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Standardization or uniformity: In pursuit of a guide for spoken Singapore Malay
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Jurnal e-Utama, Jilid 4 (2013)
The standardization of spoken Malay has been mentioned in the corpus planning of Malay Language since 1956. The main issue surrounding the spoken form has always been the determining of the standard spoken form or sebutan baku. Before 1956, the Johor-Riau spoken variation was regarded as the standard based on the fact that the Johor-Riau area was the centre of Malay language and development then. In 1956, the 3rd Malay Language & Literary Congress passed a resolution determining that the Johor-Riau spoken variation should cease to be regarded as the standard. More than 30 years passed before the Malaysian government formally announced their shift from regarding the Johor-Riau spoken variation as a standard replacing it with sebutan baku, and to be used by educators and the mass media. In 1993, Singapore’s Ministry of Education launched its standard spoken Malay Language program of Program Sebutan Baku Bahasa Melayu which is based on the Malaysian model. In the year 2000, the Malaysian government retracted its support for sebutan baku and returned to using the Johor-Riau spoken variation. In spite of this development, Singapore still maintains its support for sebutan baku till today. This paper will track the historical development of Malay Language corpus planning with emphasis on the spoken variation in Malaysia and impacting on Singapore. This paper will also suggest some steps that can be considered by the Singapore authorities in this respect taking into account 21st century skills in the ever changing educational landscape.
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