Category Archives: Malay/Baba Malay


A Diminishing Ethnic and Speech Community

 (Image from

On 20th June 2014 (2014/06/20), this website posted an article on the Kristang, a diminishing community.

In addition, just two days ago, the Straits Times (Singapore’s main newspaper) carried an article on the Jawi Peranakan.  For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Peranakan, it commonly, though not always, refers to Malaysians, Indonesians, Thais and Singaporeans of Chinese descent whose ancestors have intermarried with the indigenous people and have formed a distinct hybrid culture of their own. In short, they are children of mixed parentage. In Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, they are commonly known as Straits Chinese (named after the Straits Settlements; 土生華人 in Chinese; Tionghoa-Selat or Tionghoa Peranakan in Indonesian). In Thailand, there are the Phuket Baba in Phuket.  There are also other, comparatively small non-Chinese Peranakan communities, such as Indian Hindu Peranakans (Chitty), and Arab/Indian Muslim Peranakans (Jawi Pekan) (Jawi being the Javanised Arabic script, Pekan a colloquial contraction of Peranakan). The Peranakan as a group is parallel to the Cambodian Hokkien, who are descendants of Hoklo Chinese, and the Pashu of Myanmar,  a Burmese word for Chinese who have settled in Myanmar. They have partially maintained their culture despite their native language gradually disappearing a few generations after settlement.

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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!

Singapore Malay: A Final Year Project on Variation of Address Terms

images_7 (Image source: Thank you!)
Siti Nadiah Bte Mohamad Shafie has sent in her final year project Variation of Addresses
to be shared on this platform. Her work examines the variation of address terms among Malay families of Singapore, a rarely studied topic in recent years. Thank you very much, Nadiah, and congratulations to you!