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Singlish – the ‘unofficial’ language of Singapore

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There are four official languages in Singapore: English, Mandarin, Bahasa Melayu and Tamil. However, English is widely used as a language of business, law and government.

In the early days, with the influx of immigrants from different races and creeds, a derivative pidgin English, ‘Singlish’, was born out of necessity to enable its people to communicate with its colonial rulers.

Despite the Singapore Government’s best attempts to educate its people to use Standard English, including a campaign to “Speak Good English“, Singlish still prevails amongst most Singaporeans who feel it is now a part of their national identity.

Singlish is mainly a convergence of English, Hokkien (dialect), Mandarin, and Bahasa Melayu.

Language is always developing

The popularity of Singlish is a sign that language is constantly developing. As a translation company this is something which we have to take into account with more established languages too.

Languages evolve and change, so our linguists need to ensure they keep up with the changes. We only ever use in-country translators because living and breathing the language is the only way to stay up to date and ensure accurate translations are delivered to you.

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