Encyclopedia of Language and Education

2008 Edition
| Editors: Nancy H. Hornberger

The Language Ecology of Singapore

  • Anthea Fraser Gupta
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30424-3_224


The language ecology of Singapore has been shaped by educational policy, which in turn has been a response to a particularly complex language ecology. Concepts of indigeneity are meaningless in this city state, which has been a multicultural trading port since at least the fourteenth century (Gupta, 1994; Miksic, 2004), and whose present language make‐up is the result of British colonialism and associated immigration in the nineteenth century (Gupta, 1994; Platt and Weber, 1980). The colonial government manipulated the delivery of education as a tool of ethnic management and social engineering, and this policy has been continued by the government of independent Singapore (Benjamin, 1976; Bloom, 1986; Chua, 1995; Gopinathan, Pakir, Ho and Saravanan (eds), 1998; Gupta, 1994; Murray, 1971; Pennycook, 1994; PuruShotam, 1998; Tan, Gopinathan and Ho (eds), 1997; Tremewan, 1994).

The extreme societal and individual multilingualism of the early twentieth century (Kuo, 1976;...


Official Language Social Engineering High Social Class School Language Language Shift 
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© Springer Science+Business Media LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthea Fraser Gupta
    • 1
  1. 1.School ofEnglishUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK