Language Policy

, 8:117

Assumptions behind Singapore’s language-in-education policy: implications for language planning and second language acquisition

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10993-009-9124-0

Cite this article as:
Dixon, L.Q. Lang Policy (2009) 8: 117. doi:10.1007/s10993-009-9124-0


Singapore’s officially bilingual education policy, in which the majority of children are schooled through a non-native medium with their ‹Mother Tongue’ (an ethnic heritage language that is not necessarily spoken in the home) as a single school subject only, has resulted in dramatic language shifts in the population and high academic achievement as measured by international comparison studies. Much current second language acquisition theory would predict failure for such a policy. This paper examines the assumptions concerning language planning and second language acquisition underlying the city-state’s language-in-education policy, their relation to current theory in the field, and how the case of Singapore can support or challenge these different theories.


Bilingual educationLanguage planningLanguage-in-education policySecond language acquisitionSingapore

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA