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Singapore English

David Deterding

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Over the past few decades, Singapore English has been emerging as an independent variety of English with its own distinct style of pronunciation, grammar and word usage. This book provides an overview of this variety in straightforward, non-technical language, including coverage of:

  • its pronunciation, including comparisons with the pronunciation of English in other countries in South-East Asia
  • its morphology and grammar
  • the words that are used, including instances where the meaning is distinct from other varieties of English
  • the discourse patterns that are found, including use of particles such as lah
  • its history and current developments.

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1. Introduction
2. Phonetics and Phonology
3. Morphology and Syntax
4. Lexis and Discourse Features
5. History and Current Changes
6. Annotated Bibliography
7. Texts: Transcripts for the Data of Hui Min.

About the Author

David Deterding is Associate Professor, Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics, University of Brunei Darussalam.


This book is a valuable addition to the growing literature on Singapore English (SgE). Thoughtfully written in clear, simple language ... the discussion is entirely descriptive; there is no trace of prescriptivismor negative judgment.
- Alvin Leong, National Institute of Education, Singapore, RELC Journal
Singapore English, by David Deterding, does not fail to deliver in the author's usual manner: the stregths for which he is well know are ever present in this slim volume. His treatment of Singapore English is systematic, and written in a clear and succint style... this volume on Singapore English fulfils its purpose, providing a clear, brief, introductory coverage for a beginning linguistics student or intelligent layperson wishing to know something about SgE; the description will certainly meet its goal in stimulating the interest of readers, and the various references and annotated bibliography then point the way to further and deeper reading in the area.
- Lisa Lim, University of Hong Kong, Journal of the IPA
This remarkably comprehensive volume provides an excellent, informative account of present day Singapore English along with a balanced and insightful discussion of the political and ideological factors involved. As such, it will prove an invaluable resource for all those interested in current developments in World Englishes, teacher and student alike.
- Jennifer Jenkins, Professor of English Language, University of Southampton
If you are only ever going to read one book about Singapore English, then read this one. The book is logically and clearly presented and a pleasure to read. Readers will obtain a clear description and analysis of the linguistic features of Singapore English, understand the context in which these have developed and be familiar with the controversies surrounding its use.
- Andy Kirkpatrick, Professor and Head of English, Hong Kong Institute of Education

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