Category Archives: English in Southeast Asia

Singlish videos

There is a wealth of videos on English(es) spoken in Singapore on YouTube. Here’s a video on some Singlish terms commonly used in Singapore which baffle foreigners:

There are a few more on militarylese available on YouTube. I can’t say that all Singaporeans understand the military language examples on YouTube. Anyway have fun deciphering if you don’t!



English and the languages we will speak in a 100 years

Have we given a thought about the English language(s) that we will be speaking in a century from now on? Which languages will be extinct and which will be used? Here are two somewhat futuristic press articles that broach these issues:

Dr Horobin:

Dr McWhorter:


Maíz-Arévalo (2015) on jockery mockery on Spanish and English Facebook communities

(Image from


Abstract: Understood as an umbrella term covering different phenomena (e.g.,
banter, teasing, jocular insults, etc.), mock impoliteness has long attracted the
attention of scholars. However, most of this research has concentrated on English
while other languages have been neglected. In addition, previous research
has mostly analyzed face-to-face interaction, generally ignoring computer-mediated
communication. This paper aims to redress this imbalance by analyzing
a particular case of mock impoliteness – i.e., jocular mockery – in two Facebook
communities (Spanish and English). More specifically, and following
Haugh’s (2010) and Haugh and Bousfield’s (2012) three inter-related dimensions,
this paper intends to answer three questions: (i) what triggers jocular
mockery in each corpus? (ii) How is it “framed”? And (iii) how do interlocutors
respond to it? To this end, two balanced datasets were gathered: one in (British)
English and one in (Peninsular) Spanish, consisting of 6,215 and 6,193 words
respectively. Results show that jocular mockery is pervasive in both datasets
and both British and Spanish users resort to it when confronted with bragging.
Likewise, both groups borrow framing strategies from face-to-face communication
but also employ other means afforded by Facebook itself. They also opt
for accepting it good-naturedly as a way to boost group rapport.
Keywords: jocular mockery, computer-mediated communication,


English in the Toilet

   (Image from my archive)

I stopped by this shopping mall to do my grocery shopping after a walk. It’s not my first time at the mall, but each time I use its toilet, I can’t help not reading this sticker. The message is “nosy” — why does it bother about whether I have brought along all my belongings or not? What it is trying to do is to serve as a gentle reminder to users so that they do not leave their belongings behind. In case you think this is Singlish, it is not.  I have never read reminders in English like this all these years of living in Singapore.


Malaysian English: A Book and Article (Tan, 2013; 2014)

Proper English
(Image from It was selected without the intention to reflect Malaysian English)

Thank you for sharing, to the sender who wants to remain anonymous!
Here’s some information on publications relating to Malaysian English: the article Malaysian English KM 32 Supp 1 2014 – Art 8(167-185), and the book:

Creating a corpus is fun. My corpus may be the smallest in the world.
(But I have so far excluded conference/workshop information for computer linguists on this website. I may include such information in the future).

Nation Building, English and the Language Debate (Malaysia)

(Image: “Petronas”, KL, from my archive)

As Kroskrity (2000) has observed, language ideologies are “naturalized” and is difficult to “see”. It is pervasive and one can analyse it from many perspectives. Metadiscursive strategies (e.g. by Baumann and Briggs; same publication), nationalist agendas, group interests, and cultural identities are just some aspects of ideologies in language works. I am uploading a paper by Phan, Ho and Chng (2013)(Article), although those of you in the field might already have it.

Since about 200 readers/visitors visit this blog monthly, the sharing of publications, news on language policies and research areas relating to this region from readers/visitors are always welcome. Kindly make use of the email or “leave a reply” functions for this purpose. I look forward to hearing from you!

Error Analysis in Role-play Presentations among Less Proficient L2 Malaysian Learners

(Image: Jalan Pinang, Kuala Lumpur. From my picture-archive)
I have been informed that Murad Sawalmeh (University of Huddersfield, Applied Linguistics), one of the readers of this blog who’s located in the other side of the globe, just uploaded a paper on titled:

Error Analysis in Role-play Presentations among Less Proficient L2 Malaysian Learners

“The speaking skill in non-native language has been the subject of investigations in recent years (Hojati, 2013). The present study examines errors in the speech of less proficient speakers of English during their role-play presentations…” Here’s the link:

If you wish to query or comment on it, you may leave a reply on this blog. Thank you for sharing, Murad!