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Language and social class: Linguistic capital in Singapore
Socioeconomic Status (SES)
linguistic capital
ethnic groups
Achievement in English tests
Issue Date: 
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York, 2008
This paper analyzes the relationship between ethnic group, language use and social class
in Singapore in light of implications for performance in the national school system. Using
a Bourdieusian theoretical framework we argue that though Singapore equitably
distributes the linguistic capital of English through its bilingual language in education
policy, children from low income homes are disadvantaged. For the Chinese and Malay
ethnic groups there is a correlation between dominant home language and social class
though this is not the case for the Indians. Correspondence analysis shows that SES is
correlated to English test scores. Multilevel analysis shows that SES is related to aspects
of linguistic capital like language choice in reading, watching TV, choosing types of
friends and learning about religion. Data for these claims come from The Sociolinguistic
Survey of Singapore 2006 (SSS 2006).
Project number: 
CRP 22/04 AL
CRP 23/04 AL
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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