Chapter

Discourse and Lexis

David Deterding

in Singapore English

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780748625444
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651535 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748625444.003.0004
Discourse and Lexis

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Null-subject structures were discussed in Chapter 3 under the heading of syntax. However, one of the puzzles that needs to be dealt with is why null-subject sentences are acceptable in Singapore English but not in British or American English even though all these varieties have a similar system of present-tense verbal inflections. Topic prominence was suggested as having an influence on this. The fronting of a topic belongs within the realm of discourse, because it involves manipulating word order to present ideas in a certain way, which is discussed in this chapter. After the discussion of topic prominence, the use of resumptive pronouns, tolerance for repetition of words, and the ubiquitous occurrence of discourse particles such as lah, ah and yah are considered. The chapter then proceeds to deal with individual words — those that are unique to Singapore English as a result of borrowing, compounding, or the use of abbreviations, and also those that are found in other varieties of English but are used in a different way in Singapore.

Keywords: topic prominence; resumptive pronouns; word repetition; discourse particles; lah; yah; borrowed words; individual words

Chapter.  8773 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics

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