched the “Speak Chinese” campaign, and was followed up squarely as even primary students carried placards that read “I Will Not Speak Dialect”. This is because they view dialect speakers as those with limited opportunities in the future.
In the early 1980s, programmes in several other dialects were banned. This is to help children focus on the Chinese language and no other dialect. Though the parents who spoke other dialects other than Chinese felt left out for a long time as they could not understand both television and radio station programmes. The government then came up with using the English language as the language of instruction in classrooms except when students are to have subjects in their Mother Tongue. The Chinese language thereby retained its influence in Singapore, though not as the first general language, but even as a second language, it gained recognition.