Language Policy

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 47–66 | Cite as

The Discourse Of Linguistic Capital: Language And Economic Policy Planning In Singapore

  • Rita Elaine SilverEmail author


This paper examines the historical and current connections between English language education policy and economic development policy in Singapore. Policy statements on English language education policy in Singapore are used to demonstrate the ways that English is given a role in economic development and modernization by government officials and educators. The discourse of policy statements on the economic utility and cultural value of languages is discussed with reference to Bourdieu’s concepts of capital and field. Comparative reference is made to policy statements on so-called “Mother Tongue.” The analysis provides background on language policy in Singapore and locates current reform efforts within that discourse.


Bourdieu English English-knowing bilingualism modernization Mother tongue Singapore symbolic capital 



English Language


Ministry of Education


Prime Minister


Senior Minister


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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute of Education, English Language and LiteratureNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeRepublic of Singapore

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