The semiotics of language ideologies in Singapore

Authors

  • Lionel Wee

    Corresponding author
    1. National University of Singapore
      * Lionel Wee
      Department of English Language & Literature
      National University of Singapore
      Block AS 5, 7 Arts Link
      S (117570)
      Singapore
      ellweeha@nus.edu.sg
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* Lionel Wee
Department of English Language & Literature
National University of Singapore
Block AS 5, 7 Arts Link
S (117570)
Singapore
ellweeha@nus.edu.sg

Abstract

As an ethnically and linguistically diverse society, Singapore has had to grapple with the problem of how to manage this diversity across a range of contexts, thus making it a particularly interesting case study for language ideologies. This paper examines three particular cases taken from the history of Singapore's language policy. In the first situation, the policy remains largely unchanged, varying only in its lexical and textual realizations; in the second, performances in the service of a set of ideologies give rise to potentially serious problems; and in the third, the material consequences of implementing the ideologies lead to changes in the ideologies themselves. By drawing on recent theoretical developments in the study of language ideologies, this paper shows how attention to the sitedness of language ideologies can help provide greater specification and appreciation of the interactional processes by which the ideologies are instantiated.

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