Going Beyond Code-switching and Translanguaging: A Closer Look into the Everyday Language Practices of Multilingual Singaporeans

23 Sep 2022 03.30 PM - 05.00 PM Virtual Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
Francesco Cavallaro

This talk will present an alternative approach to situating multilingual Singaporean speech beyond two existing approaches to language mixing – the conventional framework of code-switching, and translanguaging, a prominent approach that has been gaining traction in the field of sociolinguistics in recent years. Using examples of speech data collected from Singaporean youth, I will first illustrate the shortcomings of these two main approaches, before proposing that fluidity and fixity are both important values in Singaporean speech. An important aspect of this argument is the conceptualisation that fluidity and fixity are also mutually presupposing values that inherently influence each other (Jaspers and Madsen, 2019), which explains the complex and seemingly contradictory language behaviours and ideologies that manifest in the everyday language practices of Singaporeans.

Amber Chew is an MA student at the Linguistics and Multilingual Studies Programme (LMS), School of Humanities (SoH), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. She is interested in issues relating to bilingualism and multilingualism, and is also passionate about minority language revitalisation and heritage work. Her research mainly involves analysing speech data from multilingual speech communities, using frameworks from interactional sociolinguistics and discourse analysis. During her undergraduate studies majoring in Japanese linguistics at Osaka University, she did her final year project on the language mixing practices of Singaporean international students in Japan, examining how they used Japanese in their in-group communicative practices with each other.