Situated as we are at the crossroads of the world, you’ll find many languages spoken here. Helping us understand each other are four official languages: Malay, Mandarin, Tamil, and English.
Just when you think your conversation is flowing smoothly, your Singaporean friend suddenly uses a phrase that throws you off. What was that—Malay? A Chinese dialect? Or an Indian one? Chances are it could be any of those or even a mash-up of all. When you’re in a society that’s as much of a ’salad bowl’ as we are, it’s not surprising that the language takes on a life of its own. In Singapore, Singlish
is the mainstay of casual talk, a frequent source of amusement and a sure-fire way to break the ice with locals.
However, don’t let the lingo let you down—the use of Standard English is expected in formal situations. Get on board the Speak Good English
movement to communicate effectively in a global setting.