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Goh, Y. S., & Fong, Y. W. (2021). One people, one nation, one Singapore: Language policy and shifting identities among Chinese Singaporeans. In H. Kloter, & M. S. Saarela (Eds.), Language diversity in the sinophone world: Historical trajectories, language planning, and multilingual practices (pp. 164-181). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003049890
This chapter provides an overview of language planning in Singapore since the country’s independence in 1965. It examines official responses toward societal multilingualism and the ideologies underlying language planning, notably the promotion of English and Mandarin. Before independence, Mandarin was hardly ever used within the Chinese population. It was only after 1965 that it became an official language—alongside English, Malay, and Tamil—and gradually gained dominance over the other Sinitic varieties through education and intensive campaigning. The chapter argues that the evolution of bilingualism within the Chinese community, which accompanied a shift in identity from overseas Chinese to Chinese Singaporeans, resulted in an increasing percentage of Chinese Singaporeans using English predominantly as a home language. Meanwhile, in an era of global Mandarin, Singapore is gradually shifting toward a language situation where Chinese is increasingly learned merely as a foreign language and is not being used in the home context.
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