Language, Policy and Power in the Multilingual City-State: An evaluation of Singapore’s Linguistic Landscape
Jafnie Jaffa
(Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Saturday (April 22nd), 14:15-15:15 (Poster presentation round)
Lipsius Hall

Although many countries have moved towards a more inclusive form of national identity, language and its use in the public sphere continues to be a potential point of conflict between communities. Apart from legislation and education policies, the linguistic landscape of a particular country can also provide insight into the power relations at play amongst speakers of different languages. Even in a multilingual city-state such as Singapore which legally confers equal official language status to four different languages, the prominence of each language – even in neighbourhoods traditionally associated with its speakers – may reflect a jarring, different reality. As such, this paper will explore the Singaporean linguistic landscape from a quantitative viewpoint and how each language (as well as its linguistic community) performs in the public sphere in a traditionally multilingual state with a long history of government intervention vis-à-vis language use and regulation.