Vol. 55 No. 4 (2007)
Research Article

The Struggle for a Standard: Evidence From Place Names

Published 2007-12-01



In Singapore several languages and several dialects of English contend for the distinction of “standard.” A brief history of standardization of English is given along with a consideration of the differences between the situations in Britain and the U.S. on the one hand and countries in East and Southeast Asia on the other, in particular the fact that in Britain and the U.S. there has been no official state involvement in developing a standard language or variety but in Singapore there is considerable government intervention through such programs as the Speak Good English Movement. Street names provide a useful source of data which suggest that the Singapore government prefers as “standard” names which echo English over Malay or Chinese, thus demonstrating the more prominent position of English.


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