Indian Acrolectal Speakers in Formal Contexts

Selvarani d/o Suppiah

English Language Honours AE, NIE, 1997


    The focus of this Academic Exercise is the variation present in the formal style of educated Indian speakers of Singapore English.

    The speakers are analyzed for five features and their frequencies are calculated by compiling the occurrences of the feature and expressing it as a percentage of the total possible occurrences of the feature.

    The analysis is based on different variables such as - place of education, gender and frequency of mother tongue usage and the frequencies are expressed under these headings. The representation of frequencies is done in three ways, to present a fairer picture, as it is noticed, that in some instances different presentations lead to different conclusions. First, an average score for the groups in question is given. Then the individual scores for each speaker is presented. Finally, the speakers of both groups are ranked and one rank from one group is compared against a similar rank from the other group.

   It is found that gender and the frequency of mother tongue usage have important roles to play in determining speech patterns. The attitudes towards languages spoken also affects the speech patterns of a person. However, this is only secondary to gender. There is a direct correlation between one's attitudes and one's emulation of either an accent closer to the RP or closer to the Singaporean one.

    Finally, the "geh-angmos" syndrome and fake accents discussed in the press, (at least with reference to the speakers in this exercise) is not a phenomenon applicable to everybody who has been abroad to study. If one's attitudes towards his/her mother tongue are positive, this indicates that one has a positive outlook toward that language and its culture and the chances of acquiring a different accent when studying abroad are slim.