Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Bilingualism in Singapore

Singapore is certainly multilingual. It has four official languages, and Ethnologue catalogues 21 different languages and dialects, all within about 5 million people.

The latest post is on Language Log is on Bilingualism in Singapore, charting the dubious theorising of Minister Lee Kuan Yew (for more on Lee, see Lee essentially forged an education plan based on the idea that people only have so much 'space' to store languages, and so bilingualism can only be bad. Surprisingly, this was not so far from well received Linguistic theory until Martin-Jones and Romanie (1986) argued it was 'half-baked'.

However, the minister seems to have recently changed his mind about bilingual education for the better. Maybe it'll trickle down to the guy I met the other day who congratulated me on my very good English despite my Welsh medium education.


  1. Your English isn't bad these days, though your spell-checker is obviously set to U.S. (e.g. 'Modeling Bilingualism')